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Thursday 21 July 2011

Guido Fawked – More Tribal Myopia

Someone who fell out with a tabloid editor and even spent time in prison has since said to a Guardian journalist that the editor in question was running a paper which got information from hacking phones. And the piece in the Guardian was five years ago. This is the latest supposedly shock revelation from Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere.

Thus the continuing attempt by the Guido Fawkes blog to pin phone hacking on the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron, former Mirror editor and recent replacement for Larry King as CNN’s weekday 9pm Eastern host. Moron, as any visitor to Zelo Street will be aware, is not this blog’s favourite former editor. But that does not make him guilty of any known offence.

The Fawkes blog has culled its latest attack on Moron from a piece on James Hipwell, formerly one half of the Mirror’sCity Slickers” until he and other half Anil Bhoyrul were sacked over breaking insider trading rules: they bought and then heavily tipped Viglen shares, making five figure sums in the process.

The thought enters that this is not totally dissimilar to Staines and Cole perhaps betting on events involving politicians – such as, say, William ‘Ague or Chris Huhne – and then going after them on the Fawkes blog. So the less than dynamic duo will readily identify with Hipwell.

And another thought enters from reading the Guardian feature: if Hipwell has so much dirt on his fellow hacks and had already written four chapters of a book back in 2006, then where is it? [OK, I know the answer: canned by lawyers] This, though, does not deter the Fawkes blog, which routinely misrepresents Hipwell, so the book “describing the lengths to which tabloid reporters would go” becomes “describing the lengths to which the Mirror, edited by Piers Morgan, went”.

The Fawkes blog says it is “going to be very blunt about this”, and so will I. That a number of papers indulged in less than totally legal methods to obtain their stories should surprise no-one. Moreover, the potential for more revelations is very strong: there is much more of this excellent spectator sport to come. But to only go after the Mirror, in an obviously clumsy attempt to “get the lefties” as an act of revenge, misses the point and merely demonstrates cluelessness.

Because going after the Mirror is all that this is about. As I’ve already told, the attempt by the Fawkes blog to pin hacking of Ulrika Jonsson’s phone on the Mirror is undermined by her taking action against the Screws, and the lame attempt by their new best pal Louise Mensch to smear Moron fell foul of a simple fact check.

But at least it’s different to going after the BBC, so that’s all right, then.

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