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Friday 13 November 2015

Sun Could Have Stopped Plane Bomb

While Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun gasped in mock horror at the supposedly ineffective security scanners being used by hotels around the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, there was a little detail that the paper was managing not to tell its readers, and that was that the paper could have exposed something rather worse, and done so some time ago.
As Private Eye, which has been rather good on the less than totally ethical behaviour of the Murdoch mafia of late, has told, “Nick Parker, chief foreign correspondent of the Sun, had shocking news on last Friday’s front page: ‘Security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport has been exposed as a shambles after guards let Brits jump queues for a £15 fee - without checking their luggage’”. But Parker had the story FIVE MONTHS AGO.

Or rather, he and the Sun COULD have had the story, but were prevented from going ahead with it. As the Eye says, Parker heard about corrupt officials letting tourists jump queues, so “contacted his newsdesk and proposed an exposé of the lax security … he would find an official, offer a £20 note and see if he could get a bag through to flight-side without any checking”. Sounds straightforward enough.

But then it all got spiked, as Parker’s proposal was referred all the way up to News Corp in the USA, where the Management and Standards Committee (MSC) sent word not to proceed. It seems that Creepy Uncle Rupe is frightened shitless that corporate charges, and an invocation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, could result if the official wasn’t bent, and the Egyptian authorities kicked off.
So now the Murdoch faithful are bracing themselves for the inevitable backlash: they had the story five months ago, and had they run it, it’s almost certain that security at Sharm el-Sheikh would have been tightened up to the extent that it would have been pointless for ISIS, or whatever they’re called this week, to think of using the airport as a way of getting an explosive device on board an aircraft.

And it’s looking more and more as if someone got an explosive device on board the Metrojet flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg that was brought down over the Sinai desert with the loss of over 200 lives. Given that almost all on board were Russian citizens, it may not just be a UK satirical news magazine that has questions for Rupert Murdoch’s organisation in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Sun managing editor Stig Abell, through whose office Parker’s request was referred on its way up the chain to the MSC in New York, can count himself fortunate that, despite all the other stick he got on last night’s BBC Question Time, nobody mentioned his involvement in spiking a story that could have stopped more than 200 deaths.

He might have had problems spinning his way out of that one.


pete c said...

So. News Corp has a Management and Standards Committee.

Imagine the fun Monty Python or Spitting Image would have had with that.

My, but we do really need them around now.

SteveB said...

not forgetting that their story of the hotels using fake bomb detectors was 13 months behind BBC.

john b said...

Partly agree. News in NYC was absolutely right to spike Parker's proposed version of the story: it meant making a corrupt payment to a government official, of exactly the sort that we rightly lambast the NOTW and Sun for doing in the UK.

However, I don't understand why he and Abell couldn't find another angle for the story (eg hiring an Arabic speaker and interviewing the guards themselves; trying to track down a tourist who'd paid a bribe as everyone did after the bombing).

My suspicion is that, with their criminal methodologies taken away, they're just not very good journalists.

SimonB said...

Surely the big question is whether they bothered to tell anyone in authority after they spiked the story? If they had something but didn't pass it on then it shows how little they care about people.

rob said...

@ SimonB

And the next big uestion is whether they are sitting on more information at present that they don't wanr to share for lack of future selling power?

Actually would be very surprised that know all Sun columnist Mensch wasn't informed as she supposedly has "inside" information on all spooky matters and that she didn't pass the information on. Or did she?

Anonymous said...

If News Inc didn't pass on the information and it's confirmed that there was a bomb on board the airliner, the consequences could be costly in more than one way.