Tuesday, 5 July 2011

I despair of Uppal, I really do

Sometimes I think he crawls up his ministers' bottoms just because it's warm and comfortable. Or perhaps he thinks there's some community of feeling between himself and Rupert Murdoch. They are, after all, both dishonest millionaires. I can't think of any other reason why he would need to say this in Parliament, on the subject of the BSkyB takeover. It's just meaningless words…
For the sake of clarity, will my right hon. Friend confirm that under the new, strengthened undertakings any future chairman of Sky News, and the current chairman, will be truly independent and impartial?

But in the interests of public service, I draw your attention to a previous occasion on which Rupert Murdoch promised full independence to the Times and Sunday Times when he bought them:

Frank Giles, editor Sunday Times 1981-83, commented that the board ‘had very little power or will to protect the independence of the papers they were appointed to safeguard.’ In his autobiography, Sundry Times, he describes how Murdoch ordered him in January 1982 to replace the paper’s magazine editor with an editor from the News of the World.
In March 1982 Murdoch called Fred Emery, a former Times assistant editor, into his office and said he was considering firing Times editor, Harold Evans. Emery reminded Murdoch of his guarantee that editors couldn’t be fired without the approval of the independent directors. Murdoch’s response was, ‘God, you don’t take all that seriously, do you. Why wouldn’t I give instructions to the Times when I give instructions to editors all around the world?
Harold Evans, when editor of The Times asked Edward Pickering, ‘What protection can I expect from you as a national director against improper pressures?’ ‘You have to remember, said the fifth independent national director, ‘that I worked for Beaverbrook…that’s the way things are.’ (Harold Evans, Good Times, Bad Times, p404) Evans resigned after incessant pressure on 15 March 1982.
I notice that despite the story that News of the World reporters illegally hacked into the phone of a missing (murdered) child to listen to messages left by distraught parents and friends, then deleted them in the hope that new ones would be left, allowing the family and police to believe she might be alive, none of the tabloids are running the story. Why might this be? Because they all did it, and the last thing they want is a circular firing squad. This is why British tabloids are a cancer on a free society.

In case you've forgotten: while the NotW did this, they were also running 'exclusive' heartbreaking interviews with Milly's parents.

Who was the editor? Rebekah Wade Brooks: now chief executive of News International. Who was deputy editor? Andy Coulson: until last year the Prime Minister's right-hand man, despite the Tories' full knowledge that criminal acts were being committed under his control.

No comments: