Sorry, but Trinity Mirror Group are the most corrupt of the lot
As all three party leaders appear to have reached consensus on barring Rupert Murdoch’s News International from a takeover of BSkyB, it is worth probing the scapegoat thesis a little further. His Grace has been accused of being ‘gloriously off message’ with this, but facts are facts.
Yesterday, after a little digging around, His Grace agreed with Alastair Campbell that, when it came to peddling illicitly-acquired information, the Mail Group was far worse than News International. But, being no expert on which media baron owns what titles, His Grace was interested to learn that the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and (Sunday) People are all stabled together under the Trinity Mirror Group, and that the 2006 table of crimes and misdemeanours establishes beyond doubt that Trinity Mirror are actually more corrupt than either News International or the Mail Group. Adding up the total number of incidents of illegally-acquired data by journalists, we arrive at:
Trinity Mirror: 1663 incidents by 139 journalistsAnd Guido Fawkes alleges that the (in)famous Mirror award-winning story which revealed a love affair between TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson and England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson was the result of phone hacking, which raises the question of why Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks are being pilloried and persecuted when others are completely ignored.
Mail Group: 1248 incidents by 95 journalists
News International: 182 incidents by 19 journalists
The Mirror has (naturally) denied its journalists have ever hacked anyone. Responding to the allegation, a spokesman said: “Trinity Mirror's position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct."
This strikes His Grace as a little foolish, not to say a downright lie, because the Information Commissioner’s 2006 report ‘What price privacy now?’ detailed 681 incidents of dubious or criminal acts perpetrated by no fewer than 45 Daily Mirror journalists. According to Chris Bryant MP, these included ‘illegally obtaining driving licence details, illegal criminal records or vehicle registration searches, telephone reverse traces and mobile telephone conversions’. Their journalists manifestly do not all work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.
So, while not excusing the illicit activities of a few News International journalists and possibly their editors, it is important to reflect calmly on the facts and introduce a little sense of proportion into the furore. If Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks are not considered by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to be a ‘fit and proper’ people to own and run BSkyB, why is Viscount Rothermere fit to own the Mail Group? Why is Paul Dacre fit to edit the Daily Mail? Why is Ian Gibson fit to be Chairman of Trinity Mirror? And why is the ‘violent and dishonest’ pornographer Richard Desmond deemed sufficiently ‘fit and proper’ to own the Express Group and Channel 5?