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February 19, 2012 6:15 PM   Subscribe


 
WE'RE ALL BETTER NOW! (Employees, nothing is changing.) EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT! (Business as usual.) THE WRONGDOERS ARE GONE! (Welcome back.)
posted by JHarris at 6:24 PM on February 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


Murdoch has reinstated the Sun journalists arrested for paying public officials, will pay their legal expenses…

…and serve their sentences, consecutively.
posted by Nomyte at 6:24 PM on February 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


ah, keeps on keeping on. i expected nothing less even if i hoped for it.
posted by nadawi at 6:30 PM on February 19, 2012


NEWS OF THE SCREWS 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
posted by Artw at 6:30 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh good. He's not running from it; he's decided to be stubborn. That will make the convictions all the sweeter.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:32 PM on February 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


Let's keep in mind that the arrests here occurred because News International recommended them in the first place. I don't imagine even journalists at the Sun are as dumb as Rupert is asking them to be. There is no investigation, there will be no investigation, and all of this is political theater designed to make it look like the government isn't bought and paid for.
posted by koeselitz at 6:36 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch
Just for the record: Newscorp shares up 60c on news of Sun on Sunday. Highest for year.


...I wouldn't say running from it exactly, no. More has adopted the internet 'suck it haters' stance.

If I was an inhouse lawyer trying to persuade the DoJ that NewsCorp wasn't responsible for supporting foreign corruption via bribes this would all make me want to cut my wrists. Not that DoJ would be likely to go for a company controlling that much media in an election year, though.
posted by jaduncan at 6:43 PM on February 19, 2012


I really hope Murdoch and Thatcher die this year.
posted by Decani at 6:46 PM on February 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Never get emotionally involved in your deathpool picks, Decani. It's a sucker's strategy.
posted by clarknova at 6:52 PM on February 19, 2012 [31 favorites]


News of the World! is being replaced
By the Sunday Times
You can still buy the Ti-imes
You can still buy the Ti-imes
And the Sunday Times
And the Sunday Times
And the Literary-ary Supplement!
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:12 PM on February 19, 2012


Oops. Second line should be "By the Sunday Sun".
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:12 PM on February 19, 2012


Nice to know anyway that I was wrong; it's been more than six months and News's wrongdoings are still an occasional thing. It's good to see the old bastard losing his grip.
posted by flabdablet at 7:25 PM on February 19, 2012


What a huge surprise /shameless.
posted by motty at 7:26 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked that a CEO is actually looking out for his employees. Good on him. Loyalty goes a long way and more executives could learn a thing or two from Murdoch.
posted by Renoroc at 7:35 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Renoroc's comment strikes me as the clearest proof of the existence of Poe's Law.
posted by pipian at 7:39 PM on February 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Renoroc: “I'm shocked that a CEO is actually looking out for his employees. Good on him. Loyalty goes a long way and more executives could learn a thing or two from Murdoch.”

On the very distant chance that you mean this sincerely and aren't just setting up a proof of Poe's law, as pipian put it – as I said above, Murdoch is the one who asked for the arrests in the first place. Quoth the Grauniad:
... the arrests have been triggered by information supplied to the Yard by the Management and Standards Committee (MSC), an independent committee set up by the New York-based News Corporation, the parent company of News International.
We can't really congratulate Rupert Murdoch for "looking out for his employees" when he's telling the Yard to arrest them. This whole 'hey look, I'm defending the Sun reporters that I sold up the river!' act is roughly equivalent to throwing them under a bus and then valiantly stepping forward to pay the hospital bills.
posted by koeselitz at 8:17 PM on February 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


proof of the existence of Poe's Law.

I'm going with 'satire', but I'm certainly not putting any money on it.
posted by pompomtom at 8:23 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


sorry i threw you under the bus, but rejoyce in taking one for the company! you all are my son, the least rich and the most crippled ones, but i luv u the best!
posted by elpapacito at 8:24 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


flabdablet: “Nice to know anyway that I was wrong; it's been more than six months and News's wrongdoings are still an occasional thing. It's good to see the old bastard losing his grip.”

I don't think there's any evidence that Murdoch is losing his grip quite yet. He's been running the show so far. There would have been no arrests if he hadn't ordained them anyhow. Arresting reporters is nothing at this stage, anyway; we all know that politicians and executives are involved, so the fact that the lowly journalists who without doubt will not sell out their masters are still the focus of the investigation proves that it's of almost no consequence whatsoever.

It's hard to see into the murky black depths of the mind of Murdoch, but at this point it seems to me that all of this is being done for the benefit of the United States DOJ; I think he's hoping to make grand productions of BRITISH JUSTICE AT WORK and PUNISHMENT FOR ALL THE APPROPRIATE PARTIES so that no future investigation can find any purchase. But I can't bring myself to believe that anyone at any upper level in the Cameron government or in the Metropolitan Police has any illusions about continuing an investigation unless it's specifically at the behest of Rupert Murdoch. What they're doing now is just good business: playing out the news cycle, hanging a few underlings, and then getting on with business.

It'd be awesome if someone could disabuse me of that notion, though.
posted by koeselitz at 8:29 PM on February 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


He's a scrappy underdog billionaire.

Murdoch the magician pulls his two rabbits out of the hat
Rabbits if we're lucky.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:07 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dammit, koeselitz. That sounds right.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 PM on February 19, 2012


I think the picture that appeared next to the Independent article is apropos.
posted by arcticseal at 10:54 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Murdoch's biggest problem is that he must now look after reporters in trouble. In a previous thread on the subject, someone made the point that in the last thirty years practically every vicious, prying, amoral wretch of a reporter in British journalism has worked for a Murdoch paper. It's pretty much been the house style. Those sort of people like to keep "insurance files".
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:16 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure that if he thought it would benefit him he'd bury them upside down in human shit and set their feet on fire.
posted by Artw at 11:30 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bury them in human shit? Don't these reporters already work at the Sun?
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 PM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'd wonder if those with 'insurance' would be willing to risk that Sean Hoare's death was as 'not suspicious' as stated. I mean it most probably was, but to gamble and lose with those stakes...
posted by titus-g at 12:16 AM on February 20, 2012


and set their feet on fire.

.... and they're mean about deadlines.
posted by Malor at 12:38 AM on February 20, 2012


From a Sun reader's point of view the key point to note here is that this means fourteen tits a week in future.
posted by Segundus at 1:19 AM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Brit news-watchers know this already, but for those keeping the score at home, the arrests and later support are apparently related to Operation Elveeden, which is different from the case that closed NOTW, Operation Wapping, which dealt with phone hacking. Missed that detail.
posted by the cydonian at 3:10 AM on February 20, 2012


Also, awesome title!
posted by the cydonian at 3:10 AM on February 20, 2012


This could be a poor move. The News of the World is a toxic brand and the Sun increasingly so. By bringing back the NOTW with a Sun branding he's risking contamination. If his opponents can make some kind of "New of the World Mark 2" label stick then sales of the Sun might decrease generally. It's a hope.
posted by Jehan at 3:18 AM on February 20, 2012



From a Sun reader's point of view the key point to note here is that this means fourteen tits a week in future.


Lovely British tits!
posted by chavenet at 4:30 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bury them in human shit? Don't these reporters already work at the Sun?

Is this anything like those optical illusions where you can't tell the figure from the ground?
posted by daveje at 5:59 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Days of the week to be renamed: Murdoch

"Sun on Sunday Day; Mail on Monday Day; Tele on Tuesday Day; Wrexham Chronicle on Wednesday Day; Times on Thursday Day; FT on Friday Day; Standard on Saturday Day!" screamed Rupurt Murdoch yesterday at frightened passers-by.

Mr. Murdoch also claims to have successfully hacked in to his own mind and is deleting all his memories and certain sons. James Murdoch will be dismembered and sold to a range of financial institutions, while Lachlan Murdoch will be renamed "My Son on Sun on Sunday Murdoch".

"He now controls time itself," said Lord Justice Leveson in an intercepted text message.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:45 AM on February 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


someone made the point that in the last thirty years practically every vicious, prying, amoral wretch of a reporter in British journalism has worked for a Murdoch paper.

That woz me, and oh how I hope it comes back to bite them in the arse. One gets the feeling it will all fall apart when Rupert carks it anyway, of course, as James appears to be one of those plausible MBA morons that infest the globe like lice. He'll be sidelined in ten minutes without dad's backing. The problem with that future is that it allows the smarter bastards in News Corp to "draw a line" and carry on with Murdoch-levels of evil, but without the swashbuckling style.

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was 5. If a Murdoch goes to jail, I am prepared to reconsider my position.
posted by howfar at 9:38 AM on February 20, 2012


News Of The Screws Part Twos!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:40 AM on February 20, 2012


Fair enough. He should never have shut the screws down in the first place. Had a good clearout, yes, but he made a lot of journalists who did nothing wrong unemployed just to keep his BSkyB bid going for a bit longer.

You may not have liked the NOTW, but a lot of people did, and a lot of people who did no wrong worked on it, I hope he'll be re-employing some of them this time round.
posted by ciderwoman at 10:04 AM on February 20, 2012


lot of people who did no wrong worked on it

Apart from work on it. Fuck em. They'd run down your good name and destroy your livelihood for a spot of money, why should you defend theirs?
posted by howfar at 10:39 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, Howfar, that's exactly what the paper was every week, nothing but lies designed to defame the innocent.
posted by ciderwoman at 10:53 AM on February 20, 2012


They had a straw man pull-out section too, I remember. People have a choice not to work for immoral organisations, something that NotW plainly was. Care for them all you like, they're just fallible people after all, but don't climb onto the moral high ground while you're doing it.
posted by howfar at 11:08 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, Howfar, that's exactly what the paper was every week, nothing but lies designed to defame the innocent.

Uh, I'm going to say that a fair amount of it was fairly pointless kiss-and-tell shaming of people who had decided to sleep ("he took me five times that night!") with someone else (probably represented by Max Clifford) of the type that is now becoming increasingly hard to do due to the EHCR Article 8 right to a private life became enforcible in the courts. It's almost like it was never justified by anything other than prurience in the first place.
posted by jaduncan at 11:13 AM on February 20, 2012


*due to the fact that the EHCR
posted by jaduncan at 11:14 AM on February 20, 2012


So you don't like kiss and tells? You don't like stories about celebrities sleeping around? To be honest, I'm not all that bowled over by them either, but the fact remains that a lot of people do like that kind of thing, and if you can get it by lawful means and someone wants to buy it then just because you're looking down on it doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.

A lot of anti NOTW rhetoric seems to be little more than rabid anti tabloid phobia. The NOTW, having run for over 150 years, with one of the highest circulations of any newspaper, was sacraficed not because of the kind of stories it ran but because it's owners were more interested in their full takeover of another company.

And in amongst all the tits and the scandals, let's not forget things like the Pakistan match fixing scandal. I'll say it again, I was no fan of the NOTW, but just because it pandered to an audience you feel above there's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
posted by ciderwoman at 11:29 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


just because it pandered to an audience you feel above there's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Blah. I don't give a fuck about kiss and tell, personally. More about the way the NotW went about spreading racial hatred and encouraging vigilante justice. But maybe I just don't have my eye on the bigger picture, like someone fixing a game of cricket.
posted by howfar at 11:57 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Spreading racial hatred? It was the Star that's been accused of that. The vigilante attack was a terrible thing, I thought Renekah Wade's campaign was cheap and tawdry but it's ridiculous to suggest that was aim, or that the NOTW was the only 'won't somebody think of the children' paper out there.

I'm sorry you don't think an international match fixing scam is newsworthy. The British Press awards did though. Though I'm sure from up on your high horse you don't think much of them either.
posted by ciderwoman at 12:52 PM on February 20, 2012


Sun Wars 2: The Empire Strikes Back
posted by MuffinMan at 12:58 PM on February 20, 2012


It's amazing. I must be typing things that I have no awareness of and only you can read. I must be sadly deluded. Waste of your time arguing with me. Cheerio.
posted by howfar at 1:49 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


No howfar, you just have a different opinion. It happens. I think the fact they were paper of the year 2005 shows it wasn't all bad, and there were a lot of journalists there who had nothing to do with hacking (as well as subs, picture editors and the like) and I feel it's a shame to lump them all in together.

Especially when the reason the paper was closed would appear to have nothing really to do with the hacking (and which was certainly not just happening there).

I'll stick my my belief that it was a waste to shut down a 150 year old paper, and you're entitled to think differently.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:00 PM on February 20, 2012


So you don't like kiss and tells? You don't like stories about celebrities sleeping around? To be honest, I'm not all that bowled over by them either, but the fact remains that a lot of people do like that kind of thing, and if you can get it by lawful means and someone wants to buy it then just because you're looking down on it doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.

Just because a lot of people like to peer into celebrities bedrooms doesn't mean it should happen, either. It's a legitimate position to hold to think that whether we find it interesting or not, it's none of our business, and just because we want it doesn't mean we should have it.

Judging by what little we know to date - and there must be more that we do not - 'if we can get it by lawful means' looks like a mighty big if, too. Starting with the NOTW, and spreading across NI, we have phone hacking, we apparently have the hacking of people's private email accounts, we have the payment of bribes to public officials, we have what looks very much like a deliberate conspiracy to destroy evidence of those crimes...and that's just what we know about. Remember Rebekah Brooks' statement to the NOTW staff when they closed it down?

'We have more visibility perhaps with what we can see coming than you guys. I am tied by the criminal investigation but I think in a year's time, every single one of you in this room might come up and say I see what she saw now.' What else is still to come?

We started off with one rogue phone hacker, remember, and all associated with the NOTW swearing blind that there was no more. Then there was another, and then another, and suddenly it appears that it was common, and we may not have seen the last arrests yet. Call me cynical, but I don't believe that it was taking place on such a grand industrial scale, and more people in the newsroom and the rest of the paper weren't aware of it. They may not have been doing it but I don't believe all this wide-eyed innocence about how nobody anywhere knew that it was even happening.
posted by reynir at 2:14 PM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well I'm glad you're happy being the arbiter of taste reynir. I don't like Adam Sandler movies, I think they dumb down the wonderful art form that is cinema. But if someone wants to watch them, and they don't break the law, then let them.

As far as I know no one has yet been charged with anything. That's not to say there aren't guilty people out there, and paying the police is a terrible crime that needs to be brought before a court of law as well, but right now I think it's a bit much to use that as a stick to beat all of the press, whether you like their particular style or not.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:58 PM on February 20, 2012


An odd analogy. Someone having who they choose to sleep with, or their sexual orientation, exposed by rummaging through their bin, following them, photographing them with a telephoto lens, or paying off someone to dish the dirt on them and then publishing the results to millions is not really the same as someone choosing to make a film and show it and get paid for it.

I don't think it's a matter of taste, I think it's a matter of rights to privacy.
posted by reynir at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gah. You want something indefensible?

EXAMPLE STORY 1:

The Sun/NOTW coverage of Hillsborough.

"The Truth.
Some fans picked pockets of victims
Some fans urinated on the brave cops
Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life."

"police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon’. A quote, attributed to an unnamed policeman, claimed that a dead girl had been abused and that Liverpool fans ‘were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead’."

Direct lies (later admitted and apologised for) the day after nearly 100 people died.

---

EXAMPLE STORY 2:

"Is the country run by a gay mafia?"

A Sun story discussing the possibility that gay people might be too represented in the government and make policies to advantage gay people. That's it.

---

A COUPLE OF RANDOM EXTRACTS FROM RICHARD LITTLEJOHN ON ASYLUM SEEKERS:

"Britain by foreigners: ‘I don't suppose it has occurred to anyone to pull up the drawbridge’."

"He could see the faces pressed against the glass, foreign faces. There must have been ten or a dozen, swarthy, olive-skinned young men with gold teeth in designer clothes, women in shawls and headscarves with babies in arms, thrusting their hands toward the car."

---

EXAMPLE STORY 3:

‘SWAN BAKE: Asylum seekers steal the Queen’s bird for barbecues’.

‘Callous asylum seekers are barbecuing the Queen’s swans, The Sun can reveal. East European poachers lure the protected royal birds into baited traps, an official Metropolitan Police report says’.

This was, of course, a complete lie (and only an example, frankly, although it bears remembering that no report was ever produced).

---

I'm not going to go in for more, but they are hardly unrepresentative.

As far as I know no one has yet been charged with anything. That's not to say there aren't guilty people out there, and paying the police is a terrible crime that needs to be brought before a court of law as well, but right now I think it's a bit much to use that as a stick to beat all of the press, whether you like their particular style or not.

Gaining information through illegal acts? This is flatly wrong, as they have already been arrested, tried, admitted guilt and been jailed.

"The royal editor of the News of the World has been jailed for four months for plotting to intercept voicemail messages left for royal aides. Clive Goodman, 49, of Putney, London, tapped into several hundred messages, the Old Bailey heard.

Glenn Mulcaire, 36, of Sutton, Surrey, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to the same charge."

It's also not about attacking the whole press. It's about attacking people invading other people's privacy by breaking the law. Those people happened to be journalists, but IMHO must bear some responsibility for their acts even considering this.

I'll also note that the stories and acts stretch over decades, so it's a difficult task to suggest that the people who worked within the Sun/NOTW weren't aware of their employer's tendency to drag people through the gutter. It's called the gutter press, it's hard not to be aware of it.
posted by jaduncan at 3:38 PM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't disagree with the privacy angle reynir. The privacy laws in this country are a mess and they are few more than journalists that would like it to be clarified properly.

Whatever Leveson comes up (and I'm not going to try and double guess him) it will have a bearing on all our press so we better get it right.

Personally I take no joy in the forced closure of ANY element of the free press, whether it's my kind of paper or not.

But, you know, carry on sneering just because you don't like it.

(and before anyone says, I've already made it clear that i don't agree, condone or anything else stories gained through illegal methods).

And with that, I really don't think I'll change any opinions, but neither will enough random examples of wrongdoing persuade me that's worth the price of limiting a free press, so with that I'm outta here.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:03 PM on February 20, 2012


the free press

Such a lovely image, unlimited freedom, the capacity to investigate, the pursuit of truth and the secrets of the powerful.

Except it's bollocks. Our so called "free press" is a tool of our political masters. Blair and Cameron dining with the Murdochs, Wade joining in for Christmas carols and a mince pie. Fox News spouting the propaganda of war while The Sun drip-feeds fear of the weak, different or foreign in accordance with an editorial line decided God knows where, but not in the meeting rooms at Wapping, I can assure you.

A "free press" is a nice thing to say, but we don't have one. A free press is editorially free. A free press investigates whom it chooses. A free press doesn't slander whole ethnicities and faiths in order to maximise the political sway of its billionaire proprietors.

This isn't just about News International. It's about DMGT. It's also about how the Express and the Mirror have become pathetic copies of their rivals instead of healthy alternatives to the Mail and the Sun.

Hollow mouthings about "the free press" mean nothing. Show me who argued that the free press should be limited. Cheering for the decline of Murdoch isn't sneering at the demise of a free press, it's a cry of hope that we might be able to get one some day.

I do not support government regulation of the newspaper industry. I do not support such regulation either officially, as is proposed, or by the back door, as it's done now. I support that thing you claim to want, a free press.
posted by howfar at 4:30 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Britain by foreigners: ‘I don't suppose it has occurred to anyone to pull up the drawbridge’."


HEre's the thing: The Sun is often the paper of choice for people who are learning English as a foreign language. The language is very simple, and the content easily digestable (as a not-fluent Spanish speaker I find celebrity news easier to translate in my head than political stories). On the Tube you will very often see non-white (oh, you know what I mean) people with a copy. It's probably also why it's more popular with the working class, being the paper of choice on building sites, because it's written in a way that is accessible to those without an extensive vocabulary or a working knowledge of politics. If they change their views on gay rights, or hire a Muslim journalist, that has a huge impact on millions of people who don't read the op-ed pieces in the Guardian.

The Asylum story was published in the Daily Star, was it not? OK, so you couldn't get a fag paper between them, but the Star is much more right-wing (I'm guessing: my parents are from Liverpool so I can't bring myself to read the Sun as I feel the disapproving looks from 300 miles away) and, oddly, has a letters page written in text speak.
posted by mippy at 7:41 AM on February 21, 2012


It's the Sun. I wouldn't be surprised if the Star churnalised them though.
posted by jaduncan at 9:51 AM on February 21, 2012


What can we expect from the Sun on Sunday? Private Eye's Hackwatch (via Popbitch) on Victoria Newton who is apparently in charge on the launch... it's obviously in safe hands.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:59 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]




James Murdoch is leaving UK management team before the enquiry report is released.
posted by arcticseal at 3:50 PM on February 29, 2012


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