Friday, 30 July 2010

Quotes of the Week: From WikiLeaks to nipples

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: "We have tried to make sure that this material does not put innocents at harm. All the material is over seven months old so it is of no current operational consequence, even though it may be of very significant investigative consequence."

New York Times executive editor Bill Keller: "
In their raw form, we believe the documents could put lives at risk — especially Afghans who are identified as having cooperated with the NATO force, but also Americans and NATO allies, by providing information about tactics and intelligence-gathering. That is why we took great pains to eliminate such references from our coverage."

deputy blogs editor Will Heaven:
"The information leaked from Afghanistan is undoubtedly sensitive, but if Wikileaks had been true to its principles, it should have been up to an online audience (of casual readers and experts) to decide its value, not the editors of three Left-wing newspapers. Sadly, those principles have been ditched."

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell:
"The fact that I've been trusted by the Guardian to do it for so long is something for which I am eternally grateful. Yet the very nature of what I do compels me to not only bite but despise the hand that feeds me. I've worked for the paper from the days when I regarded it as a bourgeois, SDP-loving crapsheet. In some ways nothing has changed, except that nowadays the SDP-lovers would be considered far too leftwing."

Heather Brooke in The Times: "The rhetoric of the English legal system is that justice must be seen to be done so why are the public forbidden – under threat of jail – from recording a verbatim account of proceedings? Not only that, rules are so opaque and obscure that court reporters struggle to report cases with any degree of accuracy or depth. And that is when there is a reporter in court, which these days is a rarity – there used to be 25 reporters covering national courts for the Press Association; by 2009 there were only four."

Siobhain Butterworth on "There is something rather quaint about journalists in the 21st century using pens and notebooks to record what goes on in court hearings when the tools of the trade now include laptops, mobiles, BlackBerrys and other digital paraphernalia. Why not use them in court? In fact, why not report live from the courtroom? The obvious answer is that judges won't let you."

David Higgerson blogs on journalism bloggers: "How about journalism bloggers upholding some basic principles of reporting and seeking to produce fair and balanced blog posts? Surely it’s the job of a reporter/blogger repeating claims made by someone else to check the validity of what’s being said?"

Tom Bower in the Guardian on Richard Desmond: "The choice of Richard Desmond as the new owner of Channel Five beggars belief. Never before has a government regulator (Ofcom) lowered the threshold for the suitability of the prospective owner of a TV channel enough for someone like Desmond to control a potentially lucrative franchise. Desmond's success owes much to the general ignorance about his rise to power. Protected by Britain's libel laws and a pact among newspaper proprietors not to attack each other, Desmond has successfully concealed his colourful past to become a major media player in London."

Stephen Glover in the Independent on Simon Heffer and whether he will get a new role at the Telegraph: "My impression is that Mr Heffer is not as appreciated as he should be, partly because his violently anti-Cameron pieces embarrass executives now that the Tories are in firmly power. Surely it is time to rally to his side. I feel about him as I would if some familiar monument were threatened by an iconoclastic town council, and would cheerfully contribute towards his maintenance."

A.A. Gill in the Sunday Times on Clare Balding: "I warm to Clare as a presenter. Away from sport she has a comfortable, no-nonsense enthusiasm; when every other girl on television is winsome and coquettish, it’s a relief to be talked to by someone who isn’t flirting down the lens. Though I’m not sure this is much of a format: I’d like to see her as a sturdier Judith Chalmers, possibly in lederhosen. I wonder if the production team noticed that, even through three layers of Viyella and Gore-Tex, Clare has heroically assertive nipples."
  • Balding has complained to the Sunday Times about Gill's article - accusing him of homophobia - and had a response from editor John Witherow. You can read about the dispute here.

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