Friday, 1 June 2012

Media Quotes of the Week: From Hunt to Leveson

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in a text message to James Murdoch on December 21: “Great and congrats on Brussels, just Ofcom to go!”.

Daily Telegraph leader on Jeremy Hunt: "The picture that emerged yesterday was that of a Secretary of State who was on the friendliest terms with senior figures in the Murdoch empire and made no attempt to disguise his support for the takeover. Such callow behaviour is unacceptable in a senior minister. In a rather sheepish performance, Mr Hunt even admitted texting Mr Murdoch during the bid process over which he was presiding, which makes a nonsense of the concept of a quasi-judicial relationship. He conceded that in retrospect he should not have done this, but added that he was “just being courteous”. This will not do. A multi-billion-pound merger, with profound implications for the UK media, was at stake. Mr Hunt’s amateurish handling of the process fell far short of what was required."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on the sacking of Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver from the editorships of the Daily and Sunday Mirror: "It is plain to me that Wallace and Weaver, having fought the staff cuts in January, are being punished for their opposition. There is no other possible editorial reason for their firing...Yes, it is potty. But it is confirmation that [Sly] Bailey is, and always has been, the wrong person for the job. Trinity Mirror investors should take action now before she does even more to undermine the possibility of saving two great British national newspaper titles."

The Observer in a leader: "Leveson himself might pause to wonder whether the worst helping of ordure on his plate belongs to the press at all, but to the men who ordered his inquiry in the first place. There's a tide of disillusion and danger still coming in. But meanwhile we need a grand gesture of contrition and final comprehension, a move that says: "Yes, we get it, we're into tawdry territory. It has to stop. We have to show people outside the Notting Hill triangle that it's stopped." Which is why Jeremy Hunt, as symbol, victim and full stop, must go."

Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer on David Cameron's decision to commission the Leveson Inquiry: "It is a textbook example of a prime minister establishing an inquiry in a panic before he had fully thought through where it might lead. Where it has led is right to his own doorstep."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on the union's financial crisis:  "There has been no single overnight event that has brought us to this position. The fact that there has been no positive uplift in the industry’s fortunes, and therefore our members’; the continued pressure on our budgets and unresolved deficits in some areas; the drop in subs income in the first half of this budget, 3 per cent more than the 2 per cent decline budgeted; the depletion of our assets and reserves in the wake of successive deficits; and the crisis in our pension scheme – all of these things bring us to the position we are in today, and this combination of factors mean we have to take action. Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option."

Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail: "Were Google a newspaper group rather than an internet search engine, it would be subject to the most comprehensive inquiry imaginable. It would be investigated for harvesting the private data of millions of Britons, for helping to disseminate pornography to children, and for various monopolistic practices."

Lord Justice Leveson on libel: "Not my mission in life to deny laywers income, but in this field it seems like a good idea."

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