Yesterday, Press Gazette told readers “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have won an apology and correction from the Sun after the newspaper wrongly claimed they had banned staff from using a car park because it overlooked their new home”. Another front page “exclusive” from over-inflated creep Dan Wootton which turned out not to be true.
And this was merely a sighting shot: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have finally decided that enough is enough, and have pressed the nuclear button: Meghan had previously threatened legal action over the Mail on Sunday’s publication of a private letter written by her to her father. Now that threat has been converted into a real live lawsuit.
Much of the press has been silent about the action, and so has not told its readers about Harry’s clearly highly personal statement, with which many victims of press intrusion will readily identify, telling “Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one … I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person … I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces”. He talked of “history repeating itself”.
Those victims will also recognise the sentiments Harry expresses when he says “There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face - as so many of you can relate to - I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been … They have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because [Meghan] has not been visible while on maternity leave”. Lying, sadly, is what the tabloids do when it comes to the Royals.
And it’s what they do when it comes to ordinary people, too. Ask Danielle Hindley, another victim of the MoS and its less than principled behaviour, who almost had her business closed down by a fake story. Ask Andy Miller, who had to endure several years of legal action to secure redress against the Daily Mail. Ask Juliet Shaw, about whom the Mail invented a complete pack of lies, and then dared her to sue.
Ask Christopher Jefferies, effectively convicted by the press for a crime in which he played no part. Ask the McCanns. Ask Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk, who were plastered over the front page of the MoS last December after they were wrongly fingered as the cause of the drone incursions that disrupted flights at London’s Gatwick Airport.
Ask any of the victims of phone hacking, email hacking, blagging, bribery, doxxing, misuse of the Police National Computer, misuse of NHS records, and misuse of phone company records. Ask those about whom the press just makes it up anyway. And of course we can’t ask Lucy Meadows about her monstering by the Daily Mail. Because she’s dead.
The vast majority of those victims are ordinary people. They were smeared, just as Harry and Meghan were smeared. They get no publicity. They are merely collateral damage, there to serve no other purpose than to enable the press to flog a few more newspapers.
Well, now a couple who are not mere ordinary people have decided to fight back against the tide of invention, maliciousness, monstering, bigotry and, yes, hatred.
That’s why Harry and Meghan speak for all of us. More power to both of them.
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