The Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn clearly thinks he is on to a winner by backing an article by the Daily Mail’s associate news editor Stephen Wright, who has indulged in a little Guardian bashing – no surprise there – by alleging that Alan Rusbridger and his team are being given preferential treatment by the Police, because of Phonehackgate.
What neither Wright nor Newton Dunn appear to have taken on board is that Nick Davies’ dogged campaign to get the Met to act on all that information they had obtained from the likes of Glenn Mulcaire ultimately led to the departure of Yates Of The Yard, and covered the Metropolitan Police in rather more than embarrassment. The idea that the rozzers would favour whoever did that is laughable.
But Wright’s research of those Police officers passing information to the press at first looks convincing: he compares the case of Guardian journalist Amelia Hill and her principal informant with those of three cops who passed information to red-top journalists, and finds that the CPS decided not to prosecute Ms Hill, while the tabloid hacks were not so fortunate – at the time of his writing.
Then he stresses that none of the journalists concerned paid their sources for information, a point famously conceded before a select committee by Rebekah Brooks before Andy Coulson intervened to correct her. From this, Wright triumphantly concludes that it looks rather like the Guardian is being afforded more favourable treatment to that meted out to the tabs.
On this note, he concludes the defence case. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, Wright has, without perhaps knowing it, let the cat out of the bag in his examination of Ms Hill’s case. While the DPP’s legal offier said “these articles contained confidential information derived from Operation Weeting, including the names of those who had been arrested”, there was a further point.
She also told that “the information disclosed by the police officer, although confidential, was not highly sensitive. It did not expose anyone to a risk of injury or death. It did not compromise the investigation. And the information in question would probably have made it into the public domain by some other means, albeit at some later stage”. That was the basis on which it was decided not to proceed.
Wright then manages to miss that test out of his examination of all those officers, serving or otherwise, who passed information to the tabloids. Thus the culture of those who work in the service of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre: the facts carefully selected to fit the argument, rather than giving the whole picture. The idea that Tom Newton Dunn is unaware of this is not credible.
Nice try Tom, but your citation’s been rumbled. Must try harder next time.