Letter from the editor: "Horrific, if unsurprising"


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The Independent Online

So, here we are splashing on the phone-hacking saga with a story that the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee chairman John Whittingdale says is “horrific, if unsurprising”.

But, in truth, how horrific it is that the targeting of Sara Payne’s phone – one she was given by News International – can be viewed as unsurprising.

But we know what he meant. A story that exploded with the Milly Dowler revelations and has seen the demise of one of the world’s most famous newspapers, plus a slew of big-name resignations at the most powerful media company in Britain and at Scotland Yard; a saga that brought the astonishing sight of Rupert and James Murdoch, and then Rebekah Brooks, humbled before Parliament and chaos to the senior echelons of the Met police appears to know no boundaries.

Now we know why Brooks hinted to News of the World staff there was “worse” to come. We can see why David Cameron has crossed the key News International staff off his Christmas card list.

It is an odd time to be a journalist. Many I know have had a reaction from the public ranging from a sneer to outright hostility since this all began. And yet, if it were not for some journalists – most notably Nick Davies and the rest of his team at The Guardian, and our own Ian Burrell, Cahal Milmo and Martin Hickman – the full extent of this story (which is by no means over) may have remained hushed up. So, some journalists DO emerge with credit from a story that has painfully reduced the standing of print journalists among the public. If the scandal is to spread to other papers over the coming weeks, this is some small consolation.