Rebekah Wade, the editor of the Sun, gave her Cudlipp lecture last night and, following a path trodden by Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, she bemoans “the drip, drip of case law in the High Court without any reference to parliament” that is leading to a privacy law by the back door.
So far, so dull — but then she namechecks campaigns such as the Times pushing for the Reform Act of 1832 and investigations into thalidomide victims by the Sunday Times under Harold Evans.
Hmm, cleaning up massive parliamentary corruption and an almost decade-long struggle to secure adequate compensation for thousands of people born with deformed limbs.
… Ok, those are both good things that newspapers did.
She even says: “Great investigations, like yesterday’s Sunday Times exposé of the Labour Lords are lifeblood to newspapers. ”
… Yes, yes they are. Where is this going?
But it is “the epitome of self-flagellation when The Guardian publishes Max Mosley’s views on press freedom”.
Hooray — did you see what she did there? Why flagellate yourself when “Nazi” hookers will do it for you.
Is this for real? Can the editor of the Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper really be comparing the genuine work that papers do fighting on their readers’ behalf with the prurient, moralising muck-raking of the News of the World’s Max Mosley “investigation”?
Does anyone really at this stage not get the fact that the Lords investigation, while important, doesn’t interest that many Sun readers, while the Mosley “investigation”, while utterly trivial, had them slavering for more?
Can’t we stop pretending that this is about the courts’ erosion of “freedoms hard won over centuries” and about satisfying a lust, feeding a need and making a buck?
Or is it just that if law is made with “reference to parliament” rather than by inconvenient judges, then Rupert Murdoch and Mr Dacre know exactly on whom to call to have their curtain-twitcher’s licences reinstated?