A defence of the News Of The WorldI have always put my cuttings from the News of the World at the front of my journalism portfolio. That’s because while I haven’t worked directly for the paper as a reporter I am proud to have had some small association with them – helping to write the kind of jaw-dropping stories that the title is (or should I say was) famous for.

As a young writer I never had a hankering for the la-de-da broadsheets or glossy mags. I wanted to climb into bed with the ”ËœKing of the Redtops’ – the paper that named and shamed paedophiles and crooks; caught out sleazy politicians and royals; busted betting rings and toppled so-called ”Ëœclean-living’ celebs. The News of the World and its Investigations Editor Mazher Mahmood were rightly feared.

That’s why I am devastated that my hero paper has been complicit in phone hacking and bribery ”“ the kind of scummy tactics I expect it to expose in others. There is no excuse for deleting tragic schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemails during her murder enquiry, hacking into the phones of terror victims or handing over cash to bent coppers. The accusations levelled at former regimes of the News of the World are despicable”¦ shameful.

But shutting down a 168-year-old newspaper is not the solution. Sacking 200 innocent hard-working journalists changes nothing.

It’s the flame-haired head of Rebekah Brooks – the brass-necked Chief Executive of News International – that needs spiking. Ex-editor Andrew Coulson has been tossed to the wolves. Why are the Murdochs protecting her? What hold does she have over them? Even our Prime Minister has called for her resignation yet she maintains she is “the best person” to lead the company out of its current mess according to sources. How’s that for deluded self-confidence?

It’s not the News of the World that’s toxic – it’s Rebekah herself. The longer she stays in her current position the greater the likelihood of her contaminating the entire Murdoch brand. And if this is all part of some grand masterplan to cut overheads and bring out a seven-day Sun then shame on you News International for being so duplicitous!

As for the public I am sure there’ll be many a toffee-nosed snort of indifference as the News of The World disappears into the annals of history. It’s abhorred more than it is loved – especially by the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Jeffery Archer, Sarah Ferguson and Max Mosley.

I’d rather keep my counsel with the late great George Orwell, who famously loved the paper. After all, it would seem that some people at News International are more equal than others”¦

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  1. I do not think George Orwell, who died in 1950, would have been rushing out to grab his copy of the final edition today. The paper became a real life telescreen for some and a complete embarrassment for almost everyone.

  2. Absolutely disagree 100%. For every one good thing the NotW actually did, a thousand other things were done under the heading of bad journalism. We do not need Mazer Mahmoud to route out human traffikers or corrupt politicians, we have police forces that do that every day for far less pay and less glory. In fact most of the stories he has broken have resulted in acquittals for the accused either down to entrapment or the jury being deemed not able to give a fair trial (you didn’t read about that in the NotW today). The NotW has got in the way of the course of justice for long enough, not even mentioning their ‘murdochian’ influences. So I am sorry if your childish dreams of once rising to the dizzy heights of exposing Rio Ferdinand’s latest squeeze may never come to fruition, most people go into journalism for serious reasons, maybe Heat magazine has a vacancy for you.

    • “we have police forces that do that every day for far less pay and less glory”… some of whom have and will be exposed for ACCEPTING bribes.

  3. Surprised to see LTW backing the Screws and was hoping for a good argument in their favour. This was not it.

    The writer values crime reporting and investigative journalism (however dubious) no more highly than telling the World who’s shagging who – like we have any right or need to know.

    The Screws was no happier exposing an ex-wife trying to sell political influence than it was exposing what somebody bought at the off-licence last weekend, as some as someone famous was involved. Along the way, they encouraged their readers towards similar values.

    If the writer can point to serious crimes commited by Rooney and Giggs then she may have a point, after all.


    • LTW does not back or even like the NOTW.
      But we like to have blogs that present anothervside of a story, unlike the NOTW.

      We don’t like what they do/did/will do again under a different name but we welcome the debate.

  4. Rebekah Brooks has,apparently,been guilty of “contaminating the entire Murdoch brand”. By herself? The brand that brought us “Gotcha!” and the Hillsboro scandal? The brand that has bullied politicians and kept Prime Ministers on a leash for thirty years? The brand that has paid thousands (millions?)to keep the hacking story quiet; paid cops to gets its scoops, and now EMPLOYS those that were meant to investigate hacking five years ago(a former director of public prosecutions and a former commissioner of met. police – “oh, don’t worry, no phone hacking scandal here, guv.”)as ‘consultants’? Deletes and destroys evidence? Puts hundreds out of work? Denies its workers the right to be in a union? Gets its man in number 10 (Coulson)? Hacked into the phones of at least FOUR THOUSAND people – some of whom were dead? (Remember when the police said it was only about a dozen? Remember that?) She’s done all this singlehandedly? Amazing! Perhaps Brooks is really working for The Guardian and the BBC to bring down the whole Murdoch empire. Or, maybe,perhaps, the brand has always been ‘contaminated’-and “contaminating”.

  5. NOTW pampered to the lowest base instincts of everyone who read it… that frission of excitement that knowing someone with more power, influence and money than you was ‘getting theirs’. While it was popping at everyone from the famous to the micro-celebs it was easy to nod sagely and tut-tut at the readership from a holier-than-thou position, but the writing was on the wall once the latest volley of shit hit the fan.

    NOTW gave the people what they wanted and you can’t blame the editorial team or proprietor for that… they simply leveraged the British obsession with smut combined with a wish to knock success of its perch to make a lot of money.

    And as for Rebekah Brooks falling on her sword (or stilleto perhaps), that won’t happen as she is the last line of defence before the investigation lands fully in Murdoch Junior’s lap. She’s virtually family in Murdoch’s eyes so it will take a catyclismic shift before she goes… still if the share price keeps falling….

  6. ‘But shutting down a 168-year-old newspaper is not the solution.’

    It is when it relies upon advertising revenue for its very existence and it’s major advertisers have pulled out one after another. How else could it possibly continue? NOTW will forever be tarnished by this, will therefore never make money again, therefore has to go.

    This a financial decision and at the same time a perfect smokescreen. NewsCorp gets to act all surprised by how far this really went, (blah blah bollocks!)and appear to do the right thing by closing the paper, distancing itself further from the original problem in the process.

    As for some at News International being ‘more equal than others’, It’s a capitalist corporation, I doubt it’s ever even pretended everybody is equal.

    Overall my reaction to the piece is just – why so surprised?

  7. Goodness me what an angry individual Robin Brunskill is! Interesting that a post from Robin patronisingly refering to Michelle Corbett “being young” as a reason for her views to be incorrect/misguided has disappeared since last night, opinions which Robin decides equate to Michelle being “thick” how narrowminded and rude! We are all entitled to our opinions, difference of opinion is what makes for interesting debate, but we should never used somebody having a difference of opinion as a reason to attack somebody personally.

  8. Getting dangerously close to the ‘free speech’ argument here Robin… who are you to say that this interesting debate should not take place? Is it alright to have an opinion if it’s your opinion but not otherwise?
    I’d say Michelle’s post was controversial, interesting and opinionated – what’s wrong with that?

  9. Not sure of the point of this apart from a nice barney and a bit of PR for Ms Corbett.

    When I was on the tube in London I used to think ‘if only everyone would stop buying these shitrags…’ especially when I saw someone black or asian reading the Sun. Now I’m thinking ‘if only these apparently reasonable and intelligent journos who are suddenly outraged at getting the boot had decided not to write for those shitrags in the first place…’

    It’s simple: if you colluded with Murdoch in transforming the UK into the fucked up state it’s in now, you also colluded with Thatcher and Reagan in transforming the world into a much worse, war-torn and miserable place, too. The amount of sheer hateful propaganda and lies that took a ride on the ‘naming and shaming’ and which poisoned the hearts of its readers should be enough for Michelle Corbett to hang her head in shame.

    Setting herself up as some kind of working class lass sticking one on the toffee-nosed classes doesn’t fit with a writer who was happy to work for a right wing maniac like Murdoch.

    Finally, I find it unlikely that anyone working at the NOTW was unaware of the hacking. I was made aware of the tabloids’ use of basic phone tapping back in the early 90s and I’m not even a journalist. If so many journalists are now disgusted about the ‘revelations’ it’s a wonder they could stomach working there at any time…


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