Thursday 28 January 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Clive Myrie defends Covid hospital reports after BBC branded 'ghoul' by Telegraph columnist to actor detects paparazzo

BBC's Clive Myrie responding on Twitter to Allison Pearson's column in the Telegraph claiming his reporting on Covid needed to be more positive: "
I’m sorry my reports for you don’t display your unalloyed optimism over this pandemic and I’m sorry I can’t gloss over -as you have- in your discursive article the fact that 100,000+ people just happen to be dead."

Allison Pearson in the Telegraph:
"I’m not scared, Clive. To be honest with you, I’m angry. Angry that, night after night, you and your colleagues drive the juggernaut of panic straight into viewers’ homes. Angry that there are so many positive statistics and stories, which would bring much-needed optimism to millions of battle-weary Britons, but the national broadcaster prefers to hang out like a ghoul in a graveyard, implying that everyone buried there died of Covid."

Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson in a letter to readers after local MPs branded the paper's story claiming supplies of the coronavirus vaccine could be diverted from its patch as fake news: "Yesterday’s story was never about politics; it is about matters of fact. Now, thanks to a small cabal of our own MPs, it has become a story about the essence of a free Press and the forces around it that wish to do it harm. Those in power would do well to spend less time intimidating local newspapers, dodging simple questions and attacking journalists - like myself - and focus on saving lives. They can best do that by being honest with us and by working with us. That is surely not too much to ask?"

Gulnoza Said, Committee to Protect Journalists' Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, on Russian authorities threatening and harassing journalists covering protests called for by jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny: “Despite being poisoned and repeatedly thrown into jail, Alexei Navalny refuses to go away, so Russian authorities will likely try to make him and his supporters disappear via censorship. Journalists must be allowed to report freely and safely on crucial political developments in the country – even the ones that authorities are afraid of.”

Rupert Murdoch, accepting the Australia Day Foundation’s lifetime achievement award, quoted by The Hill:
“For those of us in the media, there’s a real challenge to confront: a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversation, to stifle debate, to ultimately stop individuals and societies from realising their potential. This rigidly enforced conformity, aided and abetted by so-called social media, is a straitjacket on sensibility. Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy.”

Recruitment ad for new tv and digital channel GB News: 
"We’re looking for brilliant journalists from all backgrounds to help us shake things up. You’ll be bursting with ideas and determined to find original stories and new voices from every part of the country. You’ll be a disruptor and an innovator who approaches the news in a provocative and entertaining way. We are serious about changing things, so only apply if you genuinelywant to make a difference and reflect the stories and issues that really matter to the people of the UK."


The Guardian reports:
 "Rolling Stone magazine is offering 'thought leaders' the chance to write for its website if they are willing to pay $2,000 to 'shape the future of culture'. The storied magazine, which has published journalism by writers including Hunter S Thompson, Patti Smith and Tom Wolfe, approached would-be members of its new 'Culture Council' by email, telling them that they had the chance to join 'an invitation-only community for innovators, influencers and tastemakers'. Emails seen by the Guardian suggest that those who pass a vetting process – and pay a $1,500 annual fee plus $500 up front – will “have the opportunity to publish original content to the Rolling Stone website”.

New White House press secretary Jen Psaki in her first press briefing, as reported by Vox: “I have deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy, and for the role all of you play. As I noted earlier, there will be moments when we disagree, and there will certainly be days where we disagree for extensive parts of the briefing even, perhaps. But we have a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement after the BBC revealed it had spent more than £1 million on barristers and solicitors to deal with tribunal claims brought by staff in equal pay and race discrimination cases: 
“It’s a shocking sum of money to have spent on defending the indefensible. There have been so many occasions in the past four years when the NUJ has urged the BBC to stop wasting money on lawyers and instead sort things out sensibly with individuals who have been discriminated against and cheated out of pay and pension contributions. There have even been equal pay cases amongst them where we have been confident that the arrears in salary owed were ultimately dwarfed by the cost of the legal team arguing against settling."

Insight editor Jonathan Calvert asked "What do you hate most about the job?" in The Sunday Times [£]: 
"Dealing with needlessly aggressive media lawyers who seem to be paid by the yard, judging by the length of their letters."

Actor Philip Glenister in 
The Sunday Times Magazine on playing DCI Gene Hunt in Life on Mars [£]: "The show really raised my profile, but I only ever had one unsavoury paparazzi incident. I noticed this blacked-out van following me around where I live in East Sheen. I went up to the driver and said: 'If you want a picture, just take one and f*** off because I’m out with the kids.' He said: 'Look mate, I’m just doing my job. And how do you know I was following you, anyway?' I said: 'Well, believe it or not, I play a f***ing detective!'.”


Thursday 21 January 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: The Times champions local news as vital to democracy to Murdochs urge media owners to stop promoting toxic politics

The Times
[£] in a leader: 
"The danger, as Professor [Timothy] Snyder notes, is that once local news is dead, citizens start thinking about the “media” as some kind of distant and alien elite. It creates a vacuum and they instead turn to social media. This is far less reliable but appeals to their emotions or pre-existing convictions. That in turn fuels polarisation and creates fertile ground for conspiracy theories and dangerous fictions, such as claims of a stolen election, especially when such views are espoused by the president. In the past week there have been welcome moves by social media companies to recognise their own responsibilities in addressing this danger. That has prompted a debate about what further steps societies should take to improve public access to the information needed to sustain democracy. That debate should start with how best to reinvigorate local news"
  • Steve Clarke in a  letter to The Times:  "As a young reporter in the 1970s I spent hours every week covering courts or local councils. The evening newspaper I worked for had an editorial staff of well over 30 people including a sports department and half a dozen local offices. I’m told it now runs on about six journalists. Court coverage and scrutiny of local affairs must have dropped dramatically as a result and more local newspapers are closing or cutting staff every day. Meanwhile, the BBC enjoys a monopoly income in the billions every year. Isn’t now the time to spread that money a little further than just one organisation? A fraction of that huge sum could be diverted to help to support local journalism and rekindle civic awareness in our towns and cities. "

James Forsyth in The Times [£]:
"Johnson has long thought that the fact the licence fee frees the BBC from commercial pressures has created a statist culture in its newsrooms and a separation from the concerns of viewers. When out campaigning, Johnson often laments that regional newspapers are shadows of their former selves while the BBC’s local stations have carried on much as before. It’s hard, he notes, for anyone to compete with a media company that has a legally guaranteed revenue stream."
  • Forsyth also claims: "The plan to make Paul Dacre, the former Daily Mail editor, chairman of Ofcom is still very much in place. Indeed, given Ofcom’s coming responsibility for regulating social media companies this choice has taken on greater significance with the growing debate about free speech online."

John Simpson on Twitter:
"Just before the Gulf War 1 bombing started, the BBC ordered me to leave Baghdad. I refused. Eventually my boss gave in, promising ‘You won’t be disciplined.’ Me: ‘Such a relief, waiting for the biggest bombing attack in human history, to know I won’t be disciplined by the BBC'."

Tim Walker in the Guardian on Telegraph co-owner Sir David Barclay who died last week: "For all that Daily Telegraph editors professed to be their own men, the newspaper seldom, if ever, took a view on a major issue of the day – most notably Brexit – that didn’t happen to coincide with that of Sir David Barclay. 'I owned the toy shop and got to play in it,' Barclay once gleefully admitted to me."

Denis MacShane on Twitter:
"Barnier tells FT, he offered UK special travel rights for journalists, musicians, artists in deal talks but Frost, presumably on orders from Johnson terrified of DTel/Mail/IDS etc turned them down. As NUJ member this is very sad."

Denise-Marie Ordway on Journalist's Resource: "Major network and cable TV news outlets have given the most airtime to members of Congress with the most extreme views, creating a perception there is greater division among elected leaders than actually exists, researchers have found. Their analysis indicates broadcast news outlets — Americans’ primary source for political news — are partly to blame for growing political polarization in the U.S. and voters’ heightened dislike for members of the opposing political party."

Craig Oliver, senior news executive at the BBC and ITV before he became David Cameron’s communications chief, quoted in the Evening Standard on launch of tv channel GB News:
“There’s a danger launching a news channel now is a bit like launching a high street travel agent. It’s a very analogue thing to do in a digital world.”

GB News chairman Andrew Neil on Twitter on the inauguration of President Joe Biden:
"Throughout the Trump Administration @FoxNews was its broadcast arm. It’s clear @MSNBC and @CNN are going to be the broadcasting arm of the Biden administration, from today’s saccharine coverage. Neither is a good look for independent journalism."

James and Kathryn Murdoch in a statement after the Capitol riots, quoted by CNN Business:
 "Spreading disinformation — whether about the election, public health or climate change — has real world consequences. Many media property owners have as much responsibility for this as the elected officials who know the truth but choose instead to propagate lies. We hope the awful scenes we have all been seeing will finally convince those enablers to repudiate the toxic politics they have promoted once and forever."


Thursday 14 January 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Death of US local press helped Trump demonise the media to cladding fund warns claimants not to speak to journalists

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement:
 “The destruction of the press – particularly the local press in the States – has left a dangerous vacuum for trusted information and news and the conspiracy theorists and extremists have moved in. Some 4,000 journalist jobs have gone in the past decade and the lack of a robust local press has unmoored citizens from their local democratic institutions; research has shown this has led to a loosening of community cohesion. This makes it ripe territory for populist demagogues to step in with simple slogans and fear mongering. It was easy for him [Trump] to demonise the press and shout fake news."

Ian W. Karbal on the Columbia Journalism Review:
 "As a mob swarmed the Capitol building on Wednesday, images and videos of the event spread across social media in close to real time, many going viral on Twitter and Facebook before cable news networks covering the events could verify or report them. One video showed a group of rioters surrounding a pile of Associated Press equipment, trying to burn or damage it. 'We are the news now,' they shouted. Many in the circle were capturing the moment with cellphones."

David Yelland on Twitter: "Too many journalists on the right, in the UK and in the US, now find themselves exposed by events as far too close to Fascism, to liars, to QAnon, to enemies of democracy. They have been used. But they cannot see this through their anger."

Sean Illing on Vox:
 "If the fantasy-industrial complex churning out lies and conspiracy theories wasn’t bad enough, we’re also dealing with a much more pervasive problem in the press.We’re facing a new form of propaganda that wasn’t really possible until the digital age, something known as 'flooding the zone with shit' It’s less about perpetuating alternative realities and more about overwhelming the public with so many competing narratives, so much misinformation, that even well-intentioned people don’t know what to believe. This isn’t going away either. I don’t know what comes next and won’t hazard a prediction, but I know this much: Without some kind of reckoning in right-wing media, there is no sustainable path forward for the country."

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, freelance photojournalist on assignment
for The Washington Post at the Capitol, interviewed by the Committee to Protect Journalists: "I had three different people threaten to shoot me over the course of the day. They weren’t armed as far as I could tell. I saw people with knives and pepper spray. If they had guns, I couldn’t see them. But I did see people in flak jackets and bullet proof vests, so clearly ready for armed combat. At one point, a guy leaned over to me and said, 'I’m coming back with a gun tomorrow and I’m coming for you'.”

Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post:
"Day after day, hour after hour, Fox gave its viewers something that looked like news or commentary but far too often lacked sufficient adherence to a necessary ingredient: truth. Birtherism. The caravan invasion. Covid denialism. Rampant election fraud. All of these found a comfortable home at Fox. In the Trump era, the network — now out of favor for not being quite as shameless as the president demands — was his best friend and promoter. So to put it bluntly: The mob that stormed and desecrated the Capitol on Wednesday could not have existed in a country that hadn’t been radicalized by the likes of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, and swayed by biased news coverage."

Marina Hyde in the Guardian
: "Imagine being the country that has watched the last four years unfold in the US, with its bloodlines so easily traceable to the Fox sensibility, and is nonetheless thinking: let’s have a bit of that. Because that’s us, of course. In the coming months, not one but two anti-impartiality news channels will launch in the UK – GB News, backed by Discovery, and News UK, courtesy of that  adornment to international life, Rupert Murdoch."

John Sweeney on Twitter:
"At the BBC I was taken aside by a senior manager and told off for the tone of my tweets critical of @realDonaldTrump. Too many powerful people in Britain appeased this monster."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader on the Trump Twitter ban: "With this decision, however, the platforms have committed to making editorial decisions on a scale not seen before, a task that, given the vast amount of content they host, will prove to be nigh on impossible, ruinously expensive and hugely controversial. Who will pass the Twitter test and who, like Mr Trump, will be regarded as beyond the pale? And will those who are banned have a right to appeal? Once the social media platforms set themselves up as judge and jury, they are asking for trouble."
  • Lionel Barber on Twitter: "The Trump Twitter ban and Facebook’s belated clampdown finally settles it: platforms are publishers, with all the responsibilities that come along with that privilege."

The Times
[£] in a leader:
"While it remains wise to be wary of any state attempt to police free speech, recent events have shown that greater online regulation is inevitable and indeed desirable. For too long, tech firms have turned a blind eye towards their responsibilities. It would be no better if they now swung towards self-serving censoriousness instead. The past decade has shown what happens when Silicon Valley sets the parameters of free speech for the world. In the future, it must not be up to them."

The Telegraph
 in the obit of its co-owner Sir David Barclay, the eldest Barclay brother: 
“ 'Privacy is a valuable commodity,' said Sir David – reputedly the more outgoing of the two – in one of his very few public utterances. 'There is no incentive for us to talk about our business affairs.' Many years later, replying by email to a request for an interview, he added: 'It doesn’t appeal to us to boast to others of how clever we have been or how successful we are'.”

Martina Lees and Gabriel Pogrund in the Sunday Times [£] on how the £1bn cladding fund to fix unsafe blocks of flats gags applicants from speaking to the press:
"A leaked copy of the contract, which applicants must sign to get aid, bans them from 'any communication' with journalists about repairs 'without the prior written approval' of government press officers."


Thursday 7 January 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: From 'Murder the media' mob attack press in Washington mayhem to new regional paper boss says focus on local content

Tiffany Hsu and Katie Robertson in The New York Times: "Smashed cameras. Threats. The words “Murder the Media” scratched into a door of the Capitol. As Trump supporters rampaged on Wednesday, incited by the president’s false claims of a stolen election, they hit on a secondary target: journalists. Members of the news media who were reporting from the streets and squares of Washington were threatened and surrounded, and their colleagues inside the Capitol were forced to shelter in secure locations for hours."
  • A video taken by William Turton, a Bloomberg News reporter, showed a crowd outside the building advancing on a camera crew, yelling, “Get out of here,” and smashing equipment. Paul McLeod, a Buzzfeed News reporter, shared a photo of a noose the group had fashioned out of a camera cord and hung from a tree.

Samantha Jo-Ross on Twitter:
 "Murder the media" was carved into the U.S. Capitol today. There are no words to express how disturbing this is. A free press that's able to hold those in power accountable is what makes our democracy work. I'm proud to be a journalist & I'm thankful for my colleagues on the Hill."

Committee to Protect Journalists
executive director Joel Simon:
“We are gravely concerned by today’s attack on American institutions, including the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., where journalists as well as lawmakers are at risk. Journalists and news crews covering these events, which are of paramount public interest, must be able to do so freely and safely, with the support and protection of law enforcement. Intimidation and vandalism have already been carried out by violent protesters and there is a real possibility of escalating attacks on the media."

Mark Kleinman on Sky News:
 "The latest addition to Britain's array of 24-hour news channels is to begin recruiting more than 100 journalists after completing a £60m fundraising that it claims was significantly oversubscribed. GB News, which aims to launch later this year, said Sir Paul Marshall, a prominent hedge fund manager, and Legatum, a Dubai-based investment group, would become major shareholders in the company."

GB News chairman Andrew Neil, in a press release: "We're thrilled to have such a broad range of high-calibre investors who share our belief that many British people are crying out for a news service that is more diverse and more representative of their values and concerns." 
  • The new channel says it will recruit 140 staff - including 120 journalists - and expects to reach 96% of British television households through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and Freesat.
Robert Peston on Twitter: "GB News is real and significant. It’s backers have deep pockets. It is not hyperbole to expect that it will have an impact on the UK broadcast news landscape, because it has money and a mission."

The Time
s [£] reports:
 Nearly half of Britons think that the BBC no longer represents their values amid declining levels of trust in the broadcaster, particularly outside London, research for " suggests.
In the past year a third of the public said that the values of the BBC had become less like theirs amid controversy over its coverage of Brexit and the pandemic. Only 33 per cent now believe that it represents their standpoint."

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruling in the Julian Assange extradition case, as reported by BBC News:
"Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the US will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge."
  • NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet commented"The judge rejected the defence case that the charges against Assange related to actions identical to those undertaken daily by most investigative journalists. In doing so, she leaves open the door for a future US administration to confect a similar indictment against a journalist."

Owen Jones in the Guardian:
"It is not to critique the soundness of Baraitser’s legal judgment to argue that this was the right decision, but for the wrong reason. That a British court has ruled that the US prison system is too barbaric to guarantee the safety of Assange tells its own story. But this is about something much bigger than Assange: it’s about journalism, the free press, and most importantly of all, the ability to expose atrocities committed by the world’s last remaining superpower."

The Times
[£] in a leader:
 "If the appeal fails, and his eventual release from custody concludes this long saga, Assange should be deported to his native Australia. He is a discredited figure who has long outstayed his welcome."

 Tim Walker on Twitter: "If the past year has taught us anything, it is that scientists and members of the medical profession are of a damn sight more use than politicians and journalists."

National World chairman David Montgomery after the company acquired the Yorkshire Post and Scotsman publisher JPIMedia for £10.2m, as reported by the Yorkshire Post: “We are very proud to be associated with JPIMedia’s 100 historic brands and recognise the dedication of all the staff who serve their communities in print and online, particularly in current challenging times...On a personal note I have been associated with some JPIMedia titles since I was a student journalist and witnessed over decades how their great and honest reporting has contributed to democratic and societal development - a tradition that National World will continue to champion.”

  • In an email to staff, reported by Press Gazette, Montgomery said he wanted: A journalistic formula that replaces irrelevant or clickbait stories with exclusive content to enhance local lives...National World believes that geographical and creative diversity overseen by local management will better distinguish our products, in both print and online and in video and on mobile. This strategy stands out from the current trend of media businesses pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach.”