Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun were in suitably dismissive mood when asked to comment on the claims made in the last issue of Private Eye magazine that they had the story about Sharm el-Sheikh airport’s less than perfect security five months ago, and that they not only spiked it, but also failed to pass on the concerns raised by hack Nick Parker to the Egyptian authorities.
The downed Metrojet A321
As befits anything concerning the Fourth Estate, it is left to Press Gazette and Dom Ponsford to bring that response to a wider audience. After putting the obvious question “Are News Corp lawyers inadvertently to blame for the deaths of 224 Russians in the Egyptian air crash last month?” Ponsford then sets out the News Corp rebuttal.
“A Sun spokesman said: ‘The Eye article is wrong in its entirety … Nick Parker was not in Sharm working on any story about paying corrupt officials at all … Stig was not contacted by anyone in connection with any story involving Nick … Imogen Haddon was away on maternity leave at the time … We’re quite perplexed by this to be honest”.
But, as far as is known, no communication has been received by the Eye from the august offices of Mr Ephraim Sue and his partners. Moreover, the magazine did not claim Parker was working on a story - he could have been on holiday. They also stress that it was Stig Abell’s office that was contacted, not him personally. And likewise, Ms Haddon presumably has a designate to act on her behalf when she is away.
Still not effectively disproved: the Eye story
It gets worse: Ponsford has clearly been asking around, telling “my understanding is that Nick Parker's experience at Sharm al Sheikh was the talk of the newsroom before the Private Eye story appeared. Well-placed sources believe the Eye story to be at least partially true. And my own inquiries confirm reporters have major issues in agreeing cash payments under the new compliance regime at The Sun, meaning that many public interest stories are going untold” [my emphasis].
The Murdoch faithful may not think this revelation serious, but then, they treated Nick Davies’ initial revelations of widespread phone hacking with similar disdain, subscribing to the view that it was all a “non-story”, that it was Labour revenge for Damian McBride, or that it was a hit-job orchestrated by not only the deeply subversive Guardian, but also the hated BBC. Two years later, the Screws was closed down.
That closure was precipitated by the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone. What the Sun and its parent company’s lawyers may have done is many magnitudes worse: the clear result of not saying something about Sharm el-Sheikh’s dodgy security appears to have culminated in the downing of the Metrojet flight to St Petersburg with the loss of more than 200 lives. Not passing that information on to the authorities would be unforgivable.
Perhaps the CEO of News UK, Rebekah Brooks, would care to comment on the situation? She does, after all, have previous experience of damage limitation. We’re waiting.
“A Sun spokesman said: … We’re quite perplexed by this to be honest”.
The Sun and "honest."
Doesn't quite work does it?
If you swap "this" for "how" then it makes more sense.
@ Anon 15:47
Well to be honest I'm quite perplexed as to why anyone should still buy The Sun.
Sports pages and horrorscopes perhaps?
Perplexed? Not horrified or outraged by such a false accusation?
I'm sure the Russians will be perfectly understanding of this little oversight.
I expect Stig Abell will be making his own tea from now on - unless of course he actually fancies swapping polonium for sugar.
I doubt Abell needs lessons from anybody about spreading poison. It's what he does for a living. Courtesy of Creepy Rupert of course.
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