Allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World resurfaced this week following an investigation by the New York Times which looked at past allegations as well as a new case being legally pursued by a third party. This has led to calls today for a judicial review from industry bodies and politicians.
But coverage of the event by the rest of the media has come under criticism by numerous publications and bloggers.
Caroline Crampton at the New Statesman reflected on the issue the day after the story broke, when she claims the Guardian was the only national newspaper to have reported on the NYTimes article at the time.
The Times, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Mirror all failed to cover the story at all. Considering that the investigation uncovers a widespread culture of phone-hacking at a major Sunday paper, with one source saying “Everyone knew. The office cat knew”, I would have thought that Fleet Street would have more to say about the low tactics employed by one of its number.
But the silence on the Coulson story from the rest is almost eerie. Papers are usually desperate to expose each other’s failures. Why are they holding back?
Online media watchdog Tabloid Watch makes the same points, while editor of the Liberal Conspiracy blog Sunny Hundal wrote on the Guardian website that while he expected News International publications to avoid the topic, he was disappointed by a lack of coverage on BBC radio early on.
It comes as little surprise News International subsidiaries and other tabloids have avoided it. But the BBC’s radio silence also speaks volumes: not just about their deference to the new administration, but of unwillingness to investigate their peers. It needed the New York Times to blow the story wide open again.
(…) The conscience of our country is determined more by Rupert Murdoch’s private interests than is healthy, already. These controversies say less about rightwing bloggers (whose smears are used as a proxy) and more about the collusion that takes place among the media establishment.
However the BBC has since followed up on the Time’s report, including an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme with Lord John Prescott this morning discussing his own concerns of being targeted by phone hackers while BBC Surrey’s Nick Wallis yesterday discussed the report, admitting that the BBC had only touched on the issue “from time to time” but said he would be writing to every Conservative MP in Surrey and asking them if they are happy that David Cameron kept former NOTW editor Andy Coulson as his PR man.
The article by the New York Times is due to be published in its Sunday magazine this weekend.