As the most vocal part of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet joyfully lay in to the BBC over the Newsnight debacle, and use the excuse to attempt to undermine public trust in the Corporation, none of their number will be making any comparison between the open and transparent way that the BBC has handled the affair, and the press’ own inability to do so.
The interview which did for George Entwistle, as the narrative goes, was with John Humphreys yesterday on the Corporation’s own Radio 4. The transcription of that conversation runs to eleven pages: nothing was off limits and no evasion or dissembly was allowed. Most importantly, despite Entwistle’s status, he was not in a position to pull rank on Humphreys.
Thus the demonstration of journalism in action, and the executive being held to account. So what happens over in the world of print media, the source of all the cat-calling and demands for the BBC to be sold off, shrunk, disbanded or otherwise emasculated? To no surprise at all, whenever this part of the media fouls up, there is a conspicuous lack of heads rolling.
The Daily Mail, a beacon of no transparency whatever, never so much as apologised for its obsessive, fruitless and – most importantly – wrong pursuit of Colin Stagg over the murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common. There was no sign of regret over the attempt to try the Taylor sisters again in the court of Mail readership for a crime they did not commit. Nobody resigned.
There was no correction for stories such as “BBC Turns Its Back On Year Of Our Lord”, which was totally untrue. No disciplinary action is ever taken against hacks and pundits such as Richard Littlejohn and Quentin Letts (let’s not) for their serial dishonesty. Indeed, they are more likely to be rewarded with new contracts and bigger paycheques for Themselves Personally Now.
And, at the top of this pile of unappealing collection of unprincipled unpleasantness, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre treats any interview that is not totally under his control as a personal affront. Likewise, Rupert Murdoch is not about to allow himself to be questioned without the ability to draw the line where he wants to, as happened recently on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Here, the greasy and grovelling Stuart Varney actually began to broach the subject of phone hacking. The exploration of that subject lasted less than half a minute before Rupe slapped Varney down, and the exchange ended with the latter clearly hoping that his boss would not terminate his generous meal ticket for incurring the Murdoch displeasure. This is an organisation that has no room to call out the BBC.
And neither have any of the rest of them. What a bunch of stinking hypocrites.