Watching the News of the World story these past few days has been little more than watching a train wreck in motion.
Let's get one thing clear from the off. I think the News of the World was shit. It was gutter journalism that did nothing but seek out scandal and embarass valueless celebrities to fuel what can only be described as the most embarassing part of British society. It's target audience was the type of person who has to use velcro instead of laces if they ever want to leave the house every day, and I wont for a single second miss it. The same incedentally goes for the likes of the Sun as well, but that's beside the point. The events that followed though are a reflection of everything that's wrong with the western world. The Murdochs' response was so arrogant as to have the nerve to claim that they were impressed by Rebekah Brooks integrity and morals, and to be able to say that and keep a straight face was unbelieveable. So while I'm happy to see the News of the World off the shelves, and let's face it, nobody was ever going to buy it or advertise in it again, the approach of sacking the staff who are there now, and ignoring the cause of the problem is insulting to the intelligence of everyone.
We don't need time to analyse Brooks' excuses that she was on holiday every time someone hacked a phone, it's akin to being told the dog ate the kids' homework. Nobody alive with an education that prevents them from trying to walk through panes of glass is going to believe that, but it all points back to the same thing. Arrogance. News International seem to genuinely believe that they can do whatever they want with no consequences. It's the most glaringly obvious display of absolute power in the modern world that anyone's ever seen. As I type an ex-NotW Journo is tweeting while Rebekah Brooks announces she won't be leaving, and we discover that apparently Rupert Murdoch is angry with David Cameron for having the nerve to investigate him. Who the hell is allowed enough power that they can criticise a Prime Minister for launching an investigation into the continually illgeal and immoral actions of their own organisation? And don't forget when Murdoch's not happy with the PM that's the same as threatening to bring down a government.
The best thing to come from this week hasn't been the death of the NotW though, it's been the example that Twitter has set for showing the likes of Murdoch and Brooks, and countless others who are no doubt bricking it at the moment that it's the people who ultimately get to be the judge. The days of media giants dictating what the world sees and thinks are coming to an end. The citizen journalists are providing warts and all opinions and evidence of anything that the powers that be don't like, and are begining to realise just how much they can do. We're seeing this in Athens with footage of incredible Police violence that makes the Ian Tomlinson case look like a playground scrap, and we're seeing this in the UK with the forced humiliation of the Murdochs and Brooks (regardless of what happens with their jobs). Yes, the likes of Twitter and YouTube are in their early days at this, and mistakes and lynch mobs are making mistakes, but weeks like this have shown us that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel, and with luck that light will be showing us the end of the likes of Rebekah Brooks by the time the weekend is over.