What we didn’t hear much about in that discussion was the mainstream media’s vested interest in opposing privacy protection and being able to talk about stuff that everybody on the internet is talking about already.
It is an absurd situation when tens of thousands of people on Twitter can talk openly about who has done what with whom and taken out a superinjunction to hide it, a Scottish newspaper can splash his photo across the front page, but the papers elsewhere in the UK aren’t able to name him until an MP does it for them under parliamentary privilege.
I happen to think John Hemming was right to name Giggs. All the arguments about the role of parliament vis-à-vis the judiciary and responsible use of parliamentary privilege become kind of irrelevant when everybody (70,000 people who each tell a few people who each tell a few people = everybody) already knows.
But despite all that, it’s worth remembering that the newspapers’ motives in this are, for the most part, far from noble. It’s been deeply frustrating for them to watch a story go supernova while they were left as the only ones who couldn’t discuss the details of it. If the tabloids can’t milk kiss-and-tell stories anymore, they’ve been emasculated.
Everyone keeps saying they don’t care who Ryan Giggs shags, but the truth is that lots of us do, and the newspapers really, really do.