Tuesday 26 July 2011

Mission Impossible: Defending the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone to Guardian readers

Ex-Sun business journalist and now PR man and media consultant Damien McCrystal is taking a heap of abuse after trying to defend the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone in an article on the Guardian's Comment is Free site.

Among the more polite comments are: "This article displays astonishing amorality: a complete lack of human feeling. Is the author a psychopath?"

Another asks: "Does anyone think this article came about as the result of a drunken bet?"

Also: "My gob is smacked. This is a shocking piece Guardian. Shame on you!"

And: "I feel in need a shower after reading this muck."

Another posts: "This sort of article is why the public regard "journalists" as scum"

For the record, McCrystal claims: "Regarding the most shocking revelation of them all, that Milly Dowler's voicemail was allegedly hacked into on behalf of the News of the World, there is a valid, albeit arguable, journalistic justification for it.

"If it is true, as alleged, that private detectives deleted some messages in order to allow new ones in, then any new message might have carried a clue as to the child's whereabouts and indeed our increasingly beleaguered police might have thought of this for themselves. The NoW showed some initiative here – it is only a pity they did so in such an insensitive and self-interested fashion, failing entirely to acknowledge the distress this could (and did) cause the Dowler family."

He also accuses the rest of the press of abandoning the News of the World. "Instead of defending their wayward sibling, Britain's journalists handed it to the wolves. It looked to an outsider like an act of cowardice and treachery. I know for certain that other newspapers in other media groups have, directly or indirectly, used the same investigative tactics. If or when that emerges, giving ammunition to the growing censorship lobby, journalists will bitterly regret their disloyalty."

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