Nowhere was the case for more effective press regulation shown so starkly than in today’s edition of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, where the Murdoch doggies have had to publish a significant judgment from press regulator IPSO, only to make sure they put it in a different part of the paper to that where the original headline was placed, and follow it with an editorial sticking their fingers up at that same regulator.
The “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” headline became notorious, not just for the inconvenient fact that it was pure conjecture, but also because the finger of suspicion was swiftly pointed at former Murdoch hack Michael “Oiky” Gove as being the Sun’s main source. Buckingham Palace complained to IPSO about the headline, and today has come the news that the Sun has been found bang to rights.
Under the headline “IPSO rules against Sun's Queen headline”, it is conceded “The headline was not supported by the text. It was significantly misleading - given that it suggested a fundamental breach of the Queen’s constitutional obligations - and represented a failure to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information in breach of Clause 1 (i). The complaint under Clause 1 was upheld”.
So that should have been that - especially as IPSO now has, as a board member no less, faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh, despite, as this blog pointed out at the time, his grim reputation for spin, smears, and, on occasion, forthright dishonesty. But for the Sun, that was certainly not that, as one look at today’s Sun Says will confirm.
Under the headline “Queen & Sun”, readers are told “DOES the Queen back Brexit? We’re sure she does … But today we are having to publish a front page ruling by the Press regulator IPSO over our March 9 headline which claimed Her Majesty was for Leaving … It seemed fair enough to us. Tabloid newspapers like The Sun have long made eye-catching assertions in headlines alongside a smaller headline to qualify or attribute them. It is a standard device”. Many of those “eye-catching” assertions often being untrue.
But do go on. “But IPSO decided it wasn’t right - though it had no problem with the story beneath it, about Her Majesty’s eurosceptic remarks which two impeccable sources confirmed … We stand by all of it … We respect IPSO and understand why the Queen complained … She was furious at the claim she had taken sides in a political dispute … But the idea she keeps all her thoughts to herself is nonsense”.
The Sun has its own man on IPSO’s board. It gets to put out a grossly misleading headline and then place the “correction” somewhere most readers won’t see it. And it still bleats and blubbers about having been caught out. But the really serious attack of brass neck comes right at the end, with ”A newspaper wouldn’t be a newspaper if it got wind of such views - so clearly in the public’s interest to read - and didn’t publish them”.
Like the Sun got wind of the John Whittingdale story and, er, didn’t publish it. Good of the Murdoch doggies to confirm what many people knew - the Sun isn’t really a newspaper.