In the wake of Andy Coulson’s resignation, a number of questions immediately come to mind that have been only passingly addressed by the press over the weekend. How to deal with news organisations owned outright by people such as the Barclay Brothers and Rupert Murdoch comes top of the list for me.
We need to remember that dirty tricks have been part of the palette employed to fill in the background to the news in vivid colour for decades. Back in the days of the G.P.O. running the telephone service, every paper had a mole in the office passing on ex-directory numbers.
A clamouring mob of Media commentators have been offering their views on Andy Coulson’s ethics, morals, and values. I say: “Judge not, lest ye be judged!”
Nevertheless, what tactic in modern media – particularly in tabloid land – doesn’t involve the unethical, duplicitous, slanderous and illegal?
Such tactics come from both sides; those protecting the often ugly truth from invasive probing and from those doing the probing. Into this battlefield you can add the murky grey areas of heavy duty American lawyers and PRs who contact them on behalf of clients.
But any papers that pontificate without looking too deeply need to be looked at deeply themselves. The public needs to be keenly aware that one man’s propaganda is another man’s libel suit.
In this sort of atmosphere, scapegoats are easy meat; easy to tear to shreds without setting in motion a much more costly and potentially dangerous investigation.
How far can one investigate the info capitalists who can afford the tightest security and the heaviest muscle? In a post-WikiLeaks age, how long will the public put up with stories that disappear because deals are done that prevent the public from ever getting at the truth?