Friday 4 June 2010

Quotes of the week: David Laws to libel laws

From the Daily Telegraph splash on David Laws' expenses by Holly Watt and Robert Winnett: "He has already drawn up tough new rules limiting the pay and perks of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers. However, his hard-line approach could be undermined by the disclosure of his own controversial use of public money."

Matthew Parris in
The Times on David Laws: "No, he did not have to go. No, it was not “always inevitable”. No, Mr Laws was not right to jump “with dignity”, “before he was pushed”. And who, pray, would have done the pushing? We, the media. What stinking hypocrisy, then, to call the fall inevitable, and then wring our hands in pious lament about what a tragedy this is for the individual and the nation, as though we were helpless witnesses to some kind of extreme weather event. We in the media have been the instruments, not just the chroniclers, of the fall of a good man."

Judge Christopher Mitchell sentencing Edward Terry, the father of England football captain John Terry, for supplying cocaine to an undercover News of the World reporter:"The facts in this case are highly unusual. In fact the offence was actually created by the actions of the newspaper sending a journalist to set you up. It is clearly an entrapment case and the only reason they did this was to create a story because of your connections to a well known footballer."

News of the World statement on Edward Terry case: "We investigated Terry based on information received. And he was eager to do business. He knew where to source the drug, supplied it in 20 minutes, and advised on its quality and price. He used language such as 'he don't chop, chop, chop' - street slang for those who dilute cocaine - and 'I'll be able to get you discount.' . . . He must have been astonished to escape with just a suspended sentence and community service.''

Grey Cardigan on what he would like to do with a corporate pencil: "Over the years I’ve had my fill of conference hotels. They’re soulless pits of despair full of false bonhomie and seething resentment. Bullshit seeps out of the cranked-up air-conditioning while the huddled masses suck on their technicolour boiled sweets, swig mineral water and fantasise about plunging those freshly-sharpened corporate pencils into the eyes of the gobbledegook-fluent clown who’s halfway through a two hour-long, over-animated Powerpoint presentation telling them how to do their jobs even though the fucker has never been within a million miles of a newsroom. Or 10 million miles of a doorstep."

Jenni Russell in the Guardian on coverage of the new coalition government: "The endless hunt for splits and cracks and a lazy default cynicism have prevented many journalists from looking clearly at what the new government stands for or what it might do. Pundits have found it safer to express doubt or distrust about the coalition's programme or prospects than to risk any enthusiasm for it. New ministers are interrogated as if they have already earned the public's mistrust. Much of the rightwing press feels betrayed by the Tories, and much of the leftwing press by the Lib Dems. "

Matthew Bell on interviewing Giles Coren for the Independent on Sunday about his new book on anger management: "This interview was due to last half an hour but in the spirit of compromise I say let's do 10 minutes. In the end it lasts less than a minute before Coren stands up and calls it off. A few fucks later, coupled with a hasty apology, and I'm standing in the street, Dictaphone whirring."

Alan Edwards, founder of the Outside Organisation PR agency, in the Independent: "We have got more PRs than journalists in the UK now and something is changing fundamentally."

John Kampfner in the Guardian: "It is a matter of no little pride for the libel reform campaign that the first bill to be published under the new coalition government is aimed at reforming the UK's hideous defamation laws. An issue that was regarded with hostility or disdain at Westminster has forced its way up the political agenda."

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