Friday, 2 November 2012

Quotes of the Week: From Jeremy Clarkson in agony to Karl Marx on a free press - plus Boris

Jeremy Clarkson after appearing in the Sun's famed agony aunt Dear Deidre's photo casebook (top):"The highlight of my life, I have no more worlds to conquer."

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson, as reported by Hold The Front Page: “We are in a crazy time with the press, where this very specific and damaging thing has become far too big and Leveson is a juggernaut, which I’m afraid that we may not be able to stop.” 

A government source tells the Daily Telegraph what Culture Secretary Maria Miller told Hugh Grant and other members of the Hacked Off campaign: “The Culture Secretary made it clear she is not prejudging Leveson but said that whatever the outcome of the inquiry, something tough and independent would be needed.”

Francis Beckett in an article for Tribune: "News International is the most top-down, micro-managed organisation I know. Freelance writers get to know the difference between news organisations. If you get a series of idiot questions from your editor at The Guardian, it’s because you’re dealing with an idiot. At Murdoch’s Sunday Times, it’s because your editor isn’t in charge – they have constantly to satisfy the next person up in the food chain."

Joshua Rozenberg, writing on the Legal Cheek blog: "As a job it is very easy, which is why so many people go into journalism when they have nothing better to do. What’s difficult now, though, is getting a job in journalism. With newspapers in rapid decline and the electronic media paying little or nothing to contributors, the chances of making a living out of it – unless you started when I did – are vanishingly small. So my advice for anyone seeking to follow in my footsteps is: don’t."

Martin Ivens in the Sunday Times (£): "The BBC’s defenders in The Guardian complain that the politicians and the press are judging it too harshly. They would, wouldn’t they? The BBC’s executives have followed that newspaper’s agenda relentlessly. After the corporation’s sensationalist coverage of the Leveson inquiry into newspaper ethics, only a heart of stone could now forbear to laugh at its misfortunes."

The Guardian in an editorial on press regulation: "We do believe in a contract system – not the use of statute – to secure participation. But we also believe in an arbitral arm which incentivises the regulated to pursue high standards and penalises anyone who walks away. We believe that the regulator must have real investigatory powers and sanctions. And, above all, we believe in the importance of plurality."

Boris Johnson in the Telegraph: "You can’t 'strike journalists off”, as if they were accountants or lawyers or gynaecologists. They aren’t a profession: they are a great pulsating rabble of people who are distinguished only by our desire – I will not say our ability – to write any old thing for any kind of ephemeral publication. Anyone can be a journalist. You just have to start a blog, break a few stories, and bingo, you are a household name." 

More Boris in the Telegraph: "We need a paper that believes the answer to all problems is more tax and more regulation. We need to have the enemy in plain view, on the table, in the shops – not skulking online. We need to know what not to think. So I appeal now to all Conservatives and indeed anyone interested in preserving our national heritage. Even if we only have a few hundred copies left, let us keep the Guardian’s print edition – displayed in town halls, perhaps, like the People’s Daily. Never mind the badger. Save the Guardian from extinction!"

Brian Cathcart on Comment is Free: "One of the problems that Leveson was asked to investigate was the undue influence of the press over politicians. It is at the very least ironic that the very same influence could now threaten the fate of his report."

MorrisOx posting on Roy Greenslade's blog: "The history of national group strategies in regional newspapers is an awful one (particularly online). These were small, locally-owned businesses who tolerated good years and bad years. Today, they are struggling to sweat plc-level returns out of a market which can't deliver them, so are locked into a downward spiral of cost-cutting." 

on Twitter: "Hugh Grant writes in Spectator: "I trudge on to Newsnight or Question Time like Saddam to the scaffold" Why we need metaphor regulation."

Karl Marx on press freedom, as quoted by Mick Hume at the Free Speech Network launch event: "You cannot enjoy the advantages of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences. You cannot pluck the rose without its thorns!"
(£) = paywall.

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