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Cheers - AE

Friday, 8 July 2011

Is this Murdoch's "Gerald Ratner moment"?

Er, no. He may have had to shut down the News of the Screws (though as pointed out here that just means a lot of P45s to people who had absolutely nothing to do with the phone illegal-but-really-not-hacking scandal) in much the same way as Ratner's infamous 'crap' gag made his own store's name so toxic that they all had to close, Gerald Ratner himself had to go and the remainder of the group had to rebrand itself. And there's the reason why it's not quite a Ratner moment - that was all that happened. Nobody at Ratner's broke the law, nobody was arrested - which is unlikely to be the case this time - and the person in charge and responsible for dropping the whole company into the mess - different people in this case, the same individual at Ratner's - took the responsibility for it. I don't think it dragged on for eight years either.

Not only that but Ratner was in fact being honest, though perhaps to a foolish extent. He was just saying that if someone wanted something cheap and tatty with gold plating a handful of atoms thick then he was happy to sell it. He didn't have people roaming the streets surreptitiously picking pockets and leaving hilariously fragile jewellery in place of what was taken, he just sold really cheap stuff to people who wanted really cheap stuff but didn't want to be reminded that it was really cheap for a reason. That's not in the same league as prying into the voicemail messages of a murdered teenager and screwing up the police investigation by deleting them and making it look like she's still alive.

Motherfucker, it ain't even the same sport.

In fact all that the NotW scandal has in common with what happened to Ratner's all those years ago was that a well known name is being shut down, a bunch of people who weren't at fault are going to lose their jobs, and it's all because the gutter press wanted a juicy story.* Oh, and also because there's still a very strong market demand for crap and the today's gutter press is just as happy to oblige.

* I'm not certain but I seem to recall that it was one of the redtops that broke the Ratner story.
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