Guardian Adds Insult to Injury with High Praise for Tabloids

Only the most hysterical of haters are denying the role that the Mail played in the guilty verdict yesterday for Stephen Lawrence’s murderers. The role Paul Dacre and his journalists played is explained here, and even the Guardian have this morning described their 1997 front page as “without question, the Mail’s finest hour.” Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland goes on to give a powerful defence, all be it while wearing a plague doctor’s mask, of the tabloids:

“Tabloid editors don’t deny that they are in the business of entertaining as well as informing: broadsheet editors, if they are honest, will admit they do the same, albeit by different means (though sport and sex feature regularly in the Guardian’s “most viewed” stories online). But one senior executive told me he also believes it is his job to educate his readers, to explain the world in plain, accessible language. Even if that goal is rarely achieved, it is a noble one, one that any true democrat or egalitarian should support. For a true democracy cannot leave knowledge in the hands of the elite few; it has to be spread widely. So, yes, it has made the most gruesome mistakes and, yes, those will require severe remedy – but Britain needs its popular press, now more than ever.”

Given how the Guardian went about their campaign in the last year, many will feel this is either too little too late, or salt in a wound. You have to wonder how popular Freedland will be over at York Way this morning. The elephant in the article is a specific mention to the one tabloid that used to be the most effective of them all at informing, entertaining and holding those elites to account…

Corrections and Clarifications, For Neville

Loyal festive readers will recall that we ran a story just before Christmas about former Screws Chief Reporter Neville Thurlbeck. He was looking to rent out an apartment and was offering wedding chauffeur services. Given that the online adverts had his email address and mobile number in, we knew they were real. Mr Thurlbeck disputes some of the specifics on his new blog though, so, with due prominence:

“The “luxury Harrow-on-the-Hill apartment”, to which he refers, is not my home. It is a penthouse apartment and is one of 14 rental properties I own. The Mercedes S500 is not for sale. It is for hire as a wedding car and will be chauffeur driven by a retired taxi driver. The car for sale was actually a pristine Mercedes SL280 roadster but has been taken off the market as I quite like it. As for “Ned”, this is my nickname among very close friends and has been for 35 years… Thanks again and call me if you get married or need a roof over your head. I may even wear a peaked cap and drive you to church myself. “

No burying this one on Page 10 à la Rusbridger… 

Guardian Makes Thirty-Eighth News International Correction Claimed Sun Had Charlotte Church “Countdown to 16 Clock”

Yesterday the Guardian published an article by former burlesque dancer Laurie Penny which claimed that

“Charlotte Church was 15 years old when Britain’s best-read daily newspaper began a public countdown to the day on which she could be legally f****d.”

The claim is totally false.

It was corrected after the Heresy Corner blog pointed out the false claim. This takes the number of corrections to stories published by the Guardian about News International tabloids to 38. All sense of proportion and indeed sense has gone out the window. The allegation was designed to deliberately characterise The Sun in the worst possible light.

UPDATE: They have managed in Grauniad style to cock-up the correction.

Media Analysis You Won’t Read in the Guardian

Today is the last trading day of the year on the New York Stock Exchange, barring any dramatic surprises shares in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation will end the day near the year’s highs. If you are lucky enough to own NewsCorp shares you will have benefited from a rise in value of over 10% this year, well outperforming a stockmarket that has flatlined.

Not that you would realise it if you only listened to the BBC or read the New York Times and The Guardian. The latter in particular always slants financial stories about NewsCorp as if there was widespread shareholder unrest with the Murdochs. Story after story on the media and finance pages of The Guardian quotes shareholders and financial advisers with doom laden sentiments about the Murdochs. Most of those quoted turn out to be activists with political rather than financial priorities…

The fact is that Rupert Murdoch owns the number one daily newspaper in America, The Wall Street Journal. NewsCorp also owns the number one news channel, the incredibly successful and profitable Fox Network. Sky franchises in the UK, Italy, Germany and Star TV in Asia are the pay-TV leaders generating phenomenal subscription revenues. Murdoch also owns the content via television production companies and movie studios. This year Super Bowl on FOX was the most watched TV show in America ever. Even after selling MySpace at a loss, he has dared to launch a new online-only news business, The Daily. Hit movies like Avatar and Black Swan generate colossal ticket sales, American Idol still brings in the ratings, globally Murdoch owned newspapers are still a cash-cow despite him closing the News of the World. In 2011 revenue rose to $33.4 billion, while adjusted operating income increased 12% to $4.98 billion. Cashflow which the owners of the loss making New York Times and Guardian can only dream…

Guardian Media Group is losing a £1 million a week, Mirror Group shares have halved in value this year and the firm has introduced a pay freeze for all workers. Based on the NewsCorp share price alone, the Murdochs finish the year a few billion richer than they started it. Despite what you may read in The Guardian or hear on the BBC, the Murdochs are very far from being against the wall and the left hates that.

No one ever got rich betting against Rupert Murdoch….

Taxi, For Neville

What does the former Chief Reporter of a defunct newspaper do for cash? Well if the online ad service Gumtree is anything to go by, becoming a chauffeur is the way forward…

Neville Thurlbeck, currently on bail after being arrested by Operation Weeting, is offering a “stylish, immaculate chauffeur driven Mercedes S500 available for weddings in Surrey/South West London. £125-£150.” He’s also trying to sell the “lovingly maintained” car and rent out his luxury Harrow-on-the-Hill apartment.

He’s going under the name “Ned” these days…

Silence of the Pink ‘Un II

There are 22 articles currently listed on Google News regarding this morning’s Education Select Committee. They all mention the appearance of Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK. The publishers own the exam board Edexcel, as well as the Financial Times.

While the Telegraph, Times, Guardian, BBC and PA are running with the grilling that Bristow got, there is absolute silence, once again, from the FT’s Education Correspondent Christopher Cook.  It’s not as if he hasn’t been filing copy, a piece by him about other matters went on the website at 3:51 pm. Plenty of time until deadline though…

Steve’s Pitch

They say that history is written by the victors, but that hasn’t stopped the Indy’s Steve Richards trying to buck the trend. Upon reading his “Gordon is still great and should come back and teach us all how to save the world” piece, you could be forgiven for thinking his copy was filed after the festive sherry was passed around the Indy office, but something else piqued Guido’s interest. There are mentions to previous Prime Ministers, as well as their biographies. The whole thing reads like one long job application…

Is Steve lining himself up to write the book?

Judgement Day for Piers Morgan

It’s now been confirmed that Piers Morgan will be before Leveson’s show trial next week. Some weekend reading for Mr Jay:

The former Mirror and News of the World editor will be under oath. First question: “How do you explain how you came to be listening to Sir Paul McCartney’s voicemails?”

 

Guardian Diary in a Pickle

Who said perseverance never got you anywhere? After no fewer than ten days of calling his office, the Guardian diarist Hugh Muir finally got his answer to whether Eric Pickles would attend the Young Britons’ Foundation annual conference. Muir, who doesn’t like the fact YBF don’t like the NHS, ran diary story after diary story demanding an answer. There were at least four that Guido can see. Guido hears that Pickles opened his speech to the young right-wingers on Saturday with:

“I understand that a man that I’ve never met, who writes for a paper I’ve never read, is fascinated to know whether I would attend this conference. Well, I’m delighted to attend”.

Hugh took his public slap-down on the chin when Guido spoke to him earlier: “I understand he went down a storm”. He’s not too happy about his “reputable newspaper” being ignored though. Better luck next year…

Another Sorry Chapter in the Cable Fable

When doorstepped this morning, Vince Cable ruled out resigning saying: “I’m just getting on with my job as I always do.” So he limps on to fight, and lose, another day, but that’s not to say he hasn’t been banging his steel mug against the bars of his cell this weekend. With Clegg initially saying he was behind the national interest, Cable’s voice on the outside, also known as the spectacularly irritating Matthew Oakeshott, was deployed to stir things up.

The Observer reported: “One of Vince Cable’s closest allies, Lord Oakeshott, has refused to rule out a possible resignation by the business secretary. Cable’s comrade Will Hutton had clearly had a direct earful too: “He will speak out aggressively against Cameron’s veto; his decision is whether to resign to do so or say so in office, courting his sacking.” Will Hutton being wrong about something comes as no surprise, but him making something up would. Yet again Cable has clearly threatened that often cited nuclear bomb, yet failed to push the button. When push comes to shove, he’s yellow to his core…

What Leveson Won’t Let You See – The Fake Sheikh Unmasked

The Leveson Show Trials have a busy day and first up it’s notorious former News of the World stinger Mazher Mahmood:

He’s been given the full black-out screen for his evidence today. Not round these parts though…

Crisis Management, Guardian Style

What does the Guardian do when it gets a story wrong? Not just any story, but one so embellished that it forced the closure of a rival newspaper, yet has now unravelled completely. The detail that sealed the fate of the News of the World was that they had deleted Milly Dowler’s voicemails, leaving her family with false hope. Now the Guardian has conceded that fellow phone-hacker David Leigh’s allegations were way out — the voice-mails were deleted before the Screws, to their shame, went anywhere near the message inbox.

In October Rusbridger told Leveson: “We note with encouragement that, since the start of your inquiry, two other newspaper groups have decided to publish regular corrections and clarifications columns on page 2.” They quietly put their damning retreat out late on Friday night. On page ten…

Silence of the Pink ‘Un

Another day and another good secret camera sting. This time it’s the Telegraph catching out exam board officials briefing teachers, for cash, what will be in the exams in order for their pupils to up their grades. Nearly every other paper has picked up the scoop, except one. The FT…

It’s not their education correspondent Chris Cook’s ongoing grudge against Gove that is the issue this time, instead the answer lies significantly above his pay grade. Pearson PLC who own the FT also owns Edexcel – one of the the exam boards named in the Telegraph story. Move along people, nothing to see here…

Campbell Briefing Tapes Could Destroy His Leveson Evidence

Some of you more stuffy types might have missed the thinly veiled threat at the end of Trevor Kavanagh’s column in this morning’s Sun:

“ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, who once played the media like a fiddle, has the nerve to accuse the Press of being “putrid”. He is fortunate lobby journalists never reveal their sources. Otherwise a queue of hacks could reveal how Alastair routinely dripped poison into their ears about everyone – then swore them to secrecy. Luckily, some of us kept a diary.”

Campbell’s evidence last week went down like a cold cup of sick with hacks of a certain age. There is widespread irritation at being lectured by the man who is more responsible than most for the cynicism of the modern media in this country. Trevor Kavanagh got a kicking from Bad Al, but something tells Guido he will come to regret doing that. Word of these diaries is spreading like wildfire. There is talk of the dates, times and locations of meetings where Campbell “dripped poison”. Oh and Guido hopes the technologically advanced Lord Leveson has a tape player…

Previous Post

Former Screws political editor Ian Kirby updates Facebook status

“Is astonished. I never knew there were two Alastair Campbells. The one I know told me Peter Mandelson was insane, but insisted I used it anonymously, persuaded Tony Blair to change the law in response to News of the World campaigns, spent years trying to befriend the Daily Mail and invented the claim that Sir John Major wore his shirt tucked in his underpants. He also encouraged me and Andy Coulson to ask Tony Blair if he and Cherie were in the Mile High Club to make a good headline. I’m worried that AC has been kidnapped and no-one noticed.”

Campbell Shocked to Learn Journalists Leak

Alastair Campbell, the noted moralist and ethicist, told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics this morning that he

“…sent various drafts at various stages to different people who were helping me, lawyers, three people in the media and various people from my time in politics.. I’ve not yet been able to check to whom I sent the draft that appeared.”

Who knew that journalists leak?

Not Alastair Campbell apparently…

Exclusive: Alastair Campbell Evidence to Leveson Speculates Morgan's Mirror Hacked Cherie Blair's Voicemail


UPDATE: Bad Al still complaining about headlines. Once a spin doctor…

Contra Leveson

Tomorrow, Guido will demonstrate the freedom of the press, in the internet age, empirically. Contra Leveson….

James Murdoch Quits Sun & Times

The Standard got the scoop:

He never liked newspapers anyway. Big test will be whether he survives the BSkyB vote on Tuesday.

You Can Let Your Daughters Out Again

Despite all the noise about Andy Porter being “promoted” from Political Editor and “up” to Policy Editor at the Telegraph, everyone knew that it was a humiliating side-lining. As one Telegraph insider said “we put him in charge of paper clips.” It seems he’s finally seen the light too and decided to turn to the dark side and go spin for Brunswick PR.[…] Read the rest

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