Tuesday, 20 December 2011

GOTCHA! The Best Media Quotes of the Year 2011

Here are my Media Quotes of the Year dominated by phone hacking, the closure of the News of the World, WikiLeaks, privacy and the Leveson Inquiry.

Phone hacking

Rupert Murdoch to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing into phone hacking: "This is the most humble day of my life."

Andy Coulson on leaving Downing Street: "I stand by what I've said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman it's time to move on."

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger on Coulson resigning: "This is the result of first class investigative reporting by one Guardian reporter, Nick Davies, sustained over a very long period of time. From the moment he revealed the secret payout to Gordon Taylor in July 2009 it was obvious that Andy Coulson's position was untenable. But this is not the end of the story by any means. There are many outstanding legal actions, and uncomfortable questions for others, including the police."

The BBC's Robert Peston on his blog: "Not to over-dramatise, this has all the potential for the newspaper industry to turn into its version of the MPs' expenses scandal."

Sky News political editor Adam Boulton: "Two important sectors of our society now feel under a great deal of pressure, beset by plunging fortunes and public esteem: newspapers and politicians. As they go down they are turning in on each other with increasing viciousness - politician against journalist, politician against polititian, journalist against journalist."

Blogger Guido Fawkes: "Obviously a line was crossed, catching out a liar by listening to their voicemail can be sold to the public. Raiding the privacy of suffering citizens cannot. This crisis is monstrous for Murdoch, but the Telegraph, BBC and Guardian Media Group are having an absolute field day. Far from being a crisis for them, this is all their Christmases rolled into one."

Tom Watson MP to James Murdoch: "You must be the first Mafia boss in history who did not know he was running a criminal enterprise."

James Murdoch: "Mr. Watson, that's inappropriate."

AA Gill in the Sunday Times on 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."

Ex-News of the World legal manager Tom Crone to the DCMS select committtee: "We went to see Mr [James] Murdoch and it was explained to him what the document was and what it meant. It was clear evidence that hacking was taking place beyond Clive Goodman."

The Guardian's Michael White imagines a conversation between James Murdoch and his Dad: “Pops. Is Rebekah going to be our new mum?”

Chase Carey, deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer, News Corporation: "We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate."

The News of the World

James Murdoch on the decision to close the News of the World: "The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself."

Rebekah Brooks to News of the World staff: "Worse revelations are yet to come and you will understand in a year why we closed the News of the World."

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 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."

Jon Gaunt on Question Time:
"The wrong red-top has gone. Rebekah should go".

News of the World political editor David Wooding: "The loss of the News of the World from our lives is a bombshell like the break-up of the Beatles, the collapse of Woolworths and the end of Concorde. Only this time, instead of reporting the story, we are it. Britain's crooks, thieves, conmen and fakers won't miss the News of the World. But everyone who loved a great story, well told, will."

Milly Dowler

Sally Dowler, mother of Milly Dowler, at the Leveson Inquiry on the moment she
found her daughter's phone messages had been deleted and had cried out to her husband: “She’s picked up her voicemail, Bob, she’s alive.”

Guardian amends its July story on Milly Dowler: "Editor's note: evidence secured by police following the publication of this article has established that the News of the World was not responsible for the deletion of voicemails which caused Milly Dowler's parents to have false hope that she was alive."

Guardian's Nick Davies on Sky News: “To claim that it is the deletion element of that story which made all the difference is a grotesque distortion. There was always the risk that if we came out with the new evidence that mischief-makers would get hold of it and try to make more of it than should be made.”

Sun managing editor Richard Caseby to the House of Lords Communications Committee: "It is now clear that Alan Rusbridger has effectively sexed up his investigation into phone hacking and the wider issue of wrongdoing in the media.”


The Sun on the Appeal Court ruling that stopped the press naming a sportsman said by the paper to be a love cheat: "Yesterday was the day Britain became a judicial banana republic. The nation that created the rule of law bent its knee to a sportsman who fornicates his way through life like a dung hill rooster."

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming in the Commons: "In a secret hearing this week Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him being identified as a banker. Will the government have a debate or a statement on freedom of speech and whether there's one rule for the rich like Fred Goodwin and one rule for the poor?"

Andrew Marr in the Daily Mail about his privacy injunction: "I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists. Am I embarrassed by it? Yes. Am I uneasy about it? Yes. But at the time there was a crisis in my marriage and I believed there was a young child involved. I also had my own family to think about, and I believed this story was nobody else's business."

Jeremy Clarkson tells the Sun why he lifted an injunction on his ex-wife: "Injunctions don't work, they are pointless. If you have one, everyone on Twitter and the internet knows you've got it. But because I am bound by the same order, I can't speak about it or defend myself. There is an assumption that I am guilty because I can't say anything. My wife and I decided to let it go. My ex-wife is now free to tell her story and people can either believe it or not, it's up to them."

Ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan at the Leveson Inquiry: "Privacy is for paedos, no-one else needs it."

Blogger Guido Fawkes' advice to celebs on Sky News: “If you don’t want to be on the front pages then don’t pay hookers to stick dildos up your bum.” Adam Boulton moved swiftly on.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

Reuters quotes official who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by US State Department officials: "We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging."

Julian Assange's legal team on the dangers of his extradition to the US: "Indeed, if Mr Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr Assange should be executed."

Ian Katz in the Guardian: "By the start of this year, despite countless attempts at reassurance, Assange had decided the Guardian was out to get him. WikiLeaks now viewed the Guardian as akin to the Pentagon, he told me. As I write this, a WikiLeaks tweet rich with irony suggests the relationship may have chilled a few degrees since then: 'The Guardian book serialisation contains malicious libels. We will be taking action'."

Stephen Glover in the Independent on Julian Assange: "The Guardian may not regret getting into bed with this seemingly awful man, but it certainly has no intention of being caught lingering there."

Tom Junod in Esquire on the New York Times' executive editor Bill Keller and his relationships with the founder of WikiLeaks: "What Bill Keller really wants the public to know is that when he climbed into bed with Julian Assange, he made sure to wear a condom, manufactured from the impermeable rubber of his own distaste."

Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph after it led on a WikiLeaks inspired story about Libya: "A while back I questioned how interesting the material released by WikiLeaks was. Excuse me while I reverse my ferret."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaking at Cambridge University: "While the internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen."

Julian Assange as told to Ian Hislop: "The reporters on the Guardian disappointed me they failed my masculinity test. They behaved like gossipping schoolgirls."

David House, a friend of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of passing secrets to WikiLeaks, in the Guardian: "You can hear Bradley coming from a long way away because of the chains – his feet have chains on them, they go to a leather belt around his waist. His hands go into them and he has no free movement of his hands."

Journalism Standards

Greg Reardon, the boyfriend of Jo Yeates on coverage of her murder: "Jo's life was cut short tragically but the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet innocent men has been shameful. It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British press and those that spend their time fixed to the internet in this modern age."

BBC College of Journalism executive editor Kevin Marsh speaking at Gray's Inn debate on libel law reform: "We journalists - particularly in gatherings like this or when we're delivering disingenuously serious-minded, ironic, hypocritical keynote speeches at Editors' Conferences - deceive ourselves about why we're loathed by the very public in whose interest we profess to report. We tell ourselves it's because we're independent, bloody-minded, won't be bamboozled, stand up to pressure and tell it how it is. But surely we know it's none of those things. It's because too many journalists make up too much, too often. And then, when they're found out, writhe every which way rather than put it right."

Daily Star reporter Richard Peppiatt’s "I quit" letter to proprietor Richard Desmond: “ 'The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas'.Well, try this: 'The lies of a newspaper in London can get a bloke’s head caved in down an alley in Bradford.' If you can’t see that words matter, you should go back to running porn magazines. But if you do, yet still allow your editors to use inciteful over insightful language, then far from standing up for Britain, you’re a menace against all things that make it great."

Roy Greenslade in Media Guardian: "It is time for the responsible, serious section of the British press to disengage from any coalition with the popular newspapers. The willingness to ignore their misconduct has led us all astray and increased the public's lack of trust in all journalism."

Jane Goldman interviewed in the Sunday Times: “People who work on tabs have to dehumanise the people they write about, otherwise they can’t live with themselves. They have to think everyone is publicity-hungry and an attention whore, and not worthy of your respect as a fellow human being, or how do you do your job?”

Andrew Alexander in the Daily Mail: "Every few years politicians succumb to the desire to impose codes of ethics on journalists. We have had three attempts in the past half century or so to achieve this by committee of inquiry without much result. David Cameron wants us to try again. It will be like grappling with a blancmange."

Reed Business Information's editorial development manager Adam Tinworth: "From now on, I'm a blogger not a journalist. Don't want my credentials dragged down by association with newspaper hacks."

Gordon Brown at the Edinburgh Festival: “In Britain, what the press do, if they really want to get at someone, is they challenge their motives and their integrity. They try to suggest that they’re not the person that they say they are. The way the press works in this country is they try to doubt the motives of people all the time. They try to suggest that you’ve got a malign purpose in what you’re doing. And they try to take pieces of people’s characters and destroy those pieces so they can make their political point as a result of that. You can’t say it is not hurtful.”

Nick Davies interviewed by the Media Matters for America website on the impact of Rupert Murdoch on journalism in the UK: "Rupert Murdoch has made Britain a more racist, more sexist and more stupid place. Because of what he did to the Sun, and what the Sun did to other newspapers."

Sky News political editor Adam Boulton on Twitter: "Is it time for a Self-Hating Journalists Club? Roy Greenslade, John Lloyd, Brian Cathcart founding members perhaps?"

Roy Greenslade responds: "I don't hate journalists. But I do hate hackers, stalkers, users of agents provocateur and routine users of subterfuge."

Business Models

Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times: "The Huffington Post is a brilliantly packaged product with a particular flair for addressing the cultural and entertainment tastes of its overwhelmingly liberal audience. To grasp its business model, though, you need to picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates."

Guardian editor-in-chef Alan Rusbridger: “By becoming a digital-first organisation we’re taking the next natural step, one which we believe all newspapers will eventually have to take.”

Steve Bowbrick in The Word magazine on blogs vs. social networks: "The blogs, because of their independence and energy and the sense that anything is possible, have defied the irrelevance threatened by the social networks. They represent the richness and value of human subjectivity and the potential for open and honest communication, even in the age of collapsing business models and fading media behemoths."

Journalism Cuts:

Mike Lockley editor of the Chase Post closed down by Trinity Mirror Midlands: "Times and technology change, people’s desire to know what’s happening in their community doesn’t. A town without its own weekly newspaper is a town without a heart."

Woking News & Mail reader Rachel Tytherleigh on the closure of the paper: "My daughter, Lucy Constantine, has been a member of the WN&M's Press Gang for a couple of years now. She was looking forward to seeing her 10th birthday printed in the Press Gang section on March 24. Unfortunately, ...this can no longer happen."

Chris Morley, the NUJ’s Northern and Midlands organiser, in a blog for Ethos PR: “Local newspapers are not dead but they are being killed by remote and irresponsible owners who care nothing for them but as a source of ready cash. The damage is being compounded by the air of defeatism being generated by often timid editors (with a few honourable exceptions) who refuse to challenge the bean counters to protect their own titles."

Grey Cardigan in Press Gazette on why the "grey men in grey suits" forced out Northcliffe's outspoken editors: "They couldn't handle the boardroom battles, the cult of 'Editorial is King' and the notion that people would fight to the death for what was right for their newspapers, their readers and their staff. So off they had to go."

Covering the riots

Paul Lewis in the Guardian on covering the riots: "The first portal for communicating what we saw was Twitter. It enabled us to deliver real-time reports from the scene, but more importantly enabled other users of Twitter to provide constant feedback and directions to troublespots. While journalists covering previous riots would chase ambulances to find the frontline, we followed what people on social media told us. By the end of the week, I had accumulated 35,000 new Twitter followers."

: "As I pulled up by Salford precinct, I was greeted by crowds of young people - some as young as 10 or 11. Seconds later cars screeched by as young boys pulled wheelies on motorbikes. Within minutes of leaving my car and standing by BBC Radio Manchester's radio-car, bricks were hurled at myself and a colleague. We took cover by the empty markets...Gangs cheered as the radio-car went up in flames."

Unemployedhack on his blog: "Journalists are finally being shown in a good light. The reporters, just days ago dismissed as 'scum', are now celebrated as they report on, photograph and film riots across London and the UK. Someone even mentioned that reporters are on low pay while they respond to early morning calls to report on and film burning cars, looted shops and the smashed windows along high streets."

Kevin Marsh in Press Gazette on covering the aftermath of the riots: "What if the press and broadcasters - especially local and regional media - saw their role as helping to find the answers? What if we realised that whining on the margins wasn't good enough any more? Maybe that would change the way we looked at and reported the deep-seated problems that affect us all. And maybe we journalists would find we were relevant, respected and trusted once more."

Bryony Gordon sends a love letter to a Sky News reporter via her Telegraph column: "Mark Stone, beefcake, hunk, my hero. A Sky News reporter who makes Buzz Lightyear look like Postman Pat, a breath of broadcasting fresh air after hours of Identikit aerial shots from the ubiquitous Skycopter. This chiselled god of news fearlessly took to the streets of Clapham on Monday night to confront the feral youths rampaging through his local branch of Currys Digital."

Johann Hari

Johann Hari in the Independent: "In my work, I’ve spent a lot of time dragging other people’s flaws into the light. I did it because I believe that every time you point out that somebody is going wrong, you give them a chance to get it right next time and so reduce the amount of wrongdoing in the world. That’s why, although it has been a really painful process and will surely continue to be for some time, I think in the end I’ll be grateful my flaws have also been dragged into the light in this way. I would like to apologise again to my readers, my colleagues and the people hurt by my actions. I know that some of you have lost faith in my work. I will do everything I can now to regain it. I hope, after a period of retraining, you will give me the chance."

Blogger Fleet Street Fox offers to train Johann Hari: "I'll send him out on deathknocks, pack jobs, magistrates' hearings, junkie inquests, tell him to drive 300 miles on a hopeless tip at 10pm then insist he's back at work for 7am, make him spend his birthday at a late-night local council planning committee, publish his phone number and paint his name on the side of his car so everyone knows who he is. I'll show him what to do when someone comes at him with a lump of wood or collapses in tears, and how to file off a notebook down a bad line while you're being shot at to someone who's drunk."

Osama Bin Laden

TIME magazine's headline on story about journalism graduate Vice-Admiral William McRaven, who commanded the SEAL team that hunted down and killed Osama Bin Laden: 'The Most Deadly Would-be Journalist in the World.'

Death of Gaddafi

Guardian readers' editor Chris Elliott on the use by the paper of pictures of Gaddafi's bloodied corpse: "At the time I agreed with the Guardian's decision to publish. On reflection – and having read the complaints – I feel less convinced about the way we used these photographs, although I still feel strongly that they are an important part of this story and should have been used. The scale of the photo on the newspaper front page of 21 October and prominent picture use on the website took us too close to appearing to revel in the killing rather than reporting it. And that is something that should feature in our deliberations the next time – and there will be a next time – such a situation arises."

Sky News' Alex Crawford

Richard Edmondson in the Independent: "If you want to make my wife, Alex Crawford, angry you might either call her a female reporter or suggest she does not care much about her children. If you want to end it all you could mix a fatal cocktail of the two. Tell her that a woman journalist should not be going to war zones, especially when there are kids back home to cuddle. It would be a swifter end than strychnine."


Hugh Grant after being asked 'How frustrating is it for you that people are more interested in your love life than your films?'
by a BBC interviewer in 2003:"I do get frustrated, but I understand where the instinct comes from. When I think about actors I know, I’d much rather hear about who they’re shagging than what film they’re doing next."

Dominique Strauss-Khan

New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser gives Dominique Strauss-Khan a Glenda Slagg-style send off: "Get back on that Air France jet and soil your linens back home, Mr. Big Shot. We don't like your kind."

Cocktail cock-up

Guardian correction: "The actor Tom Hardy said in an interview that his training for a role as a cage fighter in the film Warrior included "two hours mai tai" each day - he meant the combat sport "muay thai", not the fruity cocktail."

Teaser of the year

MailOnline: 'How I stole my husband's sperm in the middle of the night by Liz Jones'.

Garth Gibbs RIP

Ex-Mirror journalist Garth Gibbs, who died in August, on his hunt for Lord Lucan: "I regard not finding Lord Lucan as my most spectacular success in journalism. Of course, many of my colleagues have also been fairly successful in not finding Lord Lucan. But I have successfully not found him in more exotic spots than anybody else. I spent three glorious weeks not finding him in Cape Town, magical days and nights not finding him in the Black Mountains of Wales, and wonderful and successful short breaks not finding him in Macau either, or in Hong Kong or even in Green Turtle Bay in the Bahamas where you can find anyone."

Leveson on Leveson

Lord Justice Leveson on his inquiry into media ethics: “I want this inquiry to mean something. I am very concerned that it should not simply form a footnote in some professor of journalism’s analysis of the history of the 21st century while it gathers dust.”

And another thing...

Jon S - Happy Christmas to all my readers

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