Guido’s review of the week, and what another intense week it was, will be going out to Guidogram subscribers tomorrow. You can subscribe for free by clicking the link.
You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…
Mirror Group CEO Sly Bailey has written to advertisers telling them that “our brands are trusted and respected” providing a “viable and valuable route to this important Sunday market…” Might those words come back to haunt her soon?
Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver has been accused directly by Max Keiser of Russia Today of knowing about phone hacking. He makes a series of claims about Weaver’s knowledge of phone hacking including that in 2002 she was aware of Piers Morgan knowledge of the neat little trick. Let the circular firing squad begin…
With five MPs now raising concerns about CNN’s Piers Morgan, the story is gathering pace. The Times are ready to turn the magnifying glass away from Wapping:
”…it has been more than a little ironic to see the inhabitants of the glasshouses of Fleet Street embarking on a collective exercise of stone throwing…”
Morgan’s hacking continues to gain traction on the other side of the pond. The Telegraph picks up on the fact Morgan could be hauled in front of his TV executives to explain what he knows about the scandal.
Crucially when he was contacted directly by The Express last night, Morgan “declined to comment.”
Three Conservative MPs have joined calls to see Piers Morgan answer questions about phone-hacking. Last week the Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders implicated the Mirror in the hacking scandal:
“…the Daily Mirror, when under the auspices of Piers Morgan, is suspected of using voicemail interception to reveal Sven-Goran Eriksson’s affair with Ulrika Jonsson. Given that there are questions over Scotland Yard’s handling of the current case, it is essential that its actions are reviewed independently and that future action against suspected phone hackers does not remain solely the domain of the Met.”
As Lord Justice Leveson prepares his inquiry, a long list of witnesses will be drawn up. This must include executives, editors and hacks of the News of the World’s rivals. This is about more than Murdoch now.
Member of Parliament, Aidan Burley, told Guido:
“In the light of these new allegations about telephone hacking during his editorship of the Daily Mirror, Piers Morgan should be called to the phone-hacking inquiry to face questions on oath.”
Nigel Adams MP added:
“If evidence surfaces that Piers Morgan had some knowledge of phone hacking while he was in the newspaper industry, it would of course seem sensible to ask him to appear before the inquiry.”
Douglas Carswell MP also called for Morgan to appear before Lord Leveson’s inquiry:
“Piers Morgan needs to come and explain what he knows about the vile practice of phone hacking and if he knew it was taking place at the Mirror. No celebrity is too grand to come and answer questions.”
And it’s not just lawmakers who are on Morgan’s case. Kevin Bakhurst, the BBC News Channel’s boss told Guido this morning that the BBC was actively pursuing the Morgan story and he had already invited Piers to explain on air via Twitter. Sky News have also given him an opportunity to clear his name live on Sky. Never like Piers to ignore some airtime…
UPDATE: Another Tory MP weighs in, with Louise Mensch stating:
“At the very least Mr Morgan should answer the allegations put forward by a prominent UK blog. It is also clear to me that the inquiry must cover not only News International, but Trinity Mirror Group, Associated Newspapers and other tabloid organisations.”
UPDATE II: In New York Business Insider says:
“It’s sounding less and less likely that CNN’s Piers Morgan is going to manage to stay free of the Murdoch phone-hacking scandal engulfing Britain…
…CNN had no comment when we reached out to them yesterday regarding the report.”
The above is Piers Morgan’s own diary entry from a decade ago, dated January 26, 2001. It is taken from his 2005 account of his days in newspaper journalism, The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade:
“Apparently if you don’t change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don’t answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear all your messages. I’ll change mine just in case, but it makes me wonder how many public figures and celebrities are aware of this little trick.”
So Piers admits it made him wonder if celebrities were aware of “this little trick”. In March 2002, just one year later, this “little trick” was used by the Daily Mirror against Sven and Ulrika to produce a story that won the “Scoop of the Year” at the British Press Awards the following year. Piers Morgan was at that time the Daily Mirror’s editor…
Across the Atlantic the Morgan hacking story is spreading with Drudge pushing it, as are:
CNN’s Piers Morgan defends phone hacking to Richard Bacon…
“…my problem with all the phone hacking victims, they’ve all used the media over the years to feather their nests, buy their houses, flock their movies, sell out their concerts, and now they’re squealing like little pigs over the media..”
Says he is saddened by closure of News of the World and remains an admirer of Rupert Murdoch. Says hacking is “indefensible”…
Last week Trinity Mirror Group were forced to issue a statement denying that they had sourced a British Press Award-winning 2002 scoop from phone-hacking. They claim “Trinity Mirror’s position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.” That’s not what their former journalists say though.
James “Scottie” Scott, the Daily Mirror’s showbiz reporter at the time, was listening into Ulrika Jonsson’s voicemails when he was flummoxed by messages in her native Swedish. As fortune would have it, he was able to get a half-Swedish Mirror secretary to translate the mysterious voicemails. It was clear from the translations that the couple were having an affair. The male voice sounded just like the then England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson. The paper put the allegation to the sexy Swedish shaggers and they coughed to the truth of the allegation. It broke on April 19, 2002.
The paper’s editor at the time, one Piers Morgan, was receiving flak for the fact that his 3AM Girls gossip section was dire rubbish and lacked any bite compared to Morgan’s old Bizarre column in News International’s Sun. Morgan decided to let 3AM Girl Jessica Callan break the illegally obtained story under her byline in order to try and rid the column of its banal reputation.
Scottie wasn’t a happy bunny despite being promoted to become news editor of the Mirror Group’s Sunday People by the end of the year. To add insult to injury, however, Piers Morgan, knowing in March 2003 that the story would probably win the 3AM girls the “Scoop of the Year” at the British Press Awards, arranged for Scottie to go on a far-flung, all-expenses-paid junket. Morgan wanted to make sure that the still smarting Scottie couldn’t make a boozed-up fuss on the night. The story is legend because Scottie has long dined out on the truth. Perhaps he will prefer, in the current circumstances, to let the 3AM Girls continue to claim all the credit…
Guido’s quest to find Ed and Justine a wedding present has been made a lot easier this morning. Apparently the Labour inner-circle did a whip around and bought Wed Ed an iPad as a present. A self-professed “square”, Ed was once a Rubik’s Cube expert, though he claims to be a little bit rusty these days. Guido has found Ed the perfect App for his new toy – Rubik’s Cube for iPad:
Hours of amusement for the reluctant hubby…
Here in the Guy Newsroom we will have a drink to celebrate the successful completion of our campaign to get Ed to do the right thing and make an honest woman of Justine, the mother of his children. It wasn’t easy, in January he told Piers Morgan “She’s not my wife. Thank God for that, probably”. Which seemed an odd thing to say. Now he is embracing the institution of marriage with enthusiasm:
Thanks for all the good wishes. Really looking forward to the day. Feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be marrying Justine.—
Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) May 27, 2011
No need to thank us Mrs Miliband…
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LibDem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael:
“Chris Huhne was the man who had put the ‘t’ into ‘Cancun’.”