New Zealander Dan Wootton was the News of the World's 'Show Biz Editor'. He was busy defending his dismal newspaper last week...

I heard Daniel Wootton, the News of the World's, 'Showbiz editor', stoutly defending his newspaper last week.

Wootton began his career at the now-defunct and Murdoch-owned Wellington newspaper The Evening Post with an entertainment column. He has been interviewed by various New Zealand media outlets this past week, including TVNZ and TV3.

Wootton attempted to disassociate himself from the sordid behaviour of his newspaper and, unfortunately, the New Zealand media allowed him to do that. I think he was the lucky benefactor of the New Zealand media's infantile desire to cheerlead for any Kiwi who supposedly 'succeeds' overseas.

It's also because his comments have been appearing in Murdoch-owned publications like the Dominion-Post.

Wootton said he was 'sickened' by the hacking into phone accounts by News of the World journalists and then attempted to extricate himself and his fellow News of the World scribes , by claiming it had all happened in the past and that it did not reflect 'the current standards' at the newspaper.

'The vast majority of my colleagues, including journalists and management, were not working on this newspaper during those years. There is a new regime in place here,' he claimed.

I'm sure that embattled News International CEO Rebekah Brooks appreciated Wootton's support.

Wootton then went on to allege that the News of the World had become a quality newspaper of integrity that had even won awards.

Even if you accept on face value his assurances that the phone hacking (and the paying for information from police officers) happened entirely under a different management (which I don't), Wootton's attempt to portray the newspaper as the something other than the tabloid dross that it has always been, was laughable.

Actually Wootton blew up his own argument when he later commented:

'Just remember, my job is to bring you guys the best showbiz stories in the business week in week out - the X Factor, Cheryl and Ashley, Kate Moss, TOWIE and all of that good stuff.'

Good stuff?

I would lay odds we will find Dan Wootton popping up in The Sun in some capacity , which will no doubt become a seven day publication. Perhaps that will be his reward for his loyalty to the Murdoch 'brand'.

Missing from anything Wootton has said is his view of the reactionary stench that has always pervaded the News of the World and other publications in the Murdoch stable.

This is a newspaper that has been at the vanguard of a Murdoch press that has bashed, vilified and caricatured the British working class and its interests. This is a newspaper that has relentlessly promoted the business and political interests of Murdoch and the British ruling class while at the same time never giving voice to the concerns of the dispossessed and the powerless that have suffered under the regimes of both Conservative and Labour Government's

Last week a former Sun journalist, Jon Guant, described a summer garden party held by Rupert Murdoch some three years ago:

All of what you might call the great and the good were there. All of the Labour cabinet were there, all of the shadow cabinet, it was like being in the court of the Sun King - if you get the joke - and these people do control the country...What we need in this country is a separate judiciary, we need an independent police force...and we need the press and the politicians to be separate as well.

I doubt that Dan Wootton was invited, given that he wasn't high enough up in the Murdoch pecking order, but I'm sure he would of liked to have been ...


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