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Friday 3 July 2015

Neil Wallis Protests Too Much

Following his acquittal on the charge of conspiracy to hack phones, former Screws deputy editor Neil “Wolfman” Wallis has been doing the rounds of the broadcasters, telling how it was all some kind of politically inspired witch hunt, and stressing over and over again that a jury made up of twelve of his peers listened to all the evidence and decided that He Didn’t Do It. He must be getting through an awful lot of onions right now.
Some of the interviews went Wallis’ way as he succeeded in manoeuvring the discussion onto his favoured agenda. A chat with Evan Davis on Newsnight, however, did not develop necessarily to his advantage, and the outbreak of whining at the dastardly BBC having a presenter prepared to ask questions, rather than allow Wallis to answer his own, was not merely predictable, but all too revealing (you can see the Newsnight interview HERE).
Newsnight’s own Twitter feed captured Wallis’ favoured opening gambit: “For a long time the belief was that the phone hacking allegations was [sic] a Guardian, BBC story. It’s easy to know with hindsight”. Wallis was, and is, a journalist: the idea that he took that explanation at face value, given his position at the Screws, is amazing.
And the Wolfman could depend on his pals riding to his rescue, such as former Daily Star man Nigel Pauley, complaining “Newsnight didn’t seem interested in [Neil Wallis’] claims of politically motivated agenda by CPS, preferring to tread old ground … wonder why?” Old ground being to ask questions about why Wallis had been on trial, for instance. And by complete coincidence, another pundit used the same phrase.
Kath Raymond Hinton told “Good job [Neil Wallis] but who on earth briefed Evan? Old ground. Pity the story of political witch hunt untold”. Ms Raymond Hinton is married to former Murdoch retainer Les Hinton. Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks had wedding invites. Wallis was duly grateful: “Well, of course [BBC Newsnight], edited by ex-Guardian dep ed were fully paid-up part of the agenda”. Yeah, right.
There was more support: Sean O’Neill mused “Hmm [Evan Davis] doesn’t seem to like the jury’s acquittal of [Neil Wallis]”. I’m sure his being a Murdoch hack is also the purest of coincidences. The Wolfman was also grateful to him: “How dare they, eh? Why didn’t they listen to [BBC Newsnight] & do … their duty?” he sneered.
One observer still not convinced as Wallis was treated to a little softball by Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning was Stuart Glover: “On [BBC 5 Live] moments ago [Neil Wallis] expresses the usual journalist view that they should neither by regulated nor accountable to the law”. Quite.

The Screws, when Wallis was its deputy editor, was hacking phones on an industrial scale. Anybody and everybody there knew about it - except, seemingly, him. That shows a staggering lack of curiosity for a journalist. One can only conclude that, if Wallis really did not know it was going on, he was terminally incompetent.

And, as Detective Columbo might have said, one other thing. If Wallis thinks that the Guardian and BBC are working the CPS, perhaps he can explain the Fake Sheikh’s successes. And the Cook/Hames surveillance. And the Dowler voicemail. And the rest.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to calling a CEO claiming "they didn't know" the Neil and Bekah defense.

I'm sure the second the papers pour scorn on a CEO or manager doing that (Expect social worker)it'll be a pile of great proportions.

Anonymous said...

Every now and then some mainstream media hack slips up and actually asks pertinent questions. Despite being a dead duck for 99% of the time this applies to Newsnight and even occasionally to Channel 4 News.

But whoever interviewed Wallis the result was always the same. I immediately felt an urgent need to shower. The guy looks and sounds like a cockney barrow boy, a sort of whiskered up Terry Venables.

Sure, he and some others were acquitted so that makes them innocent in the eyes of the law. However, that doesn't prevent me from making my own assessment of available evidence.

And the law is a ass, sir, a ass.

Andy McDonald said...

It reminded me of Alan Partridge interviewing a Cockney gangster (played by Alan Ford IIRC) who was getting increasingly irritated by questions and references to all the dodgy stuff he'd been miraculously acquitted of, and ended up threatening to do him.

Brian Higgy said...

The defence of these people has jumped from "one rogue reporter" to "one rogue editor". Un-fricking-believable!

Carl Eve said...

"It was politically motivated..."

And who exactly passed all those emails and evidence to the CPS Neil... the Fucking Tooth Fairy?

Did not the evidence come from... (drumroll please) News UK lawyers who hung a host of staff out to dry? How's that for "politically motivated"? Your boss sold you out. Welcome to the world of the victims of the News of the World...

rob said...

@ Carl Eve

"News UK lawyers who hung a host of staff out to dry?"

Wasn't that part of the deal? Evidence to convict those on the "shop" floor whilst the culture setters above walk free? A bit like the bankers?

From Ian Fraser's "Shredded" re RBS and Fred Goodwin but apposite:

"management expert Paul Kearns ... in a separete interview said "When the man at the top is a tyrant, the whole organisation becomes tyrannical. The only people that can survive in such a regime are other tyrants or people with no integrity, who will blow with the wind and behave like the tyrant. In a terror regimethe boss's motto is "either you agree with me or your career is dead in this organisation".

Draw your own conclusions.

Ciaran Goggins said...

None of you realise that Mr Wallis must have known about police corruption, so why didn't he sing?

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify ... I wasn't complaining about Newsnight as such - I just felt they missed a. Opportunity. Everyone including the office cat knew why Neil was on trial . It was therefore old ground. A jury had acquired him. Yes valid to ask - though Newsnight tone was that they knew better than the jury - so old ground. No missed opportunity was that he claimed victims of political witchhunt. I personally would gAve lined to discover more why he claimed this - what evidence and to have it scrutinised or discredited by Newsnight. Or open up other areas of the story. Or indeed of course seen him prove his claim was valid. That is what I would expect of Newsnight. That is journalism. Yes I was pleased Neil was cleared - my fejbfs about NOTW hacking are no secret. I strongly disapprove. I would have been disappointed if Neil was found to have been involved. However he wasn't at paper during Dowler hacking or Hames affair... . I have only worked briefly with him when I was a young casual well over 20 years ago and he was the chief reporter of a tabloid. i then had no contact until he was PR for a company my paper used. However we have had a drink and attended a gig with mates and he is good company away from a work environment. If he'd been guilty it would have been disappointing but I would still have bought him a drink. As I would you if I saw you in a bar!