“Welcome to the world of journalism, Nick Davies,” smugs Kelvin MacKenzie at the start of his righteousness-soused defence of ex-boss Rupert Murdoch in the Spectator. The correction of the original story about the hacking of Milly Dowler’s voicemail has been snatched at by defenders of News International as if it was the company’s salvation. There’s no evidence the voicemails were deleted by anyone employed by or acting for the NOTW, so the NOTW didn’t do anything wrong.
To accept that, of course, you have to accept that listening in to someone else’s voicemail is a perfectly moral activity, as long as you follow campsite rules and leave things as you found them. It’s the “privacy is for paedos” argument, according to which every part of everyone’s lives should be perpetually open to journalistic scrutiny. Anyone who thinks the Murdoch empire is redeemed by Davies’ correction is saying they are a-OK with skimming off a family’s private grief about the loss of their child. Welcome to the moral world of Kelvin MacKenzie.
© Sarah Ditum, 2011