Tory MP John Whittingdale is the chairman of the Labour dominated DCMS Select Committee. He is expected to call Andy Coulson to give evidence at a hearing next Tuesday. Coulson has to get through what will inevitably be a tough grilling relatively unscathed if he wants to keep his job. For Labour Alastair Campbell is trying to frame the terms of the media narrative in such a way that if it is shown Coulson did “anything improper or illegal, or condoned, used or benefited from anything improper or illegal, in his time as editor of the News of the World“ he has to go. In Guido’s experience almost every newspaper editor at some point condones something improper or illegal to get a story. Stolen documents appear in the Guardian and on the BBC all the time. News is what people don’t want you to know, everything else is advertising. Campbell knows this, and is deliberately setting up a false threshold.
Dave’s defence of Coulson basically tries to prevent double jeopardy;
“It’s wrong for newspapers to breach people’s privacy with no justification. That is why Andy Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World two and a half years ago. Of course I knew about that resignation before offering him the job. But I believe in giving people a second chance”
Essentially the Tory position is that Coulson has taken his punishment already, so it doesn’t matter. Not exactly occupying the moral high ground.
If it all goes wrong on Tuesday, the editor’s job at the Sun is becoming vacant shortly…