Michael White on Guardian: “How Petty We Can Be”

Fearless exposer or political wrongdoing and campaigner on behalf of the public Michael White reckons revealing the cost of MPs’ vanity portraits is beneath a respectable publication:

Clearly he hasn’t seen the front page of his own paper this morning:

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How petty. 

Simon Hoggart 1947 – 2014

Guido particularly enjoyed one of Hoggart’s last pieces about learning Tony Benn ‘loathed’ him:

“To be loathed by Tony Benn is something any political writer of my age would sell their grannies for. I feel humbled by his hatred. He got almost everything wrong – not least the cuckoo behaviour that helped usher in Margaret Thatcher’s long reign. Or take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao’s death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was “a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does”. True enough. I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history. Here are the figures: Number of innocent people who died in the Great Leap Forward, through Mao’s policies for the countryside and from mass executions: between 40 and 65 million. Number of deaths caused by me: 0. But Benn greatly admired Mao.”

RIP.

Guardian Take the Dubya Defence on Unpaid Interns

The Guardian have tried to respond to Guido’s revelation that the moralising paper were advertising for unpaid interns:

“Guardian News & Media advertises editorial experience opportunities twice a year. These opportunities range from a few days to a maximum of two weeks and are not internships.”

Just because it is only two weeks? They are still expecting people to work for free. It’s disingenuous hair-splitting at best and exploitation at worst.

Like Dubya saying water-boarding isn’t really torture. 

Guardian US Boss Out After a Year

CEO of Guardian US Michael Bloom has quit. He had only been in the job for just over a year but Guardian Media Group have today announced he “will leave the company to pursue other opportunities”. No replacement has been lined up so new deputy chief executive David Pemsel is brought in to cover. It’s only the US market after all. Axe-wielding GMG CEO Andrew Miller insists the company is “firing on all cylinders”. Well quite…

Guardian Advertises for Unpaid Interns After Claiming Exploitation is "Ruining Journalism"

The Guardian has been a vocal campaigner in sticking up for unpaid interns. Their pages have played host to an endless list of articles making clear where the paper stands. “Join the fight against unpaid internships”, they have urged“We shouldn’t have to work for free”, argued another piece. One article described unpaid internships as “institutional exploitation”, another claimed they are “unfair and open to abuse by vested interests”. Earlier this year the Guardian ran a brave piece arguing “unpaid internships and a culture of privilege are ruining journalism”. Strong words.

Today the Guardian is advertising for a limited number of editorial experience internships for next year. Successful applicants will be “getting involved in editorial activities”, so there is no dispute that they will be doing real work. For which, so say the Guardian’s own comment pages again and again, they deserve a fair wage. So how much is the Guardian offering?

“These placements at the Guardian and Observer are unpaid”

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Guardian Rewrites Mugabe Crowd Reaction

Robert Mugabe turned up to the Mandela memorial this morning. Here is how some trusted news sources reported the reaction of the crowds:

And here is how the Guardian reported it:

“Facts are sacred”…

Rusbridger Round-Up

So the Guardian did share the names of intelligence officers abroad. Other than that Rusbridger gets through it relatively unscathed…

Good Luck, Alan!

The Guardian NUJ chapel has sent a cute message of support to Alan Rusbridger ahead of his select committee showdown this afternoon. Approved by a committee of twelve, on behalf of all 500 odd Guardian journalists, of course.

“Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is due to appear before the House of Commons home affairs select committee tomorrow to answer questions about our publication of the NSA and GCHQ surveillance revelations leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Guardian and Observer NUJ chapel, representing the overwhelming majority of journalists at both titles, strongly supports the editor’s decision to publish this information of vital public interest and his defence of the freedom of the press to hold government and corporate interests to account.

The chapel emphatically rejects the attacks on the Guardian over the Snowden leaks and welcomes the support offered from all over the world for the Guardian’s role in bringing this information into the public domain.

We believe publication of the NSA/GCHQ stories is exactly what independent media organisations should be doing. The editor’s stand has the full backing and confidence of Guardian News and Media journalists.”

Guido agrees, there should be no question of the freedom of the press to hold government and corporate interests to account. Funny though, that they didn’t mention the alleged sending of British intelligence officers’ names abroad. No doubt Keith Vaz will get to the bottom of it. Tune in here

Just How Much Does Russell Brand Hate the Sun?

Round of applause to anyone who can get to the end of Russell Brand’s Guardian rant about how much he hates the Sun without giving up. Indeed, Russell hates them so much that he once edited their showbiz pages.

A Sun source says “he’s written countless pieces for us, I think the last was in May this year, so clearly didn’t have an issue over Hillsborough then!”

Who does he think he is, Mehdi Hasan?

H/T @leshinton

Alan Rusbridger: See You Next Tuesday

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger will face the music before the Home Affairs Select Committee next Tuesday.

Time for a yes or no answer – did knowingly or unwittingly ship the names of British agents across borders?

Maybe he could bring the sword of truth that hangs so proudly on his office wall along with him.

Sham Pain

“It was hard to stomach David Cameron preaching austerity from a golden throne” writes Guardian contributor Ruth Hardy, who waited tables at the Lord Mayor’s banquet on Monday. Guido commends Ruth for her use of cliché; rolling off all the old classics about “the cuts”, it being “like a scene from Downton Abbey”, and not forgetting the requisite moan about a “champagne reception”. Apparently not a fan of the stuff, she slams Dave for “the idiocy of calling for cuts while wearing a white tie”, somewhat bravely asking “has the man never heard of Twitter?” Well, talking of Twitter, here is a picture Ruth tweeted of herself drinking champagne in what could be “a scene from Downton Abbey”:

Has she “never heard of Twitter”?

MPs Demand Yes or No Answer From Rusbridger

Following Alan Rusbridger’s mealy mouthed letter, Julian Smith and Stephen Phillips QC have asked him to deny in unambiguous terms sending the names of British spooks abroad:

“You have also been exceptionally careful in your response to the concerns raised by us and other colleagues as to the issue of the communication of the identities, or information which might reveal the identities, of intelligence personnel.  Specifically, the inference from the contents of your letter – and you nowhere deny this – is that the files stolen by Mr Snowden have been sent by you overseas, to others over whom you have no control.  Can you please now confirm, in clear and unambiguous terms, whether you or (to the best of your information and belief) anyone at The Guardian has directed, permitted, facilitated or acquiesced in the transfer of the files, unredacted by you, which you have obtained from Mr Snowden to any person in the United States or elsewhere.”

Which is going to be a tough one to answer, to say the least…

Rusbridger's Spooky Non-Denial Denial

Wednesday’s letter from 28 MPs to Alan Rusbridger specifically asked him to come clean about any identifying details of any member of the British intelligence services that have been distributed abroad. Something the Guardian has denied doing previously, but is now being oddly vague about. Guido has seen Rusbridger’s response, it is worth taking a look at the very careful language he uses:

“On the issue of staff names, you will be aware that over 850,000 people worldwide have access to not only the Snowden documents but to a whole range of information on GCHQ. Neither we nor any of our journalistic partners have published the identities of any personnel from the intelligence community, a point accepted and welcomed by the relevant agencies.”

All but confirming that names were sent abroad. Interesting how he denies ever having published the names. That wasn’t quite what they were asking, was it?

What is Going On at the Guardian?

Last month the Guardian flatly denied spreading the names of GCHQ intelligence agents abroad, now they are refusing to do so. The paper admits sending some of its leaked documents abroad, though now for some reason today won’t make the same denial that spies’ identities were not amongst them. Have they only just checked? Did they even know at the time?

Guido is not sure how shipping names across borders is necessary when exposing the over-reach of the NSA. It is worth noting that two of the journalists most intimately involved the original NSA coverage have now either left the Guardian or moved on to different things, in different countries…

Guardian Jobs Carries Advert Banning Female Applicants

Many of the thousands of jobs advertised on the Guardian website are in recruitment. They are currently carrying an advert for a position down in Bristol as an account director at Pure Recruitment. So far, all pretty standard. Just the one thing: due to the successful candidate having to deal with businessmen from the Middle East, women are banned from applying.

“To include clients in the Middle East. Please note; Due to the travel and work restrictions for women in this area, we need to limit our candidate selection to males only.”

The Guardian turning a blind eye to workplace discrimination against women at home and abroad. Everyday sexism…

H/T @LAMillinery.

UPDATE: Victory!

Psycho Huhne Versus “Fictional Stories”

Is there a better argument against state regulation of the press than the last politician to be jailed after newspapers exposed his criminality coming out and backing it? Huhne’s latest rehab rambling in the Guardian reads like a spoof:

“What’s all the fuss about the royal charter meaning the end of press freedom? The royal charter doesn’t establish any regulation of the press – but the fourth estate still needs urgently to re-establish credibility…  If the Sun could not make up fictional stories when accuracy is too boring, time-consuming or costly, how would it make money?”

Huhne moralising about people “making up fictional stories”. Another reason to bring up those famous words again:

“What I want to say is these allegations are simply incorrect, they’ve been made before and they’ve been shown to be untrue, and I very much welcome the referral to the police as it will draw a line under the matter.”

Credibility has never really been Huhne’s strong point.

Ed Balls’ £5 Million State Subsidy For The Guardian

Guido isn’t sure who this one is more embarrassing for. While in office, Ed Balls used taxpayers’ money to subsidise the Guardian to the tune of 1% of its turnover. As Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Balls bunged Kings Place £4,899,688 between 2007 and 2010. The money went on services ranging from advertising to training courses. Guardian News & Media had a turnover of £261.9 million in 2007/2008, that year they were the lucky recipients of £2,445,787 from Balls’ department or 1% of their annual turnover. Someone had to help keep them afloat, turns out it was the taxpayer…

Knowing Me Steve Coogan, Knowing You Alan Rusbridger

A very special guest at the Guardian’s morning conference today: Hacked Off’s very own Steve Coogan. Must have been some smiles around Kings Place when a gushing memo telling hacks how coke and hookers fan Coogan is an “ethical standard bearer” was delivered this morning. Of course he’s got a film out, so now the press are his best friends. The Royal Charter was only signed on Wednesday and already Hacked Off are running their own paper…

You’re Either In Front of Guido…

The Telegraph, Mirror, Indy, et all finally played catch up this morning. So what did the fearless seekers of truth over at the Guardian make of yesterday’s latest nudge down the global rankings for press freedom? Poor Rusbridger pet James Ball, who is off to the States to be their new investigations editor after colleagues claim he was approached by another organisation then used that as promotion leverage, did not have a good day. Is this is the level of investigative journalism we can expect from the Guardian in the future?

He went on to claim it was a diary story at best. Perhaps he should be taking over from Hugh Muir instead.

Indeed it was snarky slow claps all round at Kings Place:

But then again if the story’s not handed to you on a plate by Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, why bother leaving the office? Come back Glenn Greenwald, all is forgiven.

Where do the BBC Go to Find the New Peston?

The Guardian, of course. The Beeb are advertising Pesto’s old job in the paper’s job section. You don’t have to read the Guardian to work at the BBC, but it helps…[…] Read the rest

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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

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