Richard Lutz says there is no fast fix to the News of the World scandal. So, sit back and wait
My friend Phil, the second hand car dealer from Leeds, has come up with a profound analysis about the News of the World scandal.
But first an automotive tip: he says in an almost quasi-religious tone that the Y Reg Honda Civic is one of the best cars in the world with a chassis like a Hummer and the turnability just right for those crazy Birmingham street. Alas, what he doesn’t mention is the body work crumbles if you look at it.
But to his worldy view on the News International mess. He turns to Watergate, that Nixon scandal from the mid 1970’s. Older folks kind of remember it in bits and younger folks have no idea what you’re taking about.
To refresh leaky memory banks: President Nixon’s office, if not the boss himself, ordered thieves to ransack the headquarters of their political opponents in the run up to the 1972 election in the States.
What Phil from Leeds argues is that the scandal took years to unravel. But with the magic of collective collapsing memory, we tend to wrap it all up in a convenient tidy ball as if it fell out of the sky fully formed, ready for the front page and with keys jangling to open the prison doors so upper middle class lawyers and political types could head for the cells.
It was slow burn, says second hand car dealer Phil from Leeds, a daily onslaught of allegation and outright denial and, a steady diet of front page investigations that led to justice. In tiome, readers were getting sick of the Watergate affair. Some took great offence at the coverage. I remember plummy-voiced US radio commentator Alistair Cooke of BBC 4 fame telling the world to lay off poor President Nixon. A month later, the beleaguered politician resigned.
Now comes (ahem) Murdoch-gate. And Phil has the same warning.
This is a slow burn. It is drip-drip. It will take years to bottom out and get to the truth. It will take dogged productive journalism that will bore many and outrage others. But it is important and necessary. And hopefully end in justice.
+The writer wishes to inform UK readers (well, the single UK reader) of this column that tonight at 11.05pm on BBC2 is the greatest sci fi film ever: Blade Runner: Final Cut. If you liked the original, you will love this re-edit. It changes the whole movie but the mood, visuals and heavy duty twisty story still remains vital and gripping.