News of the World revenge on the Royal Family
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 11 January 2009

The latest "beat-up" about Prince Harry by The News of The World should not surprise anyone. The London tabloid has been waiting to punish the Royal Family ever since a journalist and its “royal editor” were arrested over two years ago and found guilty of what the judge described as serious criminal conduct.

For overseas readers we should explain that a “beat-up” in the Antipodes is “a media report that has been sensationalized and made to seem more significant than it really is.” (Encarta Dictionary)

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The offence of the News of the World criminals was that they had broken into the message banks of members of the Royal Family and other public figures.

You might have thought they had extracted sufficient revenge when in 2006 another Murdoch newspaper, The Sun, published three year old photographs of Prince Harry in an obvious, underhand and vicious attempt to create problems for him with his current lady friend.


That fabrication went around the world, but when the true story emerged – that these were old photographs – The Sun refused to apologise for its appalling conduct.

Now the News of the World has found – we suspect bought – a video which shows Prince Harry engaging in the sort of banter young men in the army typically engage in. And it is three years old.

It is of course likely that the journalists affecting mock horror at the video have never served their country and accordingly are unaware of what happens in the military. They invite visitors to their site to watch “Harry’s racist video shame”.

Just who do they think they are kidding with their faux sense of rectitude? It would be good to hear some tapes of these journalists; as a profession they are not known for using the language of the clergy.

The terms used by Prince Harry are hardly reprehensible in themselves – all depends on the context and a glance at the video would demonstrates to anyone with the minimum of good sense that these were intended with no malice.

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Anyone who is identified as coming from an ethnic minority, and who is a mature person, knows this, especially those who have spent some time in military service or in similar places.

This hasn’t stopped some people from foolishly falling for the tabloid trap to create some sort of scandal.  

That anyone would take this tabloid seriously is extraordinary. But some underemployed apparatchik at the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission was reported as saying the News of the World beat up appears to contain “disturbing allegations.”

A spokesman for the no doubt self selected Muslim Council of Great Britain described the terms out of context as “crude and offensive.”  A Tory MP called it “unforgiveable.”  

He obviously hasn’t listened to the Australian Parliament.

This is just a beat-up by a tabloid that lives on this sort of thing, owned by the American who recently told Australians in the Antipodean version of the Reith Lectures that Australia must become a republic.... so we can be independent.

This is certainly a beat-up by the News of the World to extract revenge from the Royal Family. But is it also part of a broader agenda directed against  the very existence of the Crown as a constitutional institution in each of the Commonwealth Realms?