Sunday, 29 January 2012

“Draining the Swamp” – Et tu, Brute!

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.


  1. Anonymous29 January 2012 10:20

    Fascinating insight. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

  2. Anonymous29 January 2012 10:45

    Perhaps they shouldn't have been breaking law? Maybe?

    1. Neville Thurlbeck29 January 2012 10:51

      Be careful. These men are innocent until proven otherwise. News International have been trawling through old expense claims and flagging up, "Beers with cops" as possible evidence of corruption!

    2. Reply
  3. patrick29 January 2012 10:52

    All well and good, what you say sounds about right - but then there is what you do not say...
    such as "Sorry".

    You appear to belong to the pack of those trying to make sure the blame for being utterly corrupt scumbags all falls on others, rather than accept that, for a period somewhat longer than 1 day, you were an intrinsic piece of mud in that swamp.

    The pride in the so called "great journalism" of the Sun, or any other tabloid, just won't wash - you all got paid from the same kind of shitty prostitution of any real moral values that put me off a career in journalism way back in the 80s, and you, definitely you, helped to promote it.

    Everyone, including you, who was or is in it needs to come clean and stop pretending - "it waz 'im/them" - only full and contrite confessions can give you any real credibility.

    1. Neville Thurlbeck29 January 2012 11:07

      Please see the Channel 4 News interview I gave last week Patrick which addresses what you say. It's still on line. Please try to keep your response clean too.

    2. Reply
  4. Anonymous29 January 2012 11:16

    An offensive comment from a tabloid newspaper company? Oh, surely not. My heart bleeds. The tabloids made a business out of screwing people over, why are we supposed to feel any sympathy now that they're eating their own?

  5. Anonymous29 January 2012 11:52

    Strange that that nobdy in the industry has come forth and made a public full confession of all they new during their time in that murky world where none of the key players can remember anything! (great people to have in an important industry)even today after all this time, presumably fiddling or destroying evidence & everyone elses careers.
    Dont hide behind public interest either, most was hardly Watergate material was it, armchair journalism & a quick buck seems to be the order of the day, your responsibilties & positions of Trust has been forgotten many years ago.
    Long live the search for the Whole Truth !
    Those who stand in its way beware!

  6. Anonymous29 January 2012 11:56

    I was just reading the letter that Tom Mockridge sent yesterday to the staff and he was saying that the arrests came after evidence was given to the police by News Corporation and that those interviewed yesterday were provided legal support by the company.
    All these just sounds weird to me. And it makes me agree with you about the hypocrisy and what you previously had written about "New News Int and Old News Int" in your "News International's Crisis of Trust - The Readers" blog entry.

    Here is the letter that was sent yesterday to the staff:

  7. Anonymous29 January 2012 11:59

    Keep the response clean, but don't forget to stick a teenager's tits (sorry, breasts) on the end...The Sun doesn't do great journalism. It does badly written copy aimed at the intellectual level of the average eight year old. Fact. Never has there been a better example of Nietzsche's assertion that the press is 'prostitution of the intellect'!

    1. Anonymous30 January 2012 14:11

      Utter bilge. The Sun's 'copy' as you describe it is regarded throughout the industry - including the erudite lot at the broadsheets - as the best in the business. You will seldom spot an error or a clumsy headline in that red top.
      And as for your Nietzsche reference, I think that underscores your ignorance and contempt for the working class.

    2. Reply
  8. Anonymous29 January 2012 15:49

    If we accept Tom Watson's description of 'Mafia' then there is reason to go gently on gang members who accept their role and help dismantle the organisation such that it can never be rebuilt. 'Sorry' and some genuine attempts at restitution are essential parts of that bundle.

Add comment
Load more...