Critique & critic
Christmas celebrations are the best occasion for journalists to gossip about current affairs while enjoying a glass or two of wine. Last Wednesday the “No Laughing Matter…” event brought together media celebrities at the Blue Door, the Conservative Party’s former headquarter. If John Pineaar, Radio 5 Live’s Chief Political Correspondent, delighted the audience with his speech, Nick Davies overshadowed his colleague by giving insights about News of the World trial.
Davies, a freelancer for the Observer, has gained recent fame in covering the News of World phone hacking affair. The long series of articles in the Guardian since 2011 culminated in the media show trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. While each week brings its bundle of revelations at the Old Bailey, followers could appreciate some more insights about the case.
Murdochgate – as it ccould be called – started with a bit of tenacity and a hint of chance, as every good journalistic tale. Back in 2008, Davies was defending his newly published Flat Earth News about journalistic malpractices against a representative from News of the World. An attentive listener of the duel on BBC Radio 4 phoned up Davies afterwards to denounce his interlocutor’s lies. “I was really troubled when my source contacted me, how could I have guessed what was to come”. If the Guardian reporter felt circumspect, he quickly changed his mind. His source had concrete material which implicated Brooks, as well as Coulson (who by this stage was becoming a confidante of David Cameron).
Talented journalists find their limits
“Rebekah is an interesting character. She is brilliant, more than me to say the truth. She has this way of talking to people. When approaching you, she really makes you feel like you are unique, interesting. She is a gifted journalist”, Davies recalled. Talent however did not stop Brooks to illegally collect information and deprive many innocent from their privacy and their dignity. The causes were “higher up” affirmed Davies, who would put the blame on Brooks and Coulson’s constant pressure for results. “The problem comes from Rupert Murdoch himself, his father himself was very demanding towards him when he was young. Since then, he always wanted to prove he was good enough, and demands the same from his staff”.
When asked what his colleagues can expect from the justice system, Davies answered “Rebekah tells us she will get four years of jail. Next week at the Old Bailey promises to be very interesting. Rebekah will enter in the witness box and I am curious to see how she will charm the jury”. As everyone is…