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Sunday 16 January 2011

Murdoch Is Served (26)

News cycles come and go, but Phonehackgate keeps coming back to haunt Rupe and his troops. Moreover, every time the story comes back into view, another sleb is taking the Murdoch press to the cleaners, then another, then another, despite the denials that any significant number of folks was involved.

And, in among the growing array of litigants, there is still the partial reporting of the news: as the Guardian’s Nick Davies noted in his excellent book Flat Earth News, “dog doesn’t eat dog”. So most of the Grubstreet dunghill has been silent over the affair, apart from the Guardian and Independent, although the angle suggesting that former Screws editor Andy Coulson had offered to resign his post as Young Dave’s chief spinmeister was at least covered by the Mail.

Perhaps the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, who has been in the business a full forty years, has noted a change in wind direction. After all, even the Metropolitan Police conceded that 91 individuals’ mobile phone PINs were found in the material they seized from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed over the affair. And that does not rule out the possibility that there were many more.

Since actor Sienna Miller began proceedings, Steve Coogan has joined the list of litigants, and now Paul Gascoigne has said he will sue. Chris Tarrant and jockey Kieran Fallon are reported to be next. Max Clifford’s former assistant Nicola Phillips, George Galloway and agent Sky Andrew are also taking action.

Those possibly joining that action include John Prescott, journalist Brendan Montague, former deputy Met Commissioner and Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, and MP Chris Bryant. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now ordered a review of the evidence held by the Met.

And on top of all that, News International are even carrying out an internal investigation into the whole business, the thought entering that the Murdoch press wants to be prepared for the worst. For something dismissed by the right leaning part of both press and blogosphere as a “non story” for so long, to have the CPS on the case, and Paul Dacre showing an interest, suggests that is no longer a credible position.

For that, we have Nick Davies to thank, for gradually and persistently prising the door open, bit by bit, until at last we reach the point where it is possible to see inside. Cameron and Osborne may well rue the day they decided not to accept the Coulson resignation.

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