RIP News of the World. If heaven has phones, you'll be hacking baby Jesus' already, I bet.
This is a grim day for truth-lovers everywhere. Today sees the demise of the proud publication that once confused being a paediatrician with being a paedophile, leading to one of the former being attacked. The paper learned a valuable lesson about knowing what words mean before acting upon them. Personally, I've never subscribed to that school of thought, and remain a hermaphrodite about it.
Who can forget the papers' many scoops -- such as revealing that Max Mosley likes kinky sex, that Olympic athlete Michael Phelps smoked from a bong, that Pippa Middleton has an arse...I could go on (with about two more things).
But there's at least one silver lining to this shit cloud. Whilst hundreds of people will lose their jobs at the paper, no matter how much former editor and now chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks is pushed to resign, she keeps rolling back -- like a kind of right-wing Sisyphus' rock.
I'd like to counter the vicious attacks that have been leveled against Brooks (née Wade, née The Hand of Sauron). Andreas Whittam Smith, in a pathetically well-researched article, claimed that Brooks at the time of editing NoW must have either been complicit in wrongful actions or otherwise incompetent. That's a false dichotomy. You can be both. He seems to think that as editor, she should have competently overseen the ethical and lawful running of the publication -- she was the editor, Andreas, not God. Idiot.
And Smith's ignorantly cogent piece ignores Brooks' main line of defence: she was on holiday during some of the alleged phone hacking. That means she wasn't responsible for the practices and ethos of the paper at the time. Just like how if I put my deep fat fryer on and then go to Jamaica for three weeks, I am not responsible for anything that happens.
There are also unfounded accusations that Brooks illegally paid the police for information during her time as editor, backed up only by this video of her saying she did so at a Parliamentary select committee. The pinko journalists who jumped on these comments should be glad that Brooks gave money to the police. With the News International-backed Tory party cutting police funding by 20%, Brooks was merely trying to help out a public service in crisis. And in a way, we're all guilty of giving money to the police, through taxation -- we should be in the dock, not Brooks. Indeed, her boss Rupert goes to great lengths to avoid paying such taxes, so he's even more blameless.
So on what course will Brooks steer the good ship News International now? Rumours abound that the company will quickly respond to this gap in the newspaper market by launching a Sunday version of The Sun. Indeed, the response is so quick that it actually came a week ago, meaning that effectively all they have done is suddenly fire lots of people and do something they were going to do anyway. I'm sure, however, that those 200 fired News of the World journalists are now lining up to talk about how great their editor was. They say a good captain always goes down with the ship. I agree. The only exception is when that captain was technically on holiday when the ship started sinking.
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