It was a year ago today that this blog was represented at the presentation of Lord Justice Leveson’s report which followed from his Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press. Since then, we have seen the cross-party Royal Charter on press regulation pass all hurdles. But most of the Fourth Estate, rather than accepting the will of the people, is behaving like a sulky teenager.
Moreover, there is a collective myopia in the press over how the public sees them, and nowhere has this been brought more sharply into focus than the reaction to former Sun editor David Yelland’s 2013 Leveson Anniversary Lecture, which was delivered this afternoon. While many are digesting his conclusions, others on his former manor have merely resorted to abuse.
An edited version of the Yelland speech can be seen at the deeply subversive Guardian, and it covers subjects such as the press reaction to the Leveson proposals, the Daily Mail’s bullying of David Bell, the excesses of the tabloids – not sparing his own time in the editor’s chair – and the inability of the press to see that they are just another of the vested interests they claim to challenge.
In a more rational climate, one might expect this to spark a reasoned debate, but because Yelland has broken ranks with his former colleagues and gone against the collective code of Omerta, his reward has been petty, vindictive and vicious abuse, typified by Neil “Wolfman” Wallis, most recently scouring the web for sympathy following his being left on bail but not charged for over a year.
“Poor terrified drunk David Yelland, nice but dim, Blair’s tragic poodle” began Wallis, ignoring the minor fact that Yelland has been dry for eight years. And, as the man said, there’s more: “As Kelvin MacKenzie would say, David Yelland couldn’t edit a bus ticket”. That’s Kelvin MacKenzie of Hillsborough, “Gotcha”, Elton John front page libel, and Freddie Starr didn’t really eat a hamster infamy. No thank you.
And it was all the BBC’s fault: “David Yelland always had this sad craving for approval & acceptance by the Liberal Establishment. And Guardian/BBC axis will love this”. It’s not a “Liberal Establishment”, Neil. You and your pals are part of it. Go on. “What a shock! Yelland’s speech is organised by the Media Standards Trust, parent and fund provider to Hugh Grant’s Hacked Off”.
The MST is not connected to Hacked Off, which is not a personal possession of Hugh Grant, but hey ho. And to round it all off, there is a one-line appraisal of Yelland’s motivations: “Failure, public attention, craves liberal approval/acceptance”. There’s nothing quite like playing the man rather than the ball, BBC paranoia and dishonesty to spray everyone’s sympathy so spectacularly up the wall.
Wallis is not alone in his attitude. They still don’t get it. The press is still in denial.