The Prime Minister and the Press Barons: Craven to the Last

John Cassidy on Prime Minister David Cameron's rejection of Lord Leveson's call for stricter regulation of Britain's press:

After a year-long public inquiry involving hundreds of witnesses, Lord Leveson, a well-respected high-court judge in the United Kingdom who’d been tapped by Prime Minister David Cameron to investigate the British newspaper industry in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, today released a lengthy report and demanded stricter regulation of the country’s press. After all the revelations about reporters at Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers, and quite possibly some others, hacking voice-mail boxes, bribing public officials, and otherwise engaging in journalistic “dark arts”—Leveson’s phrase—this was hardly surprising. As the judge noted, his inquiry illuminated “press behavior that, at times, can only be described as outrageous.” The previous system of self-regulation, under which Fleet Street’s finest largely oversaw themselves, had been reduced to a bad joke….

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Photograph by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty.