Friday, 15 April 2011

In which Littlejohn defends phone-hacking

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the ongoing revelations in the NOTW phone-hacking scandal has been watching underwhelming hacks attempting to justify it or attempt to diminish its relevance with increasingly extravagant and unconvincing shoulder-shrugs. True to depressing form, Richard Littlejohn has made own typically crap attempt.

Before that, in, today's grating word-dump, Littlejohn rails against the 'gruesome slappers' who sell kiss-and-tell stories, happy to put the blame primarily on the women involved and, in so doing, glossing over his profession's own grubby yet pivotal role in the whole business. His apparent contempt for people like "a bird called Linsey Dawn McKenzie" seems to contrast with his insistence that we all have a right to know about where celebrities' dicks are going. You'd think he hail them as heroes of citizen journalism!

Surprisingly, Littlejohn actually approaches a point when he complains about how legal injunctions taken out in the reporting of these matters unfairly favour the rich, but typically pisses on his own chips with self-parodic mentions of how it's all the fault of 'yuman rites'.

Having established that we all have a Right To Know about stuff, Littlejohn moves on to the pressing topic of belittling the importance of the NOTW affair. Under the sub-heading "Sorry, but this isn't Watergate", Littlejohn lays bare his "couldn't give a shit" attitude:
But nor do I understand what the difference is between the Screws listening to Sienna Miller’s tittle-tattle, and the self-righteous Guardian publishing leaked emails from national security agencies.
Now, I'm not particularly supportive of every decision Wikileaks has made, but I'm not so cretinously fucking stupid as to be unable to tell the ethical difference between releasing not-even-hidden diplomatic memos which relate to issues of serious international political importance, and bugging the private phone lines of actors and footballers so we can all have a good voyeuristic pry into who they're knobbing/being knobbed by.

Of course, when in doubt, always pull the "ah, but what about...?" distraction card;
Incredibly, there are now 50 officers investigating this matter full-time, having been pulled off rape, robbery and murder cases. Is this a proper use of scarce police resources at a time when London is in the grip of gun crime?
At this point I could probably go and try and check whether officers actually HAVE been moved off rape and murder cases, or I could go and check if London really is "in the grip of gun crime", but it seems kind of pointless, right? If the best thing you can come up with to defend phone-hacking is that it's less bad than rape, then it's not really worth the effort of trying to argue.

Next up, hilariously, rumoured £800,000-a-year celebrity newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn tells us what we the plebs think:
The paying public don’t share the collective Fleet Street/Westminster/Scotland Yard fascination with phone hacking. They must conclude that this particular three-ring circus has gone stark, staring mad.
Actually, some of us very much do share the fascination. No, we don't wish for the police to stop investigating all rapes and murders, but some of us actually would like to see journalism's grubby and illegal reliance on bugging celebrity phones for shit sex-based gossip come to an end. Some of us rather enjoyed Hugh Grant's revenge-bugging of Paul McMullan (Grant trended on Twitter as a result of the interest in this, and Roy Greenslade was moved to complain about how much interest the story was getting now Grant was involved). Some of us also enjoyed how Grant's piece undermined this bit of utter fucking celeb-obsessed nonsense.

But, more importantly, some of us just think that it's actually a bit wrong for the media to use their powers to bug private phones in pursuit of the story. Perhaps we the public would have more sympathy if you, the journalists, actually used it to target people in power, people of influence, catching them in acts of actual corruption, exposing real crimes, conflicts of interest or duplicity among those whom we vote for or who run the country. Instead, it's easier for Fleet Street to just find out who a footballer is cheating on his wife with and run article after article of pisspoor thigh-rubbing about how many times they did it and what his stamina was like. I mean, for Christ's sake, if you're going to commit acts of criminality in pursuit of content, you could at least target someone more important than professional charisma-vacuum Sienna "Sienna Miller" Miller, a human being so forgettable I'm surprised I even got to the end of typing her name before having to go on Wikipedia to remember who she was.

The bottom line is, if there's a crime here, some of think it needs investigating, not simply shelving because there are more important things going on. The police work for all of us, and some of us are actually concerned about the pressure the media puts on the Met in particular to keep their nose out and turn a blind eye while the tabloids dig around in people's fucking bins. It's a grubby, hard-to-justify business, and you're going to need one helluva better excuse than the shit ones Littlejohn is tossing forward if you're going to convince us we shouldn't care.


  1. Reminds you of the russet-faced cretin stopped by police for speeding through a red light into a school party, who rolls down the window and growls through a fog of smoke:

    "Why aren't you out there catching the real criminals?"

  2. I love how there are more serious crimes than phone hacking, so the police should be working on those exclusively. Is that how it works? Police are supposed to look into the most serious crimes, and then work their way down to the less serious ones when they have solved them all? No burglary should be investigated until all rapes and murders are solved? No fraud should be investigated until all pedophiles are behind bars? What about antisocial behaviour? How does that fit into the priority list? Common assault? Car theft? Property damage? Please let us know, Littlejohn, so we can tell the police what they should be investigating.

    By Littlejohn's logic, no crime below rape or murder would ever be investigated, unless they suddenly stopped happening one day.

    In reality of course, there are more crimes than police, so attention is spread over a broad spectrum of issues. And surprisingly, we don't get to tell them which ones to ignore.

    If there were indeed enough police to cope with ALL CRIME then there would be outcry from Littlejohn about all the police with nothing to do between cases, wasting taxpayers money.


  3. 800k a year?

    That makes me want to cry.

  4. I'm surprised that Liz Jones hasn't also defended the policy so that she can *stalk* (?) check out her fictional love rivals! :-)

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