Monday, 12 July 2010

Lord Mandelson on the Duffy 'bigot' media disaster

Lord Mandelson in his new book serialised in The Times today refers to the media disaster for Labour's election campaign when Gordon Brown's description of Rochdale grandmother Gillian Duffy as a bigot was picked up by Sky News.
Lord Mandelson writes: "Everything about it was bad: the contrast between the kind words Gordon had spoken to Gillian Duffy’s face, and the sneer behind her back; the appearance of being out of touch on the issue she had raised with him, which was the source of his embarrassing remark: immigration."
He adds: "I called David Muir [Director of Political Strategy and special adviser to Gordon Brown], Sue [Nye], Alastair [Campbell], and Gordon. The first thing I told them was what not to do. Gordon wanted to hold a press conference. That sounded crazy to me. It would magnify the embarrassment. I said Gordon had to apologise, of course, and he should go and see Gillian Duffy at her home. Gordon followed my advice, but afterwards, when he stepped outside into the midst of the throng of waiting media, my heart sank. What he was saying was instantly undermined by the return of a classic Gordon idiosyncrasy: the appearance of a broad grin, very often in an inappropriate context, when he was nervous. In this case, he grinned as he was saying that his remarks about Mrs Duffy had left him mortified. The effect was unfortunate."
  • You have to register and pay to view The Times' story online


Craig McGill said...

Jon, is what you have done here essentially copyright theft? You've taken content - that people can only get by going behind a paywall - and not given any renumeration?

I know that Sky have put it up but in essence, taking what someone else has stolen (even if it is still News Int) potentially depriving The Times of revenue?

(I'm only being half-serious here, but at the same time, we can't moan about not being compensated for our words and work and then go lift the work of others at the same time).

Jon Slattery said...

It is something I thought about before putting it up.

I am a subscriber to The Times online service so have made some financial contribution to the paper.

I would argue that taking a few pars from the very lengthy Mandelson book serialisation won't do any harm and promotes the story and thereby could encourage those interested to subscribe to The Times site or even buy a copy of the newspaper.

I made clear you would have to register and pay to read more of the Mandelson story online.

Most of the nationals have carried extracts lifted from The Times.

But you raise a good point. Does a paywall mean you should not take any material from behind it?

George Dearsley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Dearsley said...

Stealing from Mr Murdoch? Shock, horreur! That's something he would never do, surely. I can't see the difference between repeating information that's behind a paywall....and information that's in a newspaper. How many stories have News International journos "lifted" in their time?