Friday, 4 October 2013

Quotes of the Week: From the Mail-Miliband bust-up to why cats up trees are newsworthy

Mail attack on Ralph Miliband
Ed Miliband in the Daily Mail: "Journalists need to hold politicians like me to account — none of us should be given an easy ride — and I look forward to a robust 19 months between now and the General Election. But what appeared in the Daily Mail on Saturday was of a different order all together. I know they say ‘you can’t libel the dead’, but you can smear them. Fierce debate about politics does not justify character assassination of my father, questioning the patriotism of a man who risked his life for our country in World War  II, or publishing a picture of his gravestone with a tasteless pun about him being a ‘grave socialist’. The Daily Mail sometimes claims it stands for the best of British values of decency. But something has really gone wrong when it attacks the family of a politician — any politician — in this way."

The Daily Mail in an editorial refuses to apologise to Ed Miliband: "More chillingly, the father’s disdain for freedom of expression can be seen in his son’s determination to place the British Press under statutory control. Next week the Privy Council, itself an arm of the state, will meet to discuss plans — following a stitch-up with Hacked Off over late-night pizzas in Mr Miliband’s office — for what will ultimately be a politically controlled body to oversee what papers are allowed to publish. Put to one side that Mr Miliband’s close involvement with degenerates such as Damian McBride gives him scant right to claim the moral high ground on anything. If he crushes the freedom of the Press, no doubt his father will be proud of him from beyond the grave, where he lies 12 yards from the remains of Karl Marx. But he will have driven a hammer and sickle through the heart of the nation so many of us genuinely love."

on Twitter: "I support defending his dad. Politics should be about playing the ball, not the man, certainly not the man's family."

on Twitter: "What's hard to grasp about Miliband dad row, is why the Mail would want to give party leaders reason to unite with Royal Charters upcoming."

on Twitter: "I wonder what Ld Rothermere feels about family's old Nazi-loving past being recycled as predictable riposte over Mili-smear. Own goal Dacre?"

The Guardian in a leader "We share some of the Mail's anxieties about the future shape of press regulation. Highly personalised attacks on those involved in searching for the right solution, far less their dead relatives, will win over no friends to the press's side of the argument – quite the opposite. The Mail's voice in the debate is important: but reasoned discussion is better than hatchet jobs."

Roy Greenslade on his Media Guardian blog: "It is clear that the Mail's editor, Paul Dacre,, has forgotten the first rule of those who find themselves in an untenable position: when in a hole, stop digging."

Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times: "As the genetic offspring of a Britannia-loving Mailman, it must follow that my motives cannot be questioned when I view the attack on Miliband Sr as vicious, bigoted, distasteful and the antithesis of everything one should love about Britain.
There is, incidentally, one upside for Ed Miliband in the whole sorry business. Until now the one thing everyone knew about him was that he elbowed aside his elder brother to win the Labour leadership. Now, thanks to the Mail, he is less the man who knifed his brother than the man who stood up for his father."

Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig's apology after two of his reporters attended a private memorial service for Ed Milibands's uncle: "I have already spoken personally to Ed Miliband and expressed my regret that such a terrible lapse of judgement should have taken place. It is completely contrary to the values and editorial standards of The Mail on Sunday. I understand that Lord Rothermere is personally writing to Ed Miliband".
Seymour Hersh, quoted in the Guardian: "I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever … Not that journalism is always wonderful, it's not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity."

on Twitter: "Harassed sounding Tesco press officer: 'Yes, we're aware of the inflatable gay best friend, and we're looking into it urgently'."

Patrick Wintour in the Guardian: "Cameron will fear a backlash from rightwing newspaper proprietors if he supports the all-party charter. But he will also be aware that senior News International executives are due to stand trial at the end of October over their involvement in phone hacking. These trials may revive interest in how the government has responded to evidence of wrongdoing by some newspaper groups."

Johnston Press boss on Twitter: "HenryFaureWalker off to be CEO great ringing endorsement of digital strategy and good for regional press industry."

News UK chief Mike Darcey, interviewed in InPublishing, on national newspapers that have free online sites: “If they have strong, free, online propositions, then I think they are contributing to a decline in their print sales and really it’s a function of the decisions they make and whether they tighten that up or whether they continue to eat themselves alive."

Sir Charles Gray and Alastair Brett on Leveson in the Guardian: "The two recommendations which really scare the press are the idea of a 'free' arbitral process for all media disputes and the new regulator having to hear complaints, not just from individuals but from any crackpot lobby group which believes an article is wrong or unfair."

Michael Gove on Walter Greenwood, who died this week, in The Journal, Newcastle: “Being taught journalism by Walter was like being taught football by Bill Shankly or playwriting by Alan Bennett - he was the master."

Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "People are interested in 'cats up fucking trees'. They want to know why there was a fire engine at the end of their street, they want to know who owns the climbing cat, they want to know how it got up there in the first place and, as any reporter who has ever worked for me knows all too well, they want to know the name of the damn cat. And woe betide the trainee who returned to the office without that essential information."

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