Thursday, 7 March 2019

Media Quotes of the Week: From Hunt and Clooney meet over fight for press freedom to will Fox News save Trump from the Mueller Report?

Jeremy Hunt @Jeremy_Hunt on Twitter: "Good discussion on media freedom w/ Amal Clooney. Discussed how we could work together to tackle those who act w/ impunity against journalists - including the Reuters journalists in Burma she represents - and how to shine a global spotlight on the vital necessity of media freedom."
James O'Brien @mrjamesob on Twitter: "Corbyn’s attitude to journalists is basically: 'How dare you ask me about unprecedented numbers of MPs leaving the party in disgust at my leadership. I want banal invitations to spout hollow platitudes about homelessness & poverty & you show your bias by not issuing them'.”

Helen Lewis in the New Statesman: "By attacking the media, all three men – Corbyn, Maduro and Trump – know exactly what they are doing. Any journalist’s defence of the profession can be dismissed as special pleading: you would say that, wouldn’t you? It’s a cheap trick that works because everyone hates journalists already. Look at them, sitting there in London, earning a packet, not meeting “real people” (whoever they are). This lazy criticism conflates megabucks contrarian columnists with the majority of the industry, where salaries are low and employment is precarious. There’s a reason that the PR business is full of ex-journalists. Puffery pays better than takedowns."

Bill Browder @Billbrowder on Twitter: "This is absolutely appalling. According to new intelligence [documentary by Al Jazeera Arabic], Jamal Khashoggi's body was burned in a newly constructed tandoori oven in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Mohammed bin Salman needs to be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act."

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, in a statement after the union said the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Durham Constabulary attempted to restrict the freedom of investigative journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, makers of the documentary No Stone Unturned, from commenting on their case while on police bail:  "This was a blatant attempt to thwart the massive international campaign against the arrest of two journalists whose only crime is their search for truth and justice... The extension of bail until September 2019 is a travesty and imposes ongoing hardship on our members, their families and colleagues."

Guardian columnist Gary Younge speaking at an NUJ event in London: "Journalists are better at describing things rather than predicting things. Journalism needs more humility. If we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, then we should spend our time looking at what is happening now. We need to be more curious. I go out and talk to people, and I listen to their answers. Too often reporters are told what the story is and are then sent out to get the quotes to stand it up.”

Kim Fletcher in the British Journalism Review: "Unfortunately, many of us look at local journalism the way we look at banks and corner shops, being dismayed to see them disappear while struggling to recall the last time we walked in. The decline in sale has been encouraged by publishers, who have tended to respond to challenging times by cutting staff, reducing quality and raising prices."

Jane Martinson in the Guardian: "One newspaper executive said last week there was no difference between the Saudis or Russians owning a newspaper and a football club. Which would be true if the British media was just a vehicle for identity politics, fun and games rather than a time-honoured way of holding the powerful to account."

Campaign to Protect Journalists' Asia program coordinator Steven Butler, after four journalists were barred from covering a dinner in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, because of "sensitivities over shouted questions": "President Donald Trump and the White House are setting a terrible example, restricting press coverage while meeting with a ruthless foreign dictator of a nation that enjoys no press freedom at all. North Korea's efforts to block the press are deplorable, if unsurprising, but the U.S. government has no business acquiescing in this behavior."
  • Blocked from covering the dinner were reporters from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and Reuters, according to The Washington Post.

Jerry Taylor, co-founder of the Niskanen Center, quoted by Jane Mayer in her New Yorker article on Fox News: “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.”

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