Friday, 27 December 2013

Media Quotes of the Year Part 2: Miliband, Mail, Monty, Murdoch, Miller, Morgan and Mick Jagger

July to December 2013

Two titles at war: Guardian top; Mail bottom

MI5 chief Andrew Parker, as reported by the Independent, claims Edward Snowden's leaks on surveillance by security services gave terrorists: "The gift to evade us and strike at will'

Daily Mail headline over leader on the Guardian: 'The paper that helps Britain's enemies'

The Guardian in a leader: "The Mail's leading article must be read in the context of a fervent discussion about press regulation in which it is leading the charge for journalists to be both free and trusted. But yesterday's editorial argues the opposite. It is a statement of anti-journalism: editors, it says, cannot be trusted. They must defer to the state."

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: "In a Guardian basement, officials from GCHQ gazed with satisfaction on a pile of mangled hard drives like so many book burners sent by the Spanish Inquisition."

David Carr in the New York Times: "If the revelations about the N.S.A. surveillance were broken by Time, CNN or The New York Times, executives there would already be building new shelves to hold all the Pulitzer Prizes and Peabodies they expected. Same with the 2010 WikiLeaks video of the Apache helicopter attack. Instead, the journalists and organizations who did that work find themselves under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists. What are we thinking?"

MPs quiz Rusbridger

Rusbridger: 'Patriotic about a free press'

Alan Rusbridger asked if he loved this country by Home Affairs Committte chair Keith Vaz, as reported by the Guardian: "I'm slightly surprised to be asked the question. But, yes, we are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of democracy, the nature of a free press and the fact that one can in this country discuss and report these things."

Dan Hodges on his Telegraph politics blog: "When politicians are summoning newspaper editors before them to question their patriotism then we’ve got a problem. It’s fashionable to complain of 'McCarthyism' whenever someone is challenged on just about anything these days. But what has just happened is the very definition of McCarthyism."

Carl Bernstein in an open letter to Alan Rusbridger: "As we learned in the United States during our experience with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, it is essential that no prior governmental restraints or intimidation be imposed on a truly free press; otherwise, in such darkness, we encourage the risk of our democracies falling prey to despotism and demagoguery and even criminality by our elected leaders and government officials."

Ed goes for Mail over attack on dad

Mail attack on Ralph Miliband
Ed Miliband in the Daily Mail: "Journalists need to hold politicians like me to account — none of us should be given an easy ride — and I look forward to a robust 19 months between now and the General Election. But what appeared in the Daily Mail on Saturday was of a different order all together. I know they say ‘you can’t libel the dead’, but you can smear them. Fierce debate about politics does not justify character assassination of my father, questioning the patriotism of a man who risked his life for our country in World War  II, or publishing a picture of his gravestone with a tasteless pun about him being a ‘grave socialist’. The Daily Mail sometimes claims it stands for the best of British values of decency. But something has really gone wrong when it attacks the family of a politician — any politician — in this way."

Paul Dacre in the Guardian responds to the storm over the Mail's Ralph Miliband feature: "The hysteria that followed is symptomatic of the post-Leveson age in which any newspaper which dares to take on the left in the interests of its readers risks being howled down by the Twitter mob who the BBC absurdly thinks represent the views of real Britain."

Ed Miliband on the Fleet Street press at a private dinner for Labour donors, according to the Financial Times: "We've got to be willing to call these people out. They are less powerful than people ever thought and they are less powerful now than they were."

Press charter plan rejected

Culture secretary Maria Miller speaking in Parliament, as reported by BBC News: "The committee of the Privy Council is unable to recommend the press's proposal for a royal charter be granted. Whilst there are areas where it is acceptable, it is unable to comply with some important Leveson principles and government policy."

Press industry statement condemns politicians' Royal Charter: "This proposed Royal Charter has already been universally rejected by the industry and it is even more regrettable that the industry will have no opportunity to take part in the discussions between the political parties over possible amendments."

Maria Miller, as reported by the Guardian, speaking to MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee: "[Hacked Off's presence] became quite a destructive force in the perception of the press, I think it made some lasting damage. We had managed to get to a stage where we were on the verge of agreement. Some of the interventions over [that] weekend created a great deal of bad will."

David Cameron in an interview with Fraser Nelson of the Spectator: "I believe there’s a great opportunity here to put this difficult and painful issue to bed. If the press set up their regulator I hope, in time, they will make that regulator compliant with – will be able to then seek recognition under – the charter recognition body. If that then happens, we’ll have in place a system that I think will settle this issue because we would have achieved what Leveson wanted which is independent self-regulation by the press, but not marking its own homework, having itself checked, and only having the body checked as it were by the charter."

Telegraph warning over Royal Charter

Adams cartoon from the Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph in a leader: "The Guardian’s recent investigation into state spying is exactly the kind of reporting that could spark a moral panic among politicians and give them cause to limit what the press can publish. If Parliament can find the numbers to impose a royal charter upon the industry, it can also find the numbers necessary to censor it."

Twitter better than Beeb


Emily Bell in the Guardian: "Twitter is already a far more effective tool for reporting, discovery, dissemination and collaboration than anything the BBC will ever produce."

Last Post for Liverpool 


Editor Mark Thomas on Trinity Mirror's decision to close the Liverpool Post, as reported by HoldTheFrontPage: “It has been a privilege to edit the Liverpool Post for the last seven years. This is without doubt the saddest day of my career. I am very proud of all the journalists who have worked alongside me on the Liverpool Post. This is no reflection on them."


 Reporter 'worst job' in 2013

Tony Lee, publisher of which ranked newspaper reporter as worst job in 2013, as reported by the World Street Journal: “What probably pushed it [newspaper reporter] to the bottom is that several things got worse – job prospects decreased, the average salary continued to fall, and work hours continued to rise. Those factors also make the job more stressful.” 

Hacking: Read all about it


The Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I’M ALL for open justice, but it does strike me as a trifle odd that when members of the press are put on trial for hacking private voicemail messages, those messages are then read out in public and subsequently reported in the very same press. How does that work then? "

Bullying media bosses

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, on bullying in the media: "It has been heart-breaking to deal with members whose dreams have been shattered because of the behaviour of their managers and of failure of employers to tackle bullying and bullies. I have heard testimonies from members who said, 'News editors threw reporters on to the same story, everyone was terrified of putting a foot wrong. People were put under such pressure. Reporters were effectively encouraged to shaft each other. It was such a demoralising situation' and from women journalists who had been offered promotion in return for having sex with their boss."

Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog on bullying: "Outsiders may wonder why adults put up with the MacKenzies and Dacres. The obvious answer is that they control people's livelihoods. It is a case of accepting it or getting out (and not "getting in" anywhere else). For too brief a period in the 1970s, the National Union of Journalists exercised enough power to save the jobs of those who dared to buck the system by standing up to the bullies. But the NUJ, having lost its fight to create closed shops, gradually lost its potency. And there is still not much constraint on the autocratic rule of popular paper editors."

Monty's message to the troops


Local World chief David Montgomery's vision for the future of local papers, as reported by Press Gazette: "On the smaller weekly titles a single individual, Content Manager, will skim largely online published content to create the newspaper in a single session or small number of sessions rather than a number of staff following a laborious and time-consuming schedule spanning many days of the week. On daily papers only a handful of Content Managers will be office bound and will orchestrate all products across the platforms." 

Grey Cardigan on TheSpinAlley: "While this is terrible news for Local World’s employees – despite several years of shedding talent, still some of the best in the business – it could well be good news for those just waiting in the wings for the big groups to get fed up with these troublesome regional titles and start returning them to local ownership where they truly belong. And all those redundant hacks launching proper, hyperlocal news websites must be rubbing their hands with glee. Monty’s pursuit of this Holy Grail is deluded, dangerous and desperately unfair on those who have carved out successful careers in our trade."

Press freedom mission to UK

Vincent Peyr├Ęgne, CEO of WAN-IFRA, the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers, which is sending a delegation to the UK in January: “A press freedom mission to the United Kingdom is unprecedented and we cannot underestimate our concern for what is happening. It is rather difficult for the United Kingdom to lecture Sri Lanka and others about their press freedom record, when its own actions result in such widespread international condemnation.” 

Humphrys on John Cole


John Humphrys on the BBC's former political editor John Cole, in the Guardian: "I reported back to my then-bosses that, although I thought he was an absolutely brilliant political journalist and the nicest person in the world, I didn't think we should employ him as the on-air political editor because people would simply find it too difficult to understand his accent. Mercifully they ignored my advice completely. Of all the massive errors of judgment I've made, that was probably my biggest. He turned out to be a great star."

Another new look for Indy

Publisher Evgeny Lebedev on the Independent's latest redesign: "This newspaper has a proud record of innovation. It was the first broadsheet title to go compact, after which many others, including The Times, followed. In the past four years, my family took its sister title, the London Evening Standard, free, returned it to profit, and launched this newspaper’s very successful spin-off, i, which comfortably outsells The Guardian. That tradition of innovation makes me glad to see our masthead made vertical. Together with other changes you can see today, I believe this redesign revives the elegance and sophistication of the paper’s first editions."

Times' three-year investigation into grooming

Andrew Norfolk: 'Lucky to work for Times'
Andrew Norfolk, The Times' journalist who investigated the Asian gangs who groom young girls, speaking at City University: "I feel so lucky at a time of staff and budget cuts that  a newspaper gave me three years to work on a story. It was a major commitment by The Times."

It's a nib

 Matt in the Telegraph

Chris Huhne in the Guardian: "The News of the World sparked the end of my marriage, but another Murdoch title, the Sunday Times, then groomed my ex-wife until she told them about the speeding points."

The Telegraph in a leader on Chris Huhne's Guardian column: "A more self-delusional and morally contemptible article would be hard to imagine. Many people have swapped speeding points, he wrote, as if this made any difference to his breaking the law. Moreover, he claimed that a newspaper investigation into his affair with another woman “sparked the end of my marriage”. It seems not to have occurred to him that his adultery was responsible for that."

Losing the local

Chris Oakley warns in the updated edition of What Do We Mean By Local? of a "Kafkaesque nightmare vision – citizens with no local pub, no local post office, no local newspaper, no knowledge, no informed opinion on anything that should matter to them or their families.  Times are always changing, but if good men and women - and good journalists - can do nothing then change can destroy rather than create progress."

Bezos buys Wash Post

Donald Graham on the sale of the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon:  "Our revenues had declined seven years in a row. We had innovated, and to my critical eye our innovations had been quite successful in audience and in quality, but they hadn’t made up for the revenue decline. Our answer had to be cost cuts, and we knew there was a limit to that. We were certain the paper would survive under our ownership, but we wanted it to do more than that. We wanted it to succeed."

James Fallows on The Atlantic website on the sale of the Washington Post: "I think I'll remember where I was when I first heard the news -- via Twitter! -- and I am sure it will be one of those episode-that-encapsulates-an-era occurrences. Newsweek's demise, a long time coming, was a minor temblor by comparison; this is a genuine earthquake."

Sunday Times victory over gang boss

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader about David Hunt after he lost a libel case against the newspaper: "Mr Hunt, in the judgment of Mr Justice Simon who tried his libel complaint, has been involved in fraud, prostitution, money laundering and “extreme violence”. Previously confidential documents produced at the trial revealed that the police and other crime-fighting agencies have been well aware of his activities for many years. Yet it has taken extremely brave witnesses, including a persistent investigative reporter, Michael Gillard, to bring these facts before the public. It has been a high stakes legal battle. This newspaper has needed deep pockets to fill the vacuum left by those who should have taken on Mr Hunt long ago. We have not shied from the task, just as in the past we took on the distributors of thalidomide and the quarter-master general of the Provisional IRA. This is what we do."

Murdoch meeting leak

Rupert Murdoch in a meeting with Sun journalists, leaked to Exaro and broadcast by Channel 4 News: "The idea that the cops then started coming after you, kick you out of bed, and your families, at six in the morning, is unbelievable. But why are the police behaving in this way? It's the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing."

Lawson defends Lawson

Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times [£] on the way columnists attacked his sister, Nigella, during the fraud trial of her assistants: "Naturally I understand that for newspaper columnists, desperate to meet yet another deadline, human tragedy provides the ideal opportunity for a piece of hastily improvised moralising; but that self-righteousness depends (if the sensitive reader is not to feel nauseated) on some sort of relation to the truth."

Piers Morgan goes into bat


Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan on Twitter: "I'd swap every job I've had, and every penny/dime I've earned, to play cricket for England. Where's the pride? The sense of honour? #Ashes"

Jumping Jack Hack


Mick Jagger interviewed by John Humphrys on the Today programme: "There're a million things that you would have loved to have done, a politician, a journalist. I thought of being a journalist once."
  • Media Quotes of the Year [Part 1] are here
  • [£] = paywall

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