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Walford Gazette Chimes in On Phone-Hacking Scandal
By Larry Jaffee
Hello EastEnders Fans,
I am happy to report that the 75th issue of the Walford Gazette has just been printed and will be in the mail tomorrow for those of you who have
The issue features an exclusive cover interview with Kacey Ainsworth (‘Little Mo’), and also a great analysis of Phil Mitchell. In addition, there’s a
news report about Pam St Clement announcing she hang up her Pat’s earrings at the end of the year after being on EastEnders for more than 25 years.
Speaking of news, I can’t ignore the constant barrage coming from Britain over the sorry state of News Corp. and The News of the World. I can state on
the record that the Walford Gazette, while being a tabloid, has never hacked into anyone’s mobile phone to gain a story.
I’ve been a journalist for over three decades, and wrote for The New York Times early in my career
http://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/15/nyregion/malls-keep-leaflet-limits.html?scp=1&sq=Larry%20Jaffee&st=cse. It’s appalling to think that anyone in my
profession would allow hacking to occur as a regular practice – and be able to fester in a corporate environment – so that more newspapers could be
sold. With so many News Corp. executives eventually working at Rupert Murdoch’s US media properties, such as the New York Post, one can only wonder how
much that disgusting practice was exported here. Apparently The Times of London, once a paper of great renown, had also hacked phones. How soon will
it be before they admit The Sun did so too?
It is true that in late 2003 I attempted to establish a dialogue with Murdoch, urging News Corp. to consider acquiring US rights to EastEnders after
BBC America cancelled the show, which I suggested could have been to his just acquired DirecTV satellite service (since divested) and/or the FX
network. Although he responded (see attachment), I could tell he was humouring me.
The current scandal also brought to mind the reaction I once received from Deepak Verma (Sanjay Kapoor) in 1996 when I showed him a cable I used to
tape record telephone conversations. “So that’s how they do it!” He had been burned by a tabloid, and was still distrustful of the British press. I
assured him I only recorded conversations with the knowledge of the other party and to ensure accuracy. Mobile phones were just beginning to be popular
in those days, but I wonder if that’s what he meant.
The current News Corp implosion – editors are being arrested – reminded me of an encounter I had in 1998 with Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell) at the studio.
He had just announced he was leaving the show, and the BBC wouldn’t allow me to interview him. He was lounging in a tank top and running shorts, right
outside the set, and for a second I thought to myself [Murdoch’s] The Sun would probably love these pictures. Of course, I didn’t snap a shot. And what
I didn’t know was that Kemp’s then girlfriend Rebekah Wade (later to become wife and ex-wife) was quickly moving up the News Corp. executive ladder and
was editor of News of the World in 2002 when the phone hackings began. Now known as Rebekah Brooks, she resisted resigning from her most recent
position as chief executive of News International as long as she could after the scandal broke. Brooks was arrested earlier today on suspicion of
conspiring to intercept communications, as well as on suspicion of corruption. And a Scotland Yard official just resigned in connection with rumours of
police receiving bribes from reporters. The Cameron regime is under fire for being too cozy to the Murdoch empire.
This media circus is just getting started. Can’t wait to see what next week’s parliamentary hearings produce.
Editor & Publisher, Walford Gazette
Also be sure to check out the new Facebook page for ‘Walford State of Mind’