This isn't going to help improve the strained relations between the Independent and the Guardian.
The Independent's media commentator Stephen Glover says today that the Guardian used a business intelligence company as part of an investigation into the multi-national company Monsanto and questions the paper's right to get on its "high horse" over the News of the World's use of private investigators.
Glover writes: "Now it emerges that The Guardian has itself on at least one occasion employed what it describes as a 'business intelligence company' - and what we might call a private investigator - to obtain information about a multi-national company. The paper had no intention of committing any illegal act, and I for one would heartily support what it did as good journalism. All the same, its use of private investigators may cast its high-minded criticisms of the News of the World in a somewhat different light."
Glover says:"There is no evidence that illegal methods were used on behalf of the Guardian by a third party investigating Monsanto. But that does not seem to me the most interesting point. The fact is that, if you employ outside agencies to obtain information, you cannot maintain control over the methods they use. Once you dip a toe into that murky world, you are no longer in charge of the process. If I had, like Mr Rusbridger, employed a private investigator, I do not think I would have so readily got on my high horse in relation to News Of The World."
The Independent and Guardian fell out in May over MediaGuardian's coverage of the Independent's financial problems. It led the Independent's managing director and former editor Simon Kelner to accuse the Guardian of purposely trying to damage its biggest commercial rival by "biased" and "irresponsible" reporting.
Glover's story is based on one investigated, but not published by the Sunday Times.
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