What Was David Cameron Thinking?
The British PM is caught up in the ’News of the World’ spying scandal—and he has no one to blame but himself.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The New Republic | Full Story | An article in The New York Times Magazine doesn’t becomes the big political story in London every week, but the Times piece “Tabloid Hack Attack on Royals, and Beyond” has been a front-pager and led on the TV news here. The tabloid in question is the News of the World, one of whose reporters was imprisoned a few years ago for “phone-hacking,” or intercepting cell phone calls, most notably from the two young princes, William and Harry. Although Andy Coulson, the editor of the paper at the time, was forced to leave his job, he denied any knowledge of malfeasance. But the Times story cast lengthy and well-sourced doubt on his denials, and his credibility in general.
That might not have caused so much comment here if it hadn’t been for the truly astonishing fact that, shortly after his departure from the paper, Coulson was hired as “communications director” (what we called a press officer in less grandiose times) by David Cameron, then the Conservative opposition leader, now prime minister. A storm in the media teacup thus became very big political news—and for the Cameron government, a potential disaster, entirely self-inflicted. >>