The story that won’t go away

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The allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World have been dubbed “one of the biggest scandals affecting the press in living memory”. Instead of making the news and then quickly fading away, this story is gaining more and more momentum, with new twists and turns being reported every day.

It’s not often I agree with Hugh Grant, but he was spot-on in his comment that, when the phone hacking stories first made the news, we were led to believe it only affected celebrities. Some of us may have felt a degree of sympathy for them, but their invasion of privacy didn’t exactly spark a widespread outrage.

Following the new revelations in the last couple of days, however, public feeling is very much turning to anger. The claims that the phones belonging to Milly Dowler and the families of the victims of 7/7 had been hacked have appalled every right thinking person. Not that the practice was ever justified before, but if these allegations are true, they are – as David Cameron has said – “truly dreadful”.

The situation is turning into a wholesale PR disaster for the News of the World, which prides itself as being ‘Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper’. With campaigns to boycott the paper gathering pace, I’m not sure that claim will be true this Sunday. It’s going to be a tough few days for the paper – and perhaps the media in general – and I have a feeling that this is one story that’s going to run and run.