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Tuesday 24 July 2012

Murdoch Is Served (77)


Actually we are now a fortnight beyond the third anniversary of Nick Davies’ first Guardian revelations, but this morning’s events make it an opportune moment to look back and view the gradual decline and fall of many of the House of Murdoch’s most faithful retainers, before their arraignment today.

Hang on, that Police van isn't my taxi ... or is it?

As I enjoy pointing out in a rare moment of rank immodesty (ho ho ho), Zelo Street was on the Phonehackgate case from the outset (you can see the initial set of posts HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). Along the way, highlights included the host of idiots who called the whole thing totally wrong (see HERE), the spread of the story to the USA (HERE), and the closure of the Screws (HERE).

But it is today’s charge sheet that leads the news right now, and the list of names upon it. These include Andy Coulson, recruited by the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, to work in the service of Young Dave as chief spinmeister. This was despite Cameron being warned that Coulson was damaged goods, and his featuring in the Matt Driscoll unfair dismissal case.

The charge sheet also includes the twinkle toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks, like Coulson not only a Murdoch retainer, but also close confidante of the current Prime Minister. One can almost see John Prescott and Alastair Campbell agreeing that Tone and Pa Broon would never have got away without a serious tabloid mauling had either had been so closely involved.

Other names show how deeply the hacking culture may have reached into the Murdoch press: former Screws news editor Ian Edmondson, along with another former news editor Greg Miskiw and former assistant news editor James Weatherup are all there, together with former chief reporter Neville “Stylish Masturbator” Thurlbeck.

But the one name that puts the icing on the cake is that of Stuart Kuttner, former Screws managing editor. Because it was Kuttner who let the cat out of the bag in the first place: when Nick Davies was first promoting Flat Earth News, he was on BBC Radio discussing the inclusion of a chapter titled The Dark Arts when Kuttner, also on the programme concerned, intervened loudly to shout him down.

It was the vehemence of Kuttner’s intervention – “Nick Davies lives on another planet. What’s he talking about? It was just one journalist at News of the World, who did it once, and he was fired and went to prison” – that convinced Davies he had something to hide. And from that moment, other journalists opened up to him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Bring on the trials.

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