News UK staff over in the Baby Shard had an eyebrow-raising email land in their inboxes this morning, courtesy of the diversity and inclusion team:
“As we approach the third anniversary of George Floyd’s passing this Thursday (25th May) please join us as we take a moment to acknowledge George and all the victims of racist abuse and violence at a gathering on Level 17 from 8:45 to 9:15 am. As part of the gathering, we will be observing a nine-minute silence followed by a discussion around this impactful moment and providing support as we reflect on our current position.”
Nine whole minutes. Legendary former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie tells Guido “I’m puzzled why George Floyd receives nine minutes silence while the hundreds and thousands who fell in battle defending our way of life receive just two minutes.” Each News UK outlet also has “diversity specialists“, and hacks have to sign up to diversity and inclusion objectives and training…
A cabal of left-wing MPs have, predictably, smelt blood and are going after Jeremy Clarkson. For anyone waking up from a four-day coma, Clarkson is under siege for writing a Sun column railing against Meghan Markle. One paragraph parodied a Game of Thrones scene:
“At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.”
Given Markle is the least popular member of the royal family bar Prince Andrew, Guido guesses many Brits may have been inclined to broadly agree with the sentiment of the piece. Instead the London-centric Twitter-sphere is apoplectic; getting the column taken down and forcing Clarkson into a sorry-not-sorry climbdown.
Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) December 19, 2022
For some reason, lefty MPs feel that this important issue is today’s national priority. Rather than the strikes, the economy, war on our continent, or at the very least just logging off ahead of Christmas…
Tory-in-name-only MP Caroline Nokes has spearheaded a letter on behalf of those “hurt” by Jezza’s “#NotAnApology”, demanding he instead issue “an unreserved apology… to Ms Markle immediately”.
“We further demand definitive action is taken to ensure no article like this is ever published again.”
The letter is signed by 64 MPs, mainly Labour and SNP. Guido notes that whichever of Nokes’s staff formatted the letter isn’t particularly savvy, given the top name of the second column is Clive Lewis. An MP whose primary contribution to feminism thus far was telling a woman to “get on your knees bitch”.
Guido’s no stranger to defending Clarkson in times of career trouble. The BBC, despite dismissing him for a fracas in 2015, often stood by him during rows about things he’d said or written.
Guido’s not so confident that the likes of Amazon – American distributors of his brilliant farming show – will have the same backbone this time around…
UPDATE: Meanwhile, the official letter from MPs accusing the Sun of editorial sloppiness includes signatories spelt as follows:
Extinction Rebellion is back once again to smash a few windows and waste everybody’s time. Today it’s News UK’s turn to put up with them, with two eco-loons dispatched to the baby Shard this morning, hammers and chisels in hand, to go about their vital work saving the planet by spraying graffiti on the pavement. Furious about the heatwave, the loons have now finally taken up arms against The Sun itself…
According to their own press release – which describes smashing windows as “carefully cracking” them – they’ve attacked News UK in response to “the media’s coverage of the current heatwave”. Apparently the press, particularly The Sun, just hasn’t sufficiently warned the public about the weather. Without doom-laden headlines to remind us, how would we even know it’s hot outside? Would we even remember to drink water if the Guardian didn’t tell us?
Guido’s had a look through the last few front pages from both the Sun and the Times. Here’s what they looked like:
In the last four days, the Times has warned of heatwave “chaos“, issued a “red alert“, said the NHS may struggle under pressure, and claimed rail tracks are melting. The Sun, meanwhile, has quite literally splashed with “BRITAIN IS MELTING“. In Extinction Rebellion’s defence, it is possible they simply can’t read.
As the spring launch of TalkTV draws closer, this morning they’ve unveiled their “visual identity”, including the new navy and orange logo that creative director Erron Gordon says is “bold, clear, recognisable and unique”:
“When deciding on the colour scheme for TalkTV we wanted to marry authority with warmth. For our primetime television output we’ll use the darker more serious tones of navy blue and during the daytime we’ll freshen things up with a lighter blue. Both primetime and daytime blues marry up beautifully with the warmth of persimmon orange, a stunning orangey gold palette. These colours reflect the message and tone of the network and our output.”
“The speech bubble is a clear symbol of our intent as a channel to engage with our audience. The fact the speech bubble contains and holds the TalkTV wordmark is a clear indication that the channel is at the centre of all of this, enabling people to voice their opinion.”
So far News UK have announced parts of their political and hosting line-up, with Piers Morgan set to lead the flagship show and Tom Newton Dunn to be the face of a major weeknight news and current affairs programme. Kate McCann has been hired as political editor and they also plan a weekly satire news show, presumably to compete with Have I Got News For You. They promise further announcements in the coming weeks.
When Guido asked GB News star presenter Dan Wootton about his meeting last week with News UK, he insisted it was just a “social visit” to see his old boss Rebekah Brooks. Dan insisted he loves GB News and is looking forward to a shorter, snappier new format 2 hour show. Perhaps he got some advice from his meeting with the head of TV at News UK…
With Piers Morgan getting a mega-bucks deal from Rupert Murdoch, who could blame Dan for showing interest, even if he’s happy at GB News? A return to the Shard wouldn’t be the first time he has followed in Morgan’s footsteps – Piers was a predecessor of his as editor of the Bizarre entertainment column in The Sun….
After cancelling plans for a tv channel earlier this year after concluding it was not “commercially viable”, it appears News UK has now reversed that decision. The company will now launch a channel, talkTV, early next year. More details are to follow, however a certain Mr Piers Morgan has been tweeting and Instagramming hints of an impending new job announcement all morning:
It couldn’t possibly be connected, could it?
UPDATE: News UK releases further details:
“The channel will be streamed live and made widely available on all platforms including linear TV and OTT with content available across social media as well as News UK’s own broad inventory of websites and apps. Everyone in the UK will be able to access the channel, live or on-demand, either on their television or on any personal device.
talkTV will offer a mix of programming from News UK’s stable of household brands. There will be proper hourly news bulletins, sports and entertainment shows as well as current affairs, debate, opinion and documentaries.
New format shows will be introduced using talent from our own brands – talkRADIO, talkSPORT, Virgin Radio, Times Radio, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.
News UK will hire some exceptional new talent to join a schedule of prime time programming for the evenings.”
UPDATE II: Piers’ move confirmed. He’ll join News Corp and FOX News Media in a global deal, that will see him