It's been an odd couple of days. Whilst we've all been aware of the allegations of phone hacking for some time, can any of us really say that the demise of the News of the World wasn't a shock? I, like many, have been gripped by how the story has been portrayed in the media over the past few hours. It will certainly be very interesting to see how this eventually pans out. Although the NOTW's last edition is on Sunday, this story is clearly going to run and run.
Some newspaper hacks have been complaining about the sacking of some of the NOTW staff, suggesting that there are reputable people that worked for the tabloid and that they don't deserve this outcome. I dare say that is true for a few, but do they really expect some sort of sympathy from the public? The NOTW's conduct is under close examination because of all sorts of alleged sordid activities. I'll be honest - the sacking of those staff is not something that concerns me in the slightest. It's not on my radar. I'm afraid I simply don't care. ( NOTW columnist Dan Wootton would disagree about my lack of sympathy.) I care more about low earning members of the public who then get made redundant and struggle to feed and keep their families warm. I have little concern for a journalist who makes his/her money by trying to find salacious stories about football players affairs, which I will use as an example.
What footballers get up to in the bedroom is none of my business and it should be none of yours. They get paid to play football. Sure, they get paid well - but aren't they the very reason why people go to matches or watch them on TV? Maybe they deserve to be paid well? - after all, they are the talent and without them it would be a bunch of hapless blokes walking around a pitch saying "what do I do with this ball?" The fact that a footballer is addicted to risky sex is not a big deal to me. I'm tried of the argument about celebs deserving what they get as some are considered to be role models for kids. I'm a fan of lots of writers, film stars and pop stars - but I don't know what their basic moral code is, or what they get up to away from the TV cameras, because believe it or not, as humans we are not perfect.
The level of scrutiny on individuals goes too far. The fact that a famous TV presenter cross-dresses in the privacy of their own is not something of national importance. We all have our faults, and whilst I enjoy reading some celeb gossip, I put it into the context of understanding that humans fail occasionally. However, clearly if there is evidence that a serious crime has occurred, then the general public should be aware of it - particularly if the crime is so hideous, such as (ironically) this whole hacking story.
I struggle with the way that some journalists and photographers behave. I feel that there is a distinct lack of responsible behaviour in many areas of the media. It's the contradictory things - you can't publish a piece about a politicians lack of morals and then go on to print a story which revels about several celebrities sex lives, which we all have and like to keep private. I'm afraid I wouldn't take that kind of publication seriously.
There clearly needs to be sensible boundaries in terms of behaviour. I'm all in favour for a new regulator, but equally I don't want to live in a society where really important stories never get to see the light of day. We need balance.