Friday, 29 July 2011

Quotes of the week: From Michael Wolff on Rupert Murdoch to AA Gill on Tom Watson's expenses

Michael Wolff (pictured) at the LSE on how he reacted to an angry Rupert Murdoch who had just read Wolff's biography of him: "Wooh Rupert, be nice because when the end comes I will be the first person they call."

Michael Wolff at the LSE asked 'What's next for Rupert Murdoch?': "He needs to be helped into retirement."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "Messrs Cameron and Miliband appear to want a replacement for the Press Complaints Commission whose independent members are chosen by an equally independent nominating committee buried somewhere in the depths of Whitehall. Let's be straightforward about this. It's not self-regulation at all. It is effectively statutory regulation, rule by whoever the government of the day says is in regulatory charge."

Roy Greenslade in the London Evening Standard: "I fear that the call for an 'independent' regulator is a cloak for a statutory regulator. But it would be a negation of both the concept and practice of press freedom. We would find ourselves in the company of some of the world's most repressive regimes. This is a seminal moment in the history the British press. We must clean up our act, of course, but we must ensure the brush stays in our hands.

Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph: "It has surprised me to read fellow defenders of the free press saying how sad they are that the News of the World closed. In its stupidity, narrowness and cruelty, and in its methods, the paper was a disgrace to the free press. No one should ever have banned it, of course, but nor should anyone mourn its passing. It is rather as if supporters of parliamentary democracy were to lament the collapse of the BNP."

Damian McCrystal on the News of the World phone hacking saga on the Guardian's Comment is Free: "Instead of defending their wayward sibling, Britain's journalists handed it to the wolves. It looked to an outsider like an act of cowardice and treachery. I know for certain that other newspapers in other media groups have, directly or indirectly, used the same investigative tactics. If or when that emerges, giving ammunition to the growing censorship lobby, journalists will bitterly regret their disloyalty."

Piers Morgan in a statement:
"As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone."

Lord Leveson on his inquiry into media ethics:"It may be tempting for a number of people to close ranks and suggest that the problem is or was local to a group of journalists then operating at the News of the World but I would encourage all to take a wider picture of the public good and help grapple with the width and depth of the problem."

Editorial consultant Peter Sands on regional dailies going weekly: "The key to any change to weekly is that the new paper has to be substantial and of real quality. Filling a fatter paper with rewritten press releases and overblown what's on entries will just accelerate its decline. Think of the Sunday model, rather than the local shopper."

AA Gill in the Sunday Times on the grilling of the Murdochs by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: "Tom Watson begins the questioning. His anger is barely contained by his bulk. The porcine eyes flash. During the expenses scandal it was revealed that he claimed the maximum £4,800 as a food allowance in a single year. No one could accuse him of wasting it."

Pic: Jon Slattery

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