Reporting news alone is never enough for those parts of the Fourth Estate with an agenda to push. And that extends even to those who are no longer active within its ranks, as former Maily Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher showed yesterday as he tried to move the discussion over cabinet minister Maria Miller’s over-claimed expenses into “because Leveson” territory.
Behold the poor victim: Tony Gallagher at the Leveson Inquiry
His claim was straightforward: Young Dave’s spinner Craig Oliver, and Ms Miller’s advisor Joanna Hindley, had tried to suppress press attention by using Leveson as some kind of general threat against the Tel. As Leveson’s report has no standing in law, all that was needed was to tell the two advisors to f*** right off, and not even say please first. But that is not how press victimhood works.
So Gallagher fetched up on the Today programme to tell of the mythical Leveson “chilling effect”, following up with “Key PM aide Craig Oliver threatens Telegraph over Leveson” and a link to his old paper. The Tel then name-checked him as it told “senior Cameron aide threatened [Telegraph] over Maria Miller’s expenses claims”. This was a clearly coordinated, and most likely rehearsed, attack.
You think I jest? Gallagher went next: “The [Telegraph] is getting ready to release tape of Maria Miller special advisor menacing reporter about Leveson” [my emphasis]. Suppressing stories and menacing others? Tony Gallagher? Hypocrisy much? Private Eye in the aftermath of the Saatchi and Nigella ruckus has more.
“When Tony Gallagher raised his fist to a female journalist in 2007 and threatened to ‘smear you all over that wall’ unless she wrote a story he was demanding, she was quietly paid off to the tune of £100,000 to avoid any scandal. And when, in 2011, the Review section editor Tom Horan was arrested after knocking his mistress (a subordinate at the paper) to the ground during a violent row at Victoria station, Gallagher not only declined to take any disciplinary action against him but also intervened to ensure that no details of the incident appeared in rival newspapers”.
Flying off the handle at a little criticism? Who would do a thing like that?
My thanks to the Twitter presence of Joe Public for that snippet (anyone know the identity of the female journalist? All names gratefully received). So that’s suppression and menacing dealt with. Would Sir like to dig himself in a little deeper by adding some hypocrisy? You betcha, says Sarah. Gallagher carried on ranting this morning.
He would, that's who
“Craig Oliver spent much of yesterday morning menacing papers keen to follow my interview ... But then he’s at his most animated when he is the subject of personal criticism and, as lobby hacks know, will fly off the handle”. Like, perhaps, the Tweeter who snapped “I am breaking the habit of a lifetime to engage you: please bore off & bother someone else” at me yesterday?
That would be you, Tony Gallagher. And you’re still a stinking hypocrite.