Thursday, 16 August 2018

Media Quotes of the Week: From Boston Globe leads press fightback against Trump to tea for reporters but no sympathy for Boris Johnson

Brian Stelter on CNNMedia: "The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a "coordinated response" to President Trump's escalating "enemy of the people" rhetoric. 'We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration's assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,' The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers."
  • More than 300 newspapers backing the Globe's initiative include the New York Times, The Houston Chronicle and The Miami Herald, as well as smaller publications like The Oakridger,  The Griggs County Courier and Steele County Press.
The Guardian in a leader: "A free press must call out intimidation and incitement when it exists. And it must do what it can to preserve respect for the facts and for balanced judgment. In short, it must do its job. Mr Trump’s insults and incitements are a calculated danger to that, and to the respect, civility and dialogue that should exist between the press and its readers. The Guardian stands with the US press in its efforts to maintain the objectivity and the moral boundaries that this president – like so many others in much more dangerous parts of the world – is doing so much to destroy."

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein interviewed in the Guardian on Trump's attacks on the press: “We began to see a campaign against the media … that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship. And in that context, it’s getting very close to incitement to violence.”

BBC's director-general Tony Hall, as reported by BBC News, on the Cliff Richard privacy judgment: "The BBC has decided not to seek permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal against that judgment - even though we are advised and believe that the judge erred in law in finding that broadcasters and journalists, when reporting on matters in the public interest, normally have no right to publish the name of a person who is the subject of a criminal investigation. That issue is a matter of very considerable general importance, as the prime minister herself recognised on the day of the judgment."

Dan Sabbagh in the Observer: "Geordie Greig has told staff not to expect an immediate change in political coverage when he takes the reins from Paul Dacre, who spent 26 years in charge, for fear of alienating readers and because the wider political situation is so uncertain. Instead the focus will be on ensuring that the country achieves the least damaging form of Brexit and developing a more nuanced editorial line by next spring, a shift in emphasis that will be welcomed in Downing Street, where Theresa May is battling to control a revolt from the right of her party."

Alan Rusbridger on Geordie Greig in the Observer: "The 57-year-old Greig – who is taklng a number of like-minded lieutenants with him – will need formidable dexterity to turn around the tanker of thunderous Mail opinion in the space of weeks without confusing or alienating his readers. But it is not hard to imagine him adopting a Keynesian pragmatism, with his new newspaper telling readers: 'When facts change I change my mind.' If so, the rotating of the editorial guard at the Mail could prove to be a hugely significant moment in British political life."

Sam Coates in The Times [£]: "When I started in political journalism 13 years ago I decided not to vote in elections, telling myself this was a principled choice based on my job as a political correspondent. This decision has got easier every year."

Gavin Esler in The New European: "Hold journalists to account, sure. But most journalists – even ones you dislike – seek to debunk disinformation and expose lies. Instead of bashing decent journalists for the contortions demanded by the impossible ‘balancing’ act some are supposed to perform, let us encourage a re-think. In the post-Trump post-Brexit world, how can we re-build trust unless we can point out lies when they occur? Broadcasters, especially, need to reflect a wide range of opinions. But confronting expert opinion and elected representatives on television with articulate know-nothing non-experts of dubious provenance financed by who-knows-what, is not ‘balance’. It is a disservice to our people, our country, and to facts, accuracy and fairness."

NUJ organiser Chris Morley in a statement on new job cuts announced by Newsquest: "These new redundancies at Bradford now also risk an unhealthy workplace with staff being worked into the ground. This is inexcusable when the parent company is enjoying a multi million pound windfall from the currency changes. It seems to me that either US bosses are demanding too much from their British workers or the UK managers are failing to stand up for their staff. Either way this is a shoddy deal for Newsquest employees and the communities they are trying to provide a professional news service for."

News Media Association in a statement after Thurrock Council said it would no longer answer questions from the Thurrock Independent newspaper: “This attempt to silence the local paper by refusing to answer any questions constitutes a direct attack on the fundamental principles of press freedom and the public right to know. Local newspapers perform a vital role scrutinising authority on behalf of the public and holding power to account. Any attempt to frustrate or thwart this function is an attack on democracy and must be resisted.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet on morningstaronline on local newspapers: "We are now in a situation when some sort of state funding is required to help fix the industry’s broken business model and support public-interest journalism so that courts are covered, planning decisions are questioned, health trusts are scrutinised and journalism can flourish in the communities it serves. Such funding must not be used to prop up the three major publishers which over the decades have bled their titles dry to pay out excessive profits to executives and shareholders and have not invested in journalism. Instead it should be used to rescue titles that are under threat from closure, perhaps helping a local co-operative to take over the title, and to aid start-ups for collaborative ventures and projects producing innovative and investigative reporting."

Paul Caruana Galizia, the son of murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in The Times [£]: “Journalists are aware they may be killed in Malta and are not being offered protection, while the government is aggressively going after whistleblowers and anti-corruption activists.”

Lou Thomas @London_Lou on Twitter: "Journalists who accepted cups of tea and just laughed when Johnson* refused to comment: you are a disgrace to our profession and part of the reason reporters are barely as trusted as estate agents. You should be ashamed."

*Johnson, not Boris. He’s the subject of a story, not your friend. 


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