NOT THAT THEY’RE BIASED
Although the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has for the moment called off the attack dogs, the rumbling undercurrent of knee-jerk hostility towards whatever comes out of Lord Justice Leveson’s report continues. And, looking at a variety of asides from media types, it is not hard to conclude that rather a lot of them are moseying quietly towards the starting blocks ready for the off.
The two increasingly polarised points of view can be seen, meanwhile, in articles that have appeared in the deeply subversive Guardian and the far more editor and owner friendly Maily Telegraph. The former notes that a number of victims of press intrusion who are not slebs will be meeting Young Dave, Corporal Clegg and Mil The Younger today under the auspices of the Hacked Off campaign.
And the Tel piece is more or less an advert for Lord Black’s “PCC 2” campaign, also telling that “Oiky” Gove and Fat Eric are opposed to whatever Leveson might recommend, because it’s going to be jolly rotten and it’s not fair, because, well, The Internet. Once again, independent regulation underpinned by statute is characterised as “state regulation”, but fortunately there is no mention of Zimbabwe.
What there is, though, is a number of signs that as soon as Leveson reports, the barrage of opposition will begin, and that it will be unrelenting, generally as free of principle as is deemed necessary by editors and owners, forthrightly abusive in tone, and that any reputation that it is felt necessary to trash will indeed be duly trashed. One look at whingeing Tim Luckhurst’s Twitter feed provides the subject headers.
Taking the baton from Luckhurst will be the likes of Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who has been softening up Tory MPs who dare to deviate from the approved Murdoch line. These are mere “Old-style paternalists”, and are held to be “expenses sinners”, which means they will be fair game. He is joined by the loathsome Toby Young: Leveson’s recommendations “will now seem hopelessly dated”.
Meanwhile, the signs are that the source of last week’s hatchet job on Leveson’s advisors will be in similar mode come report time: Tim Shipman has warned any lawyers out there that “They’d better get the Prozac in for when Brian Leveson reports”. So it’s good to know that the Dacre doggies are already on message. The Vagina Monologue will be pleased to see that.
And most disturbingly, the impression is being given that even part of the broadcast media is harbouring less than impartial thoughts towards proceedings. Adam Boulton of Sky News (“first for breaking wind”) has Tweeted his approval of the Mail’s hatchet job on Common Purpose. That’s almost as fair and balanced as F ... you know who. In short, it’s going to be dirty. Very dirty. That means a press own goal is coming.
Probably it isn't just the thought of the recommendations that will be in the report that frightens them. The report will also set out systematically the warts of some sections of the press, the failures of the PCC, the failures of the police and Information Commissioner to prosecute and the risks of having politicians who get too close to press barons. A lot of the present hullabaloo is to divert attention from Leveson's description of these issues.
The report will be published on
29th November. Quite a bit of it will be about what the press did, and what the police and PCC did not do. I look forward to observing the tactics employed by the tabloid press to divert attention away from this.
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