The hacking trial: press coverage
Wednesday 25 June, 2014
Only the Sun splashed on the story among the redtops, unsurprisingly focusing on Rebekah Brooks being cleared, but more surprisingly not even mentioning Andy Coulson's conviction on the front.
Equally unsurprisingly, the Mirror used the occasion to fire at Cameron - but only in the puff, choosing to lead instead with one of the weakest stories of the year.
The Star was more interested in fleas, and probably rightly so. It was the story most likely to have an affect on the most numbers of people.
The Star's coverage begins and ends on page 2 and runs to 11 pars. Angled on the Cameron embarrassment it is a masterpiece of precision covering the apology, the verdicts, the key quote from Ed Miliband, Coulson's background and a nugget on how many times Kate Middleton was hacked. It also names all the defendants. The reporter Paul Robins and/or the sub did a great job.
The Mirror put the story on its 6-7 spread. Co-written by political editor Jason Beattie, it focused squarely on the politics, with the Prime Minister's apology the intro. Brooks being cleared isn't mentioned until the sixth par and the copy then goes straight back into the attack on Cameron and George Osborne, with quotes from Miliband, Ed Balls and Ben Bradshaw. We don't return to the Old Bailey until the fourth leg and then only for a brief interlude before the politicos take over again.
In the dock of the Old Bailey, the Prime Minister was found guilty of terrible judgment.
The Sun's splash turns to the right-hand side of its 4-5 spread and encompasses the Coulson conviction, the Cameron apology and the nuts and bolts of the hearing. It also includes the brief statement from News UK, which is absent from most other papers.
A 2012 interview by Charlie Brooks with Kay Burley LBC finally sees the light and this is the central element of the story - the headline says it all - continuing on to the absence of any contact between the Brookses and the Camerons over the past couple of years and Charlie's dismay that the Prime Minister had commented in Parliament on whether Mrs B should resign, "because I didn't really feel he had all of the facts at his fingertips". But he is sure that "when this is all over" they would still be friends.
The verdicts are a triumph for British justice. Those cleared should be walking free without a stain on their character. Sadly, they may not.
The Rebekah Brooks verdict is a triumph for British justice and two fingers to the baying mob...The CPS and police now have obvious questions to answer over the weakness of much of their case after such a long and costly trial.
"The police investigations did get out of hand...but none of this money would have been spent if Coulson hadn't encouraged a culture of hacking and then lied through his teeth for five years, insisting that Goodman was "one rogue reporter".
Which was the better angle, Rebekah or Coulson?
One had political
ramifications, the other
far wider general appeal
Milly factory story
Keep strong: Blair's
advice to Brooks
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