the press are right… and therefore wrong

By Emma.
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The Miliband/Mail argument rumbles on. It is now likely to stay a live story as Parliament will make a decision next week on what kind of Royal Charter will follow the Leveson Inquiry. Sure as night follows day, or creepy paparazzi follow Britney, the argument about the standards of one Newpaper group has been widened to continue the discussion of the standard of the whole of the press.

Many voices have been raised today from those traditionally defending the press against any form of regulation – Light touch Leveson or otherwise – saying that the Leveson inquiry is about more than one act, more than one (well two) papers reprehensible behavior on this one occasion. That the Mail’s attempted monstoring of Miliband through attacking his father has nothing to do with the Leveson Inquiry.

They are right. When the Leveson Inquiry was set up in July 2011, this attack on Ed and his father was more than two years off.  It was also two years before a bullying and hideous column in the Daly Mail was connected – by a coroner - to the suicide of a young transgendered woman. Though it was two years after another infamous smear on a dead man who happened to be gay.

The Leveson Inquiry wasn’t set up to investigate these incidents. It was set up to investigate the culture that has led to these incidents being considered an acceptable part of the rough and tumble of newspaper journalism. If that industry can’t behave with propriety just one week before they try to convince the country to give them one last chance at self-regulation, what chance to they have of doing so once the spotlight has passed on.

So the press are right, the Leveson inquiry isn’t about the Miliband attacks. It isn’t about the attacks on Lucy Meadows or Stephen Gately. It isn’t even about the hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone. That was the catalyst that thrust the whole sordid, sorry side of the industry into the light.

But they are very, very wrong to think that these incidents don’t won’t or shouldn’t influence thinking around the set up of a Royal Commission. The Daily Mail have given those making this choice yet another timely and stark reminder of just how feral our unregulated press have become. And that is completely relevant to the decisions to be made next week.

 

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11 comments to “the press are right… and therefore wrong”

  1. Comment by SimonFa:

    “….Leveson inquiry is about more than one act, more than one (well two) papers reprehensible behavior …”

    Its now looking like tt least three: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/sep/12/mirror-investigated-alleged-phone-hacking

  2. Comment by Max Biaggi:

    I have just listened to the House of Comments podcast (79) where you used the “c” word, bleeped out.

    I was not offended. However your shouting down of Toby Young was offensive.

    Why bother having guests of an opposing viewpoint on and not allow them to make their points fully? Why not then explore these arguments in a calm, respectful and reasoned manner?

    Young made some decent points, some of which I hadn’t considered before and deserved a decent exploration & rebuttal.

    I contrast this with the hearing given to the Fabian society guest who was heard in silence while he gave his rather simplistic analysis of the US debt crisis, which went unchallenged and uncriticised.

    You have a decent podcast normally and this was well below the usual standard.

  3. Comment by Emma:

    Because Toby told us he could only give 15 minutes then spoke uninterrupted for a very long time without challenge. When it was clear he was grandstanding, I challenged him forcefully.

    My podcast, my rules.

  4. Comment by SimonFa:

    Ref that podcast. In your strong support for press regulation have you considered that Maggie Thatcher got very close to a 2/3 majority? Remember she tried to censor the BBC over IRA reporting, imagine what she could have done with the press charter and a 2/3 majority?

  5. Comment by Emma:

    Absolutely nothing. Conjecture & scaremongering are no way to deal with the genuine issue of the utter failure of the press to self regulate.

  6. Comment by Max Biaggi:

    Re. your podcast your rules.

    Shouting down and not trying to win your argument by reason and discussion isn’t very interesting to me.

    You made great play of your perception of the poor standard of reporting and smearing of politicians in the in the Press. You wanted to see debate on the issues and not personalities.

    You, however, decided to abuse and shout down rather than engage in debate.

    Hypocritical, no?

  7. Comment by Emma:

    Toby wasn’t “shouted down” he was stopped from grandstanding. He made his points – all of them – with which I disagreed and told him so. It’s called robust debate.

    I refuse to continue to be held responsible for your lack of listening comprehension.

  8. Comment by Max Biaggi:

    Listen again.

    I think you will find I am correct.

  9. Comment by Emma:

    I have.

    You aren’t.

    End of.

  10. Comment by Max Biaggi:

    No need to go down my throat.

    I am a long term listener, who got in touch to let you know that I thought your standards had slipped significantly in episode 79.

    It was offered as constructive criticism.

    I was brought up in an environment where tribal politics/shouting others down/failure to courteously debate &c., was the norm and it didn’t work out well.

    Northern Ireland in case you’re wondering.

    And it’s still my opinion that the podcast was below par, for the reasons given in my first post.

    I have lived in, worked in and still continue to regularly visit the USA, so I feel qualified to offer comment on that aspect, of the podcast, too.

    Kind Regards

  11. Comment by Emma:

    And in the process called me both offensive & a hypocrite.

    As a long term listener – and thank you very much for that – you can’t expect me not to respond to either charge:

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