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Monday 26 January 2015

Trinity Mirror In Hacking Mire

[Update at end of post]

While the now-defunct Screws was being exposed as an enterprise that had profited from a significant level of criminality, which may not have stopped with phone hacking, fingers of suspicion were being pointed at the Mirror titles, and especially the Sunday Mirror, which would have needed to keep up with the Murdoch empire’s Sunday offering. And keeping up with Rupe’s downmarket troops may have meant hacking.
Here on Zelo Street, the more fanciful assertions about the Mirror titles, and especially those personally directed at Piers Morgan, have been treated with scepticism: there was an awful lot of hot air, and little in the way of evidence. But since October 2012, the evidence has been mounting, and by last November it was clear that the house was in danger of falling in rather soon.

At the start of that month, Graham Johnson came clean and admitted he had hacked phones while at the Sunday Mirror. It was already known that Dan Evans, who had given evidence at the Hacking Trial, had been a prolific practitioner of the art. Then the suspicious by-lines began to appear, often involving Susie Boniface, aka Fleet Street Fox (you can see examples of those HERE and HERE).

Now, Press Gazette has revealed thatTrinity Mirror has admitted that 71 stories across its national titles, with 45 bylines attached to them, were enabled by phone-hacking, the High Court has heard”. That suggests an awful lot of hacks have been benefiting from the proceeds of voicemail interception. David Sherborne confirmed that “all three of MGN's national titles - the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People” were involved.

It should also be remembered that Ms Boniface has said hacking would be justifiedto catch a dodgy politician, expose corruption at the heart of FIFA, locate someone the cops can't find … I'd do it for a minor shagging story … those dark arts should continue to be practised … Journalists are expected by The Reader as much as their employers to do things no-one else would”. Like breaking the law, perhaps?

At the Guardian, Roy Greenslade asserted thatTrinity Mirror should come clean about phone hacking”, noting that “Unlike News International (now News UK), its staff’s hacking activities have largely passed below the media radar”, and that “the consistent line peddled down the years by Trinity executives about its staff working within the law and within the editors’ code was disingenuous”. Why is the group not coming clean?

Ah well. Look at that number of by-lines: that’s a lot of hacks who may then find themselves being visited by the Police, who may wish to ask what knowledge they had as to where those stories that included phone messages came from. With the suggestion that the scale of hacking may be worse than that at the Screws, and seeing what happened to hacks and executives there, some hacks will be getting very nervous indeed.

Get caught now, or get caught later. Decisions, decisions, Mirror people.

[UPDATE 27 January 1030 hours: over at the Speccy, Mr Steerpike, which, as any fule kno, is an alias for the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guid Fawkes blog, has tried to turn the hacking at Trinity Mirror on to the Guardian, and the BBC, because to clueless right-wingers, the two organisations are the same thing, honestly.

"When hacking was discovered at the News of the World, there was great excitement from the Guardian and the BBC. How much coverage will they now give to the disclosures about the Mirror?" asks Cole, trying to link the two organisations, while, in reality, the coverage was always driven by the Guardian alone, with the BBC occasionally reporting on that.

And, as so often, the flannelled fool has failed to do his homework: the Guardian has been on the Mirror group's case several times recently (see HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE), and, as to his snarking at Roy Greenslade, he said that Trinity Mirror "must come clean" some four and a half hours before the Steerpike post was published.

"Both the corporation and the Guardian have taken glee in the past at resting the phone hacking crimes firmly in Rupert Murdoch’s court" offers Steerpike, managing not to notice that several former faithful Murdoch retainers got guilty over the affair. Nobody has "taken glee" at anything: Master Cole will have to try rather harder to convince those outside the jerking circle that comments on the Coffee House blog.

It's also worth remembering that the Fawkes blog hasn't said a peep about hacking at the Mirror titles for some months now. Because they're now doing business with them, and so have once again shamelessly sold out to the press establishment. Another fine mess]

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