Lashing out like cornered animals | Hacking inquiry – Hacked off
As Corporal Jones might have said, they don’t like it up ‘em. The ruthless methods of mass circulation papers are being exposed at the Leveson inquiry as never before, so they are lashing out like cornered animals.
Their attacks on the Guardian this week in relation to last July’s Milly Dowler story (see the Mail’s headline: “The false allegation that ‘led to 200 people losing their jobs’”) reveal a self-delusion and a mood of furious denial that will only land them in worse trouble. The editors meet today (Thursday) to review their position; for their sakes and the sakes of their employees you have to hope they can talk sense into each other.
It was not the Guardian that got them into the mess they are now in. Nor was it the Milly Dowler story of last July. It was years of irresponsible, reckless, cruel behaviour that was perpetrated by a minority in their midst and was far too widely tolerated and excused in the industry. It was not voicemail hacking alone, but years of journalists not caring a damn for people they wrote about and not respecting the people they wrote for.
Suggesting that one article made all the difference is like saying that Gavrilo Princip, the Sarajevo assassin, was solely responsible for the First World War, or that a Wimbledon final is decided purely on the last point played. A mountain of straws broke this camel’s back, not just one.
The implication of what they have been saying this week is this: they want to turn back the clock. They would like Rebekah Brooks back in charge at News International with her shabby cronies Colin Myler and Tom Crone by her side. They miss the days when Andy Coulson was in Downing Street, when Rupert Murdoch was pulling strings and when John Yates was a big wheel at Scotland Yard. They might just accept that a police investigation into phone hacking was necessary, providing it picked off only reporters and not executives like them.