Rejoice, rejoice rejoice!

NoNeedForAChestWig

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Once there was a former Prime Minister who said Rejoyce, rejoyce, rejoyce when hearing that Maggie Thatcher had resigned.

Now there is another occation for such an outburst of joy.

The News of the World is no more. Now we need to fuck Murdoch in the arse.
I think those are Thatcher's own words, actually, uttered after the freeing of part or all of the Falkland Islands. (A quick google suggests Private Eye did what you suggested though.)

He'd get far too much enjoyment from that. Stand him on his head, fill his arse with petrol, set light to the blue toilet paper and stand well back.
 

Goose+

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Nevermind the Metropolitan police being compromised by News corp. What about GCHQ and MI5? If they've got leaks in there as well, this story could explode even more. How else are they managing to get the phone numbers of so many people?

Interesting how Tony Blair never acted on this either. There's way more we're not being told, I feel.
 

nomix

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This is making headlines here, too, you know...
Same here. The leader of the Norwegian Union of Journalists, for instance, has called the demise of the News of the World "the World of Newspapers answer to the demise of the Soviet Union". He has also stated "I will not miss it".

I think those are Thatcher's own words, actually, uttered after the freeing of part or all of the Falkland Islands. (A quick google suggests Private Eye did what you suggested though.)

He'd get far too much enjoyment from that. Stand him on his head, fill his arse with petrol, set light to the blue toilet paper and stand well back.
Might have been a Thatcher quote as well.

But in an interview some years before his death, he was asked wether or not it was true that when told over the telephone by his secretary that Margareth Thatcher had resigned, he replied "rejoyce, rejoyce!", he answered that "No, I said it three times. Rejoyce, rejoyce, rejoyce!".

As for Murdoch, fill is arse with barbed wire, tie it to the railings of a bridge, and throw him off it. That ought to hurt.

Asides from that, Margaret Thatcher was a wonderful prime minister.
Yes, and no.

Baroness Thatcher is a great individual, and she had cincerity, a wish to do good. But as a Prime Miniser, she was arrongant and sometimes ignorant, she was a revolutionary, much in the same way as the other big contemporary revolutionary mr. Scargill, she almost wrecked the economy with monetarism, but were saved by offshore revenue, she gambled with the Falklands (and reportedly, she wasn't the one to push the attempt to retake the islands at all, that was the first Sea Lord, not to mention that Galtieri never would have dared to do anything if mrs. Thatcher hadn't announced cutbacks to the Royal Navy anyway..), if the Argentines had had more excocets, they might have repelled the whole invation, she ruined parts of the social fabric of the United Kingdom, she was relentless, didn't care what people thought.

There had to be change after decades of industrial trouble. But she was too extreme, and she nearly fell on her arse. Being lucky doesn't make you great. It just makes you appear great.

Her persona, though, were great.
 

Goose+

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I agree with much of what you have to say.

She was right for the times. Britain had became stupidly left-wing in the 30 years following the second world war.

The left had ultimately put Britain in a position whereby a conservative that far to the right was electable. Not just once, but three times...
 

Jay

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Sure some of you are taking the moral high ground, but if the general public didn't find sleazy things interesting, then NotW and other such red tops would not exist. You know I am right too, and no amount of arguing can dispute that point. Your fellow human beings are for the most part depraved and like to hear of bad things happening to other people. It makes them feel better about themselves, hence why reality TV is so popular.

Murdoch and others can and have successfully argued "I am giving what the readers want" and they would be 100% correct. How they got it is questionable, dubious and I agree fully reprehensible, but it is only now that the "moral majority" is making a stink over it?
 
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GRtak

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Of course it is the fault of those that want to read the trash papers for the trash papers even existing. They would not be able to keep printing it if people did not buy it.
 

jetsetter

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A more balanced view from The Independent.

Mary Dejevsky: Condemning Murdoch is too easy
It's convenient for some people that an impression is being created that these practices were unique to News International

Friday, 8 July 2011

It exploded like a thunderclap in every newsroom in the land. Rupert Murdoch's response to the vilification of his newspapers was to sacrifice the very first title he had bought in Britain. Phone-hacking had become a cipher for the depravity of journalism. It no longer targeted only celebrities ? about whom few evinced great concern ? but missing children, victims of atrocities and grieving families. Mass snooping on individuals at their most vulnerable in pursuit of a "story" had been traced back to Murdoch and his diabolical ways. The closure of the News of the World will only reinforce that impression. There was immediate dancing on its grave.

Of course, the pain and alarm caused to those who now have reason to believe that their very private conversations were overheard cannot be trivialised. The very idea that anyone thought that hacking their calls was an acceptable way to earn their daily bread beggars the belief of most people ? though not, I suspect, the belief of many journalists. There are sections of the profession (craft, industry, as you like), which cross the line of common decency. At times, as here, they also cross the line into illegality.

Yet the construction that has gained currency ? of a Murdoch press that routinely tramples ethical norms and in so doing contaminates the British media as a whole ? reflects a simplistic, and partial view. There is more going on with the phone-hacking scandal than a simple parable of right and wrong. Here are five reasons why.

First, Murdoch. It is easy to demonise Rupert Murdoch. Yet without his involvement in the British media, the newspapers he now owns might not exist at all. As someone who worked for The Times, I concede an interest here. His defeat of the print unions changed the economics of the British press and made new ventures, such as The Independent, feasible. With Sky, he transformed the television landscape, giving British viewers a breadth of choice that has only recently come to the rest of Europe.

With each expansion he made new enemies, with many seeing any Murdoch gain as a threat. It may or may not be coincidence that each twist of the phone-hacking scandal seemed to coincide with a stage in Murdoch's efforts to gain the majority stake in BSkyB. Each revelation has served as a convenient peg to hang an anti-Murdoch agenda on.

No less convenient for some is the impression being created that such practices were unique to the Murdoch organisation. It is just about possible to argue that the cut-throat competition that followed Murdoch's arrival on the British media scene meant that blind eyes were turned to borderline criminal methods, so long as the stories they produced helped to increase circulation. But it is disingenuous to believe that the News of the World was alone in crossing the line. Other names were mentioned during Wednesday's parliamentary debate, but passed over in the reporting. This is by no means an exclusively Murdoch phenomenon, and to identify it as such is wrong.

Second, the phone-hacking itself. There would appear to be no doubt whatever that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked after she went missing, but before her body was found, or that messages were deleted by a third party to make room for more, and that this was done at the behest of a journalist with a view to bagging an "exclusive". Whatever the purpose, it was reprehensible in the extreme, giving her family hope that she might be alive. But the fact that a name and numbers appear in the extensive records of a private investigator, does not of itself mean that the phone was hacked. Any journalist or investigator has an extensive contacts list, which includes personal and ex-directory numbers obtained quite legitimately. It will be scant comfort to all those informed by the police that their names were on the investigator's list. But their privacy may be intact.

Third, culpability. The obtaining of confidential information is a two-way process. So far, the blame has attached almost entirely to the investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, whose records are being combed by the police, and the News of the World. Yet those who held the information and divulged it are equally culpable. They were trusted with sensitive personal data ? police archives, car licence-plates, NHS records ? and they betrayed, or more likely sold, that trust. Hacking takes human, as well as technical, expertise.

One reason why attention has focused on the recipient rather than the supplier may be the difficulty of tracing the latter (or the reluctance of the police to pursue their own). But the opprobrium directed to the News of the World has tended to concentrate on morality, when criminality would be at least as appropriate. Phone-hacking is a crime. If it was evident, as on occasion it was, that a newspaper had relied on hacked information, the police could have pursued it.

But, fourth, not everything is so clear-cut. There is a get-out clause: the famous (in journalistic circles) public interest defence. This is how The Daily Telegraph was able to get away with the sordid reality that its string of exclusives about MPs' expenses relied on stolen data that it had bought. It is, to put it mildly, hard to fathom how hacking the phone of a 7/7 victim's relative could ever be in the public interest, but what if, say, it highlighted some criminal shortcoming in the emergency services?

The line that defines where the public interest lies can be slender in the extreme. Nor is there always agreement about where it runs. Remember the controversies stirred by many of the WikiLeaks revelations. There are times when one person's right to know is another person's violation of privacy. Even the sainted BBC had to admit ? after a Panorama programme in which it appeared to suggest it was above such things ? that it employed private detectives to help make its investigative programmes, insisting that their use had to comply with the Corporation's guidelines.

And, finally, fifth. If, as you must, you grant that dubious and even illegal journalistic techniques ? not just hacking phones, but disguise, subterfuge, secret recording and the like ? go beyond the News of the World, and if you also admit that the purpose of the investigations cannot always be defined as being in some high-flown public interest, then you must look beyond the Murdoch stable to the culture of the popular press in Britain. And from there it is not hard to conclude that market competition, the journalistic rat-race, and a neglect of basic training, have combined to bring the newspapers to the pretty pass they have reached today.

One consequence ? extroardinary, spectacular ? is the death of a great, but tarnished, newspaper. Another ? more prosaic, but highly damaging ? is the regrettable tendency for all newspapers to be tarred with the same brush of immorality and ruthless self-interest.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-dejevsky/mary-dejevsky-condemning-murdoch-is-too-easy-2308684.html
 

MacGuffin

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Well, all I can say is that "Come on, everybody does it" is the worst excuse, if you are caught in an illegal act.
 

jack_christie

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More victims, more dodgy techniques: trojan emails, bugging, buglaries,..etc

After the shock closure of the News of the World, Dan Sabbagh hosts a discussion on the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal engulfing News International. He's joined by:

* Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who discussed with Downing Street officials David Cameron's employment of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson at No 10;

* Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter who broke the phone-hacking story. He tells us how the story emerged, and considers what revelations might still lie in store;
(podcast)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/audio/2011/jul/08/media-talk-podcast-news-of-the-world-closes

James Murdoch burning the candle on both sides of the Atlantic
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/08/james-murdoch-criminal-charges-phone-hacking

Renault drops all News International ads
http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/1079229/renault-extends-ad-boycott-news-international-titles/


Rebekah Brooks/Wade & James Murdoch: BLAST RADIUS
[video=youtube;DgkfQ-ykL-U]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgkfQ-ykL-U[/video]
 
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jmsprovan

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One of the funniest things about this thing was that while the Guardian was the only paper reporting on the hacking last year, Rebekah Brooks was quoted saying that Alan Rusbridger (the Guardian's editor) would be "on the floor, begging for mercy" by the end of it.

How times change.
 

nomix

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I agree with much of what you have to say.

She was right for the times. Britain had became stupidly left-wing in the 30 years following the second world war.

The left had ultimately put Britain in a position whereby a conservative that far to the right was electable. Not just once, but three times...
Yeah, that's the thing. But I have to say, if Callaghan said 2+2 was 7, Thatcher said the answer to the question was 6. It's more accurate, but it's still wrong.

(Sorry for the worst analogy in... the world.)

Sure some of you are taking the moral high ground, but if the general public didn't find sleazy things interesting, then NotW and other such red tops would not exist. You know I am right too, and no amount of arguing can dispute that point. Your fellow human beings are for the most part depraved and like to hear of bad things happening to other people. It makes them feel better about themselves, hence why reality TV is so popular.

Murdoch and others can and have successfully argued "I am giving what the readers want" and they would be 100% correct. How they got it is questionable, dubious and I agree fully reprehensible, but it is only now that the "moral majority" is making a stink over it?
It's true. But we need to do something about it.


One of the funniest things about this thing was that while the Guardian was the only paper reporting on the hacking last year, Rebekah Brooks was quoted saying that Alan Rusbridger (the Guardian's editor) would be "on the floor, begging for mercy" by the end of it.

How times change.
To use Churchill's words, I'd like to see Brooks bound, laid on the street of Delhi, and trampled over by the Vice-Roy, in an elephant.

I don't think it will happen, though.
 

jack_christie

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Sure some of you are taking the moral high ground, but if the general public didn't find sleazy things interesting, then NotW and other such red tops would not exist. You know I am right too, and no amount of arguing can dispute that point. Your fellow human beings are for the most part depraved and like to hear of bad things happening to other people. It makes them feel better about themselves, hence why reality TV is so popular.

Murdoch and others can and have successfully argued "I am giving what the readers want" and they would be 100% correct. How they got it is questionable, dubious and I agree fully reprehensible, but it is only now that the "moral majority" is making a stink over it?

Hard to have any sympathy for the dead rat scented muck-raking gargoyles from the NoW who openly acknowledge that their renegade modus operandi's aim is to destroy peoples lives.

Love this imagine of doomsday machne hunting down the Murdoch's:
At the same time, the Murdochs must have come to understand that a sort of doomsday machine is operating against them, a destructive process that cannot be stopped. One line of police enquiry leads to another, one revelation produces a fresh disclosure, the pace quickens, examples of bad practice multiply, and parliament becomes concerned.
Bullies and cowards who have killed a newspaper ? for nothing
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andreas-whittam-smith/andreas-whittam-smith-bullies-and-cowards-who-have-killed-a-newspaper-ndash-for-nothing-2309532.html

Ex-NoW jouno twitter feed:
in my possession:transcripts of 37 text messages sent by NEWSINTERNATIONAL executive to various staff over the years.Who could they be from?
https://twitter.com/#!/ExNOTWJourno
 
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nomix

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Hard to have any sympathy for the dead rat scented muck-raking gargoyles from the NoW who openly acknowledge that their renegade modus operandi's aim is to destroy peoples lives.
I have to say that is one of the most superb rant I've read on Finalgear for quite a while.

-

I've got a couple of thoughts.

1. The great blunder

One thing that strikes me is that shutting down News of the World might very probably come back to bite Murdoch in the arse. My thinking is simply that there must be quite a lot of journalists in the News of the World with the kind of inside knowledge about wrongdoing. Murdoch and News Int. just made the mistake no intelligence organisation should never do (and for the purposes of this argument, I'll compare News of the World with a secret police, because journalism in its essense is quite often a lot like intelligence gathering, and the News of the World has utilized some methods that make the comparison even more appropriate.), they have put people with information of their inner workings on the street. And with a grudge, an axe to grind.

Back in the early 70s, the operations branch of Swedish military intelligence made the same mistake. IB, as it was called (Inh?mntingsbyr?n, Bureau of Investigation), sacked a guy for a minor case of embesseling funds. They lost his loyalty, and in the end, he went to a left wing journalist called Peter Bratt. He told Bratt about IB's activities withing Sweden, spying on political youth groups (in itself iffy, made more serious by the fact that IB was military, and that it was well outside their legal pervue, political surveilance within Sweden was the role of the Security Police), not to mention performing acts of espionage towards supposedly Swedish near-allies.

For the Americans among us, it's worth noting that while Olof Palme compared the bombing of North Vietnam with Guernica, the Swedish embassy in Hanoi gathered intelligence for the Americans, and Swedish embassies in arab nations gathered intelligence for the Israelis.

Anyhow, I digress. What was unfolded had different concequences, Bratt and another Swedish* journalist, Jan Guillou published their findings in two issues of left wing Magazine Folket i Bild/Kulturfront (the People in Pictures/Culture Front, literally translated). Needless to say, having almost every single intelligence operative publicly known by anyone who could get ahold of this magazine, not to mention photostatic copies of secret intelligence reports about Arab nations and North Vietnam, had a catastrophic effect on IB. Bratt and Guillou were convicted of espionage, and spent time in jail. Interestingly, today, such persecution of journalists would be practically, and probably legally impossible in Sweden.

But the reason I'd like to compare this to the News of the World is the effect it had on IB. And the fact that there might be several dozens of possible "traitors" to this secret organisation, the News of the World. There are now 200 insiders with very real worries about their future. Some might even fair prosecution for criminal acts.

All we need is for one of them to step up, and make a deal with the police and CPS. And if they do, we might get to know everything.

When IB sacked H?kan Isacson** for embesslement, they signed their own death warrant. Murdoch and News Int. might have done the very same thing by sacking two hundered men and women.

2. The Future

I have to say I am somewhat scared by some of the rethoric I'm hearing from politicians now. First and foremost to any democracy is to have a check for power. The only real way to do this is with a free, independant and vigerous press.

There is no doubt that it's not hard to say that some of the British papers have failed monumentally with this. It's self evident, so I won't touch on it, I hope I can rely on the understanding of those who bother to read what will probably end up as rather a lengthy post.

But you can't deny the fact that this unofficial official power base in a society is as crucial as democracy itself.

What am I afraid of?

I'm afraid we might end up with restrictions. Privacy laws that will hamper journalism when it's most needed. Balancing the need for flow of information, the need for secrecy and the need for privacy is always like balancing on a razor's edge.

On the one hand, individuals have an expectation of privacy in their own homes, they have an expectation of being able to have a private phone call, a private shit in the loo, to have sex in private.

The state too needs some secrecy. This, we debated during the Wikileaks cables story. For instance, you need to be able to debate behind locked doors, so people can make allowences without losing face. Perhaps bad guy #1 can be the first to let his principle go, so that bad guy #2 can let his principle go. In the official announcement, both parties are just presented as having made concessions. In the same way, a government might want to debate inside itself to come to an agreement on what is the best policy to persue. It's for this reason that what's said in a Cabinet meeting in the Westminister system is secret, no one loses face, and the whole government can speak with one voice.

But what happens when what's secret or private becomes public? I've got my own opinions. Basicly, I think it's crucial we don't limit the press from reporting news, no matter the source. What's important to keep in mind is that illegal leaks of government information are illegal. And phone hacking is illegal. We need to guard ourselves from thinking we need new legislation to regulate what papers can publish, not to be fooled by the fact that the first investigation failed. It wasn't lack of legislation that failed it. It was just a bad investigation.

There are times when this openess and legality to publish anything will lead to wrong doing. But we can't regulate, because we can't draw a line. Where do we draw the line? And what about the cases when it leads to making publishing important news impossible?

I'm afraid of this. And I hope it won't go that way.

3. The integrity of journalism

For those of you who don't know it, I'm a journalist. There are times when I debate at length with a lawyer I know, who of us corrupts society the most. Then again, journalism is a good, proper profession, an ideal for all to follow. Lawyers just complicate things. Yeah, I'm being ironic. :)

In its very essense, journalism is about telling truth. It is about wanting to tell a story about our society, a story that will tell them something about where said society is heading, how it's developing, what everything means. I love this. While I do insist on being paid for the stories I get published, I don't do it for the money. I could have made a lot more money if I became a plumber or an electrician. The reason I continue on the path of immense competition, meager pay, poor job security and bad hours is that I'm actually filled with a burning wish, a mission, to tell truth. Wether it is publishing a secret internal document about the closing of an important department within a local hospital, or wether it is about telling the story about the concert truthfully.

I'm a cynic for sure, but there's something in this line of work that just floats my boat, makes me happy. It's still a joy to know that I'm probably the best freelancer of my type working locally, well, speaking of photojournalism at the very least. I've got pride in what I do.

There's a story about an old editor of Dagbladet (roughly translated; Daily Paper) who came to the news desk late at night to get a bottle of whisky from the drawer in his desk. On his way there, he glanced at the planned front page of next days paper, reading "168 died tonight". He asked what the bloody hell that was all about (he was a northerner, so swearing wasn't uncommon), and the chief of the news desk soberly said "erh, Piper Alpha. Oil platform. Offshore. Fire". The editor snarled and went into his office. After having a whisky, he put his head through the door and asked "is it true?". The answer was "yes". He thought about it and said "If it's true, it's okay".

What's my point? I'm just saying that I wish we went back to that ideal. We want to tell truth. We don't care about who's toes we tread on as long as what we write is true.

There's a lot to dislike about my profession. But it can be better. If we work together to make it better.

Just my 2 cents.

* Today, Guillou is a Swedish citizen. At the time, though, he wasn't. At the time, he was a French citizen, and his national background is French, Swedish and Norwegian.
** Bratt and Guillous source inside IB.
 

MacGuffin

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Yup, this will remain interesting.

I don't share your worries about government interference into the free press. Because in times of the internet it needs more than a few restrictions to shut out the public.
 
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