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Wednesday 26 June 2013

Leveson Appearance Spin

Once again, Lord Justice Leveson finds himself in the news, and once again, the gulf between reality and reporting is significant enough to shame the Fourth Estate – if only it had any shame. Commons culture Committee chairman John Whittingdale would like Leveson to appear and has said “I think we would like to hear his views on the developments that have taken place since the publication of the report”.
How so? “As the man [who] authored the report and spent 18-months looking at it and reaching conclusions, we would like to hear his view of what is on the table”, Whittingdale explained. There were now two rival Royal Charters, and the question arose as to whether either of them delivered what Leveson had in mind when he delivered his report, along with its conclusions.

So that’s that: what the Committee wants is some guidance on how compliant the Royal Charters are with Leveson’s original proposals. But that isn’t how the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre sees it: “Leveson is summoned by MPs for a grilling: Judge called to give evidence on future of press regulation” thunders the Mail headline. And, as the man said, there’s more.

Questioning would be “expected to include the issue of why wider evidence of phone hacking and surveillance by law and insurance firms was not highlighted in his report”. Brilliant, James Chapman, Mail Political Editor. Attaboy, obedient Dacre doggie. You know sodding well why it wasn’t “highlighted”: what part of “To inquire into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press” do you not understand?

Chapman continues to obey His Master’s Voice: “Lord Justice Leveson is also likely to be questioned about the revelation that a lawyer to his inquiry had an affair with a barrister representing celebrities complaining about the Press”. No he intercoursing well isn’t. Or does Paul Dacre have delusions of running Government, rather than merely scaring the shit out of far too many MPs?

It’s no better at the Murdoch Sun: “MPs order hacking judge to face grilling” is the totally dishonest sub-heading. The invention in the article extended to “a potential constitutional crisis looms” (bullshit), “a ‘strongly worded’ letter” (it wasn’t), and “committee chairman John Whittingdale said their patience had snapped”, which he didn’t, because it hadn’t. The Sun is full value for its 10% trust rating.

Oh hang on, the Sun has a quote. From rent-a-quote Tory Conor Burns: “It’s disappointing it hasn’t been a more straightforward exercise to get him to appear before us”. It’s equally disappointing that the Commons culture Committee has to call on purveyors of meaningless drivel like him, who can’t see that the press is pursuing a particularly nasty self-interest agenda here.

And that agenda means resisting independent press regulation at every turn.

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