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Thursday 25 July 2013

Phone Hacking Why Oh Why

[Update at end of post]

Something is clearly taxing Daily Mail pundit Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover today, and that something is phone hacking. For once, one of Paul Dacre’s obedient array of dubiously talented pundits is all in favour of the law enforcement authorities going after phone hackers – provided, of course, that they are not plying their trade in the service of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet.
Why shouldn't my f***ing pundits whinge, c***?!?

Blue-chip firms hacked phones on an industrial scale. So why aren't there dawn raids on THEM?” thunders the headline, before Glover slips effortlessly into whinging about the hated BBC, and pretending that he really despises the former Screws hacks who commissioned acts of hacking and tapping. Then he arrives at a favourite Mail target, the deeply subversive Guardian.

It was the Guardian’s earth-shattering assertion that the News of the World deleted the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, giving her parents ‘false hope’, which created the furore that has resulted in these controls. But it turns out — so police now say — the News of the World did not, in fact, delete the voicemails”. Bullshit. The Police now are not sure (minor difference).

Then he gets onto his shock horror revelation: “Over recent weeks a far bigger scandal has emerged that has received scant coverage. The story was broken by the Independent newspaper, taken up by the Mail and a few others, but it has barely been mentioned by the all-powerful BBC. I don’t expect more than one or two people in 100 are aware of it”. So go on and enlighten us, won’t you?

Law firms, telecom giants and insurance companies have been routinely employing private investigators to hack, blag and steal the personal information of business rivals and members of the public, according to a leaked secret report which the police have belatedly been forced to acknowledge”. Like Steve Whittamore, who did so much work for a paper called the Daily Mail, perchance?

But enough of the Miserable Git: let me put Glover and his editor straight. No progress will be made by pundits sitting there and whingeing. Nor will the BBC, or any other organisation, publicise a cause just because Glover is bleating about it. The actions of the Screws were unearthed through many hours of painstaking and proper investigative journalism by the Guardian’s Nick Davies.

If the Mail wants to see a similar outcome for the hacking done by other organisations, the solution is in the hands of its legendarily foul mouthed editor: concentrate less on mining slebs’ social media sites and feeds, and do some proper journalism for a change. If Paul Dacre really wants to find his name on a future honours list, that would be a good way to get it there.

But that won’t happen: instead, there’ll be more whinging. No change there, then.

[UPDATE 1855 hours: I am reminded by Peter Jukes of Daily Beast fame that Stephen Glover took a very different, but equally dismissive, attitude to Phonehackgate when it burst on to the scene back in 2009. Glover, then writing for the Independent, but already making suitably grovelling noises in the direction of Paul Dacre, characterised the whole thing as old news.

Moreover, he dismissed Nick Davies, who has won plaudits and awards for his journalism since then, as "the sort of journalist who can find a scandal in a jar of tadpoles", and asserted that Davies and his editor Alan Rusbridger were desperate to emulate the Maily Telegraph's scoop of MPs' expenses information.

But, as Jukes points out, this is the same story that is now coming round again, and it leads to organisations like Southern Investigations, the fiefdom of Jonathan Rees and Sid Fillery, and which was involved in illegal information gathering for an array of clients. And the Serious Organised Crime Authority (SOCA) report to which Glover refers will only be any use if it can provide evidential standard information.

If not, there will have to be yet more of that proper investigative journalism, a concept that clearly distresses Glover and his editor. The authorities are not going to subject anyone to the 0600 mob-handed treatment on the whim of a disgruntled Daily Mail pundit]

1 comment:

pj13 said...

I doubt either Glover, Kavanagh or the others who bang on about realise this is intimately connected with Fleet Street and rogue PIs: especially since Glover said, of Nick Davies in 2009, that "he would see a conspiracy in a jar of tadpoles."

Though billed as the 'other hacking story', this is in fact the same hacking story, and leads back to Southern Investigations and their relationship with NOTW and corrupt police.