Someone standing on your foot, Ian?
What fires that thought is the attitude the Eye has to the Hacked Off campaign, and those who support it. Both want to see good independent journalism flourish, even among the wreckage of partisan hackery, proprietorial interference, lobby group Astroturfing and wanton propaganda. They may not agree on press regulation, but, so what?
So the attacks on HO from the Eye continue, with the latest, in issue 1531, veering into the realm of the pointless. Under the guise of “Libel News”, readers are told “Hacked Off’s declaration that ‘the press should be held to standards which protect the public, strengthen democracy and safeguard freedom of expression’ is about to face a severe test”.
There is more. “Veteran BBC journalist John Ware is suing one of Hacked Off’s collaborators [this should read ‘supporters’] for the ‘seriously defamatory’ accusation that his reporting is prejudiced - and rather than defend the BBC, Hacked Off supporters are lining up against it”. The piece continues in similar vein.
Two things here. One, the BBC is not the press, and Two, the BBC is not involved in the legal action described. Therefore no-one is “lining up against” the Corporation. Nor is anyone involved in that action resiling from the assertion which the Eye claims is “about to face a severe test”. Ware was trenchantly criticised by Paddy French of Press Gang. Ware claimed he had been defamed and instructed lawyers. French is defending the action.
That is all. But instead of leaving it at that, French and his legal team get a casual smearing: “Clearly they have an interest in discrediting Ware and Panorama”. No. Just no. Ware has begun proceedings. They are being defended. Worse still, we then read that “Many have tried, but no one has yet been able to lay a glove on Panorama”. And no one is trying to: a defamation action is being defended (for the third time).
After including Justin Schlosberg in the smearing (why?), the piece concludes by telling us how old French, his QC, and Ware are, as if this is some rabbit cleverly extracted from a hat for our entertainment. It’s pointless. Try as I might, it is impossible to see any good reason for the article’s publication - save to serve the press establishment.
Because that is what the article screams at me. It is the press establishment patronisingly lecturing me, and all those other Eye subscribers. And when I open my copy of the Eye, I don’t want to see the press establishment sneering at me from its pages.
Another thought occurs: many other Eye readers may not want to see the press establishment sneering at them from its pages, either. I’ll just leave that one there.
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