British politics is in uproar today because a senior cabinet minister, Business Secretary Vince Cable, made a whole lot of indiscreet comments published in The Daily Telegraph about Rupert Murdoch (“I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we’re going to win”) and the country’s controversial government cost-cutting.

Sounds like a great story for The Telegraph, until you realise how it got its scoop …

“The disclosure is the second revelation in extracts from a covertly recorded conversation between Mr Cable and two undercover reporters from this newspaper posing as Liberal-Democrat supporters in his constituency … the undercover reporters posed as mothers concerned over changes to the benefits system …”

This story comes a few months after another British broadsheet, The Sunday Times, revealed that a Nigerian member of the world football governing body FIFA’s executive committee asked for a bribe of $US800,000 to endorse one of the candidates bidding to hold the 2018 World Cup.

That nice little scoop was also the result of “undercover journalists” at work, in that case “posing as lobbyists for a United States business consortium”.

So this is what high-brow journalism has come to: “undercover reporters” posing as “concerned mothers” or “American business lobbyists”.

Gotcha, indeed.

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Peter Fray

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