25 July 2011

Thinking paper #35 - The Hacking Scandal: A Post Modernist’s Guide

By Jacinta Burrow


We’ve all been gripped by #hackinggate, but have we really appreciated its post-modern twists? The IIPBA is all about sticking it to our bureaucratic overlords so let’s step away from what Kay Burley’s trying to tell us and apply a deconstructionist approach to the #Murdochalypse. It’s the one thing Rupert hasn’t thought of.

Key Points

1. It was a July day like any other. Then, in a beautiful stream-of-consciousness tableau, Sky News began reporting that “Sky sources” were saying that News Corp was not withdrawing its bid for BskyB, which owns Sky News. The IIPBA very much supports this kind of intertextuality in news reporting. It would like to see the BBC incorporate at least one metafiction segment into its six o’clock bulletin.

2. Downing St was forced to republish the list of the Prime Minister's meetings with media figures after a day’s existential debate about whether a “walk” is the same as a “meeting”. For Dave, the answer is yes. But if a slumber party is held at Chequers and none of us is there to see it, did it ever really exist? Hhmm. Quite.

3. A royal reporter for the Press Association was arrested over phone-hacking. In fact, a royal spokesman had borrowed her phone on a trip in 2006 to check his own voicemails. The Palace said she was innocent. He said she was innocent. She said she was innocent. The police decided to prove they were all right by spending time arresting her. The IIPBA commends this kind of more-Kafka-than-Kafka’s-post-modernist-masterpiece-The-Trial-style policing. The officers concerned were clearly only trying to wrestle with the question: what comes after bureaucracy? But guys. Chill out, yeah? Jesus.

4. John Yates and Boris Johnson have both admitted that they knew their phones had been hacked, but decided not to re-open the hacking investigation to prove that what they thought had happened had actually happened. Now THAT’s post-bureaucracy.

Concluding Remarks

To recap: the police are now investigating the press, including someone who works at The Sun about what he did when he worked at the News of the World.

The police are now investigating the police. The IIPBA was sure that “Cressida Dick” was some sort of self-referential joke on the part of the Met, but apparently not.

MPs are investigating the press and the police. Louise Mensch (neé Bagshawe) is investigating Piers Morgan and the entire Mirror Group via that tried and tested judicial method, the 140-character tweet. And something called the “cloak of parliamentary privilege”.

Lord Justice Leveson is investigating absolutely everyone. The IIPBA stands ready to assist him in any way it can.

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