Phone hacking: listeners' response
Listeners' text messages to Your Call
As a reporter, I have what I call the 'Polly Test.' I love news and I love politics but most people have got better things to do. My girlfriend is a teacher and doesn't obsess about op ed pieces in the Telegraph or the tiniest little nuance in the latest gossip online. In other words, she's normal.
But some stories come along that fall into the category marked 'jawdropper.' They pass the 'Polly Test' and this is one, easily. It's being talked about in staffrooms, on the bus, down the pub. 5 live listeners' response has been huge - on our phone-ins, in text messages, emails and on social networks. You've certainly let us know what you think of the allegations, and of journalism in general.
Let's just pause for a moment and consider the sheer scale of this. In the last few days the thesaurus entry for "outrage" has been dredged. Look at the words being used: 'deplorable', 'unacceptable', 'appalling', 'disgusting.' And that's the response of David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch.
Consider too, the relationships Prime Ministers have with News International, the News of the World's parent company. David Cameron now and Tony Blair before him don't just know people like Rebecca Brooks, the Chief Executive, in a stuffy, formal, shake-your-hand, business kind of way. They know her in a peck on the cheek, friendly wave, let's-have-dinner-soon kind of way.
And now this. Inquiries into the largest, most powerful police force in the country, the Met - and allegations some officers were on the take, were corrupt. And an investigation into the media and Rupert Murdoch. After the investigation, the media and Rupert Murdoch will still be there. They will still be influential, and will still be courted by politicians. So the political ramifications are huge.
There are big implications for us reporters too. I heard yesterday of one colleague, out and about chatting to members of the public, copping a load of abuse about being a barbaric moral free zone. Some might plead 'we're different.' Plenty will just say "you're all the same, you're all grubby reporters." What's happening matters for how we're policed, how we're governed and how we're informed about what's going on.
One final thought. Despite the universal outrage at the News of the World's alleged behaviour, their paper is, or was, hugely successful. It's human nature to want to know the gossip in our street, the gossip at work- and, yes, the gossip at a national level too. Of course that can never justify - legally or morally - what's alleged to have been going on. But is all of this likely to diminish our appetite for what the tabloids serve up every day? How many copies will the News of the World shift this weekend compared to last?
Chris Mason is 5 live's political reporter. You can follow him on Twitter.