DWGism (dwgism) wrote,
DWGism
dwgism

Schadenfreude

I came a little late to this week's eruption of the News International scandal, I was too uncomfortable to sleep on Monday night, which spilled over into general crapness Tuesday and Wednesday and it was Thursday before I was well enough to really get caught up with what was going on, and I'll be totally frank that once I did my grin just kept getting broader.

None of us can be happy with the degree of corruption that has been exposed, or the evidence that the political establishment, the police and the rest of the press, with the honourable exception of the Guardian, have run scared of News International for pretty much 40 years. Nor can we draw comfort from the attitudes betrayed by the hacks and executives being put in front of the harsh glare of the cameras for once. There's something very wrong with the profession when prominent hacks can appear on the leading political and news shows, defending hacking grieving parents, even hacking missing murdered teens to the detriment of the murder investigation, and see nothing wrong with their attitudes. Possibly more worrying is when a political leader as prominent as Ed Miliband is threatened by a nameless News International executive for daring to suggest that a more senior executive should be held to account for all the sins that happened on her watch, or when the executive editor of The Times launches a rabidly contemptuous attack on Mumsnet, blaming them for the closure of the News of The World, rather than the journalists who were responsible for the hacking and corruption, or the executives who at best sat by while they did it, at worst actually colluded in it, and who ultimately threw the New of the World hacks to the wolves in the hope of saving their dash for the prize of complete ownership of BSkyB and the domination of British media it will bring them. I guess for once the public have seen the real, contemptuous, attitude of the hacks towards the rest of the world.

Unfortunately the reality of how contemptuously the hacks view the public isn't a revelation for those of us who are disabled. For the past several years the tabloids have been calculatingly drawing a picture of disabled people as systematic fakers and fraudsters, a justified target for public anger, and that anger has manifested itself on the street with many disabled people, including me, being harassed by complete strangers simply for the 'sin' of daring to be disabled in public, harassment that is leaving many scared to leave their houses. The campaign of vilification might have started with the politicos (and 'might' is an increasingly interesting word as we realise just how deeply the Murdochs has sunk their manipulative claws into the heart of the British establishment), but the tabloid hacks were their willing bullyboys in seeking to demonize and victimize a minority who had done nothing other than have the misfortune to be disabled in a frequently disablist society. So when the News of the World editor complains that he and his current employees are the innocent victims of this affair, forgive me for feeling more than a little bit of schadenfreude*, and viewing him with increased contempt, not sympathy, The current generation of hacks have been actively and consciously disabilist, whipping up hatred against us, because they know latent jealousy and ignorance about disability benefits mean the public can be easily manipulated into a frothing lynch mob, eager for yet more tales of disabled people daring to be too sick to work,. or to sacrifice their mobility allowance for a decent car that's actually big enough to hold a wheelchair. If the sin they are being sacrificed for might not be their own, then in no way should we assume that they are innocent of any crime, or worthy of our sympathy. They have spent years savaging disabled people who can't find jobs in our openly disablist employment regime and if they now face hunting for jobs themselves, then that's just the karma coming home to roost.

There are rumours that the corruption extends far further, into other tabloids from other stables, perhaps even into the broadsheets, and my schadenfreude hopes that that is the case, because after the way disabled people have been hounded by these rags there's only one thing you can call one closed tabloid -- a start.

* Schadenfreude - joy in the discomfiture of others.  
Tags: disablism, new international
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