What sort of words come to mind when you think about News International hacks? Feral? Yep. Shifty? Spot-on. Spineless? I'd say so. All of which makes it seem like I'm surveying a surrealist vista when I hear terms such as "principled", "decent" & "courageous" wheeled out by apologists for Murdoch's minions, particularly those who have scribbled their propaganda in the late, unlamented News of the World.
As that rag's editor Colin Myler led his rodents out of their Wapping hole to face the cameras last night, I have to say my sense of satisfied schadenfreude outweighed any sympathy I normally feel for workers made redundant. They knew the nature of the beast they were feeding. They shouldn't complain when the beast turns on them.
It's a sentiment shared, rather more elegantly, by the BBC's Paul Mason (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14093772 ):
"Those bemoaning the 'unnecessary' closure of the NOTW ignore the market logic. Even if the guilty parties had long ago moved on, the NOTW was essentially the same product."
Mason notes the necessity of the rag's demise "as a brand to prevent gangrene to the whole of Newscorp".
The notion of just one limb of Murdoch's corporate body being gangrenous is rather charitable, I'd say.
As the clock ticked remorselessly towards the NOTW's nemesis, its political editor Dave Wooding scrawled a self-serving, whingeing & cliche-ridden piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free page (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/09/news-of-world-last-edition ) whose hysterical premise was that "the bad guys" could sleep easily from now on.
Both Wooding & Myler have links to Merseyside. They should know better than other Murdoch hacks how his empire is viewed in these parts.
"The loss of the News of the World from our lives is a bombshell like the break-up of the Beatles, the collapse of Woolworths and the end of Concorde."
If Wooding finds it hard to find alternative employment (Murdoch's Sun on Sunday replacement won't take many NOTW staff on), he could turn his hand to comedy writing.
[Speaking of comedy, it was one of those golden TV moments on Friday's Newsnight when Steve Coogan, along with Greg Dyke, exposed & ridiculed former NOTW features editor Paul McMullen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkeSJLgzG8k ). The feral-featured McMullen was reduced to making cheap jibes about Coogan's wealth & private life.]
Of course, it is nauseating to witness senior politicians across the board now join the chorus of condemnation when they were all too happy to kiss Murdoch's ring just a week earlier; Cameron, Clegg & Miliband all attended News International's summer party recently. It's touched upon elsewhere in Paul Mason's article:
"The strength of the Murdoch newspaper and TV empire was that it occupied the commanding heights of a kind of journalism that dispenses power, intimidates and influences politicians and shapes political outcomes."
That "kind of journalism" is now under the cosh as never before ( it is, indeed, Middle England's Hillsborough moment). That cosh should be wielded repeatedly & mercilessly until we know the beast is dead. The rest of the country can now look to Merseyside's boycott of Murdoch's rags as just one tactic to employ. It's a tactic highlighted just yesterday in a brilliantly observed composition by Billy Bragg (http://vimeo.com/26203800 ).