Thursday, 14 April 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From press lashes Hacked Off over Whittingdale dominatrix conspiracy theory to should hacks reveal their tax?

The Spectator blog: "Labour’s demands that Whittingdale recuses himself from the issue of press regulation is intended to develop Hacked Off’s conspiracy theory that Whittingdale has gone easy on the press because he was being blackmailed. It overlooks a crucial point, though: the Culture Secretary has no power over the press, nor does anyone else in the government. Britain’s press is free, and journalists can be as rude as they like to ministers without fear of reprisal. There is quite simply no mechanism of reprisal — because the press fought off David Cameron’s disgraceful attempt to impose press regulation."

Daily Mail in a leader: "And the Oscar for egregious hypocrisy goes to… the trouser-dropping luvvies, posturing lawyers and third-rate academics of the anti-newspaper campaign group, Hacked Off.This is the organisation, remember, founded to protect celebrities' private lives from unwarranted Press intrusion. Yet now it castigates newspapers for failing to reveal that an ex-girlfriend of John Whittingdale was a prostitute."

David Aaronovitch in The Times [£]: "In wrongly deploying against a political foe his entirely private activities, the high-minded have argued themselves into the gutter."

The Telegraph in a leader: "Surely Hacked Off should be welcoming the restraint of editors. Moreover, the most dominant force in the media nowadays is not the Press, but the BBC. Has there been a conspiracy between the corporation and Hacked Off to damage Mr Whittingdale? Perhaps Newsnight would care to investigate."

Roy Greenslade on Newsnight: "I think it is a bit much to castigate the newspapers for doing the right thing for once.'

Nick Cohen @NickCohen4 on Twitter: "Let me see if I can get this right. Hacked Off is complaining that the tabloids DIDN'T invade a politician's privacy."

The Guardian in a leader: "To pretend, in the absence of any other revelation, that a consensual adult sex life exposes a person to blackmail or makes them unfit for office is an idea whose time has gone – and good riddance."

Robert Peston on his ITV blog:"The notion that there was a conspiracy is, I think, nuts. Because it was never going to work.  If there is one thing I've learned in more than 30 years as a hack, it is that journalists can't keep a secret. They/we can't help ourselves - we gossip. So any deliberate cover up would always have failed. What is clear to me is that this story was not published because the four newspapers failed to establish that it was a story - and the vendor of the story was asking a lot of money for it, £20,000....The Sunday People was the first newspaper to be offered the story at the end of 2013. It approached Tom Watson - the Labour MP, now deputy leader of the Labour party, then a colleague of Mr Whittingdale on the Culture committee - for his advice on whether it should publish. He told them he did not see there was a public-interest reason to run the story on Mr Whittingdale's affair, since he was a single man, this was his private life, and the People had no evidence that Mr Whittingdale had paid for sex."

John Whittingdale, in a statement to Newsnight, on his past relationship with a sex worker: "At no time did she give me any indication of her real occupation and I only discovered this when I was made aware that someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers. As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship. This is an old story which was a bit embarrassing at the time. The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary."

Labour's Chris Bryant on Newsnight: "It seems the press were quite deliberately holding a sword of Damocles over John Whittingdale. He has a perfect right to a private life but as soon as he knew this he should have withdrawn from all regulation of the press."

Neil Wallis ‏@neilwallis1 on Twitter: "Charles Moore (great journo, btw) confronted v elderly parents, unknowing relatives, & Justin Welby over his illegitimacy...could a tabloid?"

Daily Mail hits out at Guardian
The Daily Mail in a leader: "Enough of this madness. Instead of grovelling before the politics of envy mob, the Prime Minister should be arguing that, for most people, Inheritance Tax (IHT) — by re-taxing income that has already been taxed — is unfair. He should also be shouting from the rooftops the moral case for low taxation. Leave aside the rank hypocrisy of the BBC and the Guardian, which have led the charge over the leaked Panama papers from their moral high horses — despite their own history of adopting elaborate measures to minimise their tax liabilities."

Guardian head of media jane martinson ‏@janemartinson on Twitter: "Surprised that it took the Mail so long to back the wealthy rather than attack huge offshore industry?"

Michael Wolff in GQ: "As for Rusbridger's Guardian, in an age of low interest rates and costly internet economics, that Guardian is either a thing of the past or on a suicide mission."

Peter Barron in his farewell column after 17 years as editor of the Northern Echo:  "Local newspapers have a vital role to play in society and my parting wish is that they are given the time and support for quality, campaigning journalism that makes a difference to people’s lives. The future of local journalism cannot just be built on 'click-bait' – stories which attract the biggest number of hits online. There will be those who call me a dinosaur but if I see another 'stomach-churning compilation of the best spot-squeezing videos' on a ‘news’ website, I may well take a hammer to my computer. Exploding spots may get lots of hits, and that may attract digital advertising revenue, but it isn’t news."

Daily Mail in an editorial: "Millions of Americans will be talking about it, after a paper reported the full story. And inevitably, social media chatrooms all around the globe will be abuzz with the names.
Yet thanks to a Court of Appeal injunction, the once-free Press of the UK remains banned from revealing the identity of the celebrity married couple who flaunt their happy family lives, with the aid of expensive PRs, while one of them is said to have indulged in an extra-marital threesome. Could anything more starkly expose the law’s failure to keep up with the age of the internet, in which no judge’s ruling can stop stories from flashing round the world within seconds?

Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£]: "The most ridiculous thing about this injunction is not, as some have been arguing, that it is ineffective. In fact, it has been very effective. True, if you are elsewhere in Britain, you could learn the identity of this couple by phoning a friend in Scotland. Certainly, you could browse online and figure it out pretty quickly. Within England and Wales, however, on its own limited terms, the blackout has done the job....The attorney-general Jeremy Wright, meanwhile, has issued a statement warning ordinary British users of social media that they, too, could find themselves in contempt of court for naming names. Although without, of course, saying which names. Collectively, the country has been hushed. With menaces."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail on the the three-in-a-bed privacy injection: "Sadly, we can’t even tell you if the olive oil involved was virgin."

Guido Fawkes: "Guido has lots of online embarrassments soon to be discovered on the internet by his Google-savvy young children. As much as he would prefer to cover it all up, this protection would be a risky curtailment of press freedom."

Financial Times political correspondent Henry Mance on a booze filled lunch with Nigel Farage"For me, this is now entering stag-party territory; for him, it’s little more than holy communion."

David Hepworth in InPublishing on looking what people were reading on a London tube journey:"The most read paper publication was, not surprisingly, the Metro, which is given away free. I saw one man reading The Times, another man reading the Mail and a third reading the Mirror. In each case, they were old enough to require spectacles (which is something that editors and designers should maybe take into account more than they do). I saw two people reading magazines, both of them men. One was reading The Economist, the other Retro Gamer, which was a new one on me. I didn’t see a single woman reading a magazine, which twenty years ago would have been inconceivable."

Stig Abell ‏@StigAbell, who is off to edit the Times Literary Supplement, on Twitter: "My last day at the Sun today. My leaving page is a work of utter genius."

Jeremy Corbyn asked by Andrew Marr if political journalists and newspaper editors should reveal their financial details: “I think we are moving in that direction, I think it’s probably a good thing if we move generally in that direction so everybody knows what influences are at play. I think we need to consider how far it goes, how far it goes to other people involved in public life.”

Tom Harris in the Daily Telegraph: "Government regulation of the press is a bad enough idea. Special new rules for the regulation of individual journalists and their tax affairs would take us beyond Corbyn Labour's admiration for Russian authoritarianism into weird, North Korean totalitarian territory."


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