We Don’t Want to Know
OK, I’ve called this special editorial meeting so that we can all make sure this newspaper doesn’t go the same way as the News of the World and …
Excuse me, sir, but who is that?
Ah, glad you asked. Let me introduce, er, Tu.
(The meeting turns to look at a dishevelled bespectacled figure crouched over an i-Pad.)
Do you want to say hello, Tu? Well, perhaps not. Tui has in fact been working for us, though you may never have seen him in the newsroom, because he does his stuff on the internet and things like that.
But what does he do, sir?
Tu, do you want to explain … Maybe not. Er, Tu checks information that the rest of you might not be able to find out. But you don’t really want to know too many details. Now the first question I want to ask is, have any of you been hacking voice mails or anything like we’ve seen in the UK?
(The massed reporters look sheepishly at each other. If only they knew how to do things like that. If only it didn’t sound like too much work – at least compared with cutting-and-pasting press releases. Or just making it up. Only Tu raises his hand.)
Yes, let’s just say that Tu manages to get some very interesting information by, er, rather innovative means. We don’t need to know more than that. But as an example, you may have been wondering how we report what the military are thinking. Tu gets that stuff for us by, er, mobile phone messages and things.
Sorry, Tu, what’s that?
Dinosaurs, that lot. Can’t even use a mobile, some of them. So I can’t ha- …
Yes, so some generals we can’t, er, know about.
Course we can. Just use something different. Like the 3rd Army De- …
Er, a certain high-ranking officer.
No mobile. So we use people.
His mistress is on our payroll. In fact both of them. And his maid, his accountant, his caddy. He can’t take a shit without us knowing how much and what co- …
We have sources of information that, er, enhance our news-gathering function.
(There is a sudden pinging sound.)
I thought I asked for mobiles to be switched off.
No, it’s me. Alert from La Boom Boom.
La Boom Boom. Massage parlour. Secret entrance.
Entrance for special clients. So they don’t get caught by a long-distance lens going in by the front door.
What do you mean, an alert?
Well, we paid the maintenance guys. They let us put a camera just inside the door. PS-451 model, tiny, motion-activated. It’s linked to the i-Pad. Every time someone goes in, ping. I can see them here.
So who is it?
No one important. Commander of the local cop shop. He goes every Thursday for a freebie.
But, er, this is not information that we would ever use.
Course we do. OK, you don’t publish it. But if ever that police station tried anything, ….
Yes. Well, that’s not news-gathering so that’s not really a problem that we want to know about.
But sir, if we’ve got this kind of information from people’s mobiles …
And bank accounts, health records, credit card payments, shopping lists, …
OK, Tu, I don’t think we want to know all that.
… why aren’t we more influential? I mean, with this kind of information on anyone who’s anyone, well, we could …
Because they’ve got the same on you.
Er, Tu has a point. While he’s watching them, they are watching us.
But surely we don’t have anything to hide, sir?
You mean apart from illegal hacking, wire-tapping, breaking and entering, invasion of privacy, …
Thank you, Tu, I don’t think we want to know that.