Does actor and campaigner Hugh Grant have an upcoming film to publicise? Is he doing a travel show? Has he volunteered for Celebrity Apprentice? Will he be the new face of a drama or sitcom? Has he got a gig on Have I Got News For You? This blog is not privy to his personal schedule, but I suspect the answer to all of those is that even if true, he isn’t advertising the fact.
But Grant is on the front page of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun today. And, despite the paper’s website hiding its wares behind a paywall, we know the gist of the story because the Mail lifted it (see how that works, Rupe?). “About ANOTHER Boy: Hugh Grant 'is now a father of three after having secret son with Swedish TV boss'” roars the Mail headline in mock horror.
And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, the son can hardly be secret when the Sun could access his birth record. And two, the minutiae of Grant’s personal life are of interest to the press merely for the dual purpose of flogging more copies, and furthering their attempts to undermine any move to get the Fourth Estate to accept properly independent press regulation.
Today the Sun has run the initial attack on Grant, but as sure as night follows day the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, who harbours deep personal animosity towards him after being made to look shifty and defensive at the Leveson Inquiry, will have ordered his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail to join the offensive, as part of the paper’s campaign against Hacked Off.
That campaign requires anyone connected to the campaigning group to be targeted, hatcheted and thereby demonised. Thus Grant is held to be someone of loose morals, Brian Cathcart is characterised as a mere academic who wouldn’t know what real journalists have to go through in their day to day work, and Evan Harris is painted as some kind of swivel-eyed obsessive (unlike Dacre, of course).
Why should that be? Ah well. Rather than engage with the arguments put forward by groups like Hacked Off, and respond to the concerns of those whose lives have been so grievously trashed by press intrusion and editorial dishonesty, the first instinct of so many of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet is to play the man, and sod any thought of being arsed to play the ball.
We know this because of the rare candour displayed by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who, in the manner of sniggering schoolboys conspiring behind the cycle sheds, have let the cat out of the bag: “Why Did Hugh Grant Lobby Politicians to Gag the Press?” they leer. He didn’t. So that’s the old pack of lies recycled in order to curry favour with their new bosses.
And it signals another barrage of smears and dishonesty. No change there, then.
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