"If the public knew the truth about the way certain sections of the media operate they would be absolutely horrified"
That’s a quote from former Labour party Press Secretary, Alistair Campbell, taken from a book called Flat Earth News by Nick Davies which I read back in 2008.
Well the public certainly know now, following the latest revelations in the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
I’ve been following this phone hacking story for a few years now, but even I was shocked when I heard the allegations that the News of the World had hacked into the phone of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler.That in itself was bad enough, but it gets worse.
Now there’s allegations that the News of the World hacked into the phones of victims of the 7/7 bombings, and tonight on Newsnight they reported that families of dead UK soldiers from Afghanistan have also been victims of phone hacking.
I read the News of the World every Sunday, and have done for years. I’m not going to lie to you I enjoy reading it; but I feel next Sunday it would be completely wrong for me to buy the paper.
I’ve previously wondered whether I’m contributing to a culture of unethical journalism by buying the News of the World.
Everytime I buy the paper I’m showing there’s a demand and interest in stories that may have been obtained using dubious or unethical methods.
In the past I've occasionally thought about such things, before deciding to just carry on buying the paper. Things have changed now though. This week's revelations are a game changer.
I’ve decided that if I boycott the paper I'll be sending out my own message that says these latest allegations are too much.
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This phone hacking story has entered a new phase, it's really in the public consious now.
Until a few days ago, this story only appealed to people like me, the media geeks out there of which I'm happy to call myself. But if we're being honest this phone hacking story didn't really hold much interest to the general public.
That's all changed now, and referring back to the Alastair Campbell's quote, the public are beginning to find out just how the tabloid press really operate - and it's not pretty.
For me it's interesting that stuff is coming out which I was reading about a couple of years ago in Nick Davies' Flat Earth News.
In his book he talks about some of the darker aspects of the national press and how newspapers find out information on members of the public. This includes bribing members of the police and civil servants, all of which is done by using private investigators.
This is exactly what we're hearing now, even though its been established practice within the press for years. This probably explains why quite a few other newspapers simply refused to run the phone hacking story on their front pages. I'm looking at you Daily Mail and the Express.
All the heat might be on the News of the World at the moment, but this story could spread to other newspapers, and their journalistic practices could come under scrutiny.
This could be one of those watershed moments, where things are never going to be quite the same. I've been following this story for over two years, but I'm thinking it's only now that this story has really started to take off.