Yesterday’s comment from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - “change is coming” - has not only sent our free and fearless press into a tailspin, along with its hangers-on, but has provided us with a superb example of why Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry should be allowed to proceed. And caught up in that tailspin has been fellow pundit shouting down specialist Sarah Baxter, who claims to be the deputy editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times.
Put the ball in my own net ... er, what's one of those?
Ms Baxter is a fully paid-up member of the Pundit Establishment, and as such she can be seen dismissively talking over someone from Stop Funding Hate one moment, then glorying in another opportunity to occupy part of the sofa on The Andy Marr Show (tm) the next. And as someone who has shamelessly taken the Murdoch shilling, she can be depended upon to parrot the approved line on press regulation.
That approved line also includes routinely trashing those who campaign for more effective and accountable regulation of the press, which for the Murdoch mafiosi is Streng Verboten. So when Max Mosley’s lawyers had the audacity to fire off a Letter Before Action in the general direction of those media outlets that have persistently smeared him over the recent past, she was prevailed upon to go into action on Rupe’s behalf.
This was a campaign which progressed not necessarily to her advantage: “Max Mosley, Donald Trump and Oleg Deripaska: The sex-mad rich don’t want you to read this” was the title, but this immediately suggested one sex-mad and very rich person not on that list - Rupert Murdoch himself. Oops! And he certainly doesn’t want anyone to go delving into that part of his life - look at the abuse Lily Allen received.
Undeterred, Ms Baxter decided to have a swipe at Evan Harris of campaigning group Hacked Off. “I suppose @DrEvanHarris and #HackedOff would also side with oligarch #OlegDeripaska against anti-corruption activist @navalny - sad!” Harris replied to her. “I have replied to the three comments by @DrEvanHarris of #HackedOff on my piece. You can view them at the foot of this article”. Paywalled article demanding personal information? You can take that one and shove it. Put it in the public domain, thanks.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
And there won’t be a debate between her and anyone from Hacked Off any time soon, either. But there will be the most unfortunate follow-up howler. Not satisfied with talking about the “sex-mad rich”, which means her boss’s name comes up, she then made the seriously unfortunate statement “Press regulation always comes down to protecting the powerful in the name of the people”. Yes Sarah - people like your boss (again).
That is exactly what campaigners like Harris (and Mosley) are about - stopping the powerful dumping on the little people. But thanks for letting the cat out of the bag. So when she sniped “Damian Green MP and Mark Goldring of Oxfam are walking PR disasters. Incapable of sounding gracious”, someone out there may have wondered if she might have a look in the nearest mirror. Because she certainly is.
Sarah Baxter had one job - kick the press regulation campaigners. She fouled it up royally. With achievements like that to her credit, Hacked Off can take a few hours off and leave it to her to do their job for them. Creepy Uncle Rupe will not be pleased.