Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The most extraordinary contribution to the debate on the News of the World scandal

Earlier today the Daily Telegraph published a blog post by its "chief leader writer" David Hughes.
Under the headline "What is the BBC really trying to do with its Milly Dowler coverage?" he writes:
While the allegations are – in David Cameron’s well-chosen words – “truly dreadful”, do they warrant this level of news overkill? Well, they do if there is a commercial interest at stake – and the one element of the story the BBC seems coy about is that it is itself a player in a particularly frenzied media battle.
This is bizarre.

It's not just the BBC that has led with this story: every television station and newspaper (even The Times) has done so. And this evening Channel 4 News broke new developments that have left the BBC trailing.

But far more important, the behaviour of the News of the World is a moral outrage. You don't need some underlying economic motive to be outraged by it. You just need to be a decent human being.

It is far more profitable to speculate on Hughes's own motivation.

Is he a free-market zealot who resents the BBC's very existence. Is he hoping for a job at News International having seen the writing on the wall at the Telegraph? Perhaps he made an ill-judged joke about one of the Barclay twins at its last Christmas party?

But one question, above all, presents itself: If Hughes is the paper's chief leader writer, what can the others be like?

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