Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph: "Dave [Cameron] took a foolish risk appointing Andy Coulson as his press chief – it’s rather as if he had put Harold Shipman in charge of geriatric care. Mr Coulson ran a newspaper at which a serious criminal enterprise was undertaken. If he knew about it (and he claims he didn’t), then he should never work anywhere respectable again. If he didn’t, his level of competence was such that he ought not to be parking Dave’s car for him, let alone running his media operation."
Andrew Gimson in the Telegraph on Andy Coulson's appearance before the culture and media committee: "For some Tories, it has always been a bit of a mystery that Mr. Cameron wanted to employ a former editor of the News of the World. But Mr. Coulson at least went a long way to clearing up that mystery, by managing to sound intelligent, helpful and even normal, while supplying no new information, beyond the intriguing detail that Scotland Yard thinks his own phone is more likely to have been hacked into than that of John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister."
Simon Carr in the Independent: " MPs are just no good at finding out what happened. Their committees and judicial enquiries yack away for days and weeks but after 18 months it emerges they've found out nothing or they've framed their findings so feebly it comes to the same. The fact is, Rebekah [Brooks - News International chief exec and former NoW editor] and four journalists would in a week get everything it's taken the Met and two parliamentary committees three years to discover."
Stephen Glover in the Independent: "If there is new evidence, let it be brought forward. What we have here is an old story re-heated, and re-presented by The Guardian and the BBC in the most sensational manner. Two and a half years ago I strongly suspected that Andy Coulson did know what went on while he was editor of the News of the World, and I still do. However, no new evidence has been produced that proves his involvement, and the outcry against him is merely a more raucous reprise of what was said two and a half years ago."
The New York Times on phone-hacking at the News of the World: "Andy Coulson, the top editor at the time, had imposed a hypercompetitive ethos, even by tabloid standards. One former reporter called it a “do whatever it takes” mentality. The reporter was one of two people who said Coulson was present during discussions about phone hacking. Coulson ultimately resigned but denied any knowledge of hacking."
Polly Toynbee in the Guardian: "The fate of Chris Huhne was a well-timed reminder of raw Murdoch power, sending snoopers out to trap this arch critic of News of the World phone-tapping under Andy Coulson."
Guardian's Nick Davies at the City University debate on the News of the World and phone-hacking: "I should start off by apologising to the News of the World, in a way I feel sorry for them. It’s sheer fluke and bad luck that that particular newspaper is the subject of all this attention. It’s just because one journalist [Royal correspondent] Clive Goodman got caught... All of us know very well that illegal activity was going on in most Fleet Street newsrooms."
Ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan also at the City University debate on phone-hacking: "I remember seeing an episode of Friends where somebody did it to Monica's phone."
Quotes of the Year: WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; Paywalls, Rusbridger and Murdoch; The General Election; The Regional Press.