Advertisers voting with their feet
The phone hacking scandal is starting to have an impact on News International's bottom line with Ford pulling adverts from the News of the World due to allegations of hacking by the newspaper.
Reuters reports that Halifax and mobile telephone operator T-Mobile UK are also expected to follow suit. MumsNet, the influential parenting website, has said that it is going to withdraw an advertising campaign from the News of the World, although quite what it was doing there in the first place is anyone's guess. The news follows claims that the tabloid hacked the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl 13-year-old Milly Dowler who was later found murdered. They deleted her voicemail account making the parents of the murdered kid think she was still alive and screwed up the police investigation of the death.
Ironically defending popular causes, like murdered or missing school kids was one of the sorts of things that made the News of the Screws what it is. That, and mindless gossip about soap and Big Brother stars. Now on Twitter, companies faced a barrage of messages from consumers demanding that they boycott News of the World, said it was reviewing its advertising position with News of the World. What many people do not understand is that during that period of UK history the tabloids were extremely powerful. Adam Price, the former Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East, pointed on Newsnight that he was warned by a fellow MP that if he pushed too hard to force Rebekah Brooks to attend a Culture, Media and Sport Commons Committee meeting, the tabloids would punish him by making revelations about his personal life.
Even if politicians had nothing to hide, there was a fear that the tabloids could dig up some dirt just by watching you long enough. There was a long running story that the now famous story of Chancellor Norman Lamont's over the limit credit card was found by hacks who were trailing him hoping to catch him with a mistress.