THE CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF CHARLOTTE CHURCH
The recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson following his Inquiry into the Fourth Estate are still unknown, yet the attacks keep on coming: the Maily Telegraph has today given Tim Luckhurst the oxygen of publicity so that he may yet again freely quote Winshton and claim erroneously that regulation independent of the press and backed by statute puts us on the road to dictatorship.
Meanwhile, there has been a concerted effort, via the Mail and Telegraph, to discredit the evidence given to Leveson by singer Charlotte Church, although the attack is laughable in its amateurishness. What makes it worse is that the whole exercise depends on taking Ms Church’s former manager Jonathan Shalit, who was dismissed by the singer’s mother in acrimonious circumstances, at his word.
Much of the argument centres around Ms Church’s assertion that she had the choice, as a reward for singing at the wedding of Rupe and Wendy Deng, of “favourable publicity” or £100,000. Shalit disputes this at length in a written submission to Leveson which he has made well after the final deadline, but which has by miraculous coincidence found its way to the Mail.
Shalit asserts that Ms Church would not have been there when the offer from Rupe was discussed with her mother, and suggests she therefore got the information second hand and that her recollection of even this was wrong. But Ms Church stands by what she said, and it is therefore a difference of opinion. But this would not be a sufficiently damning conclusion for the Vagina Monologue.
So the text of what Shalit sent to Leveson is headed, dramatically if not particularly subtly, “The Devastating Letter”. And as Brenda might have said, We Are Not Devastated. Shalit is rather obviously seeking to preserve his own reputation, while keeping open a channel to Rupe in anticipation of future deals that might come his way, given the Murdoch presence in the Stateside film and TV field.
And what makes it worse is that the Mail admits it approached him – or, putting it more directly, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has ordered his obedient hackery to dig around and find some dirt on anyone whose evidence to Leveson makes the press look like, well, look like they actually look. This is a crude and deliberate attempt to smear Leveson before he reports.
This has been reinforced by an equally crude smear attempt by Telegraph leader writer David Hughes, which also features Charlotte Church and is headed by a rhetorical question in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). “Has Lord Leveson been fed dodgy evidence?” it declares, sorry, asks. Thus the Tel once again demonstrates it is no longer fit to be called a paper of record.