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…
Ed Howker broke the news that Hari will be suspended for two months while he is investigated by former Indy editor Andreas Whittam-Smith. Polly, Kelner, Helena, Laurie, Sunny: your boy took a helluva beating.
It took less than 24-hours to unravel, especially with Andrew Neil’s tweeted aside that Gordon swore to “end” Murdoch when he deserted Labour. But Brown is not the only one with an axe to grind. Taking a break from threatening his children and framing his wife, Chris Huhne found time for a rare TV appearance. The fit and proper Secretary of State said allegations that have surfaced were “very dangerous indeed” and “a real problem”. For Murdoch that is.
Huhne went on to criticise the Sunday Times. What could his beef with them possibly be?
As the outrage about journalistic practices spreads, it would be easy to forget the ongoing drama around the Independent’s Johnan Hari, and the investigation into his shameless plagiarism. Other bloggers have started to unravel Hari’s strange online antics, with lots of questions about Hari’s alternative personality online spinner “David R”. Who mysteriously shares an IP address with the Indy…
Currently having his 2008 Orwell Prize reviewed, Guido would like to point the committee to some alarming similarities between one of the articles that Hari submitted for the prize, and a feature in the German magazine Spiegel.
- Take a read of the first six paragraphs of Johann’s award-winning piece “How Multiculturalism is Betraying Women”. Powerful stuff.
- Then take a read of the first six paragraphs of Spiegel’s “Paving the Way for a Muslim Parallel Society”. How odd.
Though he goes on to credit Spiegel with having“documented a long list” mentioned later in the piece, Johann fails to mention he gutted the German introduction, stealing its narrative, facts and quotes. It relies on the same individual cases and lifts a quote from German Minister for Integration Armin Laschet, that was sourced by another journalist If the Orwell Prize committee haven’t read both pieces then they can find them here and here.
And it wasn’t just the Germans that Johann ripped off. In the piece Johann states:
“As the Iranian author Azar Nafisi puts it: “I very much resent it when people – maybe with good intentions or from a progressive point of view – keep telling me, ‘It’s their culture’ … It’s like saying the culture of Massachusetts is burning witches.”
“Cohen quotes the Iranian author Azar Nafisi: “I very much resent it when people – maybe with good intentions or from a progressive point of view – keep telling me, ‘It’s their culture’… It’s like saying the culture of Massachusetts is burning witches.””
It seems odd given how scathing Hari was of Cohen in the review that he would go on to quote “What’s Left” without crediting his source. Well it would odd if it was anyone but Hari…
N.B. Lest Guido should be accused of “doing a Hari”, the above points are largely based on original research by Hopi Sen, see also this comment from Hopi.
When back in November 2006 The Sun ran the “Brown’s baby has cystic fibrosis“ story sympathetically, Guido believed it had been planted by Gordon’s spinners. Why? Because they knew that on the very same day the Charity Commission would announce it was investigating the Smith Institute to discover if Brown’s tame think-tank/slush fund had broken the law in hiring Ed Balls and furthering Brown’s political objectives. This was a neuralgic problem for them (since confirmed in pollster Deborah Mattinson’s memoir and those recently leaked Balls memos). At the time News International was in bed with New Labour and The Sun was forthright in backing Tony and Gordon.
George Pascoe-Watson had the byline on the Sun’s story. Guido has spoken to friends of GPW, he put it to them that far from being hacked, the story was planted to generate sympathetic coverage for Brown. The reply that came back was that it was nothing as exciting as hacking or spin from Damian McBride, it came from “a visitor” to the hospital. It has gone unremarked that the original story also includes what seems to be a birth card given out by the Brown’s themselves. The source is unlikely to be a hacker, more likely it is someone known to the Browns themselves.
UPDATE: You read it here first:
Sir Michael White imagines conversation in the Murdoch household:
“Pops. Is Rebekah going to be our new mum?”
This morning’s front-pages worked along a theme “Brown’s shock that his family medical records were hacked”. Kids should not be fair game for the pack, but is there any evidence that this is a hack rather than a traditional, if distasteful, leak? It’s noticeable that since this crisis broke, News International have been ominously silent on the specifics of the allegations put to them, until this one that they have denied.
Here’s what Gordon said:
“You’re in public life. And this story appears. You don’t know how it’s appeared. I’ve not questioned how it’s appeared. I’ve not made any allegations about how it’s appeared. I’ve not made any claims about [how it appeared]. But the fact is it did appear. And it did appear in the Sun newspaper.”
No allegation of illegality, but too late, the story is out. The timing of yesterday’s intervention couldn’t have worked better to keep the story alive here , and across the Atlantic. And it’s not just Guido that smells a the whiff of revenge…
Last night’s vote on whether to send another £9 billion to the IMF was won by just 28 votes, the tightest margin yet for this government. Despite the best effort of the whips nearly thirty Tories rebelled against the government – a combination of the usual faces as well as a large number of the new intake. The fact that Labour voted against the increase from £10.7bn to £20.15bn led to the tight 274/246 split. A relationship between of Labour and the Tory-right – the purple plot, has begun…
UPDATE: John Redwood offers some thoughts on the vote.