Dacre’s last Days?

Paul Dacre has been off work for the last three weeks with “gastric flu” (trans. his heart condition is playing up). In fact his absences this year have been numerous. Rumours are flying around that the dark days of the Dacre regime may be coming to an end at the Daily Mail. The colony of ex-Mail hacks at the Telegraph is speculating feverishly that an announcement could be made as early as next week. Dacre would they believe be moved upstairs, keeping all perks, as is the tradition since Sir David English.

Betting is that his replacements could either be Peter Wright (editor of the Mail on Sunday) or Veronica Wadley (editor of the Evening Standard). Peter Wright’s MoS has been the scourge of Gordon with barely a week passing without Labour being lambasted on the front-page. Veronica Wadley is also known as Mrs Bower, her husband Tom being the author of an unauthorised biography of Gordon Brown which the Brownies regard as a hatchet job.

Gordon will be further depressed by either outcome, after cultivating and bending towards Dacre’s special world view for so long and at such cost, it seems tragically likely that his great ally in the right-wing press will no longer be in a position to boost him. The end of the Dacre regime will be particularly welcomed by Cameroons who have not appreciated the sniping from their right flank. Gordon’s luck really has run out…

New Media versus Old Media

The news that the Telegraph lost £10m last year encourages Guido to believe that in the coming years the truth will slowly dawn on loss making media moguls. Comment is just a click away. Good quality comment is free of charge at places like ConservativeHome, PoliticalBetting and UK Polling Report. The value of your paper pundits will therefore decrease to zero. The “we know best” gatekeeper mentality just won’t do.

To all those media executives shaking their heads, don’t forget that this blog is more profitable than the Telegraph, Independent and Guardian combined. Better value for readers as well…

[See also Henry Blodget’s fisk of a speech from AP’s Tom Curley.]

Stephen Glover was one of the founders of the Indy and he still writes a weekly media column for the paper. All credit to him for this morning in his column covering and criticising the editor of the paper for Indy-gate. Some thought it amusing that it had been unmentioned in his column of last week. (Guido did inquire of Glover if he would be covering it when it went without comment).

“You can’t expect him to criticise his own editor in the paper” Guido was told by other hacks. Well he did. Independent? Glover is.

Dacre Officially Enters Gordon’s Tent

In what many think is designed to provide Dacre with a “public service” excuse for his peerage, Gordon has appointed him to oversee a review of the 30 Year Secrecy Rule.

Dacre’s other public services; warning the public about gypsies, immigrants, alco-pops and such-like are deemed not good enough to earn him the ermine. Guido thinks editors should sup with politicians with a long spoon, getting in their tent and having a cozy breakfast in the morning with them is unwise. Perhaps it was secrecy that they discussed over the breakfast kippers

Is the email working at the Indy? The phones definitely seem to be playing up, last time Guido called to talk to Andy Grice the line went dead. So just in case Guido’s email to him on Monday went astray, here it is for him to read here:

From Guy Fawkes
To a.grice@independent.co.uk
Date Oct 22, 2007 12:52 PM
Subject Hi ya

Andy,

Obviously this issue about the recycled FCO briefing is of great interest. I have two quick questions.

Could you give me an on the record quote as to how you independently verified the truth of the FCO briefing?

Can you confirm that you have never recycled for publication a press briefing verbatim in the past?


Guido Fawkes Esq.

Of course if another example of Grice recycling press briefings and passing it off as journalism were to be found, it would be a bit of a personal disaster for his reputation and credibility. He wouldn’t have done that, would he?

Incidentally, in the U.S. the National Review has picked up on Indy-gate. Well, you know how stuffy Americans can be about journalistic integrity.

Indy-Gate Scandal at Independent

The Indy-gate scandal is gathering momentum in the media following Kelner’s un-apology.
  • Dan Hannan in the Telegraph is derisory about the Indy’s misinformation.
  • Roy Greenslade in his widely read (by hacks) Guardian blog returns to the issue for a second time.
  • James Forsyth over at the Speccie’s CoffeeHouse wonders “What would The Independent say if another newspaper had done the same on Iraq?”
  • Iain Dale doesn’t think this over yet. “Not by a long way.” Nor does Guido.
  • Melanie Phillips thinks Indy-gate “a practice associated with the unfree press in totalitarian societies. Once again, the blogosphere has shown its power to hold the mainstream media sharply to account and inflict real damage to its reputation.”
150_not_indyThe newspaper’s readers surely deserve to know the truth. Is it now the editorial policy of the Independent to reprint lengthy government press releases word-for-word if Andy Grice* agrees with them? Shouldn’t the Indy flag up when it is re-printing government press releases – “This information was supplied by the government, we are reprinting it in its entirety on the front page because we agree with it.” Perhaps a little “Government Approved” logo would suffice?

*According to Simon Kelner “what we printed was a collection of facts, which our political editor independently verified.”

Indy-gate : Issue is About Journalistic Ethics, Not the EU

The Indy’s editor-in-chief Simon Kelner, attempting to defend the reprinting of an FCO press briefing as original journalism, claimed that “The Eurosceptics, who have monopolised this debate for so long, appear to be shooting the messenger because they don’t like the message… I am completely unapologetic about our attempt to explode the myths that have been allowed to develop in what has been an extremely one-sided debate…”.
This is an attempt to distract from the substantive issue – which is a question of journalistic ethics. No one can accuse the Indy of being one-sided on the issue, they have laughably flipped and flopped on the referendum issue:

18 June – a leader calling for a referendum, “The question is whether or not a package of fairly weighty changes that will undoubtedly affect Europe’s shape and destiny should – in this country at any rate – be decided in a referendum. The answer is simple: it should and it must.”25 June – a leader opposing a referendum,

“Having dangled the prospect of a referendum last week, Mr Brown was right to bat it smartly away.”12 September – a leader calling for a referendum,

“The case against a vote on the treaty is weak. The Government’s argument that the new European treaty is significantly different from the European Constitution that was rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005 is unconvincing. The name may have changed but it is essentially the same document on which Tony Blair promised a national plebiscite shortly before the last general election… This newspaper wants a referendum for different reasons.. Rather than trying to evade the moment of truth, Mr Brown should concentrate his energies and those of his Government on campaigning for a yes vote.”18 October – the piece

cut ‘n pasted from the FCO briefing opposing a referendum.Source : OpenEurope.org

Kelner’s credibility on this is zero. We can completely ignore the Indy’s position on the EU Referendum, it is as irrelevant as it is changeable.In America, where journalists take professional ethics more seriously, there would be resignations if a journalist plagiarised a government briefing wholesale. The substantive issue here is not whether the Indy is for or against a referendum, it is whether the Indy is a credible source of honest independent journalism, or a rag which reprints press releases uncritically. Which is it? Indy readers have a right to know if they are being peddled government spin as independent journalism on the front page.

Indy-gate : Fax Over A Press Release -If It Is True, We’ll Put It On the Front Page

The Indy’s editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner has finally given a comment to the Guardian :

“What we printed was a collection of facts, which our political editor independently verified. The source doesn’t really make a material difference. What matters is whether those facts are accurate or not. And no one, as far as I can see, is doubting the truth of what we printed.”

Neil O’Brien, who spotted Indy-gate, is not so sure about the somewhat partial “facts”. The only sure fact is that a government press release was presented to Indy readers as original journalism. It wasn’t original, it wasn’t journalism. It was almost word-for-word a reprint of a government briefing.

The paper’s staff might be embarrassed, but Kelner should be ashamed – he has discredited the name “The Independent”.

Comrade Maguire’s Obsessive Maggie Death Fantasy

The Mirror’s Kevin Maguire has a pseudo-working-class-warrior writing style requiring him to always refer to “Druggy Dave” the Bambi-killing Etonian toff. His incisive analysis of the political dynamic clearly owes a lot to a youthful close reading of the Beano

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Dacre’s Breakfast with Brown

Guido overheard last night a smirking Labour MP boasting that Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, had breakfast with Gordon yesterday. Which perhaps explains the discordant leader comment this morning. It actually praises Darling’s tax and spending plans.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Mirror’s "Red" Rosa Joins the Daily Labourgraph

After the virtual collapse of the Telegraph’s political team, the new direction the Telegraph is taking will have traditional readers choking on their toast. The latest hire is Rosa Prince from the Mirror. She will, says the Telegraph,

[…]

+ READ MORE +

The Daily Labourgraph

The Telegraph is a shadow of what it used to be, it was the unofficial house journal of the Conservative Party. Of late it has changed complexion, it is seems no longer a critical friend but a hostile enemy of

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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