Victory for Melania Over Mail

Melania Trump today accepted an apology and damages from the Daily Mail and MailOnline over allegations about her work as a model. The figure is undisclosed. A retraction had already been published. The apology reads:

“The Mail Online website and the Daily Mail newspaper published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling. The article included statements that Mrs. Trump denied the allegations and Paulo Zampolli, who ran the modelling agency, also denied the allegations, and the article also stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations. The article also claimed that Mr and Mrs Trump may have met three years before they actually met, and “staged” their actual meeting as a “ruse.”

“We accept that these allegations about Mrs Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologise to Mrs Trump for any distress that our publication caused her. To settle Mrs Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs.”

The Mail has been Trumped!

UPDATE: Both CNN and Reuters reporting that the total payout – including costs – was around $3 million.

Blair Takes Down Mail, May Was Home Sec When Jihadi Compensation Agreed

Today’s Daily Mail lambasts Tony Blair for securing the release of Guantanamo detainee turned ISIS suicide bomber Jamal al-Harith, asking “Still Think He Wasn’t a Danger, Mr Blair?” A fair question, yet also one that could be asked of… the Daily Mail. As Blair himself points out in a delicious take down:

It is correct that Jamal al-Harith was released from Guantanamo Bay at the request of the British Government in 2004. This followed a Parliamentary and massive media campaign, led by the Daily Mail, the very paper that is now supposedly so outraged at his release and strongly supported by the then Conservative Opposition. The Mail headline shortly after he was released after months of their campaigning was “Freedom At Last for Guantanamo Britons”. They then quoted with approval various human rights activists saying “clearly by what‘s happened they’re not bad guys. they are entirely innocent’

Blair also notes it was the Tory government in 2010 which secured al-Harith’s £1 million compensation. The then Home Secretary? One Theresa May…

Daily Mail Reshuffle Makes Woman Pol-Ed Unlikely

Jockeying for the Mail political editor role will pick up pace again today after Derry Street carried out a reshuffle among its senior executives. Isabel Oakeshott has already resigned as “political editor at large”. Katherine Faulkner, who was the paper’s investigations editor and had been tipped as a possible for the pol ed job, has now been appointed executive features editor. She is replaced by her deputy Paul Bentley.

Guido is told that Sun deputy pol-ed Steve Hawkes fancies himself for the job and Mail insiders say that Tim Shipman’s return is not impossible, currently Sunday Times pol-ed. So add to the list:

  • Tim Shipman, Sunday Times: Was deputy at the Mail before he took the Sunday Times job. If he was ever to return to the daily Lobby grind, his old paper would be a good bet – and he was re-hired once before by Dacre. Expensive…
  • Steve Hawkes, The Sun: Currently deputy on a pro-Brexit paper. Strong business background and has done a lot of home affairs. Which means he’s well in with Number 10.

Although bookies not taking bets, Guido still reckons Jason Groves is favourite.

Vaz Sets Carter Ruck on Andrew Pierce

Keith Vaz is very unhappy with the Daily Mail’s Andrew Pierce over an article published last week in which Pierce reported Vaz had paid rent boys for their services. Vaz has instructed £500-an-hour Carter Ruck to insist he has “never had ‘sex’ with any ‘rent boys'”.

We have been contacted by Carter-Ruck on behalf of Keith Vaz in connection with an article in the Daily Mail dated 8 February 2017, pages 6 and 7, headed “How the king of the freebies splashes your cash” and on Mail Online headed “Chauffeur-driven cars, taxpayer-funded suits and hospitality at the tennis and Arsenal matches: How the king of freebies John Bercow splashes your cash”

Carter-Ruck say their client has never ‘paid rent boys for sex’ and never had ‘sex’ with any ‘rent boys’. They also say there was never a Police investigation in relation to this.

Vaz told the rent boys in the Sunday Mirror sting “Try and pick up some poppers” and asked “How will this work, do you want me to f*** him first or all together”. Reportedly talking about an encounter with another escort, Vaz said “He was OK. He forgot the condom though. I had to f*** him without a condom”. Yet “Carter-Ruck say their client has never ‘paid rent boys for sex’ and never had ‘sex’ with any ‘rent boys'”. What about Jim the washing machine salesman?

Daily Mail Political Editor Runners and Riders

James Slack’s appointment as the PM’s official spokesman has set off the Lobby merry-go-round. Political editor jobs are going at both the Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Our Telegraph likely names are here. As for the Mail, as ever MediaGuido gives you your runners and riders…

  • Jason Groves, Daily Mail: The unflappable deputy pol ed has to be an early favourite. Tipped for the Telegraph job as well, though they will have to throw money at him to steal him from Dacre. Some in the Lobby enviously believe Groves has the choice of the two jobs.
  • Jack Doyle, Daily Mail: The paper’s Senior Political Correspondent is hotly tipped. Also writing leaders, which shows how well-regarded he is. Well liked by Dacre, is he being groomed for the job?
  • Dan Martin, Daily Mail: Currently Chief Political Correspondent, Martin is a seasoned pro who knows Westminster inside and out. The paper would struggle without him.
  • Katherine Faulkner, Daily Mail: Regularly gets political scoops. Not of the Lobby, which is a bonus if they want to drive the agenda from Kensington. Surely time a woman was Daily Mail political editor…
  • Ian Drury, Daily Mail: Took over the home affairs brief when Slack moved to Westminster. Been at the Mail over a decade. Will know the Number 10 team well from May’s time at the Home Office. That helped Slack get the job last time round. 

In the unlikely event that Dacre was to consider an immigrant from another newspaper:

  • Steve Swinford, Telegraph: Guido cannot recall Dacre ever hiring outside of Derry Street. If he does Swinford is an option. With Groves he is one of the favourites for the Telegraph pol ed job. If Groves goes to the Tel, Swinford could jump to the Mail. Paper swap?
  • Matt Chorley, Times Red Box: Formerly the political editor of MailOnline, he was tapped up for doing a joint online/paper job last time round. Would be a return to the mothership. Could finally move on from those early starts at his Little Read Box, could he speak for England?
  • Michael Gove, The Times: Rising star of the Lobby. Good young scoop-getter. Has caught the eye of rivals. But does he have a good enough relationship with Downing Street?

Who will speak for England?

James Slack New PM’s Spokesman

Daily Mail political editor James Slack has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson. You read it here first… 

Cameron Tried to Oust Dacre

Craig Oliver’s Remain campaign learnt “what it was like to be Ed Miliband” when you have the massed ranks of the right-wing media against you. Emily Maitlis revealed last night that David Cameron encouraged Jonathan Harmsworth to have Paul Dacre, an implacable Eurosceptic, removed as editor of the Daily Mail, after failing to charm him into pulling his punches. Maitlis speculates that when Dacre discovered this he redoubled his front page enmity towards Cameron.

Elsewhere Downing Street knew that the Express proprietor Richard Desmond was backing UKIP and Brexit every day in his papers. Cameron knew that Rupert Murdoch was also a lost cause, though he hoped that Rebekah Brooks might be able to temper The Sun’s attitude. The now Ukippy Brexit-backing Barclays-owned Telegraph was pulling its punches to an extent that confused their own journalists – many believed the CEO Murdoch MacLennan had been squared. Harmsworth (and the not to be underestimated Viscountess) were more supportive of Dave yet unwilling to guide Dacre. For the record Cameron’s attitude to Guido’s proprietor / editor in 2015 was all charm, smiles and wisecracks. In 2016 as our editorial line hardened on the referendum he turned curtly negative, sarcastic and cold. Hardly surprising

Isabel Oakeshott Leaves Mail

Impress Regulators Seek to Financially Ruin Three Papers

The second instalment of MediaGuido’s Impress File reveals attempts by the state-endorsed press regulator to financially ruin three newspapers. Several senior figures at Impress support the so-called Stop Funding Hate (SFH) campaign to boycott advertising in the popular press. SFH’s stated aim is to “take on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support”. It wants to prevent newspapers from “making money by publishing these headlines”. SFH is bullying advertisers to censor or bankrupt the three centre-right newspapers read by millions of Britons.

Impress CEO Jonathan Heawood is a vocal supporter and campaigner on behalf of SFH. He has promoted social media posts from SFH aggressively targeting Boots and HSBC into removing ads from MailOnline. He has a pinned tweet in support of an advertising boycott of the Mail. He has shared an SFH article summing up their approach to free speech: “Voltaire… never said I will defend to the death your right to get advertising revenue”.

Impress board member and chair of its code committee Marie Messenger Davies also regularly expresses support for the SFH campaign. Davies has repeatedly promoted posts calling for an advertising boycott of the Mail in particular. Emma Jones, a member of the Impress board and code committee, also regularly promotes SFH Impress actively campaigns to bankrupt three newspapers – how can it possibly be a fair and balanced regulator of the press?

The Daily Mail and MailOnline have a readership of 23 million a month, The Sun is the most-read newspaper in Britain. Latest figures show the Express is growing online by 16% year-on-year. Millions of free-thinking readers choose to read these publications every day, SFH is an cabal of so-called ‘liberals’ trying to shut down the right-of-centre popular press. This raises serious questions for the government: how can Impress possibly be a fair and even-handed regulator when key figures within Impress are campaigning to ruin several newspapers? Regulators would not be allowed to behave in this way in any other industry…

State-Backed Press Regulator Wants to Ban Daily Mail

Impress is the Max Mosley-funded, state-backed press regulator. Having secured official recognition in October, it now wants to force newspapers which do not join up to face legal penalties. Over the next few days MediaGuido will publish a series of findings showing that Impress regulators openly despise the newspapers they want to regulate, our dossier shows these individuals are totally unfit to be the watchdogs of a free press. This is The Impress File…

MediaGuido can reveal that Impress code committee member Gavin Phillipson, a law professor at Durham university who boasts of his commitment to “free speech” in his Twitter bio, wants to ban the Daily Mail. In response to an article by Quentin Letts, Phillipson wrote: “is such a shame we can’t just ban the Daily Mail – probably the worst aspect of contemporary British culture”. Impress wants powers to regulate the Mail, in truth its senior staff want to ban it…

MediaGuido has found that four senior Impress employees have endorsed loopy comparisons between the Daily Mail and the Nazis. Impress CEO Jonathan Heawood has shared multiple social media posts calling the Mail “fascists”, “a neo-fascist rag”, and a claim that it is “increasingly adopting fascist style politics”. Another post shared by Heawood compares the Mail to a newspaper from Nazi Germany.

Impress board member Marie Messenger Davies, the chair of its code committee no less, has shared social media posts calling the Mail “fascists” and accusing it of using “Nazi methods” to “attack its enemies”. Another Impress board member, Emma Jones, has shared social media posts accusing the Mail of “Nazi smears” and “Hitler adoration”. Gavin Phillipson has also promoted a social media post showing the Mail and a Nazi newspaper side by side.

How can a press regulator reasonably regulate an industry if it wants to ban newspapers? How can they come to fair and balanced judgments if its CEO believes they are “neo-fascists”? Impress is the press regulator that hates the press, it is a farce that the government is giving these people the time of day…

Mail Retracts “Escort” Story After Trump Hires Gawker-Bankrupting Lawyer

The Daily Mail has issued a lengthy, grovelling retraction after Melania Trump filed a lawsuit against them in a Maryland court for publishing claims she was once an escort. Trump’s attorney Charles Harder is suing them for $150 million:

“Defendants broadcast their lies to millions of people throughout the US and the world. Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs Trump that her damages are estimated at $US150 million.”

Harder is the infamous lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in his successful suit against US gossip blog Gawker. Hogan was awarded damages of $140 million, Gawker was bankrupted and shut down. Late last night the Mail published a long retraction expressing “regret“:

“To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail’s article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business,’ that she had a ‘composite or presentation card for the sex business,’ or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation.”

Calling a presidential candidate’s wife a hooker does seem a little high risk. Gawker went under for reporting the truth…

Jon Steafel Out at the Mail

steafel

Guido hears the Daily Mail’s long-serving Jon Steafel is leaving after decades at the paper. Steafel, who readers will remember rowing with Bad Al Campbell about Ed Miliband’s dad, was deputy editor for 11 years. Back in April Dacre shuffled his top team and pinched Gerard Greaves from the MoS, moving Steafel to the role of group managing editor. After mulling it over he has decided to take a payoff instead, said to be in the region of a million pounds. Fleet Street loses a veteran once tipped for the Mail’s top job…

Cleese Hopes Dacre’s Next Heart Attack “Is His Last”

john cleese

Twitter has not been a happy forum for John Cleese, whose foray onto social media has transformed him from national treasure to eccentric old weirdo. The Hacked Off divorce enthusiast this morning tweeted that he hoped Paul Dacre’s next heart attack “is his last”. Dacre has a heart condition. Last year Guido caught Cleese comparing journalists to murderers – he first denied he’d said it then fessed up and claimed he was joking. Step away from the keyboard…

“Sarah Vine is Away”

Readers of today’s Daily Mail hoping for more musings from inside the Gove household have been left disappointed…

UPDATE: Steerpike say she won’t be writing for the next few weeks. Media Guardian say the column will be shelved but a spokesman says: “We are looking forward to her next brilliant column in the Mail.”

Media Organisations Using Offshore Havens

cayman-papers-540

Guido is enjoying the squirming of the offshore elite as much as anyone – the Icelandic premier is a corker, the Putin case study is great, the Bollywood stars who make their millions from millions of poor Indians will find it hard to survive the reputational hit. All very enjoyable.

It is worth mentioning that most of the UK’s big media organisations shelter assets and cash flows offshore. Top of the hypocrites in this respect is The Guardian. They put their assets in the Caymans, and they used a Luxembourg tax shell designed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to funnel cash flows beyond the reach of HMRC. They previously blamed the difficult economic environment for committing the sins for which they condemn others. This isn’t just hypocrisy, this is an insult to us all. The Guardian’s entire heritage is one of tax dodging, the original founding Scott Trust was itself a tax dodge. They have year after year avoided tens of millions of taxes…

Other media organisations using offshore entities include the Huffington Post – whose journalists criticised Amazon for doing the same. The owners of the Mail, News UK and The Telegraph also have various offshore tax-efficient structures. Facebook, Google and Guido are not UK-owned though in the latter groups’ cases they have at least never claimed to be in favour of clamping down on tax havens. Guido’s point is that the likes of the Guardian should practice what they preach, hold all their assets in the UK and pay all the taxes which will consequently arise.

Read more:

Tim Walker Walks from Mail on Sunday

walker

Tim Walker has resigned from the Mail on Sunday. Some less kind than Guido would say he has jumped before he was pushed. Tim ran the Girl About Town diary when Charlotte Griffiths was away last week and they are being sued for two stories. Occupational hazard…

Expensive one could be Nancy Dell’olio allegedly having a nose job, which turned out to be complete bollocks. Nancy Dell’Olio has instructed Collyer Bristow, solicitors over the headline “Nancy knows a man who can make your nose thinner for £500”. They say that Dell’Olio has not had treatment from Dr de Souza, nor does she know this doctor.

Girl About Town is in a bit of trouble at the moment. With Walker out, Deborah Sherwood (the deputy editor) gone, and Hanna Flint (the diary reporter) having just left. Charlotte Griffiths is still there, and there are two new diarists on board. Apply by Twitter…

UPDATE: Mail on Sunday management get in touch to insist everything is hunky dory and Tim will be working from home on a freelance basis.

Mail Out, MoS In

This morning’s Daily Mail front page polemic invoking Hitler and Chamberlain all but confirms Paul Dacre is backing Leave. Northcliffe House sources have long said Dacre will not sell out on his long-held Euroscepticism, though the feeling among staff is that the Mail on Sunday will endorse Remain. Geordie Greig is seen as less dogmatic than Dacre on Europe, and gave Cameron a relatively easy ride on the referendum in this interview last year. This was at least the case before Cameron’s deal…

Another Twitter Exclusive

Guido noticed this tweet on EyeSpy.MP Friday and failed to follow it up because he was stuck at an airport. You snooze, you lose:

st-pauls

A tweet on EyeSpy.MP on Friday, an exclusive in Mail on Sunday…

Life on Moir?

This double page spread in today’s Mail is terribly unfortunate. Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing they can do about that headline…

H/T @henrymance

James Slack New Mail Pol-Ed

Guido understands that James Slack, the Mail’s Home Affairs editor who has been leading the politics coverage since James Chapman’s departure, will be the new Political Editor. Slack will be in charge of the day to day running of the politics team.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says….

“The UKIP vote is going to the Tories. That’s the story of the first week of the campaign.”

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