As predicted in my recent post on Trinity Mirror, the toxic effluent of NoWgate is beginning to lap around other hitherto untainted tabloid titles.
Curiously enough, the sluice gate has been raised by some – apparently careless – obiter dicta uttered by Louise Mensch MP in the closing moments of yesterday’s select committee grilling of the Murdochs.
Seeking to broaden the context of NoW journalists’ criminal activities, she suggested that Piers Morgan – currently CNN’s fabulously remunerated anchorman, but between 1995 and 2004 editor of the Daily Mirror – had “personally” profited from phone-hacking.
Morgan is, understandably, spitting tin tacks, but he’s been kebabbed by Mensch’s absolute parliamentary privilege – which prevents him from suing her. Almost needless to say, she has not been so foolish as to repeat her allegations outside parliament. Which has left Morgan impotently huffing and puffing about her “cowardice”. In a nutshell, he and his reputation have been hung out to dry.
The truth is, Mensch has skilfully elided an excerpt from Morgan’s autobiographical book The Insider (in which he makes coy reference to the joys of phone-hacking) with some of her own conjectures about his complicity in the Mirror’s murky Ulrika Jonsson/Sven Goran Eriksson “love rat” scoop – that broke during Morgan’s editorship. Many seem to believe – Jonsson prime among them – that the story could only have been broken as a result of phone-hacking.
Strictly speaking, Morgan is right to point out there was nothing “personal” in his involvement with phone-hacking and nowhere in his book does he state that there was (but then, there wouldn’t be, would there? He’s no fool).
Alas for him and his reputation, the slur will persist. There is, after all, reasonable suspicion that it might be true…
…until proven otherwise.
In the meantime, the lady’s not for turning – judging by this heated exchange between Morgan and Mensch on CNN.