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  • seandodson 9:10 am on July 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phone hacking, stewart lee, values of the carphone warehouse   

    Most people by now must know my thoughts on the phone hacking scandal. But I also detect a sense of ethical ambiguity in the actions of the corporations who are “suspending” advertising from the News of the World. Many of them for as much as a whole week. I suppose it must make good PR to distance yourself from a brand that has developed an infectious disease, although the diagnosis has been far from sudden.

    Listening to Tesco and Asda and Coca Cola et al “monitoring our options” I can’t quite help but sense a moral bandwagon being leapt upon. So much so that I was reminded of this excellent sketch by comedian Stewart Lee on the values of the Carphone Warehouse, which he performed in the wake of the wake of the Jade Goody racism row.

    • seandodson 8:19 pm on August 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      According to the latest issue of Private Eye. Many of the companies who “pulled” their adverts from the News of the Worlds hadn’t actually booked advertising in the News of the World. The values of the Carphone Warehouse indeed.

  • seandodson 7:58 pm on July 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , phone hacking, , rebecca brooks   

    Peter Oborne of the Spectator on the phone hacking scandal.

    Let’s try a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that BP threw an extravagant party, with oysters and expensive champagne. Let’s imagine that Britain’s most senior politicians were there — including the Prime Minister and his chief spin doctor. And now let’s imagine that BP was the subject of two separate police investigations, that key BP executives had already been arrested, that further such arrests were likely, and that the chief executive was heavily implicated.

    Let’s take this mental experiment a stage further: BP’s chief executive had refused to appear before a Commons enquiry, while MPs who sought to call the company to account were claiming to have been threatened. Meanwhile, BP was paying what looked like hush money to silence people it had wronged, thereby preventing embarrassing information entering the public domain.

    And now let’s stretch probability way beyond breaking point. Imagine that the government was about to make a hugely controversial ruling on BP’s control over the domestic petroleum market. And that BP had a record of non-payment of British tax. The stench would be overwhelming. There would be outrage in the Sun and the Daily Mail — and rightly so — about Downing Street collusion with criminality. The Sunday Times would have conducted a fearless investigation, and the Times penned a pained leader. In parliament David Cameron would have been torn to shreds.

  • seandodson 1:09 pm on February 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hugh cudlipp, lionel barber, london college of communication, phone hacking, ,   

    Lionel Barber, editor of the FT: on phone hacking, Wikileaks and the downfall of Vince Cable 

    Lionel Barber, the cerebral editor of the FT (his brain is so big that it casts a shadow right across the Thames) has given the annual Hugh Cudlipp lecture at the London College of Communication (full text here). It’s a very good speech, not least because it provides the opinion of a well respected editor on three of the most controversial stories of recent months:

    On the Vince Cable story

    “The Daily Telegraph’s decision to dispatch two journalists posing as constituents to interview the business secretary Vince Cable … was nothing more than entrapment journalism”.

    On phone hacking

    “Failure to clean house at all news organisations would leave the mainstream media in Britain at risk of retribution in the form of statutory regulation. Many MPs are itching to retaliate for the humiliation of the expenses scandal, but statutory regulation would be a grave step in the wrong direction.

    Press freedom is woven into the fabric of our nation. We do not want to go down the same road as countries such as Argentina, Hungary and South Africa which have adopted or are about to adopt new laws curbing press freedom. Democracy, it should be remembered, is not just about holding elections.”

    On Wikileaks

    “So while official reprisals may still follow, I am inclined to side with my FT colleague Gideon Rachman who wrote, half tongue in cheek, that the Obama administration should pin a medal on Mr Assange. By and large, the cables revealed that what the US government reported in private was exactly what the US government said in public.”

  • seandodson 1:01 am on January 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , phone hacking, , public interest   

    Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University, expresses exactly why the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World Matter so much.

    Editors who routinely invoke the public interest when it suits them have in this case systematically abused the public interest. One leading player in the story has been in Downing Street for nine months; another dominates our media landscape; a third is our most powerful police force. If their conduct is not a matter of public interest, what is?

    Absolutely. The point being that subterfuge – a deceit in order to reach your goal – is only ever acceptable by a journalist if it is overwhelmingly in the public interest. According to the steady flow of revelations coming from the high court, the hacking of mobile phones by the News of the World, and likely other newspapers, hasn’t ever been in the public interest. Not even once. Prince William’s doctor’s appointment is not in the public interest.

    That’s why phone hacking is so morally and professionally wrong.

  • seandodson 4:26 pm on January 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , odds on andy coulson, phone hacking, political betting   

    The net seems to be tightening on Andy Coulson, at least according to political punters on the social betting site Smarkets. Back in October, when the New York Times did its bit to unmask widespread phone hacking at the News of the World, the clever money was that Coulson would stay: 79% of Smarkets users thought (correctly) that he would outlast 2010. Significantly, perhaps, the odds on Smarkets are set by members of the site and not by a professional bookmaker. Today, the same site has spun the tables on Cameron’s head of communications, and is offering a 74% probability that Coulson will “leave his position” in 2011. Surely now more a case of when, not if.

  • seandodson 2:58 pm on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , data blog, , news of thew world, phone hacking, politic   

    Full list of public figures identified in the News of the World phone hacking scandal. From Guardian data blog

  • seandodson 4:23 pm on October 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , phone hacking, phone hacking scandal   

    “He was very conscientious and he would… 

    “He was very conscientious and he wouldn’t let stories pass unless he was sure they were correct … “

    • this quote, from an anonymous source speaking to C4s Despatches programme, made me laugh today. How deep into the dark arts of journalism do you have to be to describe someone as being “conscientious” while listening to a recorded message from an illegally hacked phone. To make it worse, the public interest doesn’t even come into it. The Guardian
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