Friday, 15 July 2011


The Sun broke the story of Fraser Brown's cystic fibrosis shortly after he was born in 2006.

This week in parliament, the soap opera continued when Gordon Brown vented his much-delayed fury on News International for publishing the story, 'reducing the family to tears' and intruding on their private grief. Rupert Murdoch's organisation was part of a 'criminal media nexus' Brown ranted in a performance which confirmed he should never have held the post of Prime Minister.

Back in 2006 the Browns were good friends with Rupert Murdoch and his family. Any normal person would have contacted their friend and let them know how unhappy they were about having a private matter exposed, but not Gordon Brown.  He said nothing.  His distress was so great he continued to invite the Murdochs to his private parties and neither Gordon or Sarah looked unhappy being photographed with Wendi and Rupert Murdoch at Mr Murdoch's annual summer party in London in 2007 (picture).

Rupert Murdoch has refuted Brown's allegations and intends to use his appearance before MPs next week to address the 'total lies' told in parliament.  He will appear alongside his son James and News International CEO Rebekah Brooks.

It's been interesting to watch the game play between senior Westminster politicians and News International the past few days. Every politician cosied up to Murdoch and his senior employees yet it's now clear they've known for years what was going on at NI - an organisation which had become part of the government. Who was responsible for NI gaining so much power?  Our politicians.  They're to blame for this mess, much more than Murdoch.

When Rupert Murdoch entered the British media scene in the 60s, he was welcomed as a force for good. He alone took on the print unions, which were crippling the industry, and won. He introduced a choice of broadcasters for us and the BBC wasn't happy when Sky appeared on our screens. By courting Murdoch our politicians bestowed more and more power upon him.

Let's look at the behaviour of our leaders in the past few days.  Cameron and Clegg weren't prepared to move from their position on the fence until Ed Miliband, who had nothing to lose since Murdoch withdrew his support for the Labour party at the last general election, decided to condemn the actions of NI employees. Suddenly Cameron and Clegg, noting the approval of the public, jumped on the bandwagon. It was only this solidarity which gave Brown the platform to vent his spleen against Murdoch for what he saw as his betrayal at the general election.

We now have political coherence against News International's dubious professional practices but will our leaders be so unrestrained in their criticism of Murdoch after he challenges the 'total lies'?

I have little doubt grubby - and probably illegal - practices occur in other parts of the MSM and I wasn't in the least surprised to learn about the police corruption. The old adage 'everyone has their price' is as true today as it was a hundred years ago. We can only hope that the inquiry instigated by David Cameron will look very closely at other media organisations.

Next Tuesday will be interesting.  Murdoch is a clever man and he knows where the bodies are buried. Thanks to the stupidity of our feeble, inadequate and spineless leaders stuck in their Westminster bubble.

Update 10.20am:  Rebekah Brooks has resigned. Will that make any difference?  Only to David Cameron's house party guest list.


RMcGeddon said...

A soap opera right enough SR. Seeing that creep Vaz sitting smug as he 'questioned' the policemen the other day was nauseating.
It's all our politicians can do I suppose. Powerless to stop the coming Armageddon of Crash 2 they fiddle with their little committees and procedures and try to look important. The hacking scandal was shameful but whose crying for the thousands of children killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya ? No one.
Meanwhile the real power brokers in Brussels carry on as usual. Too busy strenghening their power bases to worry about Murdoch and our pathetic media soap opera.

Jo G said...

"They're to blame for this mess, much more than Murdoch."

I'm not sure I can agree with that statement Subrosa even while agreeing that politicians are to blame that this monster ever got where he is. If we're going to start blaming anyone what about the brain dead who buy Murdoch's papers? How on earth did a piece of trash like NOTW ever get the sales it did? The answer to that is a worrying number of people in this country want to read scandal preferably of a sexual kind and with pictures if possible please.

That aside there is no way to avoid the terrible things those at NI have done to very ordinary people one of whom was abducted and about to be murdered at the time or perhaps even already dead. They are the lowest life form on the planet as far as I'm concerned. Which makes their bosses equally so. And there is no way they can get around that no matter what further filth they intend to throw.

Murdoch claims (in the US) today that his company made "minor" mistakes. What arrogance when Police have thousands of phone numbers that were hacked. They have bribed Police Officers too and they have blagged their way into peoples' bank accounts to get highly confidential information. These are all seriously illegal acts. Some of the senior people in charge have lied during court cases too. That's perjury. They have also lied to Parliamentary Committees.

I agree there are charges to be answered by the current and previous Prime Ministers regarding the insane idea that being cosy with Murdoch was a good thing but I believe they are on moral grounds not criminal. Those at the centre of the criminality were Murdoch and his cohorts and we should focus on that right now. We should also remember that even as more shocking facts emerge about the people they were hacking Murdoch is still playing mind games and issuing veiled threats about appearing next week in Parliament. Who does this man think he is? To call him scum doesn't quite do it: you can deal with scum if the bleach is strong enough. I don't know that bleach would even touch the stuff he is steeped in.

I am going to do a separate post on the politicians if that's ok as I don't want to give the impression that they're off the hook in this.

Jo G said...

I think it is clear to many of us that politicians eventually were afraid of Murdoch and his newspapers. Given the practices in place at NI, which no one knew of, phones have been getting hacked for some years now and it would be no surprise if a great deal of information was gathered by NI people to be used to ensure co operation in Parliament. An example was given yesterday on one of our news programmes: a Labour MP who criticised Murdoch in Parliament was - some days later - outed as gay by the Sun.

I noticed too that even just ahead of the vote Cameron was nervous about calling for Murdoch to withdraw his BSkyB bid. Think about it. What other individual, his companies at the centre of a (now) major police investigation would have such a bid continued? The answer to that is no one would yet government ministers were saying, "No we can't stop it, he could sue us." They were saying, "The fit and proper test can't be done right now." Oh yes it could. We already KNEW for certain that NI people were hacking into phones and bribing Police Officers! So there was enough in the public domain to justify taking a formal decision to stop that bid going anywhere.

Even while listening to Cameron ahead of the vote I had the impression he was pleading with Murdoch to take the pressure off and make the decision himself. Which he did just ahead of the vote. He had also been allowed to close down the NOTW when, in my view, their entire offices should have been declared a crime scene and every computer and laptop in it seized.

Murdoch is now in big trouble in the US as well, not over speculation about phones of 9/11 victims being hacked, but on the grounds that US laws can act against any individual who is caught up in criminal activities in any other country in the world.

Politicians in the two main Parties courted this monster and how. Blair anyone? Even after hacking prosecutions had happened Cameron still employed Coulston and would not heed advice not to touch him with a bargepole. But at this point in time Murdoch will surely have dirt to throw and may throw it. I think we will cope with that. The important thing is once its thrown its thrown. It will not change the fact that this company of his will surely now be dealt with.

There is a saying, knowledge is power. Never is it more powerful than when the knowledge you have can damage a politician. In Parliament this week there were certainly nerves rattling. There are many who will no doubt be having sleepless nights but I for one am very glad that finally all of them have said, "Enough." I also think that never again will the media and politicians ever be bedfellows.

And if policemen got a bad time the other day they deserved all of it and more. What I found nauseatijg about it was the senior rank of so many of them who ultimately had been taking bribes and were therefore corrupt. Murdoch's empire had even senior cops working for him, providing confidential information and closing down further investigations into the criminality his papers were swimming in. Nauseating indeed.

Jo G said...

And now to the media as a body. There is a panic on there. We've had journalists appearing regularly on various programmes pleading for their "freedom" to be continued even after this. Are they serious?

The first thing I want to see is the dismantling of the Press Complaints Commission which is a joke.

The public at large can't just write to the PCC to complain about an offensive article unless they personally have been affected by it. It is also run by newspaper people and is therefore not independent or impartial. (In the Murdoch case remember too that the PCC was lied to by NI people.)

The media in this country also needs to be depoliticised. Until it is no government will ever be held truly accountable. For you will always have publications loyal to that Party spinning one version of a story while those who favour the other Party will spin another. Even in broadcasting we don't get "the news" we get propaganda. Currently our invasion (because that is basically what it is) of Libya is covered by all news programmes like an exercise in propaganda. In reality we are working with and arming and bombing for a group still referred to as "the Rebels" (because we still don't know who they really are)and attempting to impose "regime change" which all newspapers and broadcasters know is illegal. Yet politicians are regularly quoted on the need to get "regime change" in Libya when the resolution we are allegedly working to doesn't include regime change because it is illegal! Yet our devoted journalists fail to point this out to Hague and Fox every time they open their mouths. Why?

Every newspaper and broadcaster knew that to invade Iraq was also illegal. It then took how many years to get an Inquiry. Why did it take that long if we in the UK have a responsible press?

Every newspaper and broadcaster is aware that the conviction of Abdel Basset Al Megrahi was almost certainly a miscarriage of justice and that this view was supported by the findings of the independent SCCRC. They know that Megrahi's appeal was repeatedly delayed by a Scottish Judiciary that didn't want to know the truth about almost 300 deaths over our skies. They know political moves were made to stop the SCCRC findings being made public. Yet, when he was released on compassionate grounds, they devoted pages and pages to the freeing of the "Lockerbie Bomber". Even today with a campaign still ongoing the press are reluctant to go there. Why would that be?

We do not have a responsible press or an honest one. We have a press which, had they chosen to, could have altered the outcome in so many situations that I can't count them all. That, in my view, makes those currently begging us to go easy on them and preserve their "freedom" even bigger hypocrites than our politicians. For if we had a remotely responsible press politicians would not get away with so much.

English Pensioner said...

As far as I'm concerned the whole phone hacking saga is a storm in a teacup, except for the possibility that police officers may have been taking bribes, which clearly needs full investigation.

Remember we are only talking about voice mail being hacked, and this, as far as I can ascertain from technical experts, is virtually impossible to prove. And what is on voice-mail - our phone messages are usually something like "Its me, Mum, I'll ring again later" - great information for the media, our daughter rang and we were out!

I'd far rather that parliament spent all the time and energy that has been devoted to attacking the media and Rupert Murdoch to doing something useful, like attacking the EU for wasting our money and enquiring into its actions with a select committee. Now that would be a worthwhile activity.

Jo G said...

"Remember we are only talking about voice mail being hacked."

Hacking into peoples' phones is ILLEGAL yet it appears it was common practice at NI. One of those phones belonged to Milly Dowler. (You didn't mention her.) She is the dead girl, the murder victim, whose messages NI actually deleted to make room for more and in the process they were making others investigating her disappearance believe Milly might still be alive because her mailbox was being read! How SICK is that? And you say its not important? A storm in a teacup? It is evidence that we have a corrupt sick newspaper industry here that needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the dock.

We aren't talking about the mere "possibility" of Police being bribed. It is established that they were. They were given money, some were even later given jobs with NI when they retired. These were not your average coppers on the beat letting someone off with a cuff on the ear. They were senior people at the Met failing to investigate criminal practices at a powerful newsgroup.

If this "storm in a teacup" is properly investigated now we can change a great deal: we can all learn lessons not least politicians who put themselves at the mercy of Murdoch and who became afraid of the power they consenquently gave him. We can perhaps regulate the media fairly but thoroughly. We could get out of it a cleaner outfit all round and perhaps if our media then focus on real politics your issues with the EU will be taken seriously and our politicians will be held truly accountable.

There is a time to attack some news items with scepticism or cynicism. This is not one such time and this story should not be buried under a mountain of either.

Oldrightie said...

"Murdoch is a clever man and he knows where the bodies are buried."
I hope he reveals a great deal about the illegal and corrupt practices of our political and spooks machinery.
Whatever the rights and wrongs, this whole affair will be used by The EU and UK to stifle press freedom and investigations.Not good news.

Strathturret said...

I think the public are responsible. I have not bought a Murdoch paper for a long time, on principle. I also refused to buy SKY TV, although recently I relented and bought a package via BT 'on the cheap'.

I was obvious to me that NoW/Sun were trash newspapers and others such as Times/Sunday Times/Fox/Sky News were pushing Murdochs anti-european/pro USA/right wing agenda.

Politicians were scared of Murdoch because he and his papers were acting like gangsters.

Of course phone hacking is not a capital offence. If somebody had phone hacked Bush and Blair to tell us why we went to war in Iraq, I'd have applauded them.

Presumably the Daily Telegraph broke the law when it bought the computer disc of MPs expenses off a HoC official? However that was justified to reveal an important story that the public was entitled to know about.

I think Murdoch and his evil empire is going down and Murdoch father and son will be lucky if the evade a US jail.

Dioclese said...

And don't forget that Brown threw a party for Brooks at Chequers for her 40th birthday, the lying hypocritical toadie!

And I bet the taxpayer footed the bill.

Jo G said...

"I hope he reveals a great deal about the illegal and corrupt practices of our political and spooks machinery."

And you don't want to discuss the illegal and corrupt practices of HIS machinery? Those are irrelevant?

Joe Public said...

Your one-word title is spot-on SR.

Brown allowed himself to be Murdoch's lap-dog when it suited him.

His pathetic, feigned, outburst in the Commons this week showed the world what a sore loser he really is.

For all the public's disgust at NI's intrusion into the private lives of the rich, famous, politicians & inconsequentials, let's not forget that it was the 'victims' who are virtually all to blame, for not changing their phone's default security PIN. It's 'hacking' only in the pedantic sense.

If you leave your front door unlocked, you can't expect much sympathy if your home then gets burgled.

JRB said...

To reiterate what Joe Public has already said –
”Your one-word title is spot-on SR.”

Hypocrisy by the press who would have us believe they were acting on behalf of the public and our need to know, but all the while more interested in circulation figures than the morals or ethics of what they were doing.

Hypocrisy by the higher echelons of the police who appear willing to turn a blind eye to the transgressions of an ever more powerful media in order not to rock the boat, but all the while keeping an eye on their future journalistic career, or in some cases their bank balances.

Hypocrisy by the politicians who, come election time, would sell their soul for the support of the media, but who were all equally overcome with righteous indignation at the first hint of the current crisis.

Hypocrisy by all of us who purchase or subscribe to such questionable media, merely to fulfil our idle curiosity.

Will anything change after all the dust has settled – I doubt it –
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Doug Daniel said...

Jo G: "Given the practices in place at NI, which no one knew of"

Well, I wouldn't quite say no one. Nick Davies, who can be credited for pretty much single-handedly uncovering all this deception and illegal activity (and thus proves that true journalism can still exist in the current media climate if they choose to do so), wrote a book about the horrific state of British journalism (or "churnalism" as he called it) in 2008, called Flat Earth News. It details the "Dark Arts" used by the media, so anyone who has read it has known about this stuff for ages. It's a shame books like that don't get more publicity. It says something about our society that a fantastic, engaging book like that can exist and yet the majority remain completely oblivious. But then, Noam Chomsky has been writing about the shady state of journalism and governments for years, telling things that genuinely shock you when you find out about them, and yet most people have no idea. Proof, if it was needed, that you don't need to resort to overt totalitarianism to keep a population under control - most people prefer to remain obvlious until, to paraphrase JG Ballard, their face is rubbed in their own vomit and forced to look in a mirror.

Jo G said...

"....let's not forget that it was the 'victims' who are virtually all to blame, for not changing their phone's default security PIN. It's 'hacking' only in the pedantic sense."

Joe Public, can I just get you to qualify that? Are you saying to Milly Dowler's family, that it was Milly's own fault her phone was hacked? Are you really blaming victims here because NI people illegally hacked into their phones?

You say it was "hacking only in the pedantic sense." So is it illegal or is it not? And in the case of Milly is the fact that NI were also, in the process, interfering in a Police investigation into the disappearance of a 13 year old girl, pedantic too?

Please answer: I really would like you to qualify that post of yours given the implications of it. For you are saying it wasn't the fault of NI that they were steeped in criminal practices, it was the fault of those who owned the mobiles they hacked into.

With regards to another post which calls the conduct of certain senior police figures "hypocrisy" I would call taking bribes and abandoning criminal investigations something more serious than that. Its called corruption.

Jo G said...

Oh and Joe Public,

"For all the public's disgust at NI's intrusion into the private lives of the rich, famous, politicians & inconsequentials,"

Can you also confirm which category Milly is in there? Is she an inconsequential?

Joe Public said...

@ Jo G

Which part of "........virtually all....." do you not understand?

Joe Public said...

@ Jo G


You've heard of her; I've heard of her; most of SR's readers have probably heard of her. By definition, she's 'famous'.

Does that explanation disappoint you?

Observer said...

Nick Davies, & Tom Watson together with Chris Bryant deserve our thanks for campaigning for YEARS against the scum of the Murdoch press.

This is beyond the usual bawbaggery of political ping pong, these people have been criminals & have been bribing the polis & blackmailing politicians.

Their behaviour has been going on for years & now at last something is being done.

The vast majority of us never read the Murdoch press & regarded it as an un-necessary evil.

I hope it goes down.

Observer said...

Gordon Brown was a pathetic sight in the Commons because he should have made that speech years ago.

He was SCARED of Murdoch - even when he was the Chancellor & the Prime Minister he thought that he had to crawl up Murdoch's arse to stay in power.

I never accepted the power that Murdoch was supposed to have. He backed winners, he didn't make them win.

But the politicians believed otherwise & it was shocking to see.

Now Ed Miliband has utterly divorced Labour from the Murdoch Empire or whatever remains of it. Alex Salmond has done the same. The only person looking shoogly is Cameron & is that any wonder? WTF was he doing employing Coulson despite ALL the warnings.

I just hope that the evil grip that Murdoch had is now gone forever.

Observer said...

Let's not forget with Milly Dowler that the activity on her phone left her parents & the Police with hope that she was still alive when she was probably dead.

I would quite happily rip the head off the person who did that.

They would deserve it.

Observer said...

Oh forgot to say Hi to Jo G - long time no see, well said.

Jo G said...

I've heard of her now, I didn't know her, nor did you, when those vermin were hacking into her phone. She wasn't "famous" then, was she? She was a wee missing lassie who ended up dead.

You've absolved NI by declaring

"It's 'hacking' only in the pedantic sense."

You've failed utterly to recognise that NI broke the law and that hacking is a criminal offence. What is that about? How can you overlook the criminality involved there and decide to simply blame mobile phone owners for not expecting to get hacked? Why are the illegal practices of NI irrelevant to you? I'm genuinely interested.

You've used the words "virtually all" to suggest I've misunderstood your post. OK so who else is an innocent victim then, along with Milly, and would you care to name any of the other victims who, you say, were "to blame" that their phones were hacked?

Can you tell me who is "to blame" that NI are also caught up in bribery involving senior people at the Met? (You didn't mention that in your first post either.) Police are obviously to blame for taking bribes but is attempting to bribe a serving Police Officer not also a very serious criminal offence? It is an offence sitting right alongside the illegal hacking offences in the NI case. Such things should not be ignored just because many of our politicians openly courted Murdoch.

I am not so much disappointed in your position, I am more shocked that you dismiss so lightly serious criminality within the most powerful News group in the country and that you clearly don't wish to focus on that for reasons I simply do not understand.

Jo G said...

Observer, hello there! Nice to see you. Had been wondering where you were. Hope you are well.

Michael Fowke said...

I don't like the look of Tom Watson.

Just thought I would mention it.

Billy Carlin said...

Anyone who hopes Murdoch reveals a great deal about the illegal and corrupt practices of our political and spooks machinery is kidding themselves on.

If he did that he would be heading for the electric chair in the US with regard to 911 - Don't forget every news channel in the world that day was putting out images through Fox news. If you turned over to another channel you just saw the same images.

The entire press and media is corrupt. They have all totally blanked the likes of Dr Judy Woods evidence and court cases with regard to 911 even though they are aware of it. They have totally ignored the case I have posted on over at Paisley Expressions of the Police Intelligence Analysist, Tony Farrell, who was sacked because he would not put out lies with regard to terrorist threats and in fact said the biggest threats were the UK and US governments themselves.

The media and press are all corrupt as are all the politicians, the government, the spooks, etc. They are all involved - the worst ones are the ones that know what is going on and just stay silent.

subrosa said...

Did you watch that too RM? It was sickening.

There's been so much going on in the real world too this week but the soap opera has taken over. We really have useless leaders.

subrosa said...

I don't think Murdoch is a monster Jo, I think the politicians gave him too much power.

He gave us a network to challenge the BBC and that can't be anything but good. True to his word it went UK wide and no other network, such as Virgin, comes to this area.

Let's wait and see if the Mirror Group or te Mail lot were lily white.

subrosa said...

I'd agree with you about the PCC Jo. Total waste of money.

subrosa said...

I've yet to understand how it can be proved voicemail was hacked EP and I have tried to find out.

Our leaders don't do worthwhile activities that would benefit is, they're far more concerned with their bank accounts.

subrosa said...

Hacking Milly Dowler's voice mail is appalling Jo, but so is hacking the phones of dead military etc. What I want to know is was it only NI would were doing that.

subrosa said...

I wonder what hand he will play on Tuesday OR. The 'good friend' one or the 'bad enemy'?

subrosa said...

I haven't bought a Murdoch paper for years either Strathturret, but let's not forget - he rescued the NotW.

People like Murdoch only gain power because it's given to them and he took it.

subrosa said...

Brown's behaviour now is horrific Dioclese especially when he must know the public knows he continued to be best friends with NI until the last general election.

subrosa said...

It was pathetic Joe and shows just how deranged the man is. What did he think he had to gain by his actions? Folk's sympathy?

subrosa said...

Excellent comment as always JRB.

subrosa said...

Jo, I have to admit I haven't security on my phone and that's my responsibility and mine alone.

Destroying voicemails messages was despicable but as JRB says so was the behaviour of the police and politicians. They're all guilty. None more than others.

subrosa said...

Can we be sure it was only the Murdoch press which has behaved like this though Observer?

subrosa said...

I'd happily help you Observer. Why didn't the police jump on this right away? Corruption there too.

subrosa said...

I notice he hasn't mentioned the Mirror Group or the Mail Michael. They surely have dubious practices too.

subrosa said...

I know you've done a great deal of research re 9/11 Billy but I agree with you that it's not only Murdoch but all press, politicians and police who kept silent.

Jo G said...

Subrosa your article surprised me. I thought you would deal with all groups involved, including NI. You haven't addressed any specifics about the criminal behaviour of NI. You've used Brown at the head of it and you attack him mainly and other politicians.

The NI situation involves bribing police, hacking into mobile phones (thousands of them)and obtaining confidential information by deception. Let's be clear that they have been caught and all offences are criminal offences. You say "others do it too". OK, should we apply that philosophy to anyone caught indulging in criminal behaviour?

In the phone hacking NI targeted prominent politicians and other public figures. In the case of politicians was it to gather dirt to keep the "power" safe? It also involved ordinary people at the centre of emerging, distressing, news stories.

We already have proof that it happened: there have been prosecutions so it obviously can be proven. It is criminal behaviour and refusing to say so simply because politicians have been incredibly stupid is, to me, a bizarre position to adopt.

The man at the head of all of this was Murdoch, a man who was seeking to get even more control over our news and media.

I think you've been unfair to Ed Milliband by suggesting he only did this because Murdoch doesn't back Labour any more. I think he did it because he saw the complete carnage that has come out of the hold previous PMs had given Murdoch in politics.

Murdoch's links with PMs didn't start with Brown: they go right back to Thatcher. It is clear politicians eventually were afraid of Murdoch's power. (That was obvious still in the debate ahead of the vote to demand Murdoch withdrew his bid for BSkyB.) I agree the media, all of it, needs cleaned up. But it hasn't stopped me from condemning NI outright for their disgusting behaviour, their criminal behaviour. You seem unwilling to do that. You've played down the criminality and not really featured it here. Why?

Most other pieces I've read on this don't hesitate to condemn politicians for their part in it but they aren't remotely holding back when it comes to agreeing NI must be fully investigated.

I know families of the military were targeted by NI. We all know that. I used Milly as one example so be assured I meant no disrespect to the military by omitting them. Had I listed every person hacked you'd need a new blog.

It is necessary, in my view anyway, when discussing this issue to show balance and I have tried to do that by addressing the different groups involved. I would group them along the lines of the Press, the Politicians and the Police. I haven't said those outwith NI are lily-white, they are not. But NI have been caught and they must be prosecuted for their illegal behaviour. If others elsewhere in the media are caught I'd want the same treatment for them. But I would never say, "They're all at it." and simply ignore the criminal behaviour of the people we have caught already.

This case has thrown up too many serious questions to be ignored when it involves police corruption and the violation of privacy on what has been termed an industrial scale ALL involving Murdoch's people. I condemn it outright. It is criminal, immoral and utterly wrong and I want it dealt with.

subrosa said...

That's right Jo, the post is about Brown and politicians behaviour with NI in particular because they're the guilty ones at present. It will be interesting to note if any other press barons are guilty of criminal behaviour too.

Somehow I feel the Mirror Group and Mail will be as culpable but I'll have to wait to see if this inquiry digs that deep. None of them have big share in TV that I know of.

I think I was fair to Ed Miliband but that's only my opinion as is the fact that Murdoch in the 70s and early 80s did good for the UK media. It's due to him putting his money where his mouth is that I have satellite TV. Many others have promised it but none has delivered.

As I said Jo, Murdoch had the power because politicians gave it to him by not dividing business and pleasure. The Westminster bubble culture.

If I'd have written about the whole fiasco Jo it would have turned into an epistle. There are other bloggers, many far more eloquent than me, who have covered various bits of the saga.

The next piece I hope to cover is the police corruption which is perhaps on an equal footing, but somehow I have a feeling the public will never be told the truth about it and a few greedy cops will be hung out to dry as examples.

Observer said...

I suppose your view on this issue may be coloured by your view on Murdoch. Personally I think he is an appalling man but then I read the Guardian & watch the BBC so no doubt he would think the same about me.

But I do not believe there is evidence to suggest that any other newspaper has been as institutionally criminalised & unethical as the Murdoch ones. They have bribed Police as a matter of course, they threaten MPs who step out of line, they employ criminals & ex convicts & murder suspects to break the law on their behalf, & they have had a series of 26 meetings within 14 months with the British Prime Minister who employed a former NOTW editor as his chief media guru despite being warned that he was a liability.

We really can't have that.

subrosa said...

My view is that Murdoch brought some common sense to the MSM in the 70s when it was being destroyed Observer and you're right, I'm not fan of the BBC these days but I do read the Guardian along with many other papers. The Guardian didn't mind rubbing shoulders with Mrs Brooks

This link: will let you see how the Mirror Group is way ahead of NI in partaking in illicit acts of journalism.

It's all very well calling NI despicable, but what about Piers Morgan when he insisted photographs of British soldiers torturing Iraqis were genuine? The upset that caused within the military working in that war was horrendous, yet folk have a short memory and are happy to be interviewed by this awful man.

None come out of this well, not even the BBC or the Guardian.

Observer said...

I would never claim that the Guardian or the BBC are without fault, they are far too metro-centric & middle class airy fairy for me, but I still prefer them to the Murdoch output. But what I was saying there is that views on Murdoch's actual product are a matter of taste.

It is how he gets that product that counts.

If the Mirror group or the Mail are guilty of similar offences then they should be held to account in the Commons too.

As far as I know the Murdoch press are leading the pack in terms of illegality & being unethical which is why the spotlight is rightly on them.

Journalism can be an immense force for good, Woodward & Bernstein spring to mind.

They managed to expose Watergate all within the law. The Americans punish most severely those who are corrupt (when they catch them) but they don't stop proper investigative journalism.

We should be like that.

As far as Piers Morgan is concerned - he is a former NOTW editor too.

Observer said...

Some British soldiers did behave badly in Iraq. That is something that is going to come out, it has come out already to an extent, but there is going to be more.

Two thoughts. The first is the obvious one, they should never have been there in the first place. The second one is that there have always been incidents when soldiers behave less than honourably in every conflict. It is what happens.

Just as every Police Officer is not corrupt because some are, neither is every soldier guilty of offences because a small number are.

These kinds of stories need balanced coverage, not hysterical coverage. As far as I am concerned that rules out most tabloids because all they are interested in is generating hysteria as it sells papers.

We should just stop buying them.

I don't.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, I have not claimed anywhere that the media outwith NI are innocent. You on the other hand appear to be defending Murdoch. I find that bizarre given the extent of the criminality his papers were involved in.

There is no point in going over all I have said earlier as clearly it made no impression on you. I don't understand your approach. I just don't.

Observer mentioned in an earlier post the absolute fear in politicians when it came to Murdoch. Yes they created that situation but it explains clearly to me why Brown did not speak out when he should have. Such was the power politicians, since THATCHER, not Brown, had bestowed on Murdoch and the pressure they consequently put on themselves.

But in defending Murdoch, Subrosa, you have overlooked the victims of his people including a group you care very deeply for: those who are fighting our wars right now in places like Afghanistan. I know your personal commitment to those people because you honour every life lost there right here on this blog.

I say to you should we discharge those brought up for murder because others have murdered and not been caught? Yet that is what your approach is here to the terrible wrongs done by Murdoch's people to their victims when they hacked into their phones. They did worse wrongs when they indulged in bribing Police Officers. Their people perjured themselves in trials. And you want to talk about the Mirror and the Mail?

If the Mirror and the Mail are caught out I would want to deal with that in the same way I want Murdoch dealt with. But I would not use the fact that they haven't been caught yet to justify ignoring what Murdoch's people have done. Right now you're saying, "Murdoch has been caught. Ignore it. Others haven't been caught yet." I don't find that an honest position.

" It's all very well calling NI despicable, but ....."

No buts here Subrosa, they were caught and they must be dealt with. If we catch others we will deal with them. Right now NI is in the frame. You are defending NI and Murdoch and I find that shocking considering the depths to which his people sank to exploit people and violate their privacy while bribing the Police along the way. We should all condemn that.

Jo G said...

"If I'd have written about the whole fiasco Jo it would have turned into an epistle."

I didn't want an epistle Subrosa but knowing you as I do I'd expected balance. The "whole fiasco" needed to be addressed. I hadn't expected you to defend Murdoch to the hilt. Other people didn't need an epistle to say what needs to be said about NI, while also stating clearly the responsibility politicians bear for such a state of affairs. Balance is everything: you've defended Murdoch and I just can't get my head around that.

subrosa said...

As far as I know Observer, any soldier who acted outwith military rules has already been punished. I've not heard of anything 'yet to come'.

In war situations it's a case of immediate decisions. Not many of us have to do that in the course of our work. Yes there may be bad decisions and there may be fools who think they can maltreat others, but for a newspaper to publish photographs and insist they're authentic upset many, although mainly people with military connections.

I don't buy tabloids and never have. That's mainly because I'm not interested in gossip and wannabees dreams. It's hard enough living in the real world.

subrosa said...

Jo I'm not defending Murdoch but I'm saying since he appeared on the scene in the UK his work has not been all bad. There are just as bad.

Jo, please don't tell me that politicians are so useless they couldn't have kept Murdoch under control. That's scary. They courted him. You think Thatcher is responsible but do have a look at how Blair bestowed favour upon him. That's when Murdoch became powerful.

I'm not defending the man but giving a little credit where it's due (ie the 70s and early 80s). Also he brought a wider choice of TV to me here, something that others promised but never fulfilled. Nobody came north of Edinburgh but Murdoch and his Sky.

It will be interesting to see just how this pans out. I listened briefly to the news earlier and it seems the Mail also used Murdoch's investigator. But we must wait for real evidence.

subrosa said...

Jo, the post was about Gordon Brown and his pent-up rage. Part of what he said ie the NotW hacked into his son's medical records, has been smashed by evidence to the contrary. The man lied. He's angry and wanted revenge.

It shows that when one 'does revenge' they should ensure their words are true and not fantasy.

I'm not defending Murdoch. I have little respect for newspapers in general and the older I get the less I believe. Thankfully the internet allows me to check things out before I'm convinced.

But Murdoch isn't the big bad wolf in the bluebell woods. They're all at it.

subrosa said...

Observer, Jo would like to speak to you via email. I'd be happy to pass your address to her if you email it to me at the address under contacts.

Observer said...

I think I have ticked a box which gives my e mail addres Subrosa feel free to pass it on to Jo we used to post on the Herald & I share her views on the Megrahi conviction.

I think I read an article which was about the rights of Iraqi prisoners & the human rights act & I thought there will be a lot of cases arising from that. It was very recently so perhaps it hasn't happened yet or perhaps I was mistaken. I totally agree with you that soldiers should not be judged by people who don't do their work, but then I tend to think that about people like Social Workers & Police Officers too.

RMcGeddon said...

subrosa said...

Sorry Observer, I can't find it. No email addresses come through the comments here and you don't have one on your blog. :(

Possibly someone far more technical than me could find it I suppose.

subrosa said...

Lovely RM, one of my favourites.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, I respect you and I think you know that. But I have to say you have indeed defended Murdoch on this thread. You have bounced away responsibility from him and instead you have focused on others. I don't think that's honest and I'm not used to you not being honest.

Jo G said...

And just to clarify:

"Jo, please don't tell me that politicians are so useless they couldn't have kept Murdoch under control. That's scary. They courted him. You think Thatcher is responsible but do have a look at how Blair bestowed favour upon him. That's when Murdoch became powerful."

I didn't say any of those things. I said politicians had been very foolish to court Murdoch.

I absolutely did NOT say Thatcher was responsible. I said Murdoch's links with PMs go back to Thatcher. That's a different statement altogether. I also specifically mentioned Blair.

You seem to want to focus on those things rather than on the criminal activity of the Murdoch press. That I don't understand.

RMcGeddon said...

It's a great tune SR. ' Love is in the air' And very appropriate with Jo and Obs getting on so well. Plus of course it's the unofficial anthem of Dundee United who are tasting those glorious European nights once again. Welcoming Slask Wroclaw to Tannadice on Thursday night for the home match of their two leg contest. We got beaten one nil in Poland and some of the natives were a bit rough. Perth Arabs got attacked and had their colours stolen. Plus this Polish yob took offence at some friendly banter and threw a chair at a senior arab...

Jo G said...

RMcG for your information I've been exchanging views with Observer for some years on sites like this and simply hadn't seen her for ages. That's all.

RMcGeddon said...

Jo. Oops I thought Observer was a bloke lol.

subrosa said...

Jo, I haven't defended Murdoch except to say what the man's done for media in this country isn't all bad yet he's the one singled out (at present).

Now we have the head of the Met resigning. And so it goes on.

Wonder which politician will resign? I won't hold my breath.

subrosa said...

Anyone covering themselves in so many tattoos would be a risk RM. I haven't been to a match for years since the couple I used to go with moved to Norway to live.

I'm into rugby more now. Perhaps it's being brought up on Tannadice's doorstep. :)

RMcGeddon said...

Rugby ? Yawn ;)

subrosa said...

Good hospitality at Murrayfield though RM. :)

RMcGeddon said...

Ha ha it would need to be good SR :)

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