Wednesday 25 January 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trump and the press at war to Sun sticks up for BBC journalist

President Trump speaking at CIA headquarters, as reported by Politico: "As you know I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. Right? And they sort of made it sound like I have this feud with the intelligence community.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, as reported by BBC News: "There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I'm here to tell you it goes two ways. We're going to hold the press accountable as well."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian"The larger point is that Spicer wanted to issue a declaration of war against the press, because that is what Trump intends to pursue. The media has become his defining enemy, taking the place of Hillary Clinton as the glue that might bind his supporters. Whatever his own failings to come, he can always get the base riled up in their hatred of the mainstream media."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail: "Though I’ve been in journalism all my life, I thoroughly approve of Trump’s undisguised contempt for the White House Press Corps, an even more pompous gang of preening stenographers than our own Boys In The Bubble at Westminster. The mainstream media in America set out to destroy Trump. Yet under Obama they have been pliant cheerleaders, content to take dictation. Why should Trump put up with it? His retaliation has been called ‘un-Presidential’. But there’s a reason The Donald keeps one of boxer Mike Tyson’s belts in his office."

American Civil Liberties Union director Anthony D. Romero in a response to Sean Spicer: "It is shameful that on the first full day of this Administration, we have ominous suggestions of possible government censorship. Our nation was quite literally founded on the principles of a free press and any effort by the Trump Administration to curtail them will be met with vigorous defence of the First Amendment by the ACLU and others. This is a fight the Trump administration will most certainly lose. If Trump wants to take on the First Amendment, we will see him in court."

Matthew Parris in The Times on President Trump[£]: "You might expect the Conservative Party and Tory newspapers to be horrified by this foul-mouthed slob with his crude opinions. We used to expel such types from our national membership. So why the dalliance? The outstanding and obvious reason is Brexit. Its sponsors are anxious about their project and looking for allies. This has led them into idolising a protectionist US president as part of their quest to turn Britain into a global free trade nation."

International Federation of Journalists president Philippe Leruth in a statement: “The journalists’ community holds Donald Trump accountable for his actions as President of the USA and we call on him to abide by core freedom of expression standards that are fundamental to his country’s democracy and its First Amendment rights. We ask President Trump to respect the basic right for US citizens and the rest of the world to be properly and independently informed. The new president not only has a responsibility towards his own national press but also towards the foreign media and citizens across the world.”

Jon Snow ‏@jonsnowC4  on Twitter: "The challenge in reporting Trump is that at times telling the truth sounds so far-fetched that it looks like editorial bias."

Mikc Gilson, quoted by Press Gazette: “How many chief exec’s, chief constables, trust chairman, communication managers, union bosses, council leaders, politicians of all sorts factor this sublimely into their decision making: ‘what if this gets into the press?’. My real fear now is those bosses and decision makers are beginning to rest a little easier, often surrounded as they are by a phalanx of communication officers (often fleeing journalists) who taken together now outnumber journalists working in the patch."

Media Lawyer, on the Society of Editors website, on section 40: "The Government's decision on whether to bring into force provisions which could mean newspapers which have failed to sign up with a "recognised" regulator being forced to pay all the costs in defamation and privacy actions, even if they win, is likely to be delayed for months by legal actions.Government lawyers yesterday filed papers at the High Court defending its decision to launched a consultation on whether to bring the costs provisions - in section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 - into force as well as whether to go ahead with Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office are contesting the application for judicial review of the consultation decision brought by two individuals and a website."

Johnston Press shareholders quoted by the Sunday Times [£] on the company's boss Ashley Highfield: “Highfield got a huge bonus following the restructure of the business two years ago. But since that restructure shareholders have lost 90% of their money.”... “A better word for Highfield’s restructure would be destruction.”

Paul Sandle for Reuters: "Britain's Guardian newspaper is considering becoming a tabloid and outsourcing printing to a rival such as Rupert Murdoch's News UK as one of a series of options to cut costs, sources told Reuters."

Jim Waterson on BuzzFeedNews UK: "Fake news sites have struggled to take hold in the UK political sphere, seemingly because traditional British news outlets are already incredibly adept at filling the market with highly partisan news stories which stretch the truth to its limits."

The Sun in a leader:  "WE often highlight BBC bias. We wouldn’t include political editor Laura Kuenssberg. It was utterly wrong of the BBC Trust to rule she misreported Jeremy Corbyn's views on taking out terrorists. She asked Labour’s pacifist leader if as PM he would order a shoot-to-kill policy if a massacre was under way here. He could just have said Yes, like a sane politician. Instead he waffled and ­ultimately seemed to decide against. Kuenssberg rightly took that as a No. So did we. But a viewer complained she was wrong and the Trust buckled. Kuenssberg’s context, a hypothetical Paris-style attack, was crystal clear. It is not her fault Corbyn cannot coherently answer simple questions."


Thursday 19 January 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From Trump is making US journalism great again to Sun's bright idea is to give the EU the old Kinnock lightbulb treatment

Jack Shafer on Politico: "In his own way, Trump has set us free. Reporters must treat Inauguration Day as a kind of Liberation Day to explore news outside the usual Washington circles. He has been explicit in his disdain for the press and his dislike for press conferences, prickly to the nth degree about being challenged and known for his vindictive way with those who cross him. So, forget about the White House press room. It’s time to circle behind enemy lines."

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian on Michael Gove's interview with Donald Trump in The Times: "Gove was in New York to serve as a cheerleader, to gloss over Trump’s inconsistencies and outright ignorance on assorted topics – “intelligence takes many forms”, Gove writes kindly – and to pose for a souvenir photograph in which both men give a thumbs up, a framed cover of Playboy just over Gove’s shoulder. In Trump’s world, this is how the press should always behave – and the ever-courteous Gove was only too happy to oblige."

Guido Fawkes on his blog"Michael Gove is getting some stick for his Trump interview from journalists who could never break a window. By Guido’s count the scoop had at least ten separate news lines, on Brexit, Theresa May, Nato, Russia, Syria, Iran, Merkel, travel restrictions for Europeans, his Twitter, Jared Kushner and Camp David. It was on the front page not just of The Times and Bild, but also The Sun, Telegraph, Guardian, BBC News and MailOnline. Think his editor will be happy."

Richard Johnson in the New York Post: "One proposal on dealing with the media that was pitched to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team calls for drug testing the White House press corps...The pee-in-a-cup proposal (yellow journalism indeed) was one of 13 ideas one candidate for White House press secretary wrote in November in a confidential memo to members of the Presidential Transition Team’s Executive Committee."

Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev on what it's like to cover Putin and what it could be like to cover Trump: "Facts don’t matter. You can’t hurt this man with facts or reason. He’ll always outmaneuver you. He’ll always wriggle out of whatever carefully crafted verbal trap you lay for him. Whatever he says, you won’t be able to challenge him. He always comes with a bag of meaningless factoids (Putin likes to drown questions he doesn’t like in dull, unverifiable stats, figures and percentages), platitudes, false moral equivalences and straight, undiluted bullshit."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement after Trinity Mirror announced it was cutting 78 posts at its regional titles and creating 44 new roles, including 17 video journalists and producer roles: “News of yet more cuts is a massive blow to journalists working throughout the group who need to be convinced that this new strategy for chasing digital growth is one that will actually yield results and – critically – one that will preserve quality journalism across the group."

The Newsquest NUJ group chapel in a statement after it was revealed that the pay package of chief executive Henry Faure Walker in 2015 was basic pay £400,000; cash bonus of £297,000; shares bonus worth up to £607,000 if all performance targets are met; and £145,000 for pension, health and life insurance: "Our members will be livid to hear this news while being expected to pull in their belts yet another notch and endure yet another another pay freeze, when they are already on poverty pay and inflation looks set to rise... The fact that the boss’s remuneration could pay for 75 more journalists shows just how out of kilter a greedy management is with its journalists.”

The Times [£] in a leader on open justice: "The risk is that an ever-wider range of litigants and defendants seek anonymity in an ever-wider variety of cases, with a chilling effect on the media as the potential cost of defending its right to report on court cases rises. Children have a right to anonymity in most types of cases. Adults should remember that open justice exists not just to punish the guilty but to protect the innocent."

The News Media Association in a statement on its website: "The NMA’s application for judicial review of the Press Recognition Panel’s decision to recognise IMPRESS has moved to the next stage, with documents issued at Court and served on both the PRP [Press Recognition Panel] and IMPRESS yesterday. This challenges the legality of the Press Recognition Panel’s decision to recognise IMPRESS on the basis that it has made serious and fundamental legal errors in its recognition."

Sun editor Tony Gallagher ‏@tonygallagher on Twitter on the Sun's response to Die Welt's 'Little Britain' front page [below] by reworking an old splash: "Dear @welt - a snapshot of @TheSun tomorrow. Love From Little Britain."

Die Welt @weltkompakt responds to the Sun on Twitter: "@TheSun Sunny greetings from Berlin."


Thursday 12 January 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: National press unite in battle to defeat Section 40, dumping on the National Enquirer and hooray for Hollywood

The Guardian in a leader: "A free press is a constitutional necessity, not an ornamental timepiece. There is no other option but to repeal section 40. The Guardian believes that the independence of the press is best served by self - not state - regulation." 

The Financial Times' response to consultation on Section 40: "The position of the FT is clear: Section 40 is not fit to be commenced. However, keeping it un-commenced on the statute book causes – in more acute form – the very problem to which the press have been most alert. In spite of all of the faults of the Royal Charter, the institution of the PRP, the approval of IMPRESS, and unexplained departures from the terms of the Leveson Report, all of those elements have at their core the common recognition that serving politicians, especially those in Government, must have no role in regulating the press. Keeping Section 40 in place, but un-commenced, appears to give this – and every subsequent – Secretary of State unacceptable leverage with regard to the newspaper industry. It is, for the press, a legislative Sword of Damocles."

Daily Mail in a leader: "Among Impress board members is one who has tweeted his wish to ban the Daily Mail, and others who have backed the campaign to drive centre-Right newspapers out of business by starving them of advertising. Even if Impress had impeccably fair-minded credentials, this paper would refuse to join it, on the principle that it is wrong for the Press to submit to state regulation. As it is, the very thought of surrender to such a creepy body is unthinkable. This is why no mainstream newspaper, of Right or Left, has signed up to Impress, which includes only a tiny number of the smallest local papers and online blogs on its books."

Sarah Baxter in the Sunday Times [£]: "To recap, Max Mosley is the son of Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford, who were married in 1936 at the home of Joseph Goebbels, the chief propagandist of the Third Reich, in the presence of Adolf Hitler. If you don’t consider this relevant, fine. Let’s put our press freedom in the hands of Impress. But it sends a chill up my spine."

The Times [£] in a leader: "Coercing a free press is, in the first place, a contradiction in terms. The conversation that Britain is having with itself about press regulation is being followed elsewhere in the free world with dismay because the very concept of newspapers being answerable to anyone other than their readers is rightly alien. Moreover, the regulator the government has in mind, Impress, is self-appointed, partisan and in no position to wield authority over an industry that it manifestly disdains....Section 40 turns natural justice on its head. It would be unthinkable in the US under the first amendment to the constitution, and probably illegal under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. "

Investigative journalist Andew Penman in the Mirror: "In all likelihood, the mere threat of litigation under Section 40, however unjustified, would mean that my stories would never run in the first place. After 20 years of fighting your corner, this column would be axed and the conmen and charlatans would be victorious."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement: “The NUJ believes that by partially implementing Section 40, it would potentially bring benefits to those regulators that have established proper systems of arbitration. Those who have not would continue to deal with the courts as they do today. The government should continue to encourage those regulators that do not have effective arbitration in place to establish such systems. While providing significant benefits for those with systems of arbitration, ministers should now rule out implementing Section 40 in a way that could lead to publishers facing potentially ruinous legal costs. Therefore the NUJ favours option (d), that the government should partially commence Section 40 and keep under review those elements that apply to publishers outside a recognised regulator."

Ex-Croydon Advertiser editor Glenn Ebrey ‏@glennebrey on Twitter: "Something odd about local paper groups that have turned their backs on 'proper' journalism fighting to now protect, er, proper journalism...They are right to oppose Section 40, of course, but should look a little closer to home when bemoaning the death of local papers"

Damian Collins, chairman of the culture, media and sport committee, in the Daily Telegraph on Section 40: “Some have said that the risk of heavy costs being awarded against the newspapers is not as great as some fear. But I believe it is wrong in principle, and once established could create a new industry of ambulance-chasing lawyers encouraging people to hire them on no-win, no-fee terms to take up complaints against the press. These lawyers could set high fees and know that there would be a good chance of getting paid even if they lost the case.”

Roy Greenslade on giving up his daily MediaGuardian blog at the end of this month, reported by Press Gazette: “I am sad to be giving up the blog, but I think the work of holding newspapers – their owners, controllers, editors and journalists – to account remains vital because they still set the daily agenda and therefore remain hugely influential."

Donald Trump to CNN's Jim Acosta over the Russian allegations, as reported by CBS: "Your organisation is terrible...I am not going to give you a question, you're fake news. Trump on BuzzFeed which published the Russian allegations in full: "Buzzfeed which is a failing pile of garbage... will suffer the consequences"

Burt Reynolds in the Observer Magazine"Dumping a helicopter full of horse shit on the National Enquirer made me feel great. They’d been writing crap about me for years so I thought it was only fitting. One Christmas Eve my pilot and I loaded my helicopter with manure from my ranch, flew over the building and watched it cascade down their giant Christmas tree."

Meryl Streep in her Golden Globes speech, as reported by the Guardian"We need a principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press, and all of us in our community, to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth."


Thursday 5 January 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From national and local press lead onslaught on Section 40 to whose got the biggest ears Gary Lineker or Sun editor Gallagher?

Lynne Anderson, News Media Association deputy chief executive, quoted by the Sun after a YouGov poll showed just four per cent of people think a press regulator should be funded by donations from wealthy individuals and trusts, the Impress model, compared with 49 per cent who believe it should be funded by the newspaper industry itself: “This survey demonstrates conclusively that a regulatory regime led by Impress – which is completely reliant upon funding from one wealthy individual, Max Mosley, cannot command the confidence of the public...It is also abundantly clear from the poll that there is absolutely no public appetite for further activity from the Government in this area – such as the reopening of the Leveson Inquiry – when there are other much more pressing priorities at hand.”

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail on press regulator Impress: "It would be like putting the Kray Twins in charge of the Police Complaints Commission and forcing the victims of their crimes to pick up the bill. To conjure up another analogy, how would Max Mosley like it if one of his call girls decided to sue him for spanking her too hard and — win, lose or draw — he was forced to pay all her legal costs?"

Andrew Norfolk in The Times [£]: "My concern, should the government trigger section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, is its likely impact on investigative journalism. Under section 40, any newspaper that declines “voluntarily” to join Impress would be forced to pay its opponent’s legal costs in any claim brought for libel or breach of privacy, even if it won the case. At a stroke, this would destroy the delicate balancing act that invariably surrounds the decision-making process at any responsible newspaper before publishing an article that could expose it to a civil claim in the courts...Be under no illusion. Section 40 ostensibly seeks to protect the weak and the poor, but it would kill investigative print journalism. It would render the rich and powerful unaccountable. To implement such a measure, in a nation that calls itself free and democratic, would be madness."

Tom Bower in The Times [£]: "Reliance on the truth as a defence against greed and chicanery is now endangered by the government’s refusal to rule out implementing section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. In a nutshell, if a newspaper refuses to register with Impress, the government’s approved regulator bankrolled by Max Mosley and staffed by his anti-media sympathisers, then newspapers will be compelled to pay the costs of claimants even if their claim fails. Crooks like Robert Maxwell could sue, lose their case having been exposed in court as liars, and still receive millions of pounds from the victorious newspaper."

Neil Hodgkinson, editor-in-chief of Trinity Mirror's Humber & Lincolnshire Region, quoted by the Mirror on Section 40: "This draconian law could have prevented public interest revelations such as a businessman falsely posing as a Falklands war hero to boost his business, lavish spending by health chiefs on trips to Florida, or the rightful exposure of care home staff and their abuse of an elderly patient. Legal action was threatened. Would we have had to think twice knowing the cost of bankrolling both sides? Papers such as ours invest in good journalism. We were praised by Leveson. Now, local media may face bankruptcy for serving public interest. Local democracy will suffer as a result."

Alastair Machray, editor of Trinity Mirror's Liverpool Echo, also quoted in the Mirror:  "Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act? It’s a free pass for the guilty. Call us old-fashioned up here, but we ain’t that keen on the conmen, the paedophiles, the bent politicians. And our job at the Liverpool Echo is to protect the public from them. But under Section 40 those villains just have to threaten legal action, safe in the knowledge that the thought of paying the costs – win or lose – is a massive barrier to us as we seek to publish the facts."

Marc Reeves, editor of the Birmingham Mail, writing in his own paper: "The sanction which would see us liable for all costs in a case, even if we won, would in my view incentivise complainants to bypass existing informal and formal routes to trigger litigation immediately. Just one small action resulting in a costs award of £100,000 could lead to irreparable harm to our finances. Any more may well be fatal."

Hugh Tomlinson Q.C., chair of Hacked Off, responding to the fears of local newspaper editors: "All this is based on the assumption that local newspapers will do the bidding of the national press and refuse to join a recognised regulator. Of course, if local newspapers do join such a regulator they face no adverse costs orders and receive costs protection against rich “libel bullies”. There is no “chilling effect”. Local and regional newspapers are still respected and trusted by the public. They risk losing that respect and trust if they allow themselves to be used by the corporate national press to defend the indefensible."

Former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd in newly released cabinet documents on the execution of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft after he was hanged in Iraq in 1990: “In the atmosphere brought about by our present difficulties, Iraq would see any action against credit as a further political response to Bazoft and would hit back hard. That would be bad for our wider commercial interests where our competitors would happily step in to take up our share of the market.”

Sun ed Gallagher

Gary Lineker, interviewed in the Financial Times, about coming under attack from the Sun, which suggested he should be 'out on his ears' from the BBC: “It didn’t bother me, it didn’t worry me, I wasn’t, oh, my God, I’m going to lose my job. I got phone calls from people at the BBC almost immediately. They were very supportive. They can insult me all they like. I don’t mind. The editor of The Sun has got much bigger jug-ears than I have.”