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…

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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.

Not a bad career move given the lobby lothario was struggling for copy ever since McBride was fired…

Up Close and Personnel

Which mid-market tabloid editor recently sat down with his whispering broadsheet rival and made it clear that unless the latter’s attacks on his paper were toned down, the broadsheet editor would soon be seeing the fact that he keeps his mistress on his staff in the pages of the said tabloid?

The circular firing squad is getting personal…

Ed's Julian Glover Style Poaching Attempt Rebuffed

Dave has got his very own “voice of the Guardian” in the shape of his new speech writer Julian Glover. Ever since the columnist was confirmed in post, Guido has been hearing whispers that Ed was after his own muesli-eater-approved scribe. Friends of Ed claimed that York Way’s pesky podcaster and columnist John Harris was in line for the job. Guido put it to him earlier and he did not deny that the prospect had been mooted, though he was absolutely adamant that it was not going to happen. A good career decision there John…

Thurlbeck Turns the Tables

Neville Thurlbeck has lobbed his grenade into the unravelling News of the World saga. He claims that he was continually blocked from showing a dossier of evidence about phone-hacking to senior staff:

“I requested that I be allowed to show my dossier to Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive officer at News International. I do not wish to embarrass the executive who warned me away from Rebekah’s door, for he is still in harness at News International and I regard him as nothing more sinister than an amiable buffoon. A Polonius-type figure in this drama. In short, a ‘yes man’ with a file perpetually tucked beneath his arm.”

Who is the amiable buffoon is the obvious question, as is why didn’t Thurlbeck just walk into Brooks’ office with the damning papers and tapes?

Tom Crone and Colin Myler do not come out of the, somewhat pompous, Press Gazette article at all well though. Thurlbeck lands the blame firmly at their door for hiding evidence from James Murdoch, which ultimately led to the demise of the paper. He has some rum words for Tom Watson too. Well worth a read for one side of the story, but he certainly has an axe to grind…

*For those wondering about where that picture came from, this is also well worth a read. Not safe for work!

They Need All the Help they Can Get

How nice of the Guardian to follow Red Ed and align themselves to the Occupy movement. How sad though, for both,  that the outreach comes during the death throes of the Occupy “movement”. New York has been reclaimed for the people, with the imposters who claim to be the 99%, evicted. Perfect timing then for the Guardian Comment is Free team to have a boozy lunch and leave their site “occupied”. And it looks like they are starting at the very beginning:

A very good place to start for this lot. The lunatics have taken over the asylum!

Half a Day in and the Mirror Already Linked to Mulcaire

Just one day into the Leveson Show Trials and it’s already up to thirty “rogue reporters” at News International. And there’s a few more years to go yet...

Surprise surprise, it didn’t take very long for the obvious to filter through: Glenn Mulcaire hacked on behalf of the Mirror…

Lord Hunt Reaches Out

The new chairman of the PCC, Lord Hunt, has been in touch to clarify his reported remarks in his Guardian interview with Roy Greenslade where he is quoted as responding to Roy’s suggestion that major problems occur because of the tabloids:

“No, I think the greater challenge is with the bloggers, whether it’s Guido Fawkes or whoever.”

His office says his comments

“…were a passing remark which has been amplified. He was not discussing standards in blogs, but rather the structural issue that they represent an area of free speech, which government may want to regulate, or may end up regulating. The point he was making was that work needs to be done to stave off statutory regulation for everyone, including blogs like yours. That is the challenge.”

The blog is publishing this Press Complaints Commisssion chairman’s statement, but we’re not going to make a habit of it…

In Guido’s view the first thing he should do is get rid of the Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver from the Commission. She has personally asked journalists to hack phones, illegally blag personal records and the evidence from the Operation Motorman investigation alone should be enough to establish that she is not a fit and proper person to sit on a self regulatory body. If he is serious about cleaning up the press, that would be a sign that the cuckoos are not welcome in the nest.

See Sunday Mirror’s Tina Weaver Isn’t “Fit and Proper” for the PCC

Ebenezer Rusbridger Cancels Christmas

Last year the Guardian Media Group lost over £54 million, but that didn’t stop the Editor at Large Alan Rusbridger taking home a cheeky £605,000. Revenue was down from £221 million to £198.2 millon across the group. The Guardian and The Observer’s lost £38.3 million. As a result Christmas has been cancelled. Last year all the hacks were asked for a £20 contribution to the Christmas lunch, but things have got so bad that this year there is no Christmas lunch. Not even a Winterval drink…

UPDATE:

Indy Drop the D-Bomb

Three hours after anyone first noticed the howler in the Indy’s leader this morning, it still hasn’t been changed in the online version:

“Leading article: Miliband hits right note on inequality
Monday, 07 November 2011

It is always refreshing when party leaders seem to really listen to voices coming from outside their own camp. That is why David Miliband should be commended for the warm words he has given in today’s interview with this newspaper concerning the protest outside St Paul’s.”

Over a year into his leadership, and on a day he has a full interview in the same paper, and still Red Ed can’t escape from the shadow…

Poll: Is Hugh Grant a Bastard?

Guido has come to the conclusion that Hugh Grant, proselytiser for high standards in public life and privacy laws, is a bastard.

Exhibit A: fathers child. Exhibit B: breaks up with mother during pregnancy. Exhibit C: immediately after the birth goes golfing.

What do you think?

Even Labour are beginning to address the problems of absentee fathers… Is this really a good example for this high profile voice of publc morality and virtue to be setting?

The Evening Independent

The Indy and the Standard have begun a slow merger. Despite talk of “separate identities” the Lebedev’s pet Pravda projects have merged their sports and business desks. Guido got thinking, why has no newspaperever tried to go national in the evenings? […] Read the rest

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