Mandy’s Harry Rant Claims Guardian Will Never Make Money Again

The Prince of Darkness has today slammed the lack of Internet regulation which allowed Guido and others to publish the naked photos of Prince Harry last week. Moody Mandy also bemoaned the Guardian‘s future profit prospects:

“The bigger question is how the domestic media market can be made economic and subject to any form of regulation in an era when, a click away, there is access to information that respects no national boundaries and the laws of no single national parliament or the basic standards of conventional journalism. It is hard to see how some of the best-known sources of quality English-language journalism – the Times, New York Times, the Guardian spring to mind – will ever make money again. We come to grips with the fact that the internet is giving public access to uncorroborated, undigested and unmediated news, all in the name of free speech, is becoming one of the defining issues of the 21st century.”

How beastly that the establishment cannot censor and control what is news anymore.

Mandy can pluck Guido’s keyboard from his cold dead hands.

Tom Watson Ate My Column

Guido has spoken to people in a position to know and it is clear that the Maurice Glasman writing a column for the Sun on Sunday story going round needs comprehensive debunking. Glasman was originally supposed to write a piece for The Sun, the article had been in the offing for a couple of weeks. Stewart Wood, the Shadow Minister without Portfolio who serves as consigliere to Ed Miliband, was aware that it was in the offing and merely asked Maurice to not be negative about Ed.

After this blog reported that Toby Young was going to be the Sun on Sunday’s political columnist the Sunday Mirror’s Vincent Moss tweeted

http://twitter.com/#!/vincentmoss/status/172382036215083008

This led to Tom Watson sending a menacing tweet

Which as Dan Hodges pointed out, meant

Lo and behold Stewart Wood then called Glasman and told him it would not go down well if the article appeared. Glasman then called The Sun and spiked his own article which by now was due to appear in the Sun on Sunday rather than the daily. Guido sources say the article was mildly critical of Ed’s direction but not that disloyal, certainly nowhere near as cutting as his infamous New Statesman article. Guido’s source says money was never discussed, it was always a one off article and not a regular column offer. Something tells Guido that the Sun on Sunday will cope without the author of “Managing Market Utopia” and the “Politics of Paradox”.  It seems bizarrely self-defeating for Labour to block themselves from connecting with 7 million key swing voters.

Murdoch on Politicians

Sense of Proportion

“Who polices the police?” asks Trevor Kavanagh column this morning. The answer to that question is that a free press sees money changing hands with public servants, seems to be Kavanagh’s main point. Guido isn’t so sure that will cut it.

One of the biggest digs in the whole column is at former Telegraph editor Will Lewis, who authorised payments for the stolen expenses files and is now at News International. He sits on the Management Standards Committee passing the police the ammunition about Sun hacks they need to try to recover their own tarnished reputation. Not popular in Wapping…

The events of this summer proved that the relationship between News International and the police was too close and that it impinged on the group being able to properly fulfil their role in the accountability process. That is not to say though that the police need to respond with anti-terror officers, dawn raids and what looks like a coordinated attempt to go for the Sun’s jugular. Why do journalists like Coulson, Brooks and the Guardian’s Amelia Hill get to meet the police by appointment when they are suspects? For the Sun it’s been very different:

“Wives and children have been humiliated as up to 20 officers at a time rip up floorboards and sift through intimate possessions, love letters and entirely private documents.”

Nobody is saying that any newspaper should be above the law, or that investigations should cease, but the Met are even more foolish than anyone already thought if they believe putting a bit of disproportionate stick about is going to shift the spotlight from their own failures, corruption and general incompetence.

About that Blogger’s Code of Conduct, Lord Hunt

Lord Hunt, Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, was a charmer when Guido met him last November. He claimed to be a fan and said his kids printed out the profane comments from a previous Guido blog piece about him and stuck them on his fridge. The meeting followed some comments he made suggesting that blogs were a regulatory problem. This blogger thinks statutory regulations are a problem.

It was reported that Lord Hunt told the Leveson Inquiry last week that we had a “very good” discussion and Guido told him that what he writes is “always accurate”. Guido recalls, more precisely, that he said this blog always strives for accuracy.

It was also reported that Guido “promised to go away and consider” being kitemarked under the new beefed up PCC successor. It is true to say that when pressed Guido may have told Lord Hunt that he would consider it, not saying “no” there and then. It is however a very definite no to kitemarking, or any other form of self-censorship.

This blog aims to amuse, inform and entertain our readers, reporting the truth as we see it. That sentence is this blog’s entire code of conduct.

Harman is No Champion of Press Freedom

Guido can’t find Harriet Harman’s “first major speech on the future of the media” trailed in any other paper besides this morning’s Guardian. Apparently Ed Vaizey’s DCMS shadow is declaring that she is “going to be a champion of press freedom”:

Before her first major speech on the future of the media, Harman claimed there was a clear consensus around these principles, and last night challenged editors to put forward practical proposals. “I think it would really help Leveson if newspaper editors came forward with a solution. We have had a good scoping of the issues, but now it is time for the editors to lay their cards on the table. They need to propose the solution, rather than have one imposed upon them.”

All this has come as a bit of a surprise to a source with knowledge of the Shadow Culture brief. Guido hears whispers of a meeting last Monday (January 16) where Harman had to be talked out of  supporting the state regulating the press. Just nine days ago Harman was openly advocating imposing the very solution that she derides today. Add to that her track record of trying to censor the tabloids and Page 3 plus her past support for extreme political correctness suggests the idea of her being some sort of champion for free speech becomes risible… 

Rusbridger’s Sworn Statement Misleads Leveson Over Hacking

In his sworn statement the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, tells Lord Justice Leveson that to the best of his knowledge he has never used or commissioned anyone who had used “computer hacking”. Here is the extract from Rusbridger’s witness statement:

Except Patrick Foster on the Guardian media pages. He has twice been caught hacking computers. The latest incident was the disgraceful hacking of the police blogger NightJack’s Hotmail account. The Orwell Prize winning blogger was outed by Patrick Foster when he was on media correspondent of The Times. This was up there with his Oxford undergraduate days when the student rag had to be pulped after he identified the victim of a gay rape. Foster was subsequently fired from The Times on an unrelated matter and now freelances for the Guardian. It is an open secret that Patrick Foster was Guardian Media editor Dan Sabbagh’s nark source at The Times for many “inside Wapping” stories and that The Times’ management eventually figured this out and fired him under another pretext.

Rusbridger really ought to correct his sworn statement to reflect the truth.

Who are the Real Cowboys?

Up in front of the Leveson Inquiry today the Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace showed a fundamental lack of understanding about how the web worked by suggesting that if Guido signed up to some sort of kite-mark code our traffic would increase. He went on to refer to “out and out cowboys” of the blogosphere who the Inquiry has had some problems with already. Guido didn’t break the law publishing Campbell’s testimony, unlike Richard Wallace during his showbiz editor career period…

Leveson has already heard that as Piers Morgan’s showbiz editor, Wallace was up to his neck in phone-hacking. He’s been at the newspaper for twenty years, at a time when they have published mocked-up torture photos and the Trinity Mirror Group used the services of Steve Wittamore more than any other media organisation. During Wallace’s evidence giving Counsel for the Inquiry pointed to 681 invoices from Whittamore to the Mirror, hundreds of those illegal invoices would have been approved by Wallace himself. He admitted today that he has not sacked anyone for illegal activity, like aiding, abetting or procuring illegally blagged information, despite the Information Commissioner making the names available. He clearly doesn’t want another former employee speaking their mind… 

Our story about how the Daily Mirror came to have the Ulrika/Sven story – which was undoubtedly phone hacked – has just been referred to at the Inquiry during Wallace’s evidence (covered here). It was, as he himself admits, Wallace himself who presented it to the then editor Piers Morgan. He has just admitted to the Inquiry counsel that if, as he now claims, he “can’t remember the circumstances” of how the story was obtained, he can’t therefore rule out it was hacked. Even those who quibble about the provenance of the story merely quibble about from whom it was hacked.

More recently the Daily Mirror, under Wallace’s seemingly spotless editorial lead, destroyed the life of Chris Jefferies and paid a heavy financial price in doing so. Without any foundation whatsoever they painted an innocent neighbour of a murder victim out to be the perpetrator. They were also fined £50,000 for contempt of court over their atrociously slapdash reporting of the Joanna Yeates murder case.

Who is the real cowboy Mr Wallace?

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….

Leveson Questions Guido

Lord Justice Leveson has sent Guido’s lawyers some Christmas homework, in his usual charming way he threatens to send yours truly to jail unless he gets answers. Presumably he plans to send the Royal Navy to Wexford Harbour if Guido fails to comply by January 10.

Guido is minded to answer the questions not because he has to, nor because he accepts the jurisdiction of the inquiry, but only because he wants to tell the judge why he thinks his efforts are both a menace to freedom of the press and unnecessary. Piers Morgan and the rest of the celebrity hackers and blaggers without a public interest defence have committed criminal acts under existing laws. There is no need for new laws if the existing criminal laws were fully enforced.

Under the terms of the restriction order Leveson made after Guido published Alastair Campbell’s draft evidence, Guido was restricted from publishing his own last witness statement and this new witness statement. Nothing however stops the publication of Leveson’s questions:

(1) Who you are and a brief summary of your career history;

(2) What material your website “Guido Fawkes” publishes, and Why;

(3) The Inquiry wishes to understand the extent to which your website is based in the UK. Where are your servers located? Do you consider the UK courts to have jurisdiction over the Way in which your website is operated in the UK, and how far does this jurisdiction extend?

(4) How you source stories (there is no need to name individuals) and Where you consider the responsibility for checking sources of information to lie, with you, or with the person who has provided you with the information;

(5) To what extent to which you are aware of the sources of the information which make up the central stories featured on your blog;

(6) The extent to which you consider that ethics can and should play a role in the blogosphere, and what you consider ‘ethics’ to mean in this context;

(7) Do you have any policy which relates to complaints about articles or web pages which are libellous, defamatory or considered to be an invasion of privacy? If not, do you have any relevant practices? Do you ever remove availability to such pages on that basis? The Inquiry would be grateful for some examples of this (anonymised if necessary). Copies of any policies should also be provided.

(8) How do you consider yourself to be regulated?

(9) The Inquiry would also welcome your views on the extent to which the content of Websites, and the manner in which you operate, can be regulated by a domestic system of regulation.

(10) Anything else which you consider will assist the Chairman to arrive at considered conclusions on any aspect of the Terms of Reference, set out above.

Despite the Inquiry paying the legal expenses of all other witnesses except Guido, he is as always willing to be helpful. The gist of the response is “you have no chance of trying to regulate the worldwide web”…

Poll: 96% Don’t Believe Morgan Told the Truth

A real time poll conducted for this website during Piers Morgan’s witness interview in front of Lord Justice Leveson  found 96% didn’t believe him, 3% did and 1% didn’t know. Piers squirmed and squirmed throughout. Crucially he refused to explain how he came to be listening to the voicemails of Paul McCartney to his wife, citing source protection. Guido suspects that if Heather Mills or Sir Paul wanted to, they could make life very difficult for Morgan. There is no public interest defence for hacking celebs.

He claimed that it was not unethical to listen to the tapes and insisted “I am not going to discuss where I heard it or who played it to me”, on the grounds that “I am not going to do anything that may identify the source.”

Morgan finished his evidence with the  “Je suis un rock star” claim that he was like a rock star having the worst songs picked from his back catalogue. Some front…

Piers Morgan LiveChat

[orderorder-live-event altcast_code=”ca88cc2e83″ height=”700″ width=”480″]

Press Freedom Campaigner Dominic Raab Seeks Gagging Order

At the height of the phone-hacking scandal, backbench Tory MP Dominic Raab took to the Huffington Post to pen a passionate defence of the freedom of the press:

“Above all, we need to preserve the rule of law, hold those in authority to account and defend free speech… the Press Complaints Commission has been discredited. A stronger mechanism of oversight, at arms-length from politicians and the media, is needed. But, that is not the same as calling for tighter legal restrictions on reporters.”

Given his clearly deep rooted convictions about  the ability to scrutinise those in power, you might well ask why Raab is trying to gag a former colleague in the High Court under the guise of suing the Mail on Sunday for libel.

In Court 14 last Thursday, Raab’s lawyers pleaded to Justice Tugendhat that the now MP’s  former colleague in the office of David Davis, who can only be named as “Miss E”, should be gagged and banned from passing a Witness Statement about his behaviour, produced for her Industrial Tribunal, to Associated Newspapers. The Mail on Sunday ran a story last year that Raab had been accused of being a “sexist bully” by “Miss E”, resulting in a £20,000 settlement paid to her and a confidentially agreement before an Employment Tribunal hearing in 2007. Ever since then Raab has been on the warpath; he is suing Associated for damages, but crucially he is trying to silence the one person who could determine whether the original story is true. By gagging “Miss E” Raab is essentially preventing the libel aspect of his claim being fairly judged on the evidence of her Witness Statement.

The whole thing smells rather fishy, not least the part about needing the gag because of the “huge emotional hurt” that the black-belt wearing Karate champion and boxing MP says he is going through.  Raab’s lawyers claimed that if “Miss E” speaks then the original confidentiality agreement between Davis, Raab and her is null and void so she will have to pay back the money. Her lawyers cited “increasingly threatening emails” in court.

Such is the sensitivity around it all that Guido had to go down to the Royal Courts of Justice himself to get his own Court Order last Thursday in order to get third party access to the papers relating to the case. Justice Tugendhat has reserved judgement to a later date…

Such is the sorry state of the freedom of the press nowadays that the newspapers are cowed by politicians from reporting their murky goings on for fear of statutory repercussions. Guido is still not able to tell you what he was going to tell Lord Justice Leveson in his own evidence to the inquiry because he has been restricted by him from saying what an ass Leveson had made of himself…

Seen Elsewhere

Tory Results In Full Tory Results In Full