If I were the Rt. Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain, and leader of the Party of Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher, asked by the media to comment on the Murdoch scandal, I think that, rather than scuttling off to Africa, I would answer something like this:
“The political left in this country and the U.S. have embarked on an operation — all-out war — to destroy the Murdoch enterprises and with them any voices dissenting from the left. They are being assisted by politicians from every major party.
“They have, so far, succeeded in destroying the News of the World and the jobs of about 200 journalists as well as many others, despite the fact those responsible for the News of the World’s alleged crimes apparently left it years ago, and several of them have, notoriously, since been employed by, or been extremely close to, both Labour and conservative governments.
“Already the closure of the News of the World will mean a loss of significant commercial activity for many small country newsagents and similar shops struggling to survive. The flow-on effects may be disastrous even if they are not instantly visible. For a small country store, sales of 50 pounds a week or so from the News of the World may mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy. It is the height of irresponsibility to cut the cash-flow of struggling small businesses at the present economic times, and before any evidence of real wrong-doing has been presented, let alone proved.
“The left’s long-term objective is the destruction not merely of the Murdoch enterprises in this country, including the Times and a large part of the television market. Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian,has indicated that the real targets in Britain of the present frenzy include the Daily Mail which is not owned by Murdoch and which has had nothing to do with the phone-hacking scandals, but which is frequently critical of the left and had exposed many of the left’s scandals.
“What the left is moving towards, and they see their chance now, is to launch a growing snowball to crush any non-left media.
“In America this includes Fox News, Twentieth-Century Fox, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins publishers. This list is by no means exhaustive.
“In Australia, the country of Murdoch’s birth, their principal target is the Australian, the only big-city daily that reliably provides a forum for conservative writers (including support for Israel).
“When we step back and look at the big picture, what we see is a massive cultural attack, stretching across the English-speaking world, fueled by an unsavory mixture of ideological hatred, spite and money. What a long way we have come since the days in the 1960s when the Left put itself forward as the champion of free speech!
“My Government is adamant that journalists are bound by the ordinary civil and criminal law regarding libel, sedition, obscenity, etc. In any event, should a newspaper acquire a reputation for publishing falsehoods, even harmless ones, it will in effect cease to be a newspaper and the public and advertisers will shun it.
“But our political culture is right to hold press freedom sacred. However much it may be abused, once a free press is lost, all freedom is lost. There has never been a free press without other kinds of political freedom, and there have never been other kinds of political freedom without a free press. The News of the World lasted through 168 years during which Britain was probably the freest society in the world, along with America and the other Anglomorph nations. As for figures in public or political life, they generally entered the limelight voluntarily and can take their chances. Certainly innocent people whose privacy is subjected to unwarranted intrusion by the media should be protected and, if necessary, compensated, but in fact the market for material obtained unethically is very limited.
“In the last analysis a free press is one of the things our soldiers died for in two world wars, and are dying for today. Although it is a perennial temptation, my government will never tolerate press control. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, ‘Never! Never! Never! Never! Never!’ And in the words of George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four: ‘If the freedom is granted to say two and two make four, all the rest follows!’
“We Conservatives have plenty in our record to be proud of. We put the first spoke in Napoleon’s wheels. We were right about Communism when the rest were wrong. We declared war on Hitler when the Left were screaming for appeasement. A spokesman of our values and tradition told Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. If we stand unwaveringly in defense of free-speech, yes, for the trashiest and most sensational Sunday rag, we will be right again.”