“Crusading” News of the World or “sanctimonious” Guardian?

Written By: - Date published: 4:00 pm, July 11th, 2011 - 22 comments
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In today’s DomPost Andrea Vance has a tell-some-of-it op-ed piece about her days working in the Scottish edition of the News of the World. In it she says  “it was The Guardian that has, rather sanctimoniously, pursued the News of the World.” I’ve been following this story closely and found that put-down offensive.

Andrea Vance describes how:

“I’ve signed kiss-and-tell deals in an interviewee’s home while rivals were leaning on the doorbell, trying to up the bid, yelling numbers. Sources were babysat at secret locations for days – sometimes weeks – on end. More hours than I’d care to count were spent sitting in cars outside houses in case another hack came to knock on the door. Bewildered ordinary people thrust into the news were hounded into telling their stories with exaggerated tales of what might happen if they didn’t “set the record straight”.

But then she goes on to say:

“The News of the World built up a formidable reputation in its 168 years for aggressively pursuing the truth, shining a light on hypocrisy and championing the downtrodden and the victims of injustice. Some of the proudest moments during my time at the paper were giving a voice to someone who was powerless against or exploited by authority. That crusading journalistic spirit was the backbone of the News of the World – I hope it isn’t the greatest casualty of all.”

I don’t know if Andrea has worked at the News of the World since Murdoch took it over in 1969. What I am sure about is that journalism doesn’t need News-style crusading in the Murdoch fashion, harassing bewildered ordinary people.

And not just ordinary people.  This story in the New York Times tells how Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World, and now Murdoch’s priority, treated Claire Short, pictured on the front page, who had the guts and the principles to resign as a Minister over Blair’s invasion of Iraq.

At a lunch in Westminster, Ms. Short mentioned in passing that she did not care for the photographs of saucy, topless women that appear every day on Page 3 of the populist tabloid The Sun, “I’d like to take the pornography out of our press,” she said.

Big mistake.

“ ‘Fat, Jealous’ Clare Brands Page 3 Porn” was The Sun’s headline in response. Its editor, Rebekah Wade (now Rebekah Brooks and the chief executive of News International, Mr. Murdoch’s British subsidiary), sent a busload of semi-dressed models to jeer at Ms. Short at her house in Birmingham. The paper stuck a photograph of Ms. Short’s head over the body of a topless woman and found a number of people to declare that, in fact, they thoroughly enjoyed the sexy photos.

Crusading journalism? I don’t think so. Here’s Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist whose persistence over several years led the dam finally breaking telling the story of how it unfolded.

On the other hand, Andrea Vance says:

And yes, I’m aware some pretty dubious and underhand things went on in the pursuit of truth.

But there’s not a sorry in her story. Judge for yourself which form of journalism you prefer and where the sanctimony lies.

22 comments on ““Crusading” News of the World or “sanctimonious” Guardian?”

  1. ianupnorth 1

    The Sun and the News of the World were also the purveyors of lies in relation to the Hillsborough disaster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_Disaster#The_Sun_newspaper

  2. seeker 2

    Charlie Brooker writes about the “lasty News of the World ‘ being decidedly odd and smelling as though it had been strangely scented by “rose petals”:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/10/charlie-brooker-news-of-the-world

    Perhaps Andrea Vance, who has just lost any credibility she had left as a worthwhile journalist in my opinion, “scent” the rose petals!! Read Charlie Brooker’s comment for the reality check.

  3. Mike Smith 4

    Here’s another take on the Guardian’s crusader role from the New York Times: “The Guardian stayed on the phone-hacking story like a dog on a meat bone, acting very much in the British tradition of a crusading press, and goosing the story back to life after years of dormancy. Other papers, including The New York Times, reported executive and police complicity that gave the lie to the company’s “few bad apples” explanation. As recently as last week, Vanity Fair broke stories about police complicity.

    Mr. Murdoch, ever the populist, prefers his crusades to be built on chronic ridicule and bombast. But as The Guardian has shown, the steady accretion of fact — an exercise Mr. Murdoch has historically regarded as bland and elitist — can have a profound effect.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/11/business/media/a-tabloid-shame-exposed-by-honest-rivals.html?pagewanted=2&hp

  4. Vicky32 5

    I have recently read Nick Davies book, Flat Earth News – it’s brilliant…

  5. Red Rosa 6

    Nothing like a free press to bring out the best and worst.

    Hypocrisy enough to go round twice here. The Sun supported Blair, and there was hardly a chorus of complaint from the Labour Party then. And the record of the London tabloids is one thing, the record of the ‘serious’ press another….. check out a few of the Times stories on Germany, from the late 30s….

    Back to the NoW –

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14077634

    Food for thought.

    And then, of course, if people didn’t want to read it, they didn’t have to buy the paper…

    Maybe the worst aspect of the current scandal is the payoffs to bent coppers in Scotland Yard.

  6. Rich 7

    They were in league with corrupt cops in 1967 before Murdoch took over.

    The right-wing media and the right-wing governments of the UK are in a symbiotic relationship.

  7. Frederick 8

    I much prefer the sactimonious Guardian (my all time favourite newspaper) then The Sun and News of the screws who trade in muck raking, human misery and jingositic twaddle. I felt that Andrea Vances put down was most unfair and as a journalist she should be praising the Guardian for doing what a good newspaper does – search for the truth, Not a trait the likes of The Sun are known for.

    • Frank Macskasy 8.1

      Indeed.

      The NotW simply got a taste of the “medicine” it dished out, by the bucket-ful, to others.

      I feel sympathy for the workers – many of whom probably had nothing to do with the phone-hacking and (alleged) police bribing – but it seems that the NotW was becoming a law unto itself.

      Personally, I hope Murdoch’s quest to buy BSkyB is rejected. But more than that, I hope his media empire is taken apart, but by bit.

      If ever we had an example of “Power corrupts, and absolute power…” then this is it.

  8. prism 9

    The item on how Clare Short was harrassed by The Sun was amazing. The unswerving determination to follow their own hedonistic approaches is the perfect reverse of the fanaticism of religious prudes and the puritanical righteous as they attempt to prevail with their unshakeable rigidities. We have seen in the USA the righteous harrass funerals, abortion clinics etc. It is the same intolerance and inability to see anybody else’s point of view.

  9. Billy Fish 10

    I suggest you down load and listen to the latest edition of the BBC radio4 “The Now Show” for one of the best bits of commentary on this debacle.
    Once again a coemdian being the voice of reason and truth.
    The royal jester can say more truths

  10. Irascible 11

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2013310/Rupert-Murdoch-says-Rebekah-Brooks-priority-faces-police-quiz.html

    The print edition also carried a story about Brooks as a journalist that revealed that her reputation as a reputable journalist was ill deserved built as it was on self serving self interest to gain power inside the Murdoch establishment.

  11. Red Rosa 12

    Not forgetting the Dirty Digger’s US operations. Here is an interesting twist

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/151585/why_rupert_murdoch_love%24_god%3A_world%27s_biggest_sleaze_mogul_also_getting_rich_from_christian_moralizers/

    Ya just gotta luv those bible-bangers!

  12. Carol 13

    And here’s another Guardian article, showing just how NoW targetted Gordon Brown, and also indicating that The Sun and the Sunday Times are also being implicated.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/11/gordon-brown-children-news-international

    No one was safe from the journalists and investigators of Wapping. Not even the country’s prime minister.

    Brown has now revealed that his infant son’s medical records were obtained by the Sun. And the paper went on to publish a story about the child’s serious illness.

    Brown’s tax affairs were the subject of computer hacking. Lawyers were fooled into handing over details from the files.

    The sheer scale of the assault on Brown’s privacy is mind-boggling.

    And there’s more on the lengths the NoW and other papers went to in order to undermine Brown & Labour. This happened over a long period, and included targetting Blair & his team. However, the scale of the targetting of Brown by NoW and other papers is extreme.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/11/phone-hacking-news-international-gordon-brown

    The sheer scale of the data assault on Brown is unusual, with evidence of attempts to obtain his legal, financial, tax, medical and police records as well as to listen to his voicemail. All of these incidents are linked to media organisations. In many cases, there is evidence of a link to News International.

    This doesn’t surprise me because I was aware of how much the UK news outlets were undermining Brown when it was happening.

  13. Tom Gould 15

    Is this the same Andrea Vance who, in a sychophantic gushy puff piece on ‘the media’s new darling’ compared the perfectly darling Key family with Labour which “isn’t seen as a family friendly party – its image of unionists lacks warmth.” Vivid shades of the Wade treatment of Short? Not sure where she turned up from, but she can leave her tory tabloid tricks back in Scotland, in my view.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      yes because all the ‘Family Friendly’ parties in the world seem to want to cut healthcare, cut education, cut wage rates, make it impossible for a single parent to stay at home and look after a child such that both parents must work to make ends meet. And even then, barriers (ECE cuts etc) are put in their way.

      The Right wing are the most family unfriendly, yet we have allowed them to trade on their PR created image of ‘family friendly’.

  14. Snelly Boy 16

    One of the major political stories of the year and no posting from that political junkie DPF!

    Perhaps the challenge of defending the indefensible is just a step too far or is he embarrassed that his “good friend” Cameron has been caught with his pants down.

    • Tom Gould 16.1

      No surprise that Slater and Marshall are keeping a low profile on this one.

  15. Anyone who saw the Melvin Bragg interview of a dying Dennis Potter
    (1994) would realise what a dangerous vile man Murdoch is. He as never backed a Left -Wing cause in his life . And as the late Dennis Potter stated in the above mentioned interview “Is the most dangerous man in the world.

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    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

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