Ben Delicious writes from London: You have to hand it to Hugh Grant: he’s not particularly good at anything, including acting, yet he has managed to remain a celeb and is now basking in the limelight as a crusader for the rights of victims of phone hacking. Hugh, as luck would have it, was also hacked by some defective from the now defunct News of the World. Since it became public knowledge, he’s been all over the news, talking passionately about press intrusion. Recently he’s been at it again, complaining about the ‘media run state’ and calling on the government to endorse any recommendations that Lord Leveson came up with as a result of his pathetic – I have no other word for it – inquiry into media ethics.
Hugh was one of the witnesses at that inquiry and complained bitterly about hacks making his precious private life hell. Other witnesses, in case you have forgotten, included such moral crusaders as Charlotte Church, Jude Law, Steve Coogan and Alastair Campbell.
Grant is currently spearheading a campaign called Hacked Off that has been launched by the victims of phone hacking to force the government to introduce an independent regulator that would oversee the press and silence it when politicians and celebs of all kinds felt that their privacy was invaded. If you listen to some of these ‘victims’, they want to see the press neutered – only writing positively about them when they feel that the timing is appropriate. Such as, for example, when they have a book or a film out or join some shitty reality TV show. The irony of the whole situation is that many of the victims of phone hacking have made a career out of manipulating the media, leaking facts about their private lives to hacks, to get the much needed attention of the public. But they disliked the fact that hacks would occasionally report about their not so glamourous sides, damaging their public image and hitting their wallets directly.
By now it has become pretty clear that Lord Leveson, who ironically was appointed by David Cameron to head the inquiry into media standards, is a leftie with no understanding of how the media works. His Lordship has managed to discredit his own inquiry from the word go, summoning celebs and all sorts of chancers to give their evidence, but steering away from the really big issues like the left-wing bias of the publicly funded BBC and the disinformation and lies that are regularly published by left-wing organs of print. Lord Leveson totally ignored the fact that The Guardian had made up a story about hacks wiping off voice messages from the murdered Milly Dowler’s mobile during the search for her, even though the loss-making newspaper should have been reprimanded for it. His Lordship also refused to confront the issue of the loss making Guardian being subsidised by taxpayers through those ads for public sector jobs. Without this support the newspaper would have been out of business a long time ago. Just like that other leftie rag, the Independent, which only survives because a Russian oligarch -with no understanding of the media – is bankrolling it, losing tens of millions a year.
And now we have 50 victims of phone hacking, including the people’s favourite, Hugh Grant, signing a collective letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, calling on him to take into account the recommendations that Lord Leveson comes up with in the next couple of weeks. Cunningly, the signatories include members of the families of the Hillsborough victims, even though the press at the time reported what it was told by the police who lied through the teeth, and has not been responsible for any cover up or distortions.
What Lord Leveson and the rest of the lefties miss out altogether is that the press and the media generally should be tapping into phones of bent politicians, crooked bankers and big businessmen and crime lords, if it is dictated by the interest of an investigation into their wrong doings. And celebs, who use the homely family image to make money, should be targeted as well if they behave in a way that has nothing to with the supposed public perception of them. So the whole investigation into the media standards was wrongly conducted from the very start. Not to mention that the man who was appointed to head it should not have been there at all. Even as a witness.