The end of the News of the World as we know it. I can’t help but feel partly responsible. It’s not because I ever worked for the paper masquerading as a fake sheik exposing celebrity transsexuals, randy bishops and corrupt snooker stars.

It's all part of the same problem. Photo: AFP.

It’s not because – as a writer for a News Ltd publication – I feel infected by some sort of communicable corporate unscrupulousness. It’s not even because I belong to the broad – and now broadly disgraced – field of journalism.

Nope. The real reason I feel partly culpable for the foul play of this nasty little tabloid is because I like reading about grubby celebrity scandals. And grubby celebrity scandals often require grubby journalistic tactics.

Before continuing, I should first explain that – like so many latte-slurping, pseudo-sophisticates – officially I am only interested in Serious News printed in Esteemed Organs.

This is why I only consume my tawdry celebrity updates on the sly.

So while I’d never slum it by buying anything as low-rent as the Nudes of the World outright, I invariably ditch my classic novels in dentist waiting rooms to “oh” and “my God” over some bizarre new celebrity baby name or Pippa Middleton’s bum.

I’m also an avid devourer of those broadsheet pieces which are billed as “let’s look at what the trashy media are up to” reports, but which are really just covert ways of delivering the same information themselves.

A classic example is The Sydney Morning Herald’s weekly “Stay in touch… with the gossip mags” section which parodies the glossies for their exposés of Daniel Radcliffe’s alcohol battles and Charlene Wittstock’s world’s saddest bride status.

Needless to say, all this flotsam and gossip-som is reproduced in all its titillating detail. How totally gauche! How utterly unacceptable! Now let’s see some more…

Anyway, the point is that our en masse appetite for celebrity gossip is voracious, regardless of whether we own up to it or not.

Which brings me back to the lurid exposure and closure of the News of the World.

The UK tabloid is getting a taste of its own media medicine as its discomfited executives are hounded by hungry press packs and paparazzi-d looking furtively from car windows.

Grubby skullduggery, sordid stenchiness and vile Murdoch tentacle-ism are just a few of the creative accusations being hurled at the recently euthanised Sunday paper.

But while everyone is in furious agreement about the lowness of the News of the World’s “fact”-gathering tactics, there is dispute over exactly who is to blame.

Many say the paper’s sacked staffers are whipping boys and girls for rot higher up the corporate food chain. Others claim that cowardly UK politicians are the culprits because they were desperate to pander to rather than police the tabloid attack dogs.

There’s even an argument – from Spiked online editor Brendan O’Neill – that the closure of the paper represents some sort of low, de-balling leftist blow in the culture wars.

O’Neill’s claim that “British journalism is having its cojones removed” by liberal media snobs seems a tad hysterical.

Yet his lobbying for the rights of the paper’s numerically formidable readership is interesting because it raises of the question of whether the muscular market demand for juicier and juicier journalism makes readers partly complicit in the muckraking.

Christopher Hitchens certainly thinks newspaper purchasers possess formidable power. “When reporters speak so easily of the great influence exerted on politicians by Murdoch’s papers what they really mean is by Murdoch’s readers,” he observed. “His only real knack lies in knowing what they want. And what they want are invasions of privacy – and plenty of them.”

When conceptualising the News of the World’s readership, it’s important to remember that this was not restricted to the 2.7 million Brits who physically purchased the paper every Sunday. It also included those gazillions of other folk around the world who devoured endless reports about the paper’s reports.

In 2008, the tabloid published an infamous article about the then Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile president Max Mosley under the headline “F1 Boss has Sick Nazi Orgy with Five Hookers” and the sub-head “Son of Hitler-loving fascist in sex shame”.

The story – and the subsequent court cases – received widespread international coverage, often in media outlets which declaimed the News of the World’s salaciousness in the most salacious of fashions.

Embarrassing fact: directly or indirectly, a great many of us have been guilty of enjoying the paper’s breathless revelations of celebrity AIDS cases and Olympic bong-ons.

Inconvenient truth: most of us are also aware that these stories rarely arrive on reporters’ desks via polite press releases or civilized press conferences. Instead, they tend to involve sleazy stalking, ethics-less eavesdropping, and metaphorical and literal bin rummaging.

By buying the end product, therefore, we are endorsing (or, at the very least, economically enabling) the methods of manufacture.

So what should be done?

In other sectors of society, there is a growing acceptance that ethical consumption requires facing up to the hidden histories of the goods and services we consume so lustily.

The word is now out, for instance, that eggs do not arrive – virgin birth-style – beside our rashers of breakfast bacon but may have brutal back stories which include battery farms full of featherless poultry misery and cannibalism.

We know, too, that those rashers did not arrive neatly on the planet in hermetically sealed plastic pouches but were once part of pigs which may have been raised in steel stalls too cramped to accommodate even an extra oink.

Perhaps it’s time we faced facts about the murky CVs of celebrity scoops and demanded that – like meat and eggs – such stories be farmed only via ethical and humane means.

Scandal sheets could then carry the equivalent of “free range” or “organic” labels so readers could enjoy their Shock Alien Baby Adoption stories secure in the knowledge that they were produced with a bare minimum of fraud, bribery, espionage and blatant fabrication.

Of course it would be unrealistic to insist that this spirit of transparency extend to closeted upper crust celebophiles who get secret kicks out of looking at Warnie’s lifted-looking face and Lady Gaga’s fresh-off-the-jet Mouseketeer hair.

After all, everyone knows the quality media can only bear to exhibit such images as outrageous exemplars of the types of images that should never be exhibited.

So: anyone know of any broadsheet stories condemning the tabloid coverage of Lady Gaga’s surprise gig in Sydney last week? I’m after something denouncing those terribly tacky photos of her grabbing her own guzungas.

Something that reproduces every last one of the offending images in all their unshowable glory.

Most commented


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    • acotrel says:

      07:07am | 18/07/11

      It must be a woman’s thing? I never read anything about ‘celebrities’.  Have look at who they are, and what they’ve actually achieved.  Just because the media builds them up, that doesn’t give them any real standing in the community.  In fact even Chris Skase and Alan Bond became ‘celebrities’ along with Tony Mokbel and other carlton criminals. Australia should get real and find some real heroes.

    • TChong says:

      07:59am | 18/07/11

      Unfortunately “celebrity” is based on recognition, notoriety, rather than anything of actual value that the individual “celeb"might contribute to bettering society.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:00am | 18/07/11

      I don’t think it’s a gender thing Acotrel, men can gossip just as significantly as women, just on different topics.

      The problem I have with this piece is simple - gutter journalism works because it appeals to the lazy entitled slob within us, and tells us it’s okay to be that person.

      What I think is needed is strong education on the right to privacy of an individual.  In terms of journalism, I’d simply make it that unless you hold public office, you cannot be “quoted” without permission.  I would imagine this would be something along the lines of “The words out of your mouth are your own intellectual property, and nobody else can reproduce them without your consent.”

      In other words, things you say as part of your work are fair game, things you say when you’re not on the job are sacrosanct.

    • Marto says:

      08:34am | 18/07/11

      It’s more of the lowest common denominator.  No doubt the whole celebrity juggernaut is driven predominantly by women, but the interest ratio is inversely proportionate to the IQ level of the reader.  News of the World, Daily Telegraph, womens magazines - they are all written at a secondary school level as their audiences are mainly non-tertiary educated and easily influenced by shallow, sensationalist dross.  Like the Twitter users of this world, narcissists feeding those who lap up the drama to help fill the void where their personality should be.

      You are right about Australia adopting real heroes.  We have these tabloids (in Sydney anyway) that think Lebanese wannabe gangstas and Bondi locals are our most interesting folk.  At least the DT has a good form guide, as the rest of the paper is just a collection of Liberal Party news, Sydney’s worst reporters (Sydney Confidential - seriously guys, read your comments section - nobody likes what you do), and an average sports section.  But to call it a ‘news’ paper is a bit of a stretch.

    • acotrel says:

      09:06am | 18/07/11

      ’ “The words out of your mouth are your own intellectual property, and nobody else can reproduce them without your consent.”
        How many original thoughts have you had yourself?  Even the research conducted in pursuit of a PhD, is often based on somebody elses creativyty.  We all ride on each other’s backs

    • Mahhrat says:

      01:10pm | 18/07/11

      @acotrel, good point though if I rephrase someone else’s words I’m supposed to pay homage to them in the credits.

      I think the key is the “quoting”.  I can’t sing the lines to “Row your Boat” and suddenly they’re my IP - of course they aren’t - but were I to use those words to advertise a new brand of oceangoing canoes, then I’d better have permission to use that IP in my ad, right?

      Same for quotes from anyone not in public office - if you want to quote Dr Blag, you have to seek his permission, and that means giving dr Blag the opportunity to say, “That isn’t what I said!!”

      I’m really trying to find a practical solution to the problem of either misquoting or taking things out of context.  It just has to stop.

    • Dissident says:

      03:48pm | 18/07/11

      I disagree acotrel, it isn’t just a womens thing. Most women don’t care if Heath Shaw’s mum put money on an exotic bet. I think the point that the author is trying to make is that we all enjoy a little gutter journalism every now and then.

      For instance, I read the Sun sport pages online. They are so full of crap and a large proportion of the mooted moves (in transfer season) go nowhere. Take a look at what they say about the transfer dealings of the mighty Arsenal - all hot air. But I love it.

      Remember - not everything you read in a newspaper is non-fiction. That’s the way we like it. Even if we know better.

    • Matthew says:

      03:49pm | 18/07/11

      acotrel, humans have built on top of others IP for a long time and that’s what helps us grow as a group.  There’s a difference between blatantly ripping something off and using someone else’s ideas to boost your own.

      Mahhrat is getting more at the idea that you can’t just quote someone and putting it into a magazine article without their consent.

    • acotel says:

      04:40pm | 18/07/11

      Matthew, you obviously don’t work in the public service.  It’s de riguer to pich you subordinates ideas and claim credit for them.  Sometimes there’s a trip overseas involved, or a promotion. What is really funny is when the kids have believed their teachers, and spout ideas which have been built with a total lack of experience.  You can’t blame the kids, they’re so indoctrinated that many cannot detect the bullshit, when it’s fed to them.

    • Slim says:

      07:44am | 18/07/11

      Of course it’s our fault. We should also be tolerant of drug dealers because they wouldn’t have a business if people didn’t buy the product. Logical really.

    • n_dude says:

      12:59pm | 18/07/11

      I am not sure the author is saying that. Neverthles the buying public plays a significant role. if they do not purchase the publication, then the business cannot continue. Equating gossip with drugs is not correct as drugs are addictive. Are you suggesting gossip is like taking drug?

    • Bobster says:

      02:24pm | 18/07/11

      Comparing News Corp publications to drugs is slanderous toward drugs.

    • Bruce Almighty says:

      08:29am | 18/07/11

      The police commissioner in Adelaide can resign also. You stole a service station at 422 Pulteney Street from us by keeping the LTO register clear. That is a crime of immense proportions. Sack him.

    • Kebabpete says:

      08:32am | 18/07/11

      There is only so much news that can happen in a day. And when we all just read the paper that was fine. The Womens Weekly and the other trash mags covered the rest so the majority of us never had to be bothered with it. But now we have and want breaking news online, via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc, we have to fill that space with something. And unfortunately that something is tat!

      So unless everyone suddenly decides that they will stop using all these new information outlets then I think we’re stuck with it.

    • iansand says:

      08:40am | 18/07/11

      I just don’t believe that the people in gossip mags are real.

    • meh says:

      09:02am | 18/07/11

      Everyone knew from mid 2000’s that NOTW was phone hacking celebs and moved on to doing the same to the Royals. No one really cared as it was part & parcel of media whoring.

      It wasn’t until it was exposed they were doing it to victims of crime who had nothing to do with the media cycle did it blow up in their face.

    • hot tub political machine says:

      09:15am | 18/07/11

      I often feel really insulted by lowest common denominator media. I say media because its just as bad on the broadcast waves of tv and radio. Its mostly the advertising but often it can be the content. I will sit there and think “Bugger how low is their opinion of me to pitch me this?” I think its what’s driven my (just under 30) generation away from the mainstream to be honest. When DVD’s are cheap, computer games at least offer interactivity and you can get great literature for free or very cheap (esp with a kindle)  then is it any wonder people have switched not just over, but off.

      I do feel though, for older Aussies that don’t have the tech savy/mobuluty to get their entertainment elsewhere. Imagine how childish it must seem to a 75 year old to sit there and watch the next reality show or read about someone who is famous for sleeping with famous people?

    • Michael B says:

      11:35am | 18/07/11

      Hoi, htpm, I had my 75th birthday just yesterday and I have never watched a ‘reality show’ and I’m just not interested in which celebrity is sleeping with which celebrity . My pc is where I get virtually ALL my news and the same applies for my wife ( also 75) and a whole range of friends and rellies. I think the media makes a mistake in thinking all us oldies need to be played down to - but then that’s where Murdoch and his ilk seem to make their money. Sad, really

    • hot tub political machine says:

      11:48am | 18/07/11

      Sorry, it looks like there is a pretty offensive generalisation in there but I was trying to make a distinction between the tech savvy and the non-tech savvy in retirement – I should have made this clearer.

      I see it quite close up. One of my family is a 75 year old retired uni professor and he struggles with technology sometimes – he can use it but its not relaxing for him. So I see him watching those shows that come on at 6:30 sometimes – and he tells me he doesn’t like them, but hey its dark out at 6:30 and using the DVD player/PC is not a challenge he wants just before dinner. I just think, man - a uni professor – stuck watching this…..

    • n_dude says:

      01:02pm | 18/07/11

      @htpm, why can’t they just turn it off if it is not worth watching and do something else. I don’t know, maybe reading for example?

    • hot tub political machine says:

      01:18pm | 18/07/11

      Academics have usually done enough reading by their retirement to want some break – but also, reading is cheap if your tech savvy, not necessarily as easy to go buy some for pensioners without cars. Some people’s eyes are pretty shot and they need large print too. Getting to other forms of entertainment like the arts is easier if you’re mobile/rich enough – but some people don’t have as many options is what I mean.

    • Babs says:

      09:32am | 18/07/11

      It’s all a bit ho hum - egotistical journos writing about egotistical celebs - what’s been really hilarious is tthat photo of the bald octogenarian Rupert Murdoch in his dude outfit (basball cap, sneakers?) smiling goofily next to that red-headed ‘broad’ (now there’s a word I love to deploy). And it wasn’t even a pap shot.

    • acotrel says:

      04:48pm | 18/07/11

      Both Rupert Murdoch and the late Kerry Packer qualify to be celebrities, in my opinion.  Neither of them are a Gus Nossel or a Fred Hollows, but at least they’ve made a contribution, even if it was based in self-interest.  Our real celebrities are probably hiding in research laboratories somewhere, poorly paid and unknown.

    • Consumer says:

      10:28am | 18/07/11

      Finally a report that points the finger at the consumers. We don’t care how you get it - just get the goss. Much like our fake outrage at the paps over Diana’s death whilst pouring over the sleazy pictures of her trysts. Tut tut tut. Or the treatment of animal just before they are slaughtered. How dare they!  I’ll have mine medium rare.

      I am more afraid of Bob Brown controling an already compliant “green” media that fails to expose ANY of the Greens tawdry red policies to the public than I am afraid of sleazy reporters. I am also concerned about an “embedded” Canberra Press gallery that sits (& sups) too close to the very people we expect them to be holding up to scrutiny.

      As for arresting Rebekah Brookes, what a masterstroke of genius to stop her speaking in Parliament or ever getting a fair trial. An each way bet that will have the conspiracy theorists reaching for the tin foil.

    • Traxus says:

      10:42am | 18/07/11

      I was highly amused some years ago when Mr. Murdoch was going through the pangs of his separation and divorce from his first wife and he was quoted in the press as asking the media to respect his ‘privacy’ !!!! ..........
      I honestly thought that that was one of the funniest quotes I had ever read.
      ‘respect our privacy’...........I still get a laugh out of that.

    • dancan says:

      11:04am | 18/07/11

      Is your life so meaningless that you feel compelled to read about the lives of others to make yourself feel better?

    • CJ says:

      12:19pm | 18/07/11

      Today’s top stories online:
      1. Read all aboot it: Boonie commits treason
      2. Mum put kids for sale on eBay ‘as a joke’
      3. There’s no way Jay Dee would kill himself
      4. Daddy’s girl: First pic of baby Becks
      5. William and Kate get erotic souvenir

      The Age
      1. Baby switch shock as newborns go to wrong families
      2. Strauss-Kahn bedded three in last hurrah: reports
      3. Suburban drivers top road danger rankings
      4. Last Post broadcast at Qantas strike a ‘new low’   
      5. Who just put a MasterChef spoiler on Twitter?

      Daily Telegraph
      1.  I was a virgin says teen bride
      2. Why Stuart had to snub Danny Green
      3. Ibrahim’s man broke liquor law
      4. Lady Gaga rocks nude to fave Aussie band
      5. Families lining up for bulk savings

      The Oz
      1.  Liberals told to tackle policy
      2. Policy that will leave workers shorn
      3. Global fears won’t stall carbon tax plan
      4. Job cuts loom in banking and retail
      5. Brooks held at Scotland Yard
      6. Real truth is there is no hidden agenda
      7. Gaddafi vows to fight to the end
      8. Samoa’s dream is our nightmare
      9. Whites running scared in South Africa
      10. Town being shrunk by climate angst

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      12:20pm | 18/07/11

      I rate journalists about the same as insurance salesmen, politicians, lawyers and other professional liars. 
      All simply prostituting to the highest bidder, their ability to use the English language in a persuasive fashion.

    • Durkadurka says:

      04:55pm | 18/07/11

      Survey from England but probably equally relevant in Little England (OZ)
      27 May 2008

      Trust in journalists plummets - but estate agents come last in new (change over the last five years in brackets)
      •  Family doctors: 87 per sent (down six per cent)
      •  Schoolteachers: 76 per cent (down 12 per cent)
      •  Local beat policemen: 71 per cent (down 11 per cent)
      •  Headteachers in state schools: 71 per cent (down 8 per cent)
      •  BBC news journalists: 61 per cent (down 20 per cent)
      •  Judges: 61 per cent (down 7 per cent)
      •  Senior police officers: 57 per cent (down 15 per cent)
      •  ITV news journalists: 51 per cent (down 31 per cent)
      •  Channel 4 news journalists: 51 per cent (down 29 per cent)
      •  Journalists on upmarket papers: 43 per cent (down 22 per cent)
      •  Journalists on local papers: 40 per cent (down 20 per cent)
      •  My local MP: 39 per cent (down 5 per cent)
      •  Trade union leaders: 31 per cent (down one per cent)
      •  Leading Lib Dem politicians: 29 per cent (down seven per cent)
      •  Leading Conservative politicians: 27 per cent (down 7 per cent)
      •  Managers of NHS hospitals 24 per cent (down 12 per cent)
      •  People who run large companies: 24 per cent (up four per cent)
      •  Senior officials in my local council: 20 per cent (down 9 per cent)
      •  Senior Whitehall civil servants: 19 per cent (down seven per cent)
      •  Journalists on midmarket papers: 18 per cent (down 18 per cent)
      •  Journalists on redtop papers: 15 per cent (up one per cent)
      •  Estate agents: 10 per cent (down six per cent)

      Trust in tabloids such as The Telegraph at 15%, just above last place and the real estate agents

    • Marto says:

      06:41pm | 18/07/11

      Interesting stats @ Durkadurka, although you could probably break that down a bit further for the DT.  You would probably find that their readership consists largely of our dumbest and most easily led.  So if we took the lowest 30% of society in terms of IQ, the DT would have about 95% of that market cornered due to other publications containing words that are out of their comprehension.  Those above functioning retard levels do not read the DT for news and will source their information from more credible sources, leaving the DT as the comic relief.

    • Tom says:

      12:34pm | 18/07/11

      I’ve found the hypocrisy of the publics outcry quite bad. It seems we tolerated illegal phone hacking against celebrities or MP’s but only when there is a person hacked who is a victim do we deplore this unethical behaviour. Of course hacking of a terrorist victim carries with it a whole new set of immoral behaviour however we should all be outraged that any media org has had the powers to hack into peoples private lives full stop. The argument NoTW and others put up, that these people are celebrities or MP’s or famous or rich or whatever is futile! I dont care who you are in society but you have the right to live without having your email or phone hacked. if we dont restore some decency and respect into our lives, then it is just a continual decline to the bottom. I’d like to see every person, terrorist victim, sport star, celebrity, average joe, whoever became a headline as a result of illegal phonehacking reimbursed for the proceeds of that edition. It is disgraceful that MP’s like gordon brown have their poor childs medical records looked into and exposed and yet he (as PM of England!) felt powerless when it happened to tell anyone they’ve been hacked due to fear of further hacking. he’s the PM of UK not a citizen in stalinist russia! How could anyone live under such fear to speak the truth…the pendulum has certainly swung too far…

    • n_dude says:

      01:06pm | 18/07/11

      My thoughts exactly. I was saddened that people seemed OK that the medical details of Gordon Brown’s baby son to be exposed because he was a public figure. Of course for people with those sorts of ethics it was only a matter of time before they take it the next step and hack into the details of innocent people who are in the news for whatever reason.

    • Adien says:

      01:41pm | 19/07/11

      My partner and i have been following this story for years, and were pissed off from the start - of course when it came out that murder victims and dead soldiers were also hacked it turned from anger to disbelief, but - like this stupid article to start with, you’re generalising. I’ve been concerned at the amount of media around the world murdoch has been allowed to own for year. The last week has been like xmas for me, it’s too much to hope murdoch’s media monopoly will be destroyed but I just PRAY we learn from this experience the incredible danger of allowing one person or company to own so much media. Stuff like nazi germany may have been 80 years ago but it does not mean it couldn’t still happen today. When an evil person controls or influences the thoughts and feelings of a mass of people - very bad things can happen.

    • Geoff Field says:

      01:01pm | 18/07/11

      None of us mind celebrity gossip etc, but when we started hearing about murdered children’s phones being hacked, then the public turned.
      and rightfully so.

    • Bobster says:

      02:22pm | 18/07/11

      ” It’s not even because I belong to the broad – and now broadly disgraced – field of journalism.”

      And with that line, Emma, I call bullshit.

      The Sydney Morning Herald doesn’t appear to be disgraced, The Guardian is certainly not copping much shit.

      No, it’s pretty well your employer exclusively - and deservedly.

    • c.conserv. says:

      12:36pm | 19/07/11

      The righteous are gloating -  but not for long

    • Reschs Monkey says:

      02:24pm | 18/07/11

      Great skirting around the edges of the story, Punch.

      What response should we expect when James Murdoch’s fit hits the shan, or even Rupert Bear?

      I too read the Australian because I like my news limited.

    • The Badger says:

      02:39pm | 18/07/11

      A most excellent post

      Independent enquiry now:exclaim:

    • hahaha says:

      04:06pm | 18/07/11

      “I like my news limited”.. nice one

      I also like:
      Is that what really happened - or did you read it in the Herald-Sun?

    • Tom says:

      10:00am | 19/07/11

      @badger, “Independent enquiry now”. Unfortunately you advocate it for all the wrong reasons. There lies the face of Labor that Australians have grown to revile.

    • The Badger says:

      12:03pm | 19/07/11

      More than 9 billion dollars wiped off the value of the company.
      Shareholder action imminent.
      Hold on to your hats news ltd, the tsunami is about to hit your shores.

    • Dee says:

      02:31pm | 18/07/11

      DT is the equivalent to News of the World in Australia.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      02:36pm | 18/07/11

      Before we came to Australia in 1956 we lived in Ireland -  both of our Grandmothers were Australian -born - The News of the World (NoW) was banned in our homes. That was long before the current proprietors had a say.
      The News of the World back then was regarded as a sleazy, gutter-raking rag which no decent person would ever lower themselves to read , let alone buy.
      It seems that despite a change of ownership nothing has ever changed with NoW. It is inevitable the UK will be cursed with a successor with a different name!
      Just like those ghastly Rug/Carpet shops which bloom, die & are re-born with a new name every few months in Australia!
      The new rag will probably be every bit as bad as the now-defunct NoW. NoW was, we are told, the biggest selling paper in the UK - which says a whole lot about the great unwashed in the UK doesn’t it?
      The NoW would not have got away with it’s sleaze if the public had not bought it so it would be fair to say that the UK public endorsed every sleazy, despicable move it made.
      The blatant hypocrisy of the UK public & their politicians is breath-taking.
      The UK’s politicians are little different to our own in that a large part of their stock in trade is dealing in sleaze & slur.
      What’s the betting every UK MP bought the NoW every Sunday?

    • tt says:

      03:10pm | 18/07/11

      Cuddly uncle Malcolm Farr on Insiders, renowned investigative journalist, pouting-lip Joey Hildebrand, on this site and now bouncy breezy bop-girl, Emma Jane, have all taken the opportunity to deflect attention from the real cause of the animosity being directed toward News Corp/International/Ltd.

      Variously they’ve accused the Greens and/or Gillard of petulantly seeking an inquiry because they don’t like what Murdoch’s papers write about them, that it’s only about celebrities and it was those meanie readers what goaded the innocent little journos into their criminal, corrupt and contemptuous behaviour.

      This trio are either delusional or disingenuous. The Australian and the Daily Telegraph have been conducting a crusade against the NBN, the mining tax, the carbon tax, anything not pro-Abbott… etc etc. And they’ve been doing it in the news pages. It is not ethical journalism, Mal and Joe. It is not journalism at all. Don’t expect to be taken seriously when you ignore this herd of rampaging rogue-male elephants in the room.

      With senior executives on two continents resigning and being arrested, with a multi-million selling paper having been so compromised that its hasty closure was the only option, with the squillion dollar sky deal being neutered, with senior Scotland Yard coppers resigning, with Murdoch taking out ads of apology in every Sunday UK paper, with Murdoch and son having to front a parliamentary inquisition, with Murdoch actually abjectly apologising in person to victims, with Murdoch’s share prices plunging, with this story’s tentacles spreading into political and police circles, with all it’s baroque splendour commandeering front covers and page ones and the lead item slots, you, Emma Jane, tell us, that in fact, it’s actually about nothing more than celebrity coverage and the public’s insatiable appetite for crap. Really? Really and truly? Well, um… yeah, okay.

      Maybe you people should take your journalistic inspiration from Woodward and Bernstein instead of Hanna and Barbera. When writing about yourselves, try a little introspection instead of snide posturing. Virtually all media in this country is second-rate and most of Murdoch’s media in Australia is the worst of it. Even a fluffy, befuddled and inconsequential outlet like The Punch could be a credible, even creditable concern. Instead you publish this self-serving sludge.

      One finds oneself actively wishing for the obliteration of Murdoch’s media — whatever replaces couldn’t be worse and if nothing replaced it, its loss wouldn’t be lamented.

    • melle says:

      03:32pm | 18/07/11

      “...fluffy, befuddled and inconsequential..”  -  that could be worse than Mark Latham’s description -  “Siberian wasteland”.

    • Camo says:

      06:11pm | 18/07/11


      I’m only putting a comment here to say there’s nothing that can be put here to improve TTs point, nor valid argument against it.

      So TT - which paper do you actually work for? You cant expect me to believe the phrase ‘baroque splendour’ comes from a non-professional word jockey..?

    • Disraeli says:

      07:09pm | 18/07/11

      Uh, no.  Among many, many other current mentions, it’s just the name of a current popular classics CD.

      So well-read, well-travelled or well-musicked, perhaps.

      The long dash does suggest a practiced writer, but no more than that.

      Jolly useful too, once you know where the MS Windows Character map is. Or remember the Alt keystrokes.
      Alt + 0151 —

    • ellie says:

      07:53pm | 18/07/11


      3 CHEERS from me, great post, especially, as I’ve just come from the Joe Hildebrand piece.

    • tt says:

      08:08am | 19/07/11

      I’ll be signing copies of this post in the lobby…

      No, not pro writer. That CD sounds perfectly horrid as does “Alt + 0151”, my long dash is just two normal dashes composed on a mac.

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m just surprised the twisted homunculi who normally run riot on every thread, on every blog, every single friggin day on this site appear to be absent from this one — without their grotesque presence The Punch is almost palatable.

    • ellie says:

      10:49am | 19/07/11


      ‘I’ll be signing copies of this post in the lobby…’


      As for the ‘twisted homunculi’ (good term, by the way)  I feel that, even they know, that ‘you cannot defend the indefensible’

      Looking forward to the coverage of questioning later tonight.

      Don’t know if you read the editorial (unsigned) in the Wall Street Journal, all I could think was

      A crocodile
      on the bank of the Nile
      is weeping


      Anyhow, cheers, tt.

    • tt says:

      01:22pm | 19/07/11

      Cheers to you too, ellie.

      I can’t wait for the show tonight, either — there really should be giant screens set up at live sites across the nation for this historic event. At the very least, The Punch could ‘live blog’ it.

      This marvelous spectacle has so enthralled me that I read today’s Daily Telegraph headline as “TIME’S UP FOR THE TROLLS”. At last, I thought, they’re finally cleaning up their act. But no such luck, the actual headline was “TIME’S UP FOR THE TOLLS”, some tedious yarn about road tolls.

      The News Ltd. hacks’ quaint defence of disassociation is one thing, but the chorus of non-News Ltd. hacks singing the same hymn is plain bizarre. Check out Annabel Crabb’s piece in The Drum. Like most similar pieces the author is subjected to near universal (and justifiable) ridicule and dissent. I’d love to know what the authors think of those comments, especially if it has taken them by surprise — could they be so uncomprehending, so out of touch with the public sentiment?

      If the wash-up from this saga results in higher calibre journalism in Australia, it’ll be interesting to see who the practitioners of that journalism might be, because there’s no evidence to suggest the incestuous current crop are capable rising above their present squalid standard.

    • Tom says:

      03:06pm | 19/07/11

      Don’t trip over your ego tt, I thought what you wrote was a wank.

    • ellie says:

      03:31pm | 19/07/11


      giant screens, lol, times up for trolls, lol.

      Your last paragraph is a bit harsh on journalists, but I like anyway, lol, cos, really, we do not have jounalists anymore, and have not, for long time, they are only writers of (thier) opinion of news stories. .

      Will check out the Drum (thanks, am fairly new to blogging), and like you will certainly be enjoying the next saga,

      of this ‘shame and scandal in the fa mer lee’, lol.


    • Up The Abbottohs !! says:

      04:02pm | 18/07/11

      Now that his enemies have the smell of his blood, they will hunt down Rupert Murdoch like animals after their meals and these enemies
      will destroy his mass media empire piece by piece until nothing is left.
      Rupert Murdoch is in real trouble with these big game hunters!

    • Jean says:

      04:34pm | 18/07/11

      My all-time favourite was the story alleging that evil rich-bitch celebrity Nicole Kidman, at the time married to Tom Cruise, had paid (illegally, the implication was) for one of their adopted babies.
      The following week, a story headed “Nicole’s Pain” refuted the lies of the previous story, and presented Nicole in a very sympathetic light..
      Both stories were in the same magazine.

    • The Badger says:

      06:10pm | 18/07/11

      Coming soon to your country.

      ““Bury your mistakes,” Rupert Murdoch is fond of saying. But some mistakes don’t stay buried, no matter how much money you throw at them. “

      Time and again in the United States and elsewhere, Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation has used blunt force spending to skate past judgment, agreeing to payments to settle legal cases and, undoubtedly more important, silence its critics. In the case of News America Marketing, its obscure but profitable in-store and newspaper insert marketing business, the News Corporation has paid out about $655 million to make embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away.

      That kind of strategy provides a useful window into the larger corporate culture at a company that is now engulfed by a wildfire burning out of control in London, sparked by the hacking of a murdered young girl’s phone and fed by a steady stream of revelations about seedy, unethical and sometimes criminal behavior at the company’s newspapers.

      So far, 10 people have been arrested, including, on Sunday, Rebekah Brooks, the head of News International. Les Hinton, who ran News International before her and most recently was the head of Dow Jones, resigned on Friday. Now we are left to wonder whether Mr. Murdoch will be forced to make an Abraham-like sacrifice and abandon his son James, the former heir apparent.

    • stephen says:

      06:40pm | 18/07/11

      Yeah I enjoy reading snags of snort as well and who’s shagging who.
      Um, what’s the snooker gos’... That’s interesting.

      Do you know this theory ‘M’ ?
      Fashionisters are the top of the social tree.
      Deryck Parfit is at the bottom.

      Guess who gets the cherry ?

    • Leo says:

      09:08pm | 18/07/11

      Emma an entertaining and interesting article. That you genuflect before your own literary infidelities makes it all the more charming. We all want to know the dirty rotten nasty details even if we only have time for a cheese sandwich .

    • stephen says:

      11:04pm | 18/07/11

      Get her to genuflect, then I’ll believe
      charming enfidelities and all those rotten nasty details.
      Then I’ll relax with a cheese sandwich
      and I’ll call it ‘Leo and Emma go to kitch, (alla breve) upon the royal mails.’

    • Aidian says:

      01:50pm | 19/07/11

      I don’t think a woman should be generalising about tabloids and saying “In our own way, we all love a little News of The World”, for one - the sales of tabloids are generally driven by women, they just don’t like to feel they’re more into celebrity gossip than men are so they love to say “we ALL”. I don’t give a fat rats what celebrities are up to and have never understood people who do, shouldn’t you be showing more interest in your friends and families lives instead?

    • Aussie Battler says:

      09:15pm | 19/07/11

      Spot on Aidian!

    • Mehdi says:

      07:34am | 31/05/12

      /    Surprisingly! It is like you understand my mind! You seem to know so much about this, just like you wrote the book in it or smiethong. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the content home a bit, but other than that, this is informative blog post. A good read. I’ll definitely revisit again.


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