Monday, 18 July 2011

Cross-Continental Bullshit

No fewer than two (count 'em!) people have asked me this week whether I see the current wave of scandal that has engulfed the News of the World doing any damage on American shores.

Well, there have been politicians on both sides of the aisle calling for investigations (which is notable in a political climate where it's difficult to get both sides to agree that deliberately ruining the US economy is a bad idea), and it's been widely reported that the FBI is getting its investigation on, though whether they treat the matter any more seriously than John Yates did remains to be seen. [1]

Actually, though, I think the biggest indication that things are liable to go pear-shaped across the pond comes from one of Murdoch's own mouth-pieces, the Wall Street JournalThis op-ed is so ridiculously prickly and filled with preemptive vitriol that it's distinctly reminiscent of Paul McMullan's "defense" from Newsnight: i.e. it works from the principle that one should fight fire with fire, even when in one's own house during a gas leak.

The whole article is worth reading, it's an instant classic in (if not textbook example of) the "No-one is completely innocent therefore no-one can be considered guilty" genre of rebuttals.  You know, the one that goes "MSNBC leans liberal, so what the big deal when FOX says Democratic politicians are in league with paedophiles?".  This is my favourite part, though:
The idea that the BBC and the Guardian newspaper aren't attempting to influence public affairs, and don't skew their coverage to do so, can't stand a day's scrutiny.
It's certainly true that anyone spending a day checking whether the Guardian attempts to influence public affairs has wasted 23 hours and 55 minutes, but then that has nothing to do with the investigation or the outcry.  The WSJ is trying to employ the "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone" defense that Jesus employed to save an adulteress, but in their case the actual quote would be closer to "Let he who has never slept with their wife throw the first stone."

In short, this is the same crap McMullen tried to pull on Steve Coogan: if you're entirely happy with legal activity, then you're a hypocrite if you object to illegal activity which achieves the same end.  The WSJ, in fairness, have a much stronger claim to innocence than McMullen did, at least right now, but that doesn't make their argument any weaker, or their desperate attempts to throw mud in all directions any less unpalatable.

[1] Amazingly, John Yates has managed to knock Captain Mike Yates from the top spot of "Biggest traitor with the surname Yates".  And Mike drew a gun on the fucking Doctor.


Tomsk said...

Well, it's at least refreshing to hear the authentic voice of Murdoch. Get the popcorn ready for tomorrow's hearing...

SpaceSquid said...

It's going to be difficult pretending I care about something as irrelevant as diagnostic medicing tomorrow, I have to confess. Does popcorn taste better when you pour beer on it?

Tomsk said...

Don't forget a thick layer of clotted Schadenfreude

SpaceSquid said...

I may have to stop writing A Tale Of Cocktails: I suspect you've just beaten anything I could come up with.