Impressive, cynical, tactical, surprising; descriptive terms all of which are probably applicable to the demise of the News of the World this week. It is certainly with surprise that, despite a declining readership base, one of the most successful newspapers in Britain today, would be pulled with such immediate effect. The Murdoch family are no fools when it comes to business, and perhaps the panicked leaping of advertisers from the soon to be sunken ship, might well have been the only stimulus to have any real effect on the family, rather than any heartfelt response to mass public outrage. After all, lots of other newspapers and television channels to be looked after, right?
There have already been the frustrated voices of journalists from related publications, decrying the sense of injustice they now feel, as they feel the collective burden of Murdoch driven finger pointing. But just how sorry should we feel for these individuals who have no direct connection to the paper in question, and how much pity should be reserved for those losing their jobs, their income and stability, through the near overnight execution of the News of the World brand?
Let’s address the Murdoch issue first. This is a purely cynical act and nothing more. The News of the World is now the poisoned cup, and its toxicity is pouring over the brim, looking to infect those around it with its own demise. With the head removed, one imagines that the Sun and The Times are both breathing a little easier. After all, the monstrous creature responsible for all this phone hacking we hear so much about, is dead. The mob has had its lynching and the outcry will now drift away, to be replaced by slow and steady long term readership increases for its sister papers. The lamb has been slaughtered, the flock may now proceed as before.
In terms of whether any sympathies should be extended to anyone in this, we might countenance a little degree of respect towards writers for The Times and the Sun, but not too much. While they carry no direct accountability, they are still journalists, individuals who thrive on the despair of others, and do so willingly in order to facilitate their lifestyles. For a community of people who make a career out of kicking people, often when they are down, some lessons in humility will not go amiss. As for the massed ranks of those losing their jobs at the News of the World, do we feel pity for them? After all, it would appear that few if any of those linked to phone hacking remained at the company. As Trisha Harbord of the paper bleated, no one left at the paper has any connection to these incidents, but Trisha, that is the very problem, why on earth would anyone believe you? Why the hell would the British public have any faith in anything being said by those connected to the paper? To top it, regardless of whether or not there are any phone hacking creeps left in the paper or not, it is still a paper which thrives on chasing down the exploitative damaging headlines, which feed and feed off the darkness in the lives of others. Had you continued, the same drive would have been there, the same obsession with printing sleaze, the same damage would still have been done. Maybe phones might not have been hacked anymore, but the damage to people’s will still have been at the centre of the activities pursued by the paper.
Good riddance – No pity, no sympathy.