Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The scandal that keeps on giving

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  • Patrick Xavier,

    Much in the manner of a Friday music post

    Billy Bragg had prescience ("It Says Here"):

    It says here that the Unions will never learn
    It says here that the economy is on the upturn
    And it says here we should be proud
    That we are free
    And our free press reflects our democracy

    Those braying voices on the right of the House
    Are echoed down the Street of Shame
    Where politics mix with bingo and tits
    In a strictly money and numbers game

    Where they offer you a feature
    On stockings and suspenders
    Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders

    It says here that this year's prince is born
    It says here do you ever wish
    That you were better informed
    And it says here that we can only stop the rot
    With a large dose of Law and Order
    And a touch of the short sharp shock

    If this does not reflect your view you should understand
    That those who own the papers also own this land
    And they'd rather you believe
    In Coronation Street capers
    In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
    Could it be an infringement
    Of the freedom of the press
    To print pictures of women in states of undress

    When you wake up to the fact
    That your paper is Tory
    Just remember, there are two sides to every story

    More recently (as in last week), Billy Bragg's "Never buy the Sun":

    Someone's hiding in the bushes with a telephoto lens
    Whilst their editor assures him the means justifies the ends
    'Cos we only hunt celebrities and it's all a bit of fun'
    Yet the Scousers never buy The Sun

    The parents of the missing girl cling desperately to hope
    While a copper takes improper payments in a big brown envelope
    And nobody in the newsroom asks where this information's from
    And the Scousers never buy The Sun

    The tabloids make their money peddling bullshit baffles brains
    And they cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
    And they say 'What? We're just giving the people what they want'
    Well they're are crying out for Justice
    People crying out for Justice

    And the man they call the Digger casts a proprietary eye
    Over what goes on in the gutter and what happens in the Sky
    And he claims he's fit and proper - the watchdog sings his song
    The watchdog sings his song
    The Scousers never buy the Sun

    International executives - they hang their head in shame
    Tell us with the their hands on heart the paperboy's to blame
    But everyone who loves their kiss-n-tell - you must share their blame as well
    But the Scousers never buy The Sun

    The tabloids making millions peddling bullshit baffles brains
    And they cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
    And they say 'What? Look we're just giving the people what they want'
    Well they're crying out for Justice
    People crying out for Justice

    In the corridors of power they all sit down to sub
    With the Devil and his minions - they ask for his opinions
    The politicians wring their hands and say 'Whats to be done?'
    The Scousers never buy The Sun

    Well no-one comes out well when it is all said and done
    Yet the Scousers never buy The Sun

    Since Nov 2006 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jonty,

    A contributor to BBC’s World Have Your Say predicted that little will come out of the H of C committee hearing as the interviewees know where all the members’ skeletons are buried :–)

    And in a different week I would have agreed with you. But this week ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3253 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Ruddy hellion...

    I think everyone is being mean to Rebekah Brooks because she has red hair.

    With her close affiliation to Cameron and political tinkering, perhaps she could be described as a Ginger Groupie...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4622 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to David Cormack,

    It’s funny isn’t it, for some reason, we become detached from the fact that we are witnessing vigilante justice play out. It happens in an online world and we perceive no-one to be hurt by it, so we are ok with it.

    Certainly not the same kind of vigilantism as stabbing an unarmed teen tagger to death.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4135 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Andre,

    Thanks for that link, Andre. Which reminds me -- anyone know what happened to James Coe's splending Editing The Herald?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    I wouldn't call it vigilantism, this is civil disobedience.

    News & its ilk have a role in our government which they have abused in pursuit of a dollar, so hitting them in the purse ever so slightly is the least they deserve.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 557 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And I'd suggest you'll be interested in the Commons select committee hearing that Brooks and the two Murdochs are about to appear before. It's live on Sky News tonight from 11.30pm. Yowza.

    I hope they're crucified. However, the Murdochs' and Brooks will probably have been tutored by PR trouts in how to handle and fob off any tough questions, unfortunately.
    I hope the MPs grilling them are hard-arse, long-term MPs, not just a bunch of newbie back-benchers.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Cormack,

    It’s funny isn’t it, for some reason, we become detached from the fact that we are witnessing vigilante justice play out. It happens in an online world and we perceive no-one to be hurt by it, so we are ok with it.

    I've voiced my misgivings about Anonymous and LulzSec before -- what is paraded as activism often looks more like vandalism. And it's often done for no better reason than that someone said something mean about Julian Assange or something. It can be a nasty, pointless way of shutting down speech, and some of the exploits have caused needless harm.

    But I'm actually more okay with this. It's a media protest in a media space. And (unlike, say, NPR) the villains are actually villains.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I'm with Paul Rowe on this. News are toxic and has been immune to proper oversight for decades.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2193 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I think it's fairly likely Sean Hoare was assassinated - probably not by News International, but by Met officers working in an unofficial capacity, sending a not-very subtle message to other potential whistleblowers that if you speak out against them they can murder you with near total impunity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And I’d suggest you’ll be interested in the Commons select committee hearing that Brooks and the two Murdochs are about to appear before. It’s live on Sky News tonight from 11.30pm. Yowza.

    I'd be absolutely delighted if Brooks showed up with minutes of every "off the record" lobby briefing, every sleazy hit job on political enemies that got fed to her from Westminster. Hell, she's probably going to jail anyway -- she might as well wipe the sanctimonious pouts off the faces of people who were quite happy to let the likes of Ingrahm, Campbell and Coulson run riot.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I think it's fairly likely Sean Hoare was assassinated - probably not by News International, but by Met officers working in an unofficial capacity, sending a not-very subtle message to other potential whistleblowers that if you speak out against them they can murder you with near total impunity.

    It's an unexplained/no-suspicious-circumstances-type death, ie suspected sucide/overdose, so... who knows either way, really?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Paul:

    I wouldn’t call it vigilantism, this is civil disobedience.

    Russell

    But I’m actually more okay with this. It’s a media protest in a media space. And (unlike, say, NPR) the villains are actually villains

    Like I said, I haven't made my mind up yet. Can we make this a real world analogy? Burning all the copies of a print-run of a newspaper? Spraypainting "MURDOCH SUX" on a building? I dunno, I guess I'm just not that comfortable with any groups taking the laws into their own hands. But then at the end of it all, Lulzsec are probably just 19 year olds.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    [post removed because I learned how to edit]

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I guess I've never lived in London ... which is why I just spent a few moments wondering why they would send out weather forecasters to bump people off ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2069 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I think it’s fairly likely Sean Hoare was assassinated – probably not by News International, but by Met officers working in an unofficial capacity, sending a not-very subtle message to other potential whistleblowers that if you speak out against them they can murder you with near total impunity.

    For the time being, I'm inclined to hang with the more straightforward explanation that he died because he was mortally ill.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I dunno, I guess I'm just not that comfortable with any groups taking the laws into their own hands.

    Neither am I particularly. I am grateful that the UK parliament seems to have finally awoken to Murdoch. I only hope it's not so thoroughly weakened by its (near universal) association to be incapable of exercising it's legitimate powers to investigate and prosecute.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2193 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime, in reply to Peter Martin,

    Schadenfreude ist der schönste freude

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Anyone linked to this column yet? I'm having trouble keeping up.

    Good analysis and looks outside the immediate details.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I enjoyed Welch on NatRad this morning, particularly (partisanly?) the point he made about the attendant trivialisation of politics.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2193 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Anyone linked to this column yet?

    Good stuff:

    Twelve years later, in the summer of 2008, David Cameron was transported in a private plane – laid on by [Matthew] Freud – to the Greek island of Santorini, from where he was ferried to Rupert Murdoch's 184ft yacht the Rosehearty, for an important meeting. The following year, the Tories began to harden a new antipathy to the BBC, floating the freezing of the licence fee and urging the corporation to do "more with less": messages that were in accord with the chippy anti-BBC lecture James Murdoch gave at that year's Edinburgh TV festival. Just over a month later came achingly predictable news: that the Sun was swinging its support behind the Conservatives, and dumping Labour.

    etc.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Every UK government since Thatcher has been elected with the support and connivance of Murdoch. When the Tories were so useless and divided they couldn't get elected, Murdoch got behind a Labour leadership that was as right-wing as the US republicans*


    * ok, on a bunch of cosmetic social issues, like foxhunting and gay rights, they gave out a veneer of liberalism. But they enthusiastically invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, privatised schools and rolled forward the UK police state.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    When is the fall out going to reach NZ?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1491 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    This has been posted before but deserves another go

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

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