Thursday, 9 November 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: Blundering Boris, George Orwell and 'fake news' and a nightmare for sub editors as Twitter ups character count

Peter Brookes in The Times
Matthew Parris in The Times [£] on Boris Johnson:  "At first he said that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “simply teaching people journalism”, in Iran. The Foreign Office has never claimed this. When her employers denied it too, in absolute terms, and her husband decried a claim that might keep his wife in jail for another five years, Johnson graciously accepted “that my remarks could have been clearer.” Grilled by MPs and served his own words, he finally today apologised if what he said was “taken out of context.” Were the quotes Johnson made up for this newspaper when he (briefly) worked here “taken out of context”? Were the personal wrongs in his subsequent private life “taken out of context”? Was the broken promise not to run for parliament while still editing The Spectator “taken out of context”? Was the dishonesty for which Michael Howard sacked him from the Tory front bench “taken out of context”? And was the £350 million per week for the NHS out of context too? Some context."

Report on Iranian TV, quoted in the Guardian“Mr Johnson’s inadvertent confession meant that she [Zaghari-Ratcliffe] was teaching some Iranian journalists - it was a gaffe that can not be covered up. The sole sentence uttered from the mouth of the UK foreign secretary put the efforts of the British media [propaganda] in vain”.

The Financial Times in a leader: "Mr Johnson has apologised “if any words of mine have been taken out of context and misconstrued”, but not for his blasé attitude. His repeated blunders suggest he may be the least distinguished figure to occupy the Foreign Office since the second world war."

Sky in a submission to the Competition and Markets Authority warning the CMA should not: “Simply assume the ‘continued provision of Sky News’ and its current contribution to plurality” if the proposed £11.7 billion takeover of the satellite broadcaster by 21st Century Fox was not approved.

Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, quoted by the Columbia Journalism Review: “The kinds of things people get from a local newspaper are the kinds of things that people will continue to want one hundred years from now. What’s going on within my locality? What’s happening with my school system? What’s happening with my taxes? What’s happening with planning and zoning? What kind of businesses or jobs might we get? It’s only the local newspaper that is likely to be the consistently reliable source of that information.”

Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker: "In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations."

Ben McIntyre in The Times [£] on George Orwell and 'fake news': "Orwell was a better reporter than writer, with an ingrained instinct to experience, witness, verify, and debunk. He had what he himself called the “power of facing unpleasant facts”. He even foresaw the polarised “debate” on the internet, in which “everyone is simply putting a ‘case’ with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view. His new statue, outside the BBC where he worked briefly as a producer during the war, is more than just a symbolic gesture. It celebrates Orwell’s belief in the existence of an elusive but empirical truth, and the human spirit that continues to seek it out despite the fake news, distorting language and alternative truths that have become the currency of modern power. Not all claims to truth are equal; some are more equal than others."

Alex Salmond‏ on Twitter after it was revealed he has joined with rebel shareholders of Johnston Press, publisher of The Scotsman, who want him to be chairman of the group: "Johnston Press has great titles and some great people. It needs a senior management team to match that commitment."

Scotsman editor Frank O'Donnell in an opinion article in his paper: "The idea of Mr Salmond being chairman of Johnston Press and restricting his involvement to prosaic monthly business meetings seems highly unlikely. With The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday as well as 25 Scottish weekly titles, would he really sit patiently and let editors take decisions on stories? Those who know him well say he will want to get involved. And once a chairman starts to call an editor asking about a story, alarm bells should start to sound for editorial independence. It has long been known that nationalist supporters in Scotland have coveted a quality daily newspaper that supports the Yes movement and have looked at buying The Scotsman to further their agenda."

Editors and directors of leading international news organisations urging an investigation to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta,  in a letter to Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European Commiossio, as reported by the Guardian“Daphne’s murder, combined with the structural issues the commission identified, demonstrate the need for a full investigation into the state of media independence in Malta by the commission. We ask that you use your office to engage the Maltese government in urgent dialogue to ensure that it is aware of its obligations as a member of the European Union to uphold the rule of law, and to maintain press freedom and free expression."

Committee to Protect Journalists' Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Nina Ognianova calls for the freeing of  Igor Rudnikov, editror-in-chief  of the independent, Kaliningrad-based weekly Novye Kolyosa"We call on Russian authorities to immediately release Igor Rudnikov and drop all charges against him. The federal authorities must promptly investigate Rudnikov's beating in custody and bring those responsible to justice."

Mike Lowe‏ @cotslifeeditor on Twitter: "Nooooo. I've been given 280 characters. It's a nightmare for subs who delight in keeping things short and succinct."
Tim Walker‏ on Twitter: "Long tweets are already starting to bore me. Brevity is the soul of wit. And they will require too much thinking from Mr Trump."
David Yelland‏ on Twitter: "Trust the current PM to make a Corbyn victory close to inevitable on the same day Twitter doubles its character count so we can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about Priti Patel (and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on........)"
J.K. Rowling‏ on Twitter: "Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework."
2 hours ago

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