Best of Hackgate commentary (6)…

I’ve been watching this crisis from the RSA in London yesterday… I’ve just had a very brief conversation with a Lebanese journalist whose view on it is that it is wonderful to see the law in action (even if there are a huge amount of freeloading agendas jumping on board)… So, here’s a taster of the best of today’s coverage of yesterday’s events:

The main immediate effect of these events may be that the Westminster authorities will get even more hysterical about security. But perhaps in the long run it will be remembered as an enduring triumph for those backbenchers who have at last started to prove themselves as serious representatives of the people instead of ciphers.

As for News Corp, the crucial question came when the Tory MP Louise Mensch asked Rupert why he didn’t resign. “I think frankly I am the best person to clean this up,” he replied. That’s yet another Rupert Murdoch exclusive, perhaps the very last.

Newspaper ownership has always been crazy and eccentric, dominated by ego and a yearning for glory. It seldom has to do with profit. If it had, the recent history of British newspapers would have been a miserable one. Murdoch’s influence on tabloid journalism has been dire, though he is hardly alone in this. His influence on the media industry in general has been that of a serial innovator – confronting unions, lowering production costs, pay-for-view TV and now paywalls. All newspapers have benefited from this, loathe though they may be to admit it.

None of this excuses misleading parliament or hacking phones. These are serious errors. But today’s stormcloud of hysteria is a poor prelude to what could emerge from this, not a sensible attempt to redefine journalistic ethics but a cack-handed attempt to restructure an industry. Perhaps instead the vast political and media resources currently on display might be redirected at the dire state of the nation, Europe and the world. They need it.

Show that you’ve earned the right to move on: All of these problems occured when Labour was in office. We have done more in two weeks to start a clean up of the press and police than Labour did in thirteen years.

Move on – away from media obsessions and to the public’s priorities:Hacking is not the biggest problem in Britain whatever some in the media might think. The biggest challenge is the economy. Labour want to talk about hacking because they have no ideas on jobs or welfare or crime.

  • Robert Peston, Investors versus Murdoch… perhaps. Or just playing catch-up?

    The really hard questions are about the barkless dogs on News Corp’s board. The New York Times DealB%k [sic] blog was posing just those on Monday:

    Despite multiple arrests stemming from the phone hacking accusations so far, not one independent board member has made a statement denouncing the company’s dubious activities. Not one has publicly called for the resignation of top officials at the company. And not one has pushed for an outside investigation, although the company has started its own.
    “This is a board that qualifies for an ‘F’ in every category,” Nell Minow, a member of the board of GovernanceMetrics International and founder of the Corporate Library, a governance firm, said without any hesitation. “It is the ultimate crony board.”
    A spokeswoman for the News Corporation declined to comment.

  • dwatch

    Wendi Deng Murdoch: The Woman Behind The Media Mogul – ABC News

  • I think that Guardian article should have noted that Simon Jenkins edited “The Times” for three years.

  • Mark Dowling @ 4:48 pm:

    That was twenty years ago! Has this FUBAR been going on that long?

    And he’s written a couple of very significant and worthwhile guide-books since.