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Saturday 20 April 2013

Leveson – Lazy Hatchet Hackery

[Update at end of post]

As the spectre of truly independent press regulation hangs overhead, the Fourth Estate keeps up its attempts to somehow discredit anyone involved, however tangentially. Today, despite the process having finished some months ago, the Leveson Inquiry is being kicked by the Murdoch and Dacre attack doggies because one of its Counsels is having an affair.
But, so what? Well, Carine Patry Hoskins, who on occasion stood in for the utterly unflappable Robert Jay, has – since the Inquiry completed its evidence gathering sessions – been dating David Sherborne, who represented some phone hacking victims (and grilled a visibly uncomfortable Dacre). The Mail and Sun have as a result added two and two and obtained a result rather larger than four.

The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre have been particularly judgmental: “The celebrities' barrister, the Leveson QC's glamorous No2 and an affair that triggers doubts over the Inquiry's integrity”. Triggers doubts? I’m getting a loud screaming sound in my ears ... oh hang on, the bullshit detector just suffered a system overload. Petty vengeance, more like.

The only place that any doubts have been triggered is somewhere inside Northcliffe House. This is just another lame hatchet job propped up with an overdose of nudge-nudgery, the latter being represented by Sherborne being characterised as “perma-tanned” (a jealous Sun hack) or “twice-married” (Dacre doggie obeying His Master’s Voice and coming down hard on anything other than lifelong monogamy).

The disclosure raises concerns over whether their relationship undermined the integrity of the Leveson Inquiry” asserts the Mail. Fine. So there will be questions addressed to whoever is looking after the Inquiry and its processes, will there? No there won’t: this is cheap and nasty (emphasis on the latter) trial by media, with the Mail in particular trying to whip up a backlash.

To this end, Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, proclaims “Leveson and a very disturbing affair”. Shine a light. Was Leveson involved in this affair? No? So why suggest that, other than smear by association? But go on: “It has long been disturbingly clear how much the inquiry was stage-managed by the lobby group Hacked Off, a cadre of small-town academics, B-list celebrities with rackety sex lives, and Press-hating zealots”.

You got evidence? Formal complaint? That’ll be no, and none, then. But here’s the best bit – Dacre calls Sherborne “aggressive and confrontational”. And there’s another pot and kettle close behind: the Media Standards Trust is smeared as “notorious for inaccuracy”. There’s no windows in yer glasshouse, Dacre.

But it provides some unintentional hilarity. It’s the way he tells ‘em!

[UPDATE 23 April 1710 hours: Rob Wilson, who is nominally MP for Reading East, although he gives the impression of being more interested in sticking his bugle into questions that have not been driven by his constituents and then leaking the correspondence to the likes of the Guido Fawkes blog, has now received a reply to his letter to Lord Justice Leveson (see HERE [.pdf]).

Leveson points out that the hearings concluded on 3 August, which was before the alleged liaison on Santorini. He further points out that Ms Party Hoskins "had absolutely no input into any conclusion as to the past treatment of those affected by press abuses ... or any aspect of the proposals made for future press regulation".

Ms Party Hoskins, Leveson stresses, "was not involved ... in any of my eventual recommendations". This, of course, was rather obvious at the outset, as was the attempt by Paul Dacre to "get" David Sherborne because he had caused the Vagina Monologue considerable discomfort and even elicited an expletive from him. Wilson will more than likely now stop wasting everyone's time. But the Mail will not.

And, in what is the saddest part of this episode, far too many otherwise rational grown-ups will believe what the Mail is churning out, hanging on every word and disseminating it as if it had been handed down on stone tablets. Belief in place of reality is a truly frightening thing, especially when coupled to the herd instinct of clueless hacks]

1 comment:

rob said...

It wasn't surprising that Mr Caplan QC appeared to be the most upstanding lawyer at the Leveson Inquiry ("mendacious smears" being a particularly entertaining episode). And then there was all that avoiding of the complete revelation of Operation Motorman files. Perhaps Jimmy Savile might have called them Top of the Press Pops in that regard?

Doesn't this mirror a similar attempts by NOTW to not only smear the legal representatives of their victims but the police investigating the Daniel Morgan murder?

And doesn't it just go to show how some of the press have no regard for the law until it suits themselves (eg Daily Mail & the HRA)?