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Friday 9 November 2012

Leveson Is Served (27)


[Update at end of post]

Arguments continue over what will be recommended by Lord Justice Leveson, despite no-one knowing what is contained in his report (although it’s a safe bet that its contents have been finalised). The latest salvo has been fired by a group of Tory MPs and peers in a letter to the deeply subversive Guardian, suggesting that any vote on the Leveson proposals will have a measure of cross-party support.

Now, the message coming from much of the remainder of the Fourth Estate – culminating in the ridiculous outburst in the Murdoch Sun this week, where the level of desperation caused an editorial to talk of “Stalinist” and “Zimbabwe” – is that any statutory underpinning of a new press regulator would end their freedom of expression, and possibly even their ability to speak freely.

Were this to be true, one might expect those that were not part of the mainstream press to be ready and waiting to take advantage: online news sources and bloggers would be queuing up to break stories and enter the field of investigative journalism, thus filling the gap left by the newly shackled Fourth Estate. But one well known blog is not at all happy with the prospect.

Who is this concerned party? To no surprise at all, it is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where the display of support for an independent regulator underpinned by statute by those Tories has been dismissed in a post written by Staines’ odious tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, who ends his fog of strawman creation and false assumptions with a characteristic smear.

That list of MPs and peers is “littered with your normal array of big state lovers, arms dealer chums, drunks, expenses cheats and shaggers”, Cole appearing not to notice that his boss fits the second and third of those categories rather well. But why should the Fawkes folks pass up this new opportunity? Well, for one, most of what the press is saying about the possible new regime is scaremongering drivel.

But what Staines and Cole fear most is change, and the kind that might upset their ability to turn their relationship with the press into a nice little earner. How nice an earner is this? From looking at the kind of stuff they sell to their contacts at papers like the Sun and Mail, we’re looking at Staines and his pals getting well into five figures worth of compo per annum – maybe even six figures.

That’s the difference between The Great Guido having to do all the blogging himself – and potentially missing out on the odd doorstepping or other publicity stunt – and being able to employ a chap (or two) to do it for him. So, like all those hacks, Paul Staines is scared of the unknown, because that unknown could hurt him in his most cherished location – his wallet. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 1830 hours: hardly had the Guardian letter been published than the Society of Editors was on the airwaves, accusing anyone opposed to their worldview that this "risks undermining Lord Justice Leveson's report before it is even published", and that by inference such a stance means "throwing away the basic democratic principle of a free and independent press".

Also, by inference, the barrage of propaganda and abuse being thrown by much of the Fourth Estate is perfectly benign, and no doubt it is quite in order for it to carry on, along with the non-stop lobbying of whatever politicians and advisers they can get their hands on. I note that the SoE uses in its banner the same font as that of the legendary late 60s TV series The Prisoner.

Perhaps they believe that they, too, are free men somehow walled in and held without their consent. Not that they're paranoid, of course]

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