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Hats off to Nick Davies

News of the World

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There’s so much coverage of the shutting down of the News of the World, including mine, but I’m not seeing anyone talking about the journalist at the heart of this story – but who comes out with his reputation and morals intact.

Nick Davies has for four years kept this story alive, ignoring every threat and denial from News International, and always trusting his sources and instincts.

News of the World editor told staff yesterday: “The Guardian was out to get us, and they got us,” almost inferring a personal vendetta. But this is business: Davies uncovers wrong-doing for a living. NOTW may have hacked as many as 4,000 phones, including missing schoolchildren and war heroes’ families.

This video chat with him is worth watching. Here’s an excerpt:

 It’s about power and the power elite and the way that the power elite tend to look after each other. I think it’s reasonable to observe that the Murdoch corporation has too much power and its’ evident in the way that the police, the Press Complaints Commission and some politicians automatically backed off and said ‘let’s not cause trouble, they might hurt us’, that they already had too much power when all this was going on on.

It seems to me highly unlikely that it’s in the interests of society as a whole to give that too powerful group yet more power.

I rather think the threat from Murdoch owning more stuff is slightly over-stated but it’s hard to argue with his analysis of the forces that were holding back the reporting of tabloid journalism’s excesses during the last few decades. Much like with MPs’ expenses, the rules or transparency have now been re-written.

Davies is scathing about the Met police, whose fear of “causing trouble with this newspaper empire” saw multiple investigations dropped, despite live evidence. “There are senior officers who must be seriously considering whether they should resign,” he says.

Oh and Davies also casually says that he’s spoken to NOTW hacks (pun intended) who in 2005 asked Glenn Mulcaire to hack the voicemails of David Cameron and George Osbourne. If Davies’s reporting on this so far is any guide, you’d be foolish to question him.

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