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.
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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”.