Panic in UK tabloid ranks as phone hacking scandal gets much nearer to big names

More evidence is emerging almost daily about the fetid pool British tabloid hacks cheerfully swam in through the last decade.

We already know that News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking, as was his sidekick freelance private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Coalition government director of communications Andy Coulson had to resign over the growing scandal, just as he did as the editor of the NoW in 2007, although he denied (and continues to deny) any knowledge of the affair.

But now it’s emerged in the Guardian and other places that one Jonathan Rees, a convicted criminal, was paid huge amounts of money by the NoW and other tabloids for bribing police officers for information that he sold to the tabloids (before and after his conviction for an unrelated offence).

Tonight the BBC’s Panorama programme alleged that another senior New International executive, Irish editor Alex Marunchak, paid a phone hacker to invade the phone of a British Intelligence officer.

So it’s inconceivable that the top bananas at these papers didn’t know what was going on. And what a list they are.

At the time when tabloid newsrooms (not just the News of the World) were cheerfully hacking every celebrity voicemail in sight there was Coulson editing the NoW, his former boss Rebekah Wade at the Sun (she’s now boss of News International in the UK) and even high-profile CNN host Piers Morgan (a former editor of the News of the World) at the Mirror (he was fired in 2004).

Not to mention the ultimate managements of News Corporation, Trinity Mirror and others.

The buck has to stop somewhere of course and for years it’s looked like a few underlings would be the sacrificial lambs.

But with more evidence emerging daily and the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service at loggerheads with the Metropolitan Police over the way the investigation has been handled (the Met has tried its damndest to sweep the matter under the carpet) the prospects for Fleet’s Street’s former finest of avoiding embarrassment and possibly worse do not look good.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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    Mr Foster; are you an olde truth-teller? If so can you explain why, since June 1970, there have been D notices all over the fact that Edward Heath’s first executive act on entering No.10 was to call around the Special Branch for the ensuing Monday morning and set Official seals and locks on the doors of Barbara Castle’s ‘PRICES AND INCOMES BOARD’ and excluded all the very effective personnel from their place of work and sent them to become Civil Servants elsewhere. Some might have been at The Price Commission the phony-baloney replacement devised by Heath-Barber-Methven which, when it was finally shut down was found to have some seven millions of unopened reply-paid envelopes asking for price increases from just about every supermarket manager in the U.K. The increases went ahead of course resulting in as much as 27percent grocery price inflation which was conveniently blamed on the last Labour Government under Wilson and Callaghan. This line was adhered to later by M.Thatcher waving her innacurately-devised SHOPPING Basket around in electioneering and the original D Notices must have still been in place. How long do these bloody D Notices last? We have had the above board revelation of the collusive Retail Consortium since those times in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s , we have had retail profits [declared] running into tens and even hundreds of billions sterling. Isn’t it about time that the truth was told to the great unwashed. I was making titchy cheap commercials in the basement of McCann-Erickson House while Martyn Boggon and others were coaching Heath to become a talking head in a light-coloured suit. He was actually trolling around the basement tape suite in his underwear while Horne Brothers down the road at St.Giles Circus were being kept open to supply dove grey trews and jackets etc.!!! History in the making – Yer Tiz!