Lori Campbell, role model for the trade
Have you read the libel writ which the McCanns issued against Goncalo Amaral and which is now winding its way through the Portuguese justice system?
No, thought not. Nor have we. The Mirror group has, though, because the McCanns gave it to them. They won’t publish it as a whole so that we can see its contents for ourselves – oh, no, no, just the bits they feel that we should read. Nor will they ever put in print why they accepted it or who exactly discussed it with them and what terms were agreed for its use and who chose the bits to highlight and the bits to leave out. That’s the sort of stuff that we, the people who pay them, are not allowed to know.
This is the same Mirror group which employed the nasty little snitch Lori Campbell, whose denunciation of Robert Murat – for all the world like some horrible Soviet grass sending a Kulak to the camps under Stalin – diverted the Portuguese police effort when it might have been successfully concentrating on certain more likely suspects. The same Lori Campbell who helped Kate McCann secretly spread a pack of lies to the world not just about the police investigation in August 2007 but the scene of the disappearance itself on the night of May 3; the same Lori Campbell whose husband, an exceptionally murky figure behind his aliases, has been arrested on suspicion of major involvement in the hacking scandal. One wonders how lovable Lori would like it if people started going on television now and, instead of respecting her husband’s legal rights, tell the world what a suspiciously dodgy bastard he obviously is, as she did to Murat. Lori Campbell and her husband are not bad apples: no, they are quintessentially typical examples of what the the modern tabloid journalist has become.
How did we ever allow information to be rationed and manipulated in this way? And how did the Mirror, once supposedly a socialist voice for the British working man, come to this – secretly at the service of a couple of Portuguese police suspects? How had a supposed newspaper fallen into the game of withholding the news from its readers, as in the case of the libel writ, rather than providing it? What happened to the idealism that was claimed to drive it – Forward with the People! was its motto – after World War II?
The answer is that the Mirror’s idealism was a cynical invention. Like its sister the Sun it was always a con on its readers, utterly contemptuous of their tastes and abilities and treating them like a giant flock of sheep. For more than forty years after the war the paper pretended to be a sort of working-class rallying sheet, writing soulfully of the miners and their whippets and homing pigeons, of the struggle for a Socialist Britain that they would one day help bring into being, an Anglo version of the Russian utopia that union official Peter Sellers mused upon so soulfully in the film I’m All right, Jack – “all them cornfields and ballet in the evenings”.
What a fraud, what bullshit! There wasn’t a single working man among the journalists or management which was packed, as usual, with well-paid graduates, cheque book “socialists” from the upper classes and relatives of the owners, all pretending to have the tastes and outlook of bus drivers and factory hands and all, like present day “socialist” Peter Mandelson, likely to mistake mushy peas for guacamole. But it served its purpose as the sheep were herded through the various gates – making money, making the careers of numberless Labour windbags climbing the greasy pole and giving the directors plenty of oomph with government as they decided which voting gate to send their thicko sheep readership through. By 1967, on the back of this fraudulent misrepresentation, this enormous con, the Mirror was the biggest selling paper in the world. The best you can say about it is that at that time its journalists were only lying hypocrites rather than the crooks of today.
Working man Cecil King, left. Completely mad but nobody noticed
Paper of the working man? The Mirror absolutely despised, hated, the working classes, so much so that when the sheep actually showed signs of getting frisky and demanding via the strike weapon some of the pickings that their betters had cornered for years, the bosses of the paper freaked out and Cecil King, managing director during its time of supremacy, started preparing an armed coup against the state to put them back in their box!
David Stirling, founder of the SAS, enthusiastic wartime killer, hopelessly compulsive gambler and mercenary, was recruited in White’s club to organise the muscle. Lord Mountbatten, who is remembered firstly for his ceaseless intrigues at court and secondly for answering a question concerning the whereabouts of his wife with the startling reply, “at home, fucking that n-----r”, agreed to be a figurehead. King, of course, as his actions show, was quite insane, probably a victim of the same brain-rotting syphilis that killed his ancestor Northcliffe, but in the crazed and corrupt world of the late twentieth century British press who was going to notice the boss was mad?
Then Rupert Murdoch turned up in the UK with his dad’s money and bought the Sun, which until then had also leaned to the Left. The mass press, which Northcliffe had invented at the beginning of the twentieth century and which was destined for slow death at the beginning of the twenty first, now reached its ultimate form. The Murdoch vision, which the Mirror felt it had to follow, was the Lavatory Paper vision. Forget the lowest wedge of the working classes – they didn’t know how to vote, they were on dole or incapacity benefit now so they couldn’t afford the stuff in the adverts and, besides, most of them weren’t learning to read anymore. No, the target was the guy – not the gal – on the production line or in the warehouse, with its all-purpose reading room, the lavatory, natural home of the tabloids.
Murdoch’s was a total package based on his view of the known needs and interests of what he saw as the lower masses: sport, gambling, inferior sex, celebrity stories, crude jingoism. In the long plastic rows of factory lavatory cubicles all the workers’ needs would be met in easy baby prose while their trousers sagged around their ankles: football results, betting tips, celebrity news and suitable headlines like Gotcha! – after an Argentinian warship took two hundred fearful young conscripts to the bottom of the Atlantic. What could be better to round off this rich diet than some furtive masturbation amid the miasma over the naked girls so helpfully supplied by the Boss on page 3. Yep, Mr Murdoch’s package was the future and the Mirror was quick to follow.
It is only when the lavatorial squalor and nastiness of the UK press is laid out in this way – truthfully – that the reader can see that the McCann affair was not an aberration at all but a profound expression of just what that industry, with its monopoly on the packaging and control of written information for its own ends, had become as it started to rot and decline. And now we are beginning to find out the true extent of the criminality – not just the Murdoch press but across the industry – which we began to suspect in 2007: it is a racket, a corrupt industry. What sort of people would ever want a career anymore in such a horrible, crooked environment? People like Lori Campbell. And her husband, Ross Hall, who by the way, as well as being a typical journalist has a second, parallel career in Clarence Mitchell’s speciality, Crisis Management PR – that is, the paid protection of people like Pinochet and the McCanns via the secret use of the Lavatory Media that they know so well. Thank the Lord a fair number of these people are going to jail and thank the Lord that the loss of their news monopoly means that the UK news racket in its present form is on the way out.
Sometimes we accept things in front of our eyes without asking ourselves, does it have to be this way? Because the press had a reasonable, if not very honourable, record up until World War II two generations watched it slowly turning into a racket without really asking themselves that question. And the politicians, transfixed by the racketeers’ reputed power to make their careers with carefully guided sheep votes, or wreck them with carefully aimed sheep shit, were terrified to do anything. Then, finally, the internet opened our eyes.
2011 and journalists mourn the closure of their tabloid. One down, more to go…
Many years ago another of the mad Harmsworths, one of Lord Northcliffe’s brothers, brought the Perrier water spring and business. It is an intriguing exercise to compare the things we grew used to in the news industry with a business like that. Would we willing, for example, to buy Perrier water if the owners of the company couldn’t be trusted to put what they claimed in the bottle? Would we be happy if creatures like Clarence Mitchell were secretly allowed by the management to add their own ingredients to the liquid? Or that half the people in the bottling plant were criminals? Or that the owners were nuts and might mess with the water out of whim or for gain but we had no choice but to accept them because we couldn’t get water elsewhere? Or that when we wanted to bottle water for ourselves we were told no, you’re not professional enough – you drink what we give you.
That’s the sort of pigsty industry that we allowed the UK press to become.