In the July 25, 2011 New Yorker, Talk of the Town, Lauren Collins covered some of the good guys in the Murdoch scandal. Her piece, “London Postcard: Early Birds,” tells us about Chris Bryant, a Labour M.P. from Wales who, beginning eight years ago, was the Parliamentary early bird in asking tough questions of Murdoch employes.
For his efforts, he was targeted by the Murdoch machine in a smear campaign (apparently he is gay) that he confronted with bravura courage and wit. (“I don’t give a monkey’s fart,” he recently told one newspaper reporter.)
The other early bird is a lawyer named Charlotte Harris. Here’s an excerpt from Collins’s piece (and pay attention to the last sentence. It rocks):
Along with Bryant, Charlotte Harris, a partner in the law firm Mishcon de Reya, has been to the phone-hacking scandal what Meredith Whitney was to the financial crisis—she called it loud and early. She is thirty-four and blond, and is prone to making such self-dramatizing remarks as “It’s difficult when everyone’s older than you, and most of them are boys.” Harris … got involved in the phone-hacking scandal … in early 2007, as an associate lawyer in Manchester. Her boss, Mark Lewis, was the lawyer for Gordon Taylor, the head of the Professional Footballers’ Association. Taylor’s phone was hacked by Glenn Mulcaire; Lewis and Harris won their client a reported four-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-pound settlement. “It was clear then that this was wider than one rogue reporter,” said Harris, who was on maternity leave when the case settled. “I remember hearing the news, looking at my new baby in her bouncy thing, and thinking, Oh, I wanted a trial.” Harris’s next phone-hacking client was the public-relations impresario Max Clifford. She won him a million pounds, if not the same sort of public outrage that the Milly Dowler revelations provoked. “Max basically taught me things that only Max can teach you,” Harris said. “By the time I got other clients, I was able to say, ‘Don’t be scared. Let’s get on with it.'”