Of cauliflowers and media abuses

cauliflowersAnd so the glut begins. Thought I was going to get no cauliflowers at all during the dry patch. Now that it’s been pissing with rain for three weeks, they’re going nuts. I cut all of these this evening, and there are more on the way.

I’d normally be triumphant – boringly, nauseatingly triumphant. But I can’t bring myself to gloat tonight. The News of the World scandal is profoundly depressing me.

It’s not the evil, amoral wankers who hacked that poor, dead girl’s phone – although they sicken me. It’s not even the risible, farcical denials from NOTW upper management that they knew nothing about what was going on.

No, what really bugs me is that several hundred decent journalists (most entirely unconnected with the scandal, and hired long afterwards) are now going to lose their jobs so that everyone in upper management can keep theirs.

There truly is something wickedly immoral at the heart of this whole revolting story. The stench that hovers around the Murdoch name and the Murdoch empire is suffocating – and I speak as a journalist and a NOTW admirer (easy to forget, but they used to do – and have done – some great journalism as well as the end-of-pier kiss ‘n’ tells).

It matters for Americans, too

To my American readers, to whom this may all seem arcane and irrelevant: It matters to you guys, too. The Murdoch family, through News Corp, owns vast media interests in the USA, and is bidding for more.

Americans who care about and have any say in good corporate governance need to have a long, hard look at how News International has been behaving on this side of the pond. Do you really think these behaviours have been confined to Britain? What on earth has been going on elsewhere?

Are these people you want running anything important, significant or influential in your country?

Thought not.

11 Responses to “Of cauliflowers and media abuses”

  1. Magic Cochin Says:

    Make Piccalilli 🙂

    The careful chopping of cauliflower into nice little florets is very calming for the soul.

    And although slow it’s an easy pickle to make… and even easier to eat!


    Trying not to get angry about the news today – but well said. And the timing of latest hacking revelations – when the memory of Millie’s family’s anguish is fresh in the mind – was bang on… whose idea was that then?!

  2. Rampant_Weasel Says:

    been checking your blog for ages soilman wondering when you were going to mention the notw thing lol!
    i havent bought papers for a long time because i dont care who is shagging who and i dont to read propaganda for either of the two main political parties.im interested in your take on it all tho as someone from the ‘inside’ of journalism, looking forward to more blogs on it.

  3. Tanya @ Lovely Greens Says:

    It is a shame and just shocking that they’d just tear down the entire house rather than just getting rid of the rats! Anyhow, your cauliflowers look gorgeous 🙂

  4. Soilman Says:

    I HATE piccalilli, Celia, so sadly I can’t use ’em up that way!

    Weasel: I’ve been desperately trying not to talk about this, because I assume none of my readers give a shit. But it’s now one of the biggest social/political scandals of our lifetimes, and could lead to some MAJOR changes in the way police, politicians and journalists interact. People should care. It matters.

    My view? This stuff all boils down – as ever – to money.

    There has always been – as in all walks of life – a dark heart of very evil, utterly amoral men and women concentrated in (but not exclusive to) tabloid newsrooms. It’s always been a fairly small group, thank heaven, but a dangerous one: anyone working in national publishing has an influence way beyond their nominal pay grade, and the Dark Heart has exercised more than its due influence for years. Anyone who’s ever had a job on, or done shift work for a tabloid national (especially those who’ve shifted) will know exactly the type I’m talking about.

    That didn’t matter too much – the damage these people caused was containable – until the internet turned up and started leaching money out of the traditional press.

    Newspapers have been in slow decline for 30 years. About 8 years ago, though, the rate of fall sharpened painfully. In the cut-throat struggle to retain readers (and thus bolster ad revenues), journalists – all journalists – have slashed standards, prices and ethics to keep clawing in the large revenues to which their press lords have long been accustomed.

    It’s been a losing battle – for the press lords, the journalists and now our society. Reason? The Dark Heart, containable when times were good, has spread its evil practices and amoral doctrines into places where they would once have been at least partly resisted. Given their relative concentration in tabloids, it’s no surprise that this is where the worst immorality has surfaced.

    Cupiditas radix malorum. This whole sorry saga is just another exemplar of that sad axiom.

    The further tragedy is that the continuing revenue crisis in the traditional media will ever sharpen this stimulus to bad behaviour. Forget regulation. When people are looking at an existential threat to their livelihood, they’ll always ignore the law to get what they feel they need.

    Look forward to more wrangling, more scandals, more corruption and more evil journo behaviour. Sensation is the only thing they ever had to sell their papers and websites. So the ‘news’ will all have to get ever more sensational if those disappearing readers are to be dragged kicking and screaming back to the fold (which, obviously, they won’t be – those days are gone).

  5. Freelance Unbound Says:

    “The Dark Heart, containable when times were good, has spread its evil practices and amoral doctrines into places where they would once have been at least partly resisted”

    Sounds like the plotline for the new Harry Potter…

  6. Damo Says:

    You may have seen Newsnight last night with some guy trying to justify NOTW actions, shameful but I doubt a great deal will change unfortunately. Great looking caulies BTW.

  7. Soilman Says:

    I did, Damo. Quite astonishing. This is exactly what I mean by the Dark Heart: these people lost sight of Right and Wrong when they were about 11 years old… that is, assuming they ever knew.

  8. Freelance Unbound Says:

    “…these people lost sight of Right and Wrong when they were about 11 years old.”

    Aha! Just when they went to Hogwarts!

    (Sorry – stopping this now. Lovely cauliflowers…)

  9. Altadena Hiker Says:

    Arcane and irrelevant? It’s been the top story over here. (Including all the ways Murdoch fils can use the word “regret” and conjugations of regret in a sentence.) I remember my utter shock, back in the day, when Murdoch took claim of the London Times.

  10. Tom Says:

    Fantastic cauliflowers Soilman. I think you would be entirely justified in crowing – mine were heading for (the lower reaches of) your glorious heights when they got mullered by rampant slugs. All that was left were slightly steaming stumps of goo…I could have cried, the biggest test of my principles re: chemical avoidance so far.

  11. Soilman Says:

    I’m so sorry, Tom: How shitty.

    I gotta tell you that I DO reach for the slug pellets every now and then. I hate doing it, but I hate it even more when I’ve worked my arse off to bring a crop to fruition only to see it eaten by bloody molluscs.

    Two crops that get slug pellets: Brassicas and peas. I use them on nothing else, and very very sparingly when I have to: six individual pellets placed in a circle around each plant is more than enough. Works.