As Zelo Street discussed yesterday, the campaign waged by deeply unpleasant former Sun editor Kelvin McFilth against Channel 4 News, and specifically presenter Fatima Manji, has failed after 17 complaints to regulator Ofcom about Ms Manji presenting the programme wearing a headscarf were thrown out. Worse for Kel was the revelation that none of those complaints actually came from him.
Hayley Barlow ... Murdoch ambivalence
The Ofcom decision was recorded not just by the deeply subversive Guardian, but positively celebrated at Channel 4 itself, where their Head of Communications Hayley Barlow Tweeted a link to the Guardian article and added “MacKenzie urged Sun readers to complain about #c4news presenter @FatimaManji wearing hijab. Ofcom rejects all 17”. Quite so. And on that one subject she has this blog’s wholehearted support.
However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, while the stance of some Channel 4 News presenters on the machinations of the Murdoch mafiosi has been uniformly sceptical - lead presenter Jon Snow, who Retweeted Ms Barlow’s comments, is one who comes to mind - that of its Head of Communications is not, as Zelo Street regulars will be all too aware. Why this might be is not difficult to discover.
Hayley Barlow spent more than eleven and a half years as Head of PR at the late and not at all lamented Screws. As Martin Hickman observed, on the same day that Neville “Stylish Masturbator” Thurlbeck tasked Glenn Mulcaire to hack Milly Dowler’s voicemail, “the News of the World wrote to Surrey Police requesting an exclusive interview with the Dowlers - before mentioning that the paper was considering offering an award for information about her whereabouts … Hayley Barlow, the executive who wrote the letter, told the family an interview would be conducted with the ‘utmost sympathy’ and offered them the News of the World’s full support”. We know what happened next.
But of course that was then, and this is now, so perhaps Ms Barlow should also be cut a generous length of slack? Well, usually yes, but once again there is a teensy problem: there was Ms Barlow last month, taking to Twitter to tell “In an authored film on tonight’s [Channel 4 News], former No 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson on Brexit, the past and the future”. Andy Coulson. Who got guilty in the Hacking Trial.
As Popbitch observed at the time, “Coulson has finally accepted advice that he needed to be seen out and about again … Favours were duly called in from old friends like Tom Bradby and Piers Morgan - so if you were wondering why Coulson was suddenly appearing on TV as a Brexit analyst, now you know”.
Now The Great Man was also being touted as a Brexit analyst on Channel 4 News, thanks to his old mucker Hayley. Well, what are friends for?
The problem is that Channel 4 News becomes tarnished, if only marginally, as a result. And that’s not good enough.