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Our Pitchforks Are Misdirected

By Mark Steyn, Orange County Register - July 9, 2011

Something rather weird happened in London last week. For some time, The Guardian, a liberal, broadsheet, "respectable" newspaper, has been hammering The News Of The World, a populist, tabloid, low-life newspaper, over its employees' penchant for "hacking" the phones of Royals and celebrities – Prince Harry and Hugh Grant, for example. This isn't as forensic as it sounds: Until recently, most British cellphones were sold with the default password set either to 0000 or 1234, and most customers never bothered to change it.

But last Monday, it emerged that The News Of The World had also hacked into the telephone of a missing schoolgirl subsequently found dead, as well as those of family members of the July 7 Tube bombing victims and of British servicemen killed in Afghanistan. Nobody much cares if the Aussie supermodel Elle Macpherson and other denizens of the demimonde get their voice mails intercepted, but dead schoolgirls and soldiers changed the nature of the story, and events moved swiftly. On Thursday, Rupert Murdoch's son and heir announced the entire newspaper would be closed down. The whole thing. Gone.

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