With all the current sordid revelations emerging concerning the appalling criminal practices conducted by Rupert Murdoch's News International, I am reminded of an account my late friend and mentor, Gerald Suster, gave about the deceitful way in which a News Of The World "journalist" ruined his career back in 1989.
Suster, who was working at the time as a history teacher at Boarzell College in Sussex, had been approached by a NOTW hack called Chris Blythe about his life-long interests in the occult and, most notably, his book The Legacy Of The Beast - The Life, Work & Influence Of Aleister Crowley (which had just made the front cover of Publisher's Weekly).
What transpired back then is very much comparable to the kind of practices that we are hearing about today, and whilst there were no mobile phones around to get hacked into back then, it is clear that the methods and motivation News International employ to get a sensationalist story have changed very little in the last twenty-odd years.
In the Autumn 1996 edition of Talking Stick magazine, Gerald gave an account of how a News Of The World article cost him his job, home and salary in the blink of an eye.
For those of you who still doubt the level that Murdoch and his ilk will stoop to in order to line their pockets and manipulate public perception, I have scanned in the relevant documentation here for your own scrutiny.
Looking over this material again today, and viewing it in the context of recent events, I am reminded of the final interview that dramatist and playright Dennis Potter gave to Melvyn Bragg just before his death in 1994.
He said: "As a writer, you will know that one of the favourite fantasy plots is where a character is told: you've got three months to live (which is what I was told) - who would you kill? I call my cancer - the main one in the pancreas - Rupert, because Murdoch is the one. I've got too much writing to do, and I haven't got the energy, but I would shoot the bugger if I could. There is no one person more responsible for the pollution of what was already a fairly polluted press, and the pollution of the British press is an important part of the pollution of British political life, and it's an important part of the cynicism and misperception of our realities that is destroying so much of our political discourse."