The Guardian‘s Michael White writes:
The murky underworld of sleaze and gossip which permeates the backdoor politics – and most walks of life where power, money, or the lack of it, matter – existed before the internet was invented or McBride got involved.
It will continue to thrive in his absence, only much faster than generations ago. Then a prime minister of the day (Harold Macmillan) could be cuckolded by a Tory colleague for decades or another prime minister’s (Harold Wilson) political secretary could have two children (by a political journalist) without most of us knowing anything about it.
The net has changed all that. Not just by virtue of its speed, cheapness and accessibility, all currently deemed to be democratic assets; also because of the commercial pressures it places on mainstream media to compete, even as its sales and advertising revenues shrink…
Unlike the great banks which have brought the economy to its knees the political class do not have expensive lawyers to browbeat the media, as even the FT admits happens.
And do not think it is just politicians who get stick. Remember what was done to Kate and Gerry McCann – and many like them – in the name of the public’s right to know.