Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Leveson is the tabloids’ worst nightmare come true!

Just a quick take on the Leveson Inquiry which started slowly but is now building up a real head of steam.

For years the British tabloid press went about its business secure in the knowledge that it would always have the last word. Got caught printing a false story? “Never mind, we’ll print a retraction on page 42 and if the ‘victim’ tries to take it any further we’ll set the attack dogs on him.”

It was enough to ward off even the bravest of the brave. But now, as a result of Leveson, the last word goes to the victims and it is compelling viewing.

For the tabloids the impact of their modus operandi on targets is being laid bare for all to see and hear. The count so far is four alleged suicides, a burglary, a stay in a mental health institution, job losses galore, heartache and cruelty.

Much has been written about the Dowler family’s testimony yesterday, but Hugh Grant’s was equal to it. Responding to charges that he traded on his good name to get publicity he told the inquiry: “I don’t have a good name. I’m the man who was arrested with a prostitute.”

The Daily Mail responded today with characteristic venom to allegations of phone hacking by Grant, but it’s anger only reinforces the victim’s narrative of bullying, arrogant and heartless behaviour.

These are dangerous times for the Red Tops. The tables have been turned and the narrative of the story is beginning to run away from them. Crucially, social media and online news sites are giving the British public unfiltered updates in real time.

By the time the Daily Mail is read next morning we’ve been chewing over and discussing what we’ve seen and heard for the best part of a day.

The truth is that the tabloids have lost control of the situation and their traditional defence that these are "victimless crimes" has never sounded so hollow!


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