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Saturday 12 March 2011

Murdoch Is Served (31)

The Murdoch press is on the case: they’re covering events in Japan with some sense of relief, because there is a chance the attention will be kept away from more revelations on the Phonehackgate front. While Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have been laying in to the BBC for – horror of horrors – paying appearance fees, Nick Davies and the gang at the Guardian have been shining a light on them.

And, once again proving true Davies’ dictum of “dog doesn’t eat dog”, the story is being ignored by much of the Fourth Estate – barring the Guardian and Independent. What both titles reveal is that Andy Coulson, Young Dave’s former spinmeister, re-hired a convicted private investigator with links to corrupt police officers back in 2005 while he was editor of the Screws.

But what makes matters worse is that both Cameron and Corporal Clegg knew of this act before Coulson was hired for the job at 10 Downing Street. The man thus re-hired, Jonathan Rees, had already been the subject of a Guardian investigation into police corruption and information gathering techniques like blagging.

Rees also bought information from crooked cops, and reckoned to have contacts across the banking industry and Government. The Guardian piece makes the point that the Metropolitan Police accepted the Screws’ defence of “one rogue reporter” on the Goodman and Mulcaire case, when they knew back in 1999 of Rees’ activities.

The impression is given that the Met may not be the most ideal police force to be trusted with Phonehackgate: there have already been calls for someone from out of town to supervise or at least monitor the case. And it may not be just the Murdoch empire on the wrong end of this one: Rees also worked for both the Daily and Sunday Mirror.

Non-Story? There are some in the right leaning part of the Fourth Estate whose judgment and reputation has already been tarnished: expect more in the way of reputation diminishment in the coming months.

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