I’m posting this just before the long-awaited Leveson Report hits the fan and splashes all over David Cameron, the man who was silly enough to commission it.
I’m sure that when our Prime Minister let it loose, he expected and anticipated that it would be a serious and meaningful investigation of journalistic standards in the UK. Major public inquiries are meant to give a voice to the voiceless, to victims of abuse or injustice, and to consider any wrongs done to them in a sober, responsible manner. They are not meant, at least I hope they aren’t, to evolve into video-boxes for B and C list celebrities, anxious to show the world that in days past they were important or interesting enough to have their voicemail hacked, but diluting the focus on the most serious media abuses.
Leveson has been criticised for this, and accused of exceeding his remit. Take the time to read the brief he was given and you may conclude that it is so wide ranging and imprecise that it could not be misinterpreted. Nevertheless, he went along with it, and as a result invited submissions from everyone under the Sun, and the News of the World and the Mirror, etc. The flaw in this is that the can he opened held so many worms that many were shoved backin there again, as the media, itself under investigation, focused attention on the trivial and away from the truly contentious. As an example, the written evidence of Deborah Grobbelaar, is well worth reading, but never will be other than by those people in the future who seek to gain PhDs, or sit in the Mastermind chair, specialist subject ‘The Leveson Inquiry’. You won’t find it reported in the Sun, that’s for sure.
I believe that most of those future doctorate theses will argue that Leveson did more harm than he did good. I believe also that Dave set the whole thing up off the cuff and that now he is regretting it. Well he may, as he struggles to stay afloat in the torrent that is flooding through his friend Charlie’s Augean stables, and many other places.
It may well bring him down. Will it also signal the end of a truly free British media? No. Why not? Because the media won’t let it.