The partly press-fabricated row over Index on Censorship appointing Steve Coogan as a patron has today produced the strangest of bedfellows: the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor is now talking of Private Eye editor Ian Hislop in the most glowing terms. His enemy’s enemy is truly his friend, as another laborious rant at campaigning group Hacked Off is launched by the Mail.
Why can't I f***ing well face both ways on Private Eye, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
But that rant gets off to a distinctly shaky start: “This chilling new assault on free speech: For years, a noble British charity fought for freedom of expression around the world. Now it's being undermined by the press-hating zealots of Hacked Off - for daring to oppose state control of the ...” it thunders, before being cut off while in full why-oh-why flow. It was a precursor of shakier things to come.
“Founded at the height of the Cold War to support dissidents behind the Iron Curtain, the politically neutral, London-based body has since compiled a long and noble record of campaigning for free expression around the world. Who, aside from the most authoritarian regimes, would oppose its aims?” tells the Mail, before the smears and misinformation are introduced, as decreed by the Vagina Monologue.
“Yet today the organisation’s finances and core beliefs are under threat from a body that supports Government intervention in the regulation of the Press” signals the usual tired drivel about Hacked Off. But this was serious, as “Ian Hislop, the editor of satirical magazine Private Eye, and the journalist Francis Wheen – a biographer of Karl Marx – stepped down” [as patrons of Index].
For some reason, Wheen is not introduced at Hislop’s deputy, while association with Marx, such a bad thing for Ralph Miliband, is suddenly a matter of the greatest merit. But it is in the supporting Daily Mail Comment where the biscuit is well and truly taken: here, readers are told of “Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, whose magazine carries many brilliant investigations”.
Investigative journalist Nick Davies may have found that one interesting: his book on the workings of the press, Flat Earth News, shows why. “Adam Macqueen signed on with an employment agency and was sent to work in the [Daily Mail’s] promotions department. He was quite pleased, thinking he might learn something about reporting. However, the agency sent in a summary of his previous work experience”.
And how significant a however is that? “... which revealed that he had put in some time at Private Eye. That day, he was told to go and not to return and furthermore that he would never be employed again by any of the Mail titles”. That, folks, is what Paul Dacre really thinks of the Eye. He holds it in almost as much contempt as Hacked Off. But needs must, smears to be spread, and all that.
The Vagina Monologue confirms that he is an ocean-going hypocrite – once more.