IT’S SAD News International had to describe the arrests of Sun men Chris Pharo, Graham Dudman, Fergus Shanahan and the legendary crime editor Mike Sullivan as, ‘draining the swamp’.
Notwithstanding the allegations, this is a deeply offensive comment on nearly 100 years of journalistic excellence and dedication to News International.
As ever, the stab in the back is given to the press anonymously as News International attempts to wash its face in the anguished perspiration of those who gave their lives to it. They did this to me too last year.
They and those who collude with this approach are fast becoming reviled in our small industry.
In 1998, I was accused of the very same business as these four men are today.
Then, Rupert Murdoch backed me to the hilt. To the tune of £360,000 in legal fees. With the promise of keeping my job even if I went to jail by two of his most senior lieutenants.
(Which is why I found it odd he should say he’d never heard of me to the CMS Committee last year.)
I rang one of these lieutenants to seek their reassurance and got it.
Another said publicly at a champagne ‘do’ in the editor’s office to celebrate my acquittal, that my future had never been in doubt. “Rupert was behind you all the way. That’s why I could give you my assurance that your job was always safe,” the person told me and the assembled group of a dozen or so executives.
So you see, I know how bogus News International’s position is and the outrage it now affects.
The decision to let me continue had to be sanctioned at the very highest level. That man, Rupert Murdoch, is still there.
In 1998, I was allowed to continue in my post for 18 months while on police bail on the principle that I was innocent until proven guilty.
The following year, I went on to win Scoop of the Year at the British Press Awards and given a series of pay rises which eventually made me one of the highest paid reporters at News International.
All while still on police bail and awaiting trial.
I suspect for these four men, their feet won’t touch the ground, so quickly will they be thrown from the building and then to the wolves.
And instead of trying to build a case for their defence, their employer will search every corner for what it believes to be evidence of their guilt and run gleefully to the police with it.
With Matt Nixson, they were begging the police to arrest him after they dismissed him for alleged wrong-doing frantically waving all sorts of tripe evidence.
Humiliatingly, the police weren’t remotely interested.
Back to the repugnant metaphor, ‘draining the swamp’.
News International would have us conveniently forget it is it which created the situation it now finds itself in.
Let’s be clear about this, it is the organisation itself which is the swamp.
And no amount of feigned outrage will persuade us otherwise.
As I said ten days ago in my blog ‘News International’s Crisis of Trust – The Readers’, the company is like a porcelain cup which has broken and come back from the invisible menders. No one will ever feel confident when they sup from it again.
Tread lightly on these men’s reputations. They earned them through hard graft to make your owner rich. And keep you in a nice, safe job.
Good luck to all of you on The Sun.
Let the courts condemn. Not the court jesters.