Times Runs Full Page Ad for “China Heroes”

China Xinhua Times

On Page 22 of today’s Times sits a series of articles in contrast with the rest of the paper’s coverage of Team GB’s record Olympics haul. A bold headline emblazoned with the Chinese flag praises “China Heroes” such as weightlifter Long Qingquan and table tennis champion Ding Ning. A far cry from the front page headline of “Demand for new honours as Team GB beat China”…

Upon closer inspection, the gushingly patriotic articles are the efforts of a full page advertisement from the Chinese state’s official Xinhua News Agency. Xinhua today declared China “second in the overall standings”, despite Team GB coming second via the traditional tally of gold medals. Odd choice of paper for the bragging propaganda, since the proprietor has really gone off Chinese…

No Cap on SpAd Salaries

SPADS

This morning’s Times reported that special advisers’ salaries are to be capped at £72,000, a very low bar that would not only rule out talented candidates, it would mean current SpAds getting a pay cut. Guido is told that no such cap will be enforced. A Downing Street source says:

“It is not true that there is a new cap on special adviser salaries. All special advisers will be appointed on merit and paid according to their experience and responsibilities. The rules have not changed.”

Guido also understands that reports each Secretary of State will be limited to two SpAds each are wide of the mark. Some ministers will be allowed larger teams. Someone has been giving some naughty negative briefings about the new regime… 

Now Rachel Sylvester Contradicts Her Own Story

Last night Twitter was lively and claiming that Andrea Leadsom had brought up the subject of family and motherhood, this was briefed to the Sunday Times’ political editor Tim Shipman:

This morning Rachel Sylvester was out defending her story, claiming that it was Andrea who introduced the issue of family:

However the partial audio released from The Times has Rachel Sylvester introducing the issue in a question thus:

Rachel Sylvester: “Does your family inform your politics? Do you think motherhood – I thought it was very interesting during the debates you several times said, ‘as a mum’. Do you feel like a mum in politics?”

Which clearly contradicting Rachel’s claim made at 09:04 to the BBC:

Rachel Sylvester: “What was so striking was it was she her introduced the issue of family, I didn’t raise it at all… it wasn’t I who introduced it, she did.”

An hour later at 10:04 the BBC has Rachel Sylvester saying she did raise the question:

So apparently contradictory assertions. Goes without saying that Leadsom completely denies raising the issue, calling the claim “gutter journalism”. The only way to establish whether or not Andrea Leadsom has been stitched up is to release the full recording – something The Times is refusing to do…

LISTEN: Partial Times Audio Excerpt

The Times have released a partial excerpt audio recording of the key part of Andrea Leadsom’s interview with Rachel Sylvester:

Rachel Sylvester: “Does your family inform your politics? Do you think motherhood – I thought it was very interesting during the debates you several times said, as a mum. Do you feel like a mum in politics?”

Andrea Leadsom: “Yes. Really carefully because I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’, do you know what I mean? Because I think that would be really horrible. But genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.”

In Andrea’s defence, Sylvester brought up the subject of motherhood and asked the question about her being a mum. Suggestions from the Twitter outrage bus that this was a Trumpian ploy are way over the top. Leadsom’s horror at the Times headline “Being a mother gives me edge on May” is genuine. It was naive rather than nasty…

Warsi ‘Defection’ Unravels

The Times have watered down their mischievous first edition claiming Sayeeda Warsi has ‘defected’ from Leave to Remain. No one in Vote Leave thought she was a Brexit supporter or is aware of her doing any campaigning for them at all. She has only tweeted about Vote Leave once – ten days ago – to attack them. She did not appear on the website of pro-Leave group Muslims for Britain. In February Warsi told Eurosceptic campaigners she had not declared. When Dan Hannan invited her to join the Leave campaign, she declined. Neil Kinnock even once backed her for EU commissioner…

What about her own words? Speaking in 2013, Sayeeda said:

“Membership of the EU is in the UK’s national interest”

In 2014 she said:

“One of the things that attracted me to David Cameron was that he was not obsessed with Europe and immigration. I would hate to think that is where we end up again – obsessing with Europe and immigration.”

And in 2011 she told the Tory group of MEPs she explicitly supported being a member of the EU:

“Now is not the time to turn our backs on our friends. We must continue the work we have started together. This is the work that Margaret Thatcher began, bringing about growth through a competitive single market. And that must be our mission today. And with that, it is my great pleasure to introduce a man who is leading this mission [William Hague]. A man who fought a campaign about being in Europe but not run by Europe. He was criticised – but he was right.”

Forget dead cat, Downing Street and Sayeeda have sold the Times a pup…

Thunderer Not Breaking News

times

The Times, paper of record in Britain since 1785, will stop publishing breaking news on its newly redesigned website. Attempting to string out the dead tree press model of releasing editions (at 9 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m.), they reckon:

“The power of an edition has endured at The Times and The Sunday Times for 230 years. Our challenge is to update this concept for the digital age.”

Other broadsheets are tightening up their paywalls following The Times‘ allegedly profitable paywall model. Many in the industry query how it is that Times papers went from losing £50 million-a-year to profit with just a wave of an accountants wand. There have not been massive redundancies announced – though many bylines have quietly disappeared from The Sunday Times – the bloodletting has certainly been quieter than it was at the Telegraph. We’re just pleased that after all these years the apps will have a search box…

Media Diversity

Sweetener

The Times, Telegraph and Independent all went for the same cliché headline, used to cover countless budgets and spending reviews beforeThe rest of the unpopular press following in the Indy’s footsteps is not a good omen for the Times and Telegraph…

H/T thhamilton

No. 10 Loses Half its FTSE Support Since Dave’s Deal

Last Thursday, before the EU council meeting, the Telegraph had a briefing that “more than 80 FTSE 100 firms” were about to support Dave’s deal and back Remain:

Yesterday, after the deal, the FT reported that only 50 FTSE bosses were going to sign the letter supporting Remain:

As Guido revealed, the stunt had been drafted and orchestrated by Downing Street civil servants, and was lined up to appear in today’s Times. Sure enough, here it is in this morning’s paper:

Yet just 36 FTSE 100 bosses have signed…

Five days ago, journalists were being briefed that No.10 and Remain had 80 FTSE bosses backing them. Since the EU council meeting and the deal, more than half no longer fancied giving their support. Just 36 names for the letter backing Dave’s deal is positively paltry… 

H/T @suttonnick

Tim Montgomerie Quits Tories

“after 28 years of membership, I’m resigning. I’m not joining another party but don’t want to give another penny to the Cameron project”

Europe the final straw:

“And nothing registers more strongly on the social injustice front than recommending staying in the EU. It remains the greatest source of social misery on the continent — requiring intense austerity in countries such as Greece and causing terrible youth unemployment across southern Europe from which millions will suffer lifelong scars. I’m just glad that Mrs Thatcher cannot see what her party has become.”

Read his full devastating critique of Cameron and Osborne here

Tom Bradby Sex Appeal Figures Sexed Up

“Tom Bradby is so hot he got 500,000 new viewers,” claims a headline in the Times today. It follows on from yesterday’s puff piece reporting ITV News at Ten “has put on half a million viewers since Tom Bradby began presenting”. The generous write-up claimed:

“Average viewing figures for the ITV bulletin over the past three weeks have risen to two million — up by half a million on September averages.”

Has Bradby’s sex appeal really made such a remarkable difference?

Industry insiders tell Media Guido that, actually, the ITV News at Ten numbers are flat. In the three weeks since Bradby took over, reliable sources say ITV News at Ten has scored above two million on just three nights. The ratings have reached c1.9 million on zero nights, c.1.8 million on one night, c.1,7 million on six nights, c1.6 million on 2 nights and c1.5 million on 2 nights. The “half a million” headline figure is as sexed up as their new choice of host…

UPDATE: The BBC hit back as the 10pm flame war intensifies:

UPDATE II: Here are the ITV figures in full since Bradby took over. Last night’s numbers take the average just above 2 million:

Great Corrections and Clarifications of Our Time

Guido is not one to pontificate, but…

Forgive them, Father…

Headline of the Day

In the Times:

See what they did there…

Via @holbornlolz

Beth Rigby Swaps FT for the Times

MediaGuido understands the FT’s deputy political editor Beth Rigby is joining the Times as their media editor.

Can also reveal the Sun’s Kate McCann is joining the Telegraph as their Senior Political Correspondent.

On a busy day of media moves:

  • Ann Treneman quits as Times sketchwriter to be chief theatre critic
  • Patrick Kidd replaces her
  • Jane Merrick leaving Sindy pol ed

Summer transfer window well and truly open…

UPDATE: And Buzzfeed continue their hiring policy of giving a job to every tedious lefty from Twitter, taking on the Guardian’s James Ball.

Times Savages Miliband, Endorses Tory-Lib Coalition

“Mr Miliband has failed to hide his fatal indifference to the essential business of creating wealth. He has fought this campaign on initiatives that resonate with those hit hardest by slow earnings growth. In the process he has shamelessly misled voters about Tory plans for the NHS, which do not include privatisation…

Mr Miliband says he will cut the deficit but has not said how or by how much. This is an empty promise betrayed by spending pledges that cannot be funded with the money raised from new taxes on “mansions” and bank bonuses. The Labour leader claims he will find extra funds by ending tax avoidance and tax relief on pensions for the rich. The reality would be £90 billion more borrowing over the next parliament and an unsustainable debt burden to be shouldered by his successors.

Mr Miliband’s instinct is to see the state as an employer, benefactor and political constituency. His overtures to business do not convince because he champions an expanding public sector at the expense of the private one, yet Labour on his watch has lost credibility as the party of social justice too. Rent controls would only reduce the supply and quality of low-cost housing. Increasing debts hurt the poor first, as interest payments divert funds from public services…

Mr Cameron would govern better with a clear Tory majority but the polls now indicate that is a remote possibility. The choice seems to come down to a Labour party propped up by Scottish Nationalists or the Conservatives in a renewed coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The former would tear at the heart of the Union and unpick hard-won gains since the recession. The latter would advance the cause of enterprise and freedom in which The Times believes.”

Read their endorsement in full here.

First Times Profit for 13 Years

2009: -£70 million

2013: -£6 million

2014: £1.7 million

First time they have been in the black since 2001. News UK say their “paid for” strategy is “working well and is helping to secure a sustainable future”…

Media Movements: James Lyons to Sunday Times

Congratulations to the Mirror’s James Lyons, who has landed the Deputy Political Editor gig at the Sunday Times. Lyons is hardly short of a few bob having married into the multi-millionairess Margaret Hodge’s family dynasty. Still, nice little earner…

Establishment Panic Over Scottish Freedom

Just two weeks ’til the referendum on Scottish freedom and finally Westminster’s chattering classes are waking up to the bookies halving the odds on a ‘Yes’ victory. The Times’ Red Box has gone into panic mode this week, with Scottish political editor Lindsay McIntosh yesterday warning against bubble complacency:

“The first is seen by many in the political bubble. In it, the Nationalists are losing the practical arguments about the economy, so are on course to lose the vote badly. The other, seen by some outside, shows “yes” quietly stealing victory… Unionists need to brush up on their messaging if they are not to be responsible for a dramatic redrawing of the UK after September 18.”

Alice Thomson this morning goes further, imploring: “Wake up unionists, you could really lose this”:

“If Scotland votes Yes, all hell will break loose – and the unionists’ complacency will be to blame. It’s time for Westminster to focus on the independence referendum.”

Rachel Sylvester also has growing concerns, telling Dave:

“If he becomes the Conservative prime minister who presided over the break-up of the United Kingdom, he will face immediate calls for his resignation from within his party.”

Squeaky bum time…

Telegraph Side with Nige

The Telegraph would usually be the first out of the traps on an expenses story, but they’ve decided it will be more fun to side with the ‘Kippers and knock the Times today. Brogan has been activated and is talking down the story. The polling, it seems, would agree with his angle, namely that scandal is wasted on Farage because – like Boris – the public have warmed to him. Nothing like a bit of mudslinging to liven up a dull day though.

Previous Times UKIP Allowances Report Dismissed

the-times-ukip-logoCould today’s effort by The Times to get UKIP have anything to with the complaint made last month by the Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott about UKIP’s use of allowances? His complaint was based on a series of reports by Times journalists Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson. Yesterday that complaint was thrown out by a European Parliament bureau meeting that found there was no matter requiring further investigation…

Payback Times: Hack Hits Back at ‘Kipper

Times hack Billy Kenber has hit back at claims from UKIP that they borked the figures in their story this morning.

From: “Kenber, Billy”
Date: 15 April 2014 10:14:05 BST
To: David Samuel-Camps
Cc: Alexi Mostrous, Nigel Farage
Subject: Re: Your report

Hi David,

The difference between the two figures lies in the way Ukip MEP’s break down their transparency reports.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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