Bread & Circuses
The howls of protest surrounding the story that News of The World reporters hacked into murdered teeanger, Milly Dowler’s mobile phone just after her disappearance is a little hard to take from the likes of New Labour ministers and MPs and other media organisations such as the BBC and other papers who would like to pretend that they’re not part of the self same ‘media circus’ themsleves.
The use of private investigators by tabloid papers to tap into the phone calls made by politicians, celebrities and murder victims may seem repellant and it is, but that’s because people buy this shit in their millions and without that public demand for scandal, for gossip and gore there would be no need for ‘news’ papers to hack into private conversations on the off chance that may uncover some seedy affair, act of corruption or immoral/criminal act. The recent Ryan Giggs fiasco only highlighted how ridiculous superinjuctions and antiquated privacy laws are in the internet age. The power of newspapers to dictate the agenda has largely been taken away from them by twitter, facebook and other instant forms of communication where the abstract ‘laws’ of privacy cannot be enforced (yet!).
But still the timid political class run scared of Murdoch and his News International mandarins, inflating his power to influence public opinion that has little or no basis in fact. Yes, during the 80s The Sun may have held sway with a certain swathe of idiotic working class voters who could be swayed to vote against their own interests by a barrage of ‘Loony Lefty’ stories. Fuck them! Basildon Man can shove his Littlejohn prejudices where The Sun don’t shine.
But ofcourse Littlejohn’s gone upmarket with his core readership, now he’s one of Paul Dacre’s pet bile hounds, penning fascistic columns for The Daily Heil. The Mail has replaced The Sun as the arbiter of impotent Middle English rage. Those Old Labour voters don’t count for shit and neither for that matter do the Old Guard Blue Rinse Tories, it’s the millions upon millions of floating voters out in the marginals where the balance of power lies. That’s why Miliband and Cameron/Clegg reduce their ideology to a set of handy buzzwords just as Major/Blair/Brown babbled on about ‘traditonal values/respect/hard working families’ etc.
The problem with the Milly Dowler outrage is that the incestuous gentleman’s club regulation of the press has been an abject failure for decades and this has resulted in a tabloid press that has sought to sensationalise and pollute our culture with its emphasis on celebrity and wealth, sex and death. It was perhaps always this way yet the utter degradation of the tabloid press over the past decade or so has lead tv news producers in particular to follow the tabloids lead instead of retaining objective news values. The media circus has corrupted the media from top to bottom with its 24 hour rolling tickertape dependence on instancy. Thus the Giggs adultery story becomes a matter for parliamentary outrage and the real injustices and criminal acts are ignored.
John ‘Lord’ Prescott can huff and puff all he likes about ‘The Murdoch Press’ because he was ‘deputy prime minister’ for over a decade and his snivelling bunch of careerists and opportunist blood suckers never stood up to Rupert or Dacre or the public school old school tie brigade and city tax avoiders and swindlers because they were after those cushy peerages and directorships and IMF/EU posts themselves. Little people like the Dowlers are allowed to be crushed by the legal system and the media because in the end, people like you and me, buy this shit, end of…..