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. In his columns he talks down to his readers in a patronising style that assumes Mirror readers are stupid in a manner that, by way of contrast, Richard Littlejohn would never dream of doing. It is not a style that he uses in the Guardian or the New Statesman. It is all good knock-about stuff, Maguire is after all a Labour party propagandist first and a journalist second. He is, without doubt, far better at the former than the latter.

His pathological hatred of the Tories becomes totally unhinged when it comes to Margaret Thatcher. Time and time again he shares his death fantasies with readers. Today again, under the pretext of a theatre review, he reminds us that he will celebrate her death. He describes her as a harridan who should not be afforded a state funeral. His poisonous “death to class enemies” attitude reveals all you need to know about Kevin Maguire’s politics and nature. In another time and place you sense that as a commissar he would have happily dealt out revolutionary justice to class enemies – with a bullet.

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.
Guido understands that Dacre told a rebellious editorial meeting yesterday “I couldn’t give a toss what you lot think.” Lord Rothermere, the Mail’s owner, on the other hand might well give a toss. Particularly in view of the recent circulation slide…

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, add a “new dimension” to their reporting.

You bet she will if previous form is anything to go by…

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 +

Circus Master Cracks His Whip

The Sun is running this morning, over seven pages, an all out campaign for a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty. Guido senses that Murdoch is reminding the performing political monkeys who the real circus master is, and that he

[…]

+ READ MORE +

When Commissioned Polls Go Wrong

Dods, the parliamentary publisher, has been around for 170 years and the 21st century seems a bit bewildering for them. Well aware that political blogs are eating them for breakfast, they commissioned an ICM/Dods poll to ascertain what is

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Splitter! Splits! Hooray!

Political correspondents can breathe a collective sigh of relief. As we exit the substance desert that was the silly season they can now start writing “party split” stories.

Keith Vaz, a former minister for Europe, is calling for a referendum

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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