good to see you. good morning.
good morning, matt.
can sometimes create a
here. the story is on the front pages of the paper here in the
but it was slow in growing. it's been brewing there for a long time. how would you describe the public reaction to the daily revelations you're seeing there?
well, the big moment came last monday when people had known for some time that actors, musicians, politicians, were being hacked and everyone thought that was wrong. but it didn't really get people emotionally involved until last monday one of the national papers revealed that this
who had been abducted and murdered, that they had been hacking her phone, listening to her messages. and shockingly, deleting some of her messages when her voice mailbox filled up. they wanted more messages to come in which, of course, gave her parents hope that she might still be ahive. she had been miss for six months. that's when the country really rose up in revulsion.
i'm sorry to interrupt.
do you think people there have the feeling that this was simply
business as usual
and, by the way, this appears to be prevalent not just at one newspaper, even two, it could be wider than that, that the feeling among these tabloid reporters and executives was, as long as the story sells, there was an entitlement to get that story using any means possible?
yeah. that was the culture. and still is. i mean, to a certain extent, within the tabloid press in this country. it's terrifying. and, you know, if you ask the question why didn't we do anything about it before, the answer is now emerging. the police unfortunately deliberately dragged their feet because they've been lent on by the power of, in particular, "news international," murdoch's organization, and the government was terrified of him. his paper knew, you know, dirty details about individual mps so they were unwilling ever to take him on. only three weeks ago all our major politicians in this country were sucking up to
and drinking champagne on his lawn at his
. so it is sort of almost comic that today in parliament they're all competing to say that he's a terrible person.
you said this recently, quote, this is a watershed moment for
and his government. he can either continue to be murdoch's little helper or his states man. his son and top executives, is this, in your opinion, something real or is this still
to try to present a face to the public that they're actually doing something?
well, we don't really know yet where they will accept that invitation or not. i mean, i have to say i think it's unlikely. if they do, it will be the greatest piece of parliamentary theater we've ever had in this country.
two quick things, hugh. first of all, why should people in the
care about this? you spend a lot of time here as well. you've had your encounters with the tabloid press in the u.s. do you think this is prevalent here as well?
i don't know the answer to that. but i would have thought it was of interest to americans simply because
does own an enormous amount of your media where fox news and fox station and
and some of your newspapers. and i think people need to ask themselves, you know, who is this man who owns such a large part of our media. i think when you hear some of the new allegations about who "the news of the world" phone hacking may include, i stress allegations at this stage, some of the 9/11 victims, well, i don't know. that may strike a chord with americans.
finally, responsibility. the fact of the matter is many people buy these newspapers and logon to these types of websites. do the consumers should ter blame as well?
i think we have to, yeah. it's a strange business, isn't it? specialty of tabloids like that is to find the lowest common denominator and work out some of our worst instincts and then provay for them and we're all guilty of falling for that.
hugh, it's nice to see you. thanks for your time. appreciate it.