Today, the Sunday Mirror has returned to the Brooks Newmark “sting” story which headlined last week, but the mood is very different. Today’s piece is all about Charlene Tyler, who lives near Boston in Lincolnshire, whose “selfie” was “used by a freelance journalist posing on Twitter as a young Tory PR intern”. She was not the only young woman to have her photos used without permission.
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Ms Tyler is not backward in coming forward with her view on this kind of thing: “It should be a crime to take other peoples’ pictures and use them without permission”. This may not come as the best of news for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who were, by their subsequent forced admission, behind the Newmark sting.
Moreover, as the Mirror has now realised, it was a stretch to use the description “reputable freelance journalist” for Staines’ newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham, who, as you read first on Zelo Street, was the presence behind the fictional “Sophie Wittams”. The whole tone of the article is to suggest deception, and the question has to be put: does this mean the Fawkes folks misled the Mirror?
It is a question that was put directly to The Great Guido by Dan Waddell, who happens to be a real journalist (note to the Fawkes rabble: running a group blog and pretending thereby to be journalists does not make you one). It is believed that the person in charge of the Media Guido Twitter feed at this point was Staines. The exchanges should prove instructive.
On whether the Fawkes folks told the Mirror the photos were posed by a model, the first reply is “No one said we did” (not “We did” or “We didn’t”). Not only is that not a denial, it suggests a reliance on others not to open their mouths and drop The Great Guido in it. Staines also places great reliance on the idea that Lloyd Embley “thought” the photos were posed by a model, suggesting he didn’t ask.
He gives only one straight answer: a direct denial that the Mirror was misled. But on the source of the photos, all that Staines will cough is that “it was never an issue”, which, again, is evasive. He signs off with “It seems it was clear”, as well as pre-judging what IPSO will do. Waddell is now asking Embley the same question. And, as I’ve observed previously, there is one way to sort this out once and for all.
All parties need to put on record what was said, where, and when. Especially, the full exchange of messages between “Sophie Wittams” and Newmark must be released: this is highly unlikely to be volunteered by The Great Guido. If the Mirror failed to put the question to the Fawkes rabble, they’re fools. And whatever the outcome, nobody in the press is going to take The Great Guido at his word. Ever again.
Go swimming with sharks, expect to get bitten. Another fine mess, once again.