Friday 17 September 2010

Quotes of the Week: From the shame of an MP to Julie Burchill revolted by women columnists

Labour MP Tom Watson tells the Today programme of his part in a Sun story in 2001 calling for Kate Adie to be sacked: "I was asked by The Sun did I think her report imperilled the safety of our troops. It was a judgment call – I think I used the words 'she should consider her position' which was weasel words from a politician that I feel ashamed of."

Sir Christopher Meyer also on the Today programme: "If we are going to talk about people being in cahoots with journalists, look no further than the House of Commons. This is why the thing has got so convoluted. It is because MPs enjoy an intimate, often toxic, love-hate relationship with journalism. They need journalists in order to leak and to brief; they hate journalists when they start looking into their affairs."

Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph: "Dave [Cameron] took a foolish risk appointing Andy Coulson as his press chief – it’s rather as if he had put Harold Shipman in charge of geriatric care. Mr Coulson ran a newspaper at which a serious criminal enterprise was undertaken. If he knew about it (and he claims he didn’t), then he should never work anywhere respectable again. If he didn’t, his level of competence was such that he ought not to be parking Dave’s car for him, let alone running his media operation."

Donald Trelford in the Independent: "It seems a shame that the News of the World should take such a kicking at a time when it has published a number of important scoops, several of them exposing corruption in sport. "Muck-raking" was the disparaging word used by MPs for this kind of journalism. It is a term the press should be proud of, for – as MPs should know only too well – there's a great deal of muck out there to be raked."

Peter Preston in the Observer: "Murdoch is not the Emperor Ming."

The Ukrainian ambassador to Britain Volodymyr Khandogiy on the Gyorgy Gongadze murder inquiry: "As far as the investigation is concerned, it is completed. This is a major development. Lawyers are now studying the case. The case is set to go to court by the end of this year."

Media lawyer Mark Stephens, speaking at the Bloggers in the Dock event, predicts that Lord Lester's libel reform Bill will be killed: "The new Conservative-led Government will come up with a much more astringent bill. I bet £50 it will be worse."

Alison Rowat in The Herald: “Seismologists are puzzling over a loud grinding noise in major metropolitan areas. It’s almost like a million teeth are being gnashed in fury. I’m relieved to report that it’s not an earthquake but the reaction of some journalists to Piers Morgan taking over Larry King’s CNN slot."

Julie Burchill in the Independent:"Don't do as I do – do as I why-oh-why is the general rule out here in Hackland. I love hacks, and I love being one, but their hypocrisy – particularly the women, regrettably, and particularly the female columnists – is one of the few qualities that revolts me."

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