Friday, 10 July 2009

House of cards

MPs must be loving the Guardian stories about NOTW phone hackers.
This shit will run and run and I am certain many news organisations will use future stories about some of the more dubious journalistic practices as an exercise in promoting their own bullshit moralities.
But once the full scale of lying, cheating, hacking and blagging starts to unravel, Fleet Street will truly earn its mantle of the Street of Shame again.
When I was working on the nationals, everyone was at it. (Disclaimer for any copppers - NOT ME OFFICER!). Using professional blaggers to get information out of official bodies was practically a weekly occurrence. Hotel bills, Friends and Family numbers, Car regs, addresses, phone numbers, even MPs expenses! Everything could be got - at a price.
The phone hacking lark was simplicity itself. Basically most idiots back in the day never reset their remote access passwords on their mobile phones so you just keyed in factory setting numbers like 0000 or 1234 when the ansaphone message kicked in and lo and behold...Every message on the phone revealed.
It will be fun to watch this unfold and every major national paper is likely to get dragged into it but what actual purpose does it serve?
Journalists often lie, cheat, beg, borrow, and steal for a cracking story.
But is using subterfuge really that bad to expose the porkie pies of others, especially celebrities. Those vacuous arseholes who only want publicity when it serves their own purposes but, in the words of Dad's Army, 'don't like it up 'em'.
I agree that it may got out of hand over at News Int's factory farming of mobiles (ALLEGEDLY) but, Christ, good intel is still good intel wherever it comes from.
Many people say what gives us the right to appoint ourselves the moral bastions of this country. But I would argue that because most good journalists are essentially amoral - it goes beyond what we think is right or wrong.
It just comes down to providing readers the best possible range of stories using whatever methods are necessary. If the readers then get hot under the collar about the issue or subject then so be it - but at least they know.
It will be a sad day for the general public - our beloved readers - if journalists have to start telling only the truth to get hold of stories.

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