Saturday 22 January 2011

Adam Boulton: 'It's journalist against journalist'

Sky News' political editor Adam Boulton pays tribute to Andy Coulson on his blog, describing him as "one of the most straight-dealing, effective and constructive Downing Street communications chiefs I have dealt with" and says he was instrumental in setting up the historic General Election Leaders' debates.

But he also makes a much wider point about politicians and the press: "Two important sectors of our society now feel under a great deal of pressure, beset by plunging fortunes and public esteem: newspapers and politicians. As they go down they are turning in on each other with increasing viciousness - politician against journalist, politician against polititian, journalist against journalist.

"Dog eat dog."

Kevin Marsh, executive editor of the BBC College of Journalism, has posted: "Is this a good moment to recall the 305 named journalists found dealing illegally in private information back in 2006?"

This is a reference to Information Commissioner Richard Thomas' report 'What Price Privacy?'- the outcome of an investigation called 'Motorman' into the illegal trade in data.

According to the report, published back in May 2006, documents seized during Motorman and other investigations helped the ICO show how the trade worked - including the data obtained illegally obtained that ended up in journalists' hands.

Peter Preston in the Observer notes: "The information commissioner found more than 30 newspapers and magazines guilty, with the Mail and Mirror, not the News of the World, top of the shop; hacking, often by the same private eyes, fell into a separate category only because a separate law proscribed it.

"So should Scotland Yard have pursued the 58 reporters in the Daily Mail newsroom who hired a blagging eye? Or the 45 reporters at the Mirror (then edited by Piers Morgan)? Or the four Observer staffers who set dozens of inquiries running? You can understand, perhaps, why there wasn't a massive rush for justice. You can also see why a new CPS trawl over all the evidence the Yard kept back is necessary."

Richard Ingrams has some words of comfort for Andy Coulson in his Independent on Sunday column: "In a world where nothing succeeds like failure, Andy Coulson has no reason to fear for his future. He should take heart from the example of his labour predecessor Alastair Campbell, who ended up resigning but who is now riding high, publishing books and even appearing regularly on the BBC, an institution which during his career at Downing Street he did more to damage than anyone else in our time."

1 comment:

Lobbywatcher said...

And Adam Boulton is employed by who? Oh yes, News International.