I 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 ”ËKing 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 ”Ëclean-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 ”â 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”Â¦ 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”Â 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”Â¦