As the phone hacking scandal rumbles on to the dismay of News Corporation, there was speculation that Tory backbenchers had been primed by the whips to say that the public want MPs to move on to other issues, and Louise Mensch attempted to deflect the attention to Piers Morgan by taking quotes in his book out of context.

But the third and most tasteless prong of resistance has come from a graphic in The Times depicting children in Somalia, suggesting that talking about phone hacking has prolonged their starvation.

No one is stopping The Times covering both stories.

  1. To be fair, Collins has a point. The vast majority of the worst famines in the 20th Century were certainly caused in one way or another by “bad politics” deliberately or otherwise.

    However, as far as I understand, drought/flooding have certainly been crucial factors in this current crisis.

  2. Ever considered that the cartoonist is making a valid point on the lack of coverage of other major news stories?
    Your interpretation of a motive without any proof whatsoever is as sick as the one you have offensively assigned to Peter Brookes.
    A bloody brave cartoon in my opinion.

  3. This isn`t satire but a classic example of the arrogance shown by news international towards the whole sordid affair. The right thinking media seem to have run out of smoke screens as we are already suffering the worst economic crisis we have ever know, terrorists lurk around every corner and we are of course at war on at least two fronts. I suppose Guilt is the only stick left to shut us up with!

  4. Matt Zarb-Cousin says:

    @Beau Bo D’Or

    You are right to say that the famine in Somalia has not been covered to the extent that it should have been, but do you not see the irony in a newspaper making this point?

    People can digest a number of different issues at once. Blaming phone hacking for a lack of coverage is pathetic.

  5. Matt Zarb-Cousin says:

    @ Beau Bo D’Or

    The cartoon is clearly trying to move the agenda away from phone hacking, on the pretence that Somalia hasn’t received any coverage because of it. This is nonsense. A newspaper – such as The Times, for example – is perfectly capable of running more than one story.

  6. How fortuitous that Brookes’ cartoon exactly aligns to the editorial in today’s Sun, Beau Bo. Of course there can be no suggestion that NI papers might toe a particular company line in the light of recent events, no sir.

  7. He is making a valid point that it is taking over from other news, like Somalia, and all the sneaky changes to the nhs, but it’s ridiculous to characterise this as ‘just phone hacking’. Murdoch’s media undermines our democracy, and therefore plays a big role in preventing progress. It is a very important story, and unlike the Somalia story, reporting on it is crucial to the potential for a positive outcome.
    It’s not like Murdoch press reports on humanitarian crises’ – if they had their way we wouldn’t take refugees or give aid at all!

  8. One of the main reasons why Africa has the poverty and under development that leaves its populations so vulnerable to drought is that its countries are so shamelessly robbed by global capitalism with its network of toxic and secret no tax, no regulation offshore piggy banks. The same network of offshore piggy banks is used by News International to dodge its taxes while the right wing libertarian propaganda churned out by Murdoch helps create the political climate supportive of this criminal outrage. So don’t get distracted – the reason why its so wonderful to see Murdoch brought down a peg or two is precisely because he is so involved in creating a sick corrupt world where poverty can be so extreme.

  9. @DocFranklin: trying to directly link the actions of Rupert Murdoch with famine and poverty in Africa is pretty cheap stuff. When famine on this sort of scale happens it is not Murdoch or News International’s fault or any media company who may or may not evade tax.

    By all means feel happy he has been brought down a peg or two, but don’t crowbar the dead and dying into your justification for doing so. It’s low and needless.

  10. Just looked at the Fox News website – there is not a single mention of the Somalia famine. But there is one about corrupt UN aid agencies.

    News International and its right wing agenda are definitely part of the problem.

  11. @ Ben: There is a very strong argument that poverty and under development in Africa is much worse than it would have been if multinationals trading and operating on the continent had been paying the proper tax on the profits made there. There is also very strong evidence that the illegal outflows of money from Africa are on a vast scale (more than ten times the value of aid). The tax evasion and the theft of African wealth have both been done through the offshore banking system operated by the US and Europe (the UK in particular). The same offshore banking system is a major cause of the current financial crisis. For forty years this international piracy has been gaining power. All over the world it has crippled progressive action on real problems, contributing to gross inequalities of wealth, environmental damage, wars and famine. Murdoch’s empire promotes the values and politics that support these gangsters. Until they are brought to book and people are able to have governments that work for the common good and not the gangster elites there will be famines and starvation far worse than need be the case. So I don’t think it is cheap to link the horror of the current famine to its contributing causes. That said of course all other news distracts from the emergency and that can only make the crisis worse.

  12. “Louise Mensch attempted to deflect the attention to Piers Morgan by taking quotes in his book out of context.”

    That’s a massive understatement. She lied.

  13. Conversation at News International: “Hey, guys – do you think we can retake the moral high ground?” “Yeah. That stuff with the dead kid and the phone was ages ago.” – Nick Hornby

  14. I wonder what you thought of the very similar cartoon published in Private Eye the day before, in which one starving Somalian says to the other “Have you heard about the News of the World?”

    Was Private Eye’s cartoonist also attempting to change the agenda, do you think?

  15. Yes, Private Eye has a similar rubbish cartoon but it also has about 10 other cartoons attacking the Murdoch empire along with 7 or 8 pages on the scandal. By the way, has The Times (or Private Eye) ever had a front page lead on famines (that didn’t involve Bob Geldof or Bono?)

  16. Kind of seeing the real point of the cartoon to be honest….sorry….but the critique doesn’t encapsulate the essence of it at all. There isnt much more to say really is there. Really bad attempt at some kind of liberal ‘keeping the watchers watched’. Bad political scrapbook, bad…

  17. When did the Right start to care about starving African children?

    How many Conservatives bleat about sins of Foreign Aid ?

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