Notes From the Margins…

The News of the World: RIP

  • July 08, 2011
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Having once spent many weekends outside Fortress Wapping in the 1980s, I will make no attempt to disguise the fact that it was  a hugely enjoyable experience to observe the dark heart of   the Murdoch empire  laid bare yesterday – and the disappearance of one its sleaziest and most amoral  publications.

Nor do the NOTW’s claims to have been a  ‘campaigning newspaper’ diminish the schadenfreude.     Throughout its career,  the NOTW had a single objective: to increase its circulation – and it proved time and time again that this goal would not be limited by any ethical and moral considerations.         So I will resist the invitation extended by the likes of Max Clifford to shed a sentimental tear at the demise of this ‘great British institution’ and just say  good riddance – and also  hope that  maybe those two and half million readers can now find something more constructive to do with their Sunday mornings instead of sticking their faces into a dank pool of sleaze and gossip whose creators are prepared to  hack into the phones of murdered schoolgirls and dead soldiers in order to provide them with a vicarious thrill.

Of course there are other papers that are offering a similar product, and which have undoubtedly used similar methods.     The NOTW’s  closure may not be definitive, and there is also the possibility that the equally repellent Sun may take its place.       Murdoch clearly doesn’t care about any of his newspapers,  and he and his son have set their sights on bigger things elsewhere, but  the events of the last two days have nevertheless  damaged and humiliated their seemingly unstoppable and iressistible organization, and that can only be good.

The whole affair has also revealed the corrupt and incestuous relationship between News International and police and both Labour and Conservative politicians, whose belated moral revulsion toward Murdoch’s activities has clearly been reluctantly forced upon them.      All this is positive too, and let’s hope there is more to come.     For as Jack Kerouac once said when he suggested the title of The Naked Lunch for William Burrough’s book of the same name, there are moments when you need to see what is on the end of your fork, and the  phonetapping scandal has finally made it impossible for the British public  and political establishment to eat what is  on the end of theirs.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Speirs

    9th Jul 2011 - 4:38 pm

    You don’t seem to let up much these days Matt… I have quickly become one of your avid readers… I never liked the NOTW anyway! Happily it has never been sold in DK, which isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of gutter presses around in these Scandinavian parts. It’s great that you are online with wise words on all sorts of subjects. I particularly enjoyed your description of the border poets gathering. On the media, writers, the moral morass and global challenges, check out a recent address to the German association of journalists by Günter Grass, published in German in the Suddeutsche Zeitung. The main theme is the unholy alliance of (fantastically rich)bankers, businessmen and politicians in European countries and the democratic deficit that has arisen as these elites are increasingly out of touch with the ordinary (poor) masses. He also observes that Camus was on the mark in his study of Sysyphos (not sure how you spell it). I remember you once wrote something about that struggle too. Anyway, take care and keep on blogging on! Incidentally while on the subject of morals, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the DSK case and the differences in how his nasty story has been reported in the US and France and by men and women…

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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