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Tuesday 3 September 2013

Leveson – Don’t Mention The PIs

Remember all that righteous indignation over the SOCA report that had not been made part of the Leveson analysis (see HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE)? The clamouring for a “Leveson for Private Investigators (PIs)”, from the likes of Neil “Wolfman” Wallis”? Well, now the investigation is moving forward, and the Information Commissioner is considering potential Data Protection Act breaches.
This has been given a heads-up by the Tel’s David Barrett, who took to Twitter to tell that, except for nine clients whose names had been withheld due to their being part of ongoing investigations, all of those mentioned in the SOCA report would be checked out. Given the previous media scrutiny, one might have expected the pack to be on the case, if only to show consistency.

And that thought would have been misplaced: despite the impression being given by the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre that the hated BBC and deeply subversive Guardian were only interested in kicking the poor misunderstood popular press, and wouldn’t look at all the other wrongdoing, the first ones reporting the latest developments were, er, the Guardian and BBC.

I kid you not: the Beeb was on the case before 1700 hours yesterday, and the Guardian three-quarters of an hour earlier. And, although the Mail has joined this select band, you will be hard pressed to find their report on Mail Online among all the suitably slanted why-oh-why copy, the would-you-believe-it hit bait, and the endless sidebar of sleb snaps, taken willingly or not.
Very good David, but where's the story?

At least the Mail report, although shaped to suggest that all this has come about only because of Themselves Personally Now, gives a reasonable account of the latest developments. But what of David Barrett and the Maily Telegraph? After all, he was so keen to let his Twitter followers know yesterday, and his paper has been on SOCA’s case, so there must be a story there?

Sadly, no there isn’t: the Tel has been more concerned this morning talking about the line-up for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, demonstrating that the hated BBC is useful for media outlets that like to play both sides of the field while generating hits cheaply on the back of others’ endeavours. So there’s no room for the story they previously pretended was important.

All of which makes one wonder why there was all the fuss in the first place: the Mail account isn’t easy to find, the Tel hasn’t bothered, and not even papers like the Independent appear to be interested. Meanwhile, the BBC and Guardian, who were supposed not to want to go there, have done so first. Anyone might draw the conclusion that the Fourth Estate were just playing “look over there”.

Expect them to return to this case, though, whenever press regulation is mentioned.

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