Rupe and his troops must have thought that, with the continuing cascade of revelations from Phonehackgate, things couldn’t get much worse. And then, on Friday afternoon, things duly got worse. A lot worse. Because one of those troops has been arrested on suspicion of participating in the oldest of The Dark Arts, that of bribing a serving Police officer for information.
And it’s not any old hack who has had his collar felt: Jamie Pyatt has worked for News International for all of 24 years. His arrest is connected to a six-figure amount of money which is thought to have changed hands to facilitate the passage of otherwise confidential information to the Sun newspaper. Pyatt is looking at what the more tactful call a custodial sentence.
Moreover, the old days when, as Nick Davies put it in Flat Earth News, “dog doesn’t eat dog”, are over: the Guardian has company in reporting the news this time round. The Maily Telegraph named Pyatt and gave the piece prominent billing. The Independent was in there too. Even the Mirror, which might have desisted from openly mentioning its rival paper, has the story (but not the name).
What is more revealing, though, is those supposedly fearless pillars of the blogosphere who have thus far declined to mention the arrest. Step forward the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole at the Guido Fawkes blog, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere, who kept schtum for several hours after the story broke.
Finding out what they're not talking about
That, though, is little surprise, given the inability of Staines and Cole to call Phonehackgate correctly in the first place. Their inability to follow the money and instead launch an evidence-free campaign against Piers “Morgan” Moron gained them no credibility at all – plus a few more news outlets who won’t take them on trust again – and their unwillingness to look elsewhere is telling.
In the world of Staines and Cole, going after their pals – that’s the Murdoch press, Associated Newspapers (the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday), and the Maily Telegraph – is something they are unwilling or unable to do. In their world of blinkered tribalism, everything bad is caused by rotten lefties, which means the Mirror, Guardian and above all the BBC.
Still, they’re number one, or so they say. Keep up the ritual incantation, lads.
[Staines and Cole have had a whole day to raise a single Tweet on this story, but have failed to even reach the start line. Fingers in ears, La La La, they can’t hear you (continued excuse #94)]