Hacking trial: reportage and opinion
As tabloid newspaper bosses, Brooks and Coulson ruined lives. They did it to sell newspapers, to please Murdoch, to advance their own careers. One flick of their editorial pen was enough to break the boundaries of privacy and of compassion. The singer’s mother suffering from depression; the actor stricken by the collapse of her marriage; the DJ in agony over his wife’s affair: none of their pain was anything more than human raw material to be processed and packaged and sold for profit. Especially, obsessively if it involved their sexual activity.
In the end it was the skilful cross-examination by lead prosecutor Andrew Edis QC that made the conviction certain. The QC homed in on the events of April 2002 when a News of the World article which directly quoted the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was published. Coulson told the court that it was not his job to police every story in the News of the World, to which Edis responded: "Can we at least agree that part of editing a newspaper involves reading it?"
Although the NoW was undoubtedly a rogue newspaper, as I wrote several times and way before the hacking scandal broke, its journalistic agenda and the methodology some of its reporters employed, was not confined to its Wapping newsroom.
Many people speak and write of journalism as if it can be washed whiter than white. They imply that if only regulation was stiffer (or “Leveson-compliant”) and tycoons were removed from the equation, a new era of moral journalism would be born.
Bob and Sally Dowler’s daughter Milly was not murdered by tabloid journalists. In fact her serial killer was brought to justice with the assistance of “bombshell information” from a Mirror journalist. The News of the World did not delete messages on Milly’s phone giving her parents false hope that she was still alive, but the paper did unlawfully listen to messages on her phone.
The hacking trial
None of this money would have been spent if Andy Coulson had not tolerated and encouraged a culture of hacking and then lied through his teeth for five years...but Leveson was not necessary...journalism uncovered the scandal, the courts delivered justice. The law works.
- £100m for one? No: £33m for six (so far)
The press coverage
Conviction and acquittals, two sides
of the same story,
but which was the better angle?
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