Thursday, 23 June 2016

Media Quotes of the Week: From press poison and hostility towards the EU to is 24 really a new national newspaper for all the north of England?

Former Times foreign editor Martin Fletcher on Facebook: "For 25 years our press has fed the British public a diet of distorted, mendacious and relentlessly hostile stories about the EU - and the journalist who set the tone was Boris Johnson. I know this because I was appointed Brussels correspondent of The Times in 1999, a few years after Johnson’s stint there for The Telegraph, and I had to live with the consequences. Johnson, sacked by The Times in 1988 for fabricating a quote, made his mark in Brussels not through fair and balanced reporting, but through extreme euro-scepticism. He seized every chance to mock or denigrate the EU, filing stories that were undoubtedly colourful but also grotesquely exaggerated or completely untrue."

Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times on the murder of Jo Cox: "Had she been struck down by a Muslim, or someone of immigrant descent, significant sections of the British media would not be so judicious. We would not be reading on front pages that this was the work of a 'crazed loner' even if there was reasonable evidence that it was."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian on the public's distrust of politicians: "The media have certainly played their part. Think of the interviews conducted as if every politician belongs automatically in the dock, interrogations that proceed on a premise famously cited by Jeremy Paxman: why is this lying bastard lying to me? Social media has intensified this hostility and made it even more sharply personal. The abuse directed at women – whether elected politicians or not – who dare to voice an opinion in public, the threats of rape and murder: all of it has further polluted the atmosphere."

The Independent in a leader: "For those who have sought guidance from politicians – on both sides of the campaign – there must be a sense of bewilderment at the degree of mud-slinging and the paucity of facts. Sections of the media have been just as guilty."

The Times [£] in a leader: "The Times may once have been regarded as part of the establishment. If so, those times are past. We will take a maverick view where logic and the evidence support it. We have considered every aspect of the European argument with the seriousness and scepticism it deserves. We respect the arguments of those who would have Britain leave, but on balance we believe Britain would be better off leading a renewed drive for reform within the EU rather than starting afresh outside it."

Martin Kettle in the Guardian: "No newspaper in this country’s history has more consistently, and at times more rabidly, pursued political objectives than the Mail – from war with Germany in the early 20th century, to the promotion of Hitler, Mussolini and British fascism in the interwar period, to the drive to get Britain out of the EU in our own lifetimes – along with the defeat of Labour at all times, by fair means or foul. That’s why the late Michael Foot, who knew his press history much better than most politicians, could never resist the opportunity to berate any Mail journalist he came across as a lackey of 'the forger’s gazette'."

The Daily Mail in a leader: "True, the EU is loved by its greatest beneficiaries — Europe’s political elites, the mighty corporations that spend millions lobbying Brussels, determined to get the bureaucrats to enforce their monopolies. Then there are the unscrupulous banks such as Goldman Sachs and fat cats such as Richard Branson and the egregious euro-supporting George Soros, who made a fortune from almost destroying the Bank of England. Indeed, it is the EU fervour of these globalised elites, telling democracies how to vote, that has enraged working class communities in Britain who, more than anyone, have had to cope with mass migration and have every right to feel abandoned."

Hugo Rifkind in The Times [£] after Vote Leave banned C4's Michael Crick from a rally allegedly because of his reputation for "taking the piss"out of politicians: "Worry about this. Worry about it, even if it is true. For, while the right of a journalist to take the mick might not seem like a thing worth defending, you’d miss it if it were gone."

David Halliwell, editorial director at CN Group, on 24 the company's new "national newspaper for the north", quoted by HoldTheFrontPage: “We’re well aware that launching a paper into the national market will raise eyebrows. Like Trinity Mirror, we want to try new things, to see what else we can do to build audiences. Some will work and some may not but we won’t die wondering.”

Peter Barron on 24 in the Northern Echo: “So let’s be honest about this. This isn’t a grand launch of a new ‘national newspaper for the north’. It’s a ridiculous claim. It’s a paper for bits of the North-West, relying almost entirely on the Press Association, which, like everyone else, has had its editorial resources cut. In the end, newspapers past, present and future, live or die on the foundation of editorial quality. People aren’t mugs.”


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