If ever those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet wanted to advertise to the world that most of their number are interested only in reporting what is in the interests of their editors and proprietors, and that the interests of the wider public are irrelevant, they have succeeded brilliantly with their coverage – or, latterly, lack of it – concerning Lord Justice Leveson’s select Committee appearance.
John Whittingdale, chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, had written to Leveson with the clear intention of getting his opinion on how the two competing Royal Charters on press regulation measure up to what was recommended in his report. At this point, the Mail and Sun – the two loudest voices in the playground – were only too happy to run the story.
As I pointed out the other day, the Mail asserted that Leveson was being “summoned”, and that he would be questioned on why he did not mention the SOCA report on hacking, as well as the later relationship between David Sherborne and Carine Patry Hoskins. This was weapons grade bullshit: Leveson had not been summoned, and there was no intention to question him about these matters.
The Murdoch Sun went further, telling that MPs “order hacking judge to face grilling”. There was talk of a “constitutional crisis”, with the clear inference that Leveson was reluctant to man up and face the representatives of We The People. So one might think the latest news – that Leveson has accepted the invitation to appear – would be splashed across both papers with equal prominence.
And that thought would be misplaced, because, although Leveson’s acceptance has been reported by the deeply subversive Guardian, there has not been so much as a mention from either the Mail or the Sun. Why so coy? Well, there clearly isn’t going to be a “constitutional crisis”, and Leveson is equally clearly not running scared of Whittingdale and his Committee.
Also, it’s clear that Leveson has not been subject to any kind of summons or order. Nor is there any prospect that he will be questioned about David Sherborne and Carine Patry Hoskins (not relevant to press regulation reform), or the wider part of the SOCA report, which is outside the terms of reference for the Leveson Inquiry (“To inquire into the culture, practices and ethics of the press”).
But perhaps the Mail and Sun have more important stories to share with their readers? Like telling them that the average house price in Virginia Water has now exceeded £1 million? Or that a couple died after falling out of a window which broke as they were having sex against it? Either houses or humping are bigger than the future of their own industry, or the Mail and Sun are full of crap.
As to which is true, you might wish to speculate, but I couldn’t possibly comment.