Almost as if to confirm that Zelo Street was on the right track when posting on some of the content of court papers which form part of the Duchess of Sussex’s action against the publishers of the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday, the paper has now set out its defence. And in doing so, it has - perhaps unintentionally - vindicated the Sussex’s decision to step back from being front line members of the Royal Family.
While the MoS, its sister paper the Daily Mail, and most of the rest of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, have been castigating the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, especially over their reaction to the hostile barrage of press coverage, which in the case of the Duchess has all too frequently carried the tinge of racism, its declared legal defence asserts that the idea she is entitled to privacy somehow does not apply.
You read that right: while mere mortals are indeed entitled to a little privacy, the MoS has claimed that anyone Royal is not. Key to this is the assertion that they “rely on publicity about themselves and their lives to maintain the privileged positions they hold”. But, conversely, how would a reduction in that publicity hinder the maintenance of their public position? It doesn’t seem to hinder Princess Anne, for instance.
That MoS defence then moves on to the letter from the Duchess to her father Thomas Markle, whose contents were selectively published in its pages. Their stance is that she should not “have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the contents of the letter were private and would remain so”. Think about that: the MoS is saying that when she wrote that letter, she should have done so in the expectation of it being leaked.
Which may be another big legal ask, as is the next gem from the paper’s defence, that there is a “huge and legitimate public interest” in the private lives of the royals. Why is that interest “huge”? Because of the hunger in our free and fearless press for cheap and sensational copy which will move more copies. And what makes it “legitimate”? Er, because that same press says so. This defence already looks slightly shaky.
There will also be the usual legal mind games which those who have been in the same situation as the Duchess of Sussex will know all too well. As the Guardian has reported, “Among the evidence disclosed in the court papers are highly personal text messages between Thomas Markle and his daughter in the run-up to her wedding in May 2018 … The Mail on Sunday also suggested that if the case headed to court it would request copies of any private messages sent by Meghan to her friends in which she authorises them to speak to the media on her behalf”. Nasty? They’ve hardly got started.
What the MoS is setting out in its defence is that what it did is OK, because that is what the paper expects to be able to get away with. Hal and Meg should not expect to have any privacy because that would impact on the MoS’ business. Hence that paper and all the others kicking off like so many spoilt children at the prospect of the couple being out of reach very soon. How dare they stop the press scoring copy off of them?
In mounting this defence, then, the MoS has proved the Duchess’ point for her. But she and her family are not there merely to provide cheap copy. The press just doesn’t get it.
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It's only human to hope - or even believe - that far right Heil guttersnipes can't get any lower with their cheap shots.
But they do. And they will.
Welcome to corrupt British media 2020.
The MoS and the media in general use public interest or ‘ right to know’ as a defence or excuse as standard. Piers Morgan pointed out how when taxpayers money is used, those who receive it have a duty to answer to those who fund it. Sure thing. Do remind us how much taxpayers money was used to pay for The Leveson Inquiry of which you appeared to be questioned yourself over phone hacking. You mentioned The Princess of Wales too! We will come back to that.
Piers Morgan — once the editor of The Mirror, was sacked after fake images of British soldiers committing abuse went out on his front pages. Previously, he was involved in a complaint about a royal member's wife attending rehab. More public interest?
What is the requirement for something to be deemed as public interest? It surely doesn’t all just boil down to money. What about truth, justice and integrity?
The Leveson Inquiry took place as a result over concerns of widespread hacking. The trial concluded that hacking had been going on. Not just at The NOTW, but one case (so far?) was found at The Guardian newspaper when a journalist listened to the voicemail of an arms dealer. The newspaper was let off lightly. Cases are still being fought in the courts today.
Besides money, public interest can be cited in many situations. I would think issues that affect the nation would be top of the list. Like for instance lying in public official inquiries where people have died? Or plotting to make decisions for the UK whilst fooling people into thinking it is democratic or the right thing to do? Well done though Piers for pointing out the importance of it. I somehow doubt you will be thanked for it by those you may be protecting.
Why do the media go after the royal family with such ferocity? Don’t forget that stateside they are still keeping Schtum on the other names of clients around the Epstein/Roberts scandal. Only a royal prince has been thrown to the wolves. Where is Piers on the subject of public interest on that? Is he too gutless to upset his US elitist friends?
The press use Freedom of Expression to do their job — which is merely a principle. They have no right in law to exist. This also means they have no right to any special protection in that capacity either.
Let us turn the public interest spotlight back on the media themselves. We certainly haven’t been told the full truth on issues. Being personally caught up in intelligence matters myself and made to answer for my actions, I have every right to pursue them all. I am left to find justice myself because nobody has helped me. As for Diana and inquests and investigations — they all reached different conclusions. When the media take hold of a story, they are known to pursue family members of their target too. Why is nobody going after the family members of journalists' partners and families to find out what they knew?
Why does this notion of ‘public interest’ not apply, to journalists?
Oh, it will.
The shoe is on the other foot now!
The mail trying use Meghan's father *against* her feels like the worst kind of intimidation.
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