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Sunday 12 February 2012

Murdoch Is Served (66)

It would be tragic, were it not so farcical: as those on the right try and point the finger of blame for phone hacking, email hacking and other wrongdoing towards Trinity Mirror Group – while simultaneously working to rubbish the Guardian – News International sinks deeper into the mire. Last week it was an admission of email hacking by the supposedly upmarket Times. Now it’s the Sun hacks getting nicked.

As I pointed out the other day, the latest allegation against Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver has come from the thoroughly dubious Max Keiser, accomplished exponent of the drive-by e-shooting, and should by any credible journalist be instantly discarded. This of course has not stopped the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, taking the Keiser steamer as data.

Then there have been those on the left wanting the assertions of Hugh Grant – that the Daily Mail got information about him through phone hacking – to prove true. The problem here is the same as that confronting those wanting to pin hacking on the Mirror: without any evidence, they are going nowhere. The law does not recognise nudge-nudgery as sufficient proof.

But while the Mirror and Mail are regarded with mere suspicion, Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are assisting the Met’s finest with their enquiries, while Murdoch groupies like Staines – who lists former Sun editor Kelvin McFilth as an inspiration – stay quiet about it, and keep trying to get their readers to look over there. But folks are, instead, looking at the Sun car crash.

The arrests, on suspicion ofbribing police and public officials”, included the paper’s Deputy Editor, Deputy News Editor, Picture Editor, Chief Foreign Correspondent, and even John Kay, the Sun’s Chief Reporter, who has been with the title since 1974 and nowadays works as an ambassador for the paper. This was not a group of out of control gofers. These were the senior executives.

Small wonder, then, that a parallel is already being drawn with the events leading up to the closure of the Screws last year, but so far Rupe is staying with the title he bought back in 1969 and turned into what Private Eye soon called “The Dirty Digger’s tit’n’bum daily”. But he is flying in to deal with the fallout personally. That is no surprise, as this could cause a US Department of Justice enquiry.

That’s because the Murdochs’ parent company is based in the USA, where much of its businesses are based. There have already been suggestions that phone hacking may have occurred on US soil, and if any firm evidence comes to light, Rupe will be right in the mire. Whatever future front page headlines the Sun might bring us, though, there is one that they won’t be recycling if Rupe does get nicked Stateside.


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