Friday, 5 October 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Bill Deedes on journalists taking risks to Tony Blair and war

Bill Deedes, quoted by Richard Ingrams in his just published collection Quips and Quotes. A Journalist's Commonplace Book (top):"None of the legendary successes in journalism were achieved without risk - risk of offending, displeasing or incurring wrath or transgressing the law or even getting the sack. You can't have success and security in journalism."

Deedes, again quoted by Ingrams: "A sinking ship is my spiritual home."

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "It should be noted that the most illuminating story of the conference season so far came not from a broadsheet investigation, nor from a TV interview, but from the disclosure in the Sun of Andrew Mitchell’s foul-mouthed rant at police officers guarding the gates of Downing Street. We are sleepwalking into a world in which such ostensibly demotic stories – which actually reveal deeper truths and spark useful national debates – will be officially frowned upon. The growing clamour for press regulation backed by statute threatens a priceless British freedom. A Conservative prime minister should have no part of it."

Ex-Daily Star and Sunday Express editor Brian Hitchen, in the Daily Express, on why Fleet Street never exposed Jimmy Savile: "In those days newspapers did not write 'nasty' stories about celebrities unless the famous had been handsomely paid for their often fairly tame revelations. The second reason is because Britain's libel laws too often help make those like Savile untouchable." 

Brian Hitchen in Press Gazette: "I feel sorry for journalists today. They sit at their desks like battery hens, sipping Evian water and eating half-frozen sandwiches from the vending machine. Many are the product of half-baked courses of journalism and have no news sense and the same goes for their news editors."

Tony Harcup at the Reuters Institute conference on journalism ethics, reported on this blog: “Journalists today are coming out of university and going into newsrooms having looked at ethical issues in far more detail than ever before, but they are not in charge once they get there. I don’t think an absence of ethical training is the problem, I think it’s an absence in some places, and at some times, of an ethical and questioning culture.”

Tim Crook in a paper for the Reuters Institute conference on journalism ethics, reported on this blog: "The attack on the News of the World and its largely working class and lower middle class culture of readership has been waged by the so-called broadsheet, middle class and elitist media institutions who have seen fit to morally proselytise its failings as the refuge for what has been described as the prurient, disgusting, tawdry, cheap, pornographic, voyeuristic, exploitative, lust-gorging, dirty, smelly, perverted, indecent, and inferior class of low-life under-class individual."

Grey Cardigan in Press Gazette: "Has Kelvin completely lost his marbles? I've ruined many a middle class dinner party by defending him in the past, but even I'm baffled this time around. Asking the South Yorkshire Police for an apology? There's more chance of seeing a chief sub smile."

Ex-Today editor Kevin Marsh in his new book Stumbling Over Truth: The inside story of the 'sexed up' dossier, Hutton and the BBC: "Tony Blair didn't take us to war on a lie. He took us on a shrug."

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