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Tabloid trickery versus the right to know


Probity is Britain’s new watchword. After filleting the bankers over their salaries and bonuses and excoriating MPs for fiddling their expenses we’ve now turned our attention to the antics of journalists.

The News of the World (NOTW) has frequently embarrassed politicians, vicars, footballers and celebrities, but the Sunday red-top is currently itself the target of an expose by a broadsheet.

According to a report in The Guardian, reporters at the “News of the Screws” worked with private investigators to access “two or three thousand” private mobile phones belonging to celebrities, MPs and public figures.

Those private investigators apparently intercepted voicemail messages and gained access to personal data such as itemised phone bills and bank statements.

Did the press make the crisis worse?

As the British economy continues to nosedive, an intriguing sideshow has been going on about who should we blame for the financial meltdown.

Since building society Northern Rock went belly up, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s mantra has been to link Britain’s economic problems to credit flows seizing up due to the subprime crisis in the United States.

Not surprisingly the Conservative party blames Brown. Champagne-swilling, overpaid, bonus-fuelled bankers have come in for plenty of criticism from the general public.