Thursday, 12 July 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Boris Johnson not a nice man says his former editor to Paul Dacre's tribute to 'print man' Peter Preston

Max Hastings in The Times [£] on Boris Johnson, who he employed at the Daily Telegraph: "It is a common mistake to suppose Johnson a nice man. In reality he often behaves unpleasantly. I myself have received some ugly letters from Johnson, threatening consequences for writing about him in terms that he thought unflattering...He seems to deserve every possible success as a journalist and entertainer. Should he ever achieve his towering ambition to become prime minister, however, a signal would go forth to the world that Britain had abandoned any residual aspiration to be viewed as a serious nation."

David Yelland @davidyelland on Twitter on Theresa May: "This is the first PM for a long, long, time to defy Sun and Mail. They have been out-manoeuvred. Rare. Dangerous. Interesting."

Patrick Wintour @patrickwintour on Twitter: "At Balkans summit Angela Merkel raised her eyebrows and gave out a thin smile when told by Theresa May she was not to answer questions from the British press, and only take a solitary question from a German reporter. One summit issue was media freedom in the Balkans."

John Cleese on BBC Newsnight who says he is leaving Britain for the Caribbean because of the way the country is run: "My particular beef is with the newspapers...It’s the lying and the triviality that I object to."

The Guardian in a leader: "Facebook has been fined five and a half minutes’ revenue – the most the law allows – for breach of data protection regulations in connection with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This is a welcome recognition of the tireless work done by the Observer on the story. But it must only be the beginning of a wider examination of the ways in which big data shifts the balance of power in a democratic society."

Donald Trump at his Montana rally on journalists, as reported by Mediate: “I see the way they write. They’re so damn dishonest. And I don’t mean all of them. Because some of the finest people I know are journalists. Really. Hard to believe when I say that. I hate to say it but I have to say. But 75% of those people are downright dishonest. Downright dishonest.”

Josh Glancy interviewing Steve Bannon for the Sunday Times Magazine [£]:  "Talking to Bannon is a bit like having someone direct a leaf-blower into your face. He emits a torrent of insights and insults, some fascinating, some repellent, all delivered with mesmerising force and occasional charm. He curses at me, berates me for “not doing my homework” and insists I’m part of a mainstream media conspiracy to protect the “globalists” and “fascists” that “run the party of Davos”, as well as the “smug, arrogant” elites in Brussels and the City of London. Coming from anyone else I might take offence, but with Bannon it feels performative. Much like Trump, Bannon’s relationship with the media has always had an element of symbiotic pantomime. And it could be worse, at least I’m not from the FT. “The Financial Times are communists,” he says, shaking his head."

Sky Chief executive Jeremy Darroch in The Times [£] calls for the digital giants to face statutory controls: "A regulator must have sharp teeth, starting with strong information-gathering powers, the power to initiate enquiries and the ability to impose effective sanctions including the ability to fine for non-compliance...We expect even the smallest media companies to invest heavily in editorial and compliance such that every second of coverage meets the responsible standards that society through parliamentary regulation has laid down. It is simply wrong that some of the largest, most profitable companies on the planet should not be expected to meet, if not even exceed, the same level of responsibility."

The Times [£] in a leader: "As they have grown, traditional media companies such as The Times have submitted voluntarily to effective regulation by the Independent Press Standards Organisation. Facebook and Google might argue on this basis that they too should be left to regulate themselves, but they have tried, half-heartedly, and failed. Their policies for dealing with harmful content are not standardised as they need to be; nor are they subject to independent oversight. Newspapers, meanwhile, do not stand accused of enabling online bullying or profiting from the sale of advertising placed alongside extremist videos."

Shawn Crispin, of the Comittee to Protect Journalists in a statement , after a Myanmar court charged Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo under the Official Secrets Act: "This is a sad day for Myanmar's fledging democracy. This outrageous ruling affirms that politics rather than the law or evidence are what matters in this case. The only way to reverse the damage is to release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo immediately."

Paul Dacre speaking at the memorial service for Peter Preston, as reported by Press Gazette: “I am told, in later years, he was, rightly, proud of the Guardian’s online achievements. Whether he was ever reconciled to the digital revolution though, I doubt. The reason, of course, was that he was quite simply, a print man. He loved that magical symbiosis of newsprint, pictures, headlines, fonts and beautiful words that at their best can make a paper a functioning part of society rather than a commentary at its edges. Inevitably, sadly, those Fleet Street skills needed for that magic symbiosis are dying in an internet age which seems to have a voracious need for free, somewhat crudely expressed, round-the-clock information and gratification. Yes, of course, journalism will survive and may, one day, flourish again. But it will be different. Whether it will, in future, have the creative beauty and sheer power of Peter’s Guardian, I don’t know. But I do know – and there’s no presumption here – that, for the sake of our industry’s collective memory, we should today salute a very great man of print.”

  • David Leigh @davidleighx on Twitter: "The Guardian lets its tummy be tickled by the Fritzl of Fleet St."


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