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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 

The prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.

Killers view themselves like they view the world, they pick at the holes.

Nick Davies, as usual, is right.  When it came down to it, the phone hacking trial wasn't about crime conducted on an industrial scale in the offices of a newspaper; it was about power.  Had Rebekah Brooks also been convicted, it wouldn't have just caused David Cameron further embarrassment over all those cosy country suppers, it would have also implicated his two predecessors, both of whom got close to the tabloid editor.  As for Rupert Murdoch, it would have meant the person he installed at the top of his UK operation and treated like a surrogate daughter had broken the law repeatedly, either with or without his knowledge, bringing a potential corporate charge all the nearer.

The relief was palpable also in the quarters of Fleet Street where they've always downplayed just how out of control newspapers for a time were.  Had Brooks been sent down there would have been no denying the moral vacuum that had dominated and still remains in certain newsrooms.  One editor gone bad can be portrayed as a rogue, just as one reporter once was; two would have destroyed any such posturing.  It wouldn't have revived the demands for statute, but it would have shown just how inadequate the reheated PCC in the form of the Independent Press Standards Organisation is.

Instead all got the result they both prayed and paid for.  Brooks' acquittal meant they could focus on her rather than the conviction of the prime minister's chosen one and their former colleague.  To read the leader columns of the Times and Telegraph is to be beamed into a world of make believe, one where the establishment overreacted to a few unfortunate breaches of privacy by a handful of journalists on what was always a downmarket rag.  The orchard was not rotten, says the Torygraph, the trial failed to live up to its billing and there is "some truth" in Charlie Brooks' statement that there was a "witch-hunt" against his wife.  "There has not been a vast criminal conspiracy by the press against the public," it solemnly goes on.

It makes you wonder how the paper's editorial writer would describe the largest player in another major industry found to have broken the law on at least 1,000 separate occasions, with it possible there are up to 5,000 victims of phone hacking in total.  As the BBC summarises, this is far from the end of the saga: 59 people are awaiting trial over corrupt payments, mostly from the Sun, while investigations continue into alleged hacking at the Mirror.  A fact you also won't see bandied about by the apologists is Glenn Mulcaire's files show he was tasked 600 times during Brooks' editorship at the Screws.  Her defence managed to whittle this figure down to just 12 occasions when it was absolutely certain the notes corresponded with a known hack rather just "blagging", and as there was nothing to personally connect any of these hacks with Brooks, the one major question being over the Milly Dowler intercept itself, the jury simply wasn't convinced she had conspired with those she worked alongside.  The idea she didn't have a case to answer however, or that this was a witch-hunt, is absolutely ridiculous.

They can't just focus on Brooks' innocence though, and so the story is already being moved on to the cost.  £100m, as the Telegraph already reported today on its front page, and as the Times does tomorrow.  Some £60m of this is down to the no expense spared approach of News Corp; Brooks' lead QC and his team were pulling in 30k a week, while the lead prosecutor by contrast was on £570 a day.  All that just to convict "one" individual, ignoring those who admitted their guilt at the outset, as though there are some investigations just too costly to bother with, especially when they involve figures at the very heart of the establishment.  Then we have those once again deploying the "no one cares" argument, or this doesn't tell voters anything they didn't already suspect line.  On the latter perhaps not, but voters don't care about the prime minister having to apologise for either being a knave or a tool?  Please.

If there's one specific irony that overwhelms here, it has to be how different sides of the elite while seemingly in conflict are desperately working towards the same goal.  The majority of the press professes to stand up for Mr and Mrs Average in their battle with the out of touch career politicians of Westminster while in actuality caring only for their own interests, namely profit.  Any threat, however small or risible, must be countered with derision, special pleading and hyperbole.  The press statute, regardless of merit, was the biggest threat to freedom of speech since our ancestors first developed language.  Of course they were going to mock and pick as many holes as possible in the "trial of the century", regardless of the outcome.  Those in power meanwhile, still believing they need the fourth estate to get their message across, are anxious to reset everything before the election gets any closer.

Hence all of this was settled by Leveson.  Cameron was cleared.  He was misled, just as Coulson misled everyone.  Do you really want the cretin opposite to be prime minister?  Can't we go back to Murdoch sneaking in the back door of Downing Street now?  There's nothing more to see here folks.


All I preach is extinction.

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