Monday, March 01, 2010

Murdoch Burries His Bad News

Murdoch's News International papers have been blasted for hacking into phone messages, breaking privacy laws etc. The cops are also been under pressure about why they seemed to go along with all this when they knew it was against the law and so on. All big news; unless you read one of Murdoch's papers...

But readers of several other titles could easily have missed the story altogether. The Sun, the NoW's sister paper, managed 135 words under the headline "Report 'hijack'," which highlighted claims by Philip Davies, a Tory MP, that by "smearing" Andy Coulson, Labour committee members "abused the report for petty party political advantage".

The Times, another News International stablemate, placed its 230-word story at the bottom of page 15. It carried the MPs' criticism of News International, followed by a statement from the company attacking some committee members' "party political agenda". There was no mention in either piece of the "industrial scale" of the hacking operation and "deliberate obfuscation" by NoW executives, as detailed by the committee.

But also the climate-denial rags of the Torygraph and the Daily Hatemail were also quiet about it - it almost seems like they've got something to hide...

But News International was not alone in playing down the criticism. Other papers focused on other aspects of the report dealing with press standards, privacy and libel – anything, it seemed, but phone hacking.

Only in the last two paragraphs of a 327-word piece did the Daily Telegraph broach the hacking allegations, simply noting that the MPs said there were a "significant" number of other victims "at the heart of the British establishment".

The Daily Mail focused on MPs' calls for curbs to "chilling" libel and privacy laws threatening press freedom, and ran fewer than 150 words on the committee's hacking conclusions.

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