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Rupert Murdoch - by Les Hinton

Started by listohan, May 28, 2018, 05:21:33 AM

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Dave Hughes

Yes, it's a nice interview by Rachel Cooke of Murdoch's ex right-hand man Les Hinton who has a book out called "Bootle Boy."

Hinton says he loved the 12 years he spent at Wapping from which the phone hacking was carried out.

Les comes across as a working-class northener who refuses to see the bad side of an organisation that made him wealthy.

Rachel Cooke nails it at the end, though:
He then talks about the dawn raids, all those journalists who were arrested, charged and, in the end, not convicted. Brooks's trial, in his eyes, was nothing more than a show. "It was like the air catching fire," he says. "The police accused of being too close to News International, the police then overreacting to everything, the baying of the politicians." Amazingly – shockingly, perhaps – he thinks Goodman should not have been sent to prison for his crimes, a "guy who's got no other blemish on his record". Does he feel the same about Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World and adviser to David Cameron who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for phone hacking? "I thought prison was... a bit rough. He is a very talented man. This bit of wrongdoing didn't make him a bad newspaperman or for that matter an evil person."

Didn't make him a bad newspaperman. As a newspaperwoman who began her own career at News International (I used to avoid meeting Hinton's eye in the lift on the way to the canteen), this statement strikes me as hollow and wilfully blind and it stays with me long after I leave him. Good newspaper people need, in Nick Tomalin's peerless phrase, a certain amount of ratlike cunning. But there are reporters everywhere who deliver important stories without resorting to breaking the law. They are the good newspapermen and women. When Hinton talks of the importance of the freedom of the press, describing, for instance, the way the famous condemnation of the hanging of Ruth Ellis by Cassandra in the Daily Mirror worked on him as a boy of 11, I'm with him all the way. But this stuff makes me feel more equivocally about him, which is a shame, because he is smart, nice and fun – and just like him, I do love to gossip about inky old times.
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