Hacked off

The News Of The World’s closure seems like the tip of an almighty iceberg

Headline of the week

So, the grubbiness rolls on. Despite the closure of the News Of The World, or perhaps in spite of it, the hacking revelations keep on coming. News International seems to be haemorrhaging bad press, which is ironic considering that was precisely the output of The Sun and NOTW for the past few years.

There are many facets to this story. Firstly, the staffers who have all very abruptly lost their jobs, punished for the crimes of a previous editorial regime. Most of these guys weren’t on the paper when the hacking took place, but have still paid a very high price. There have been old stories dragged out of the garbage, like the reporter forced by Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) to dress as, and even rename himself, Harry Potter. There is even another unfortunate Rebekah Brooks, who has been suffering from the vitriol that should be directed at the ginger minger.

Then there are the victims of the hacking, many of whom have either commenced or will take legal action against News International. Some are barely worthy of recognition, let alone the effort to hack their phones – Lembit Opik, Chris Tarrant et al. There are those who, while you may not agree the methods used, are vaguely ‘newsworthy’. Boris Johnson, John Prescott and Prince Charles are all public figures in positions of privilege, which may justify the interest, if not the practice behind the data gathering.

However, the reason for the outcry is the third group of victims, those targeted purely to peddle stories of suffering and grief. These include :

  • relatives of 7/7 victims
  • the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler
  • Gordon Brown (both the news of his premature daughter dying, and the diagnosis of his son Fraser’s cystic fybrosis, were published against the will of the Browns)

No right-minded onlooker could ever argue that this was justified journalism. No-one can imagine the trauma of the experience of your daughter going missing, presumed dead, and being given false hope by messages being listened to and deleted from her mobile. What kind of sick mind a) thought it would be a good idea to hack these people and b) then took those orders?

Rebekah Brooks deserves much more than the sack. Prison sentences should be meted out, and the individuals at fault should never work again in the media. News International should be pushed as far from the power base of this country as possible. But will this happen, with Murdoch at the helm? Will it fuck.

Tour De France

Forget all the past controversies concerning drugs – cyclists in the Tour De France are among the greatest athletes on earth. Hundreds of kilometres a day, huge climbs and death-defying descents. Their work is hard enough, without being hit by a car:

The footage is incredible, as are the pictures of Johnny Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Flecha in the aftermath:

Flecha and Hoogerland (in the fence)

However, the most incredible thing was Hoogerland making it to the end of the stage and getting on the podium to collect his King of the Mountains jersey. Tearfully, he made it up, and then he forgave the driver who could possibly have cost him his race, career, and even life. Regardless of the superhuman endurance and speed displayed, Hoogerland’s humility and perspective are undoubtedly the most remarkable things that could have come out of this years Tour. If he wins the KOTM category, there will surely be no more deserving victor on the Champs-Elysees come July 24th.

Idiot #23

Sebastian Shakespeare, despite his lofty moniker, is a shit writer. In one of the most sanctimonious, bleeding heart articles I have ever seen, Seb argues against some oft-cited role models. JK Rowling, the most successful author in history, is asked why she didn’t give her £1m donation to the Labour Party to charity instead. In 2010, JK Rowling gave £10m in a single donation to fund multiple sclerosis research. Role models 1, Seb 0. Andy Murray “can’t even win Wimbledon”. Can I just remind Seb – Murray plays in the era of the single most successful tennis player EVER. Top 4 in the world, I would argue, is pretty fucking good. Is Seb one of the top 4 writers in the world? No. Role models 2, Seb 0. Sir Richard Branson is derided for smoking pot with his son, but then Seb says “the only role models should be your parents” two paragraphs later. Contradiction much? Role models 3, Seb, well and truly fuck all. Go back to seeing how many knuckles you can fit in your nostril, you half baked fucklug.

Neeeeeooooowm

In other news

Tintin.

-Cake.

Don’t cry.

Forgotten fab song.

Cowbell-a-go-go. TUNE.

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