The sensational cache, which reveals ‘absolutely illegal’ information was being freely exchanged between government and big business, was published by the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards yesterday – on the eve of Rupert Murdoch’s testimony to the hearings. James Murdoch yesterday told the Leveson Inquiry that a typed 'emoticon' after this email meant the 'illegal' reference was a joke.
Last night it was being seen as the Murdoch family's revenge on ministers who cut their ties with the media giant last summer after the phone hacking scandal exploded.
The Daily Mail (no link here, because it's the Mail)
I'm no fan of the Murdochs and I've also speculated about whether the Murdoch press have been giving the government a bit of a kicking recently because of all this public tie-cutting. You'd have to be seriously paranoid, though, to suggest, as the Mail seems to be doing here,* that the Murdochs were actually happy to see the Frédéric to Jeremy's boy e-mails released into the public domain, simply to get their own back on a government that seems to have lost that loving' feeling.
I can believe that the Murdochs and their henchpeople have done bad things. What I doesn't make sense to me is that they would deliberately leak information that was damaging to News International, out of sheer self-harming spite, just to blacken the reputation of a political party that's had to make a public show of jilting them.
I've no more inside information than the proverbial bloke down the pub, but I'll bet that if they could have deleted these e-mails and denied any knowledge, the Murdochs would have done so. I don't think you become a ruthlessly successful global media tycoon without being primarily driven by self-interest.
The Daily Mail's no longer just paranoid about the things that its editors imagine keep fretful middle-England awake at night; immigrants, things that might give you cancer, dole scroungers, asylum seekers, health and safety gone mad, the European Court of Human Rights, political correctness, the War on Christmas and Christianity in general, vaccines, celebrity wardrobe malfunctions, and gay people enjoying lives of insufficient shame and self-loathing. It's now ready to ascribe any form of malevolence, however irrational, to that great bogeyman of all Guardian readers, the Murdoch press. If Mail hacks find any more things to be paranoid about, they'll soon be too frightened to leave home (assuming that they actually believe any of their own copy).
*Note the arse-covering deniabilty of 'it was being seen as the Murdoch family's revenge' (presumably few readers paused to ask 'by whom?').