Monday, March 19, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Mirror Editor Lies to Select Committee

On Tuesday 6 March, the Managing Editor of the Mirror, Eugene Duffy, gave evidence to the DCMS Select Committee on the self-regulation of the press. During the course of the hearing he was asked by Labour MP Rosemary McKenna is his paper ever trawled through the rubbish bins of famous people. He gave a categoric denial. In other words, he lied. The evidence for this assertion? Yesterday's Sunday Mirror story about David Cameron's recycling habits, which could only have been obtained by one of their reporters rifling through the bins chez Cameron. Perhaps the Committee might like to recall Mr Duffy and put the question to him again. And then ask him why he lied to them in the first place. Here's the exchange...
Q133 Rosemary McKenna: Can we move to the things that are not covered by the Data Protection Act and the other methods that are used by journalists? For example, you seem to think that all public figures are fair game and that it is okay to rifle through the refuse outside people's homes, and to employ people to trawl through their backgrounds going back 20 or 30 years, paying for information which is of no public interest at all.
Mr Eugene Duffy: First, we do not go through people's bins. We have never found much material there worth publishing!

The full evidence can be found HERE.

The Sunday Mirror reported:
The Sunday Mirror said it had found paper, plastic and food thrown out in
the general rubbish at Cameron's west London home, along with sacks of
non-biodegradable nappies. The newspaper said Cameron was failing to live up to
his campaign to persuade people to make green choices. Cameron's spokesman said
the paper's actions were "pretty sick". He said Cameron's family did recycle its
waste and used biodegradable nappies where possible. But biodegradable nappies
were not available for Cameron's oldest child, Ivan, who is disabled. "We need
to have a good debate on the environment in this country and I think it is
devalued by silly stories in the papers rummaging through bins," the spokesman


Alan Douglas said...

Duffy says "First, we do not go through people's bins. We have never found much material there worth publishing!"

How would he know there waws nothing worth publishing there WITHOUT having gone through the bin ? Hmmm...


Anonymous said...

Great story - but aren't the Mirror and Sunday Mirror (technically) different papers with different editors? As if that mattered!

MrHunnybun said...

A classic defence. "They" don't actually go through other peoples' bins, somebody else does it on their behalf. Is "Benji the Binman" still around?

Chris Paul said...

Newspaperman tells a fib! Shock horror. What a surprise. And as Alan points out it was a tngue in cheek answer protected by the defence of "humour". Although there may be a bit of separation of identities here if it were a freelance reporter or investigator acting on their own account. But Tory leader is an utter hypocrite. Public interest defence for going through bins.

Anonymous said...

Grow up Chris, what is hypocritical? So he can't buy bio-degradable nappies for one of his kids, and maybe like in Somerset you can't recycle plastic.

And s for his flight of 90 miles, that was to have a wheelchair fitting for his son.

Keep up the good work on the environment DC, you have managed to place it at the heart of the political debate.

Anonymous said...

"First, we do not go through people's bins. We have never found much material there worth publishing!"

A fishy answer anyway. How could they never have found much material if they never did it.

Anonymous said...

Surely the point is that the rubbish in the bins IS the story, not a dirt-digging excercise for something unrelated?

Anonymous said...

People who give misleading evidence to Select Committees should be prosecuted for perjury. But I suspect that if such a rule were introduced, half the cabinet, and regrettably, a number of civil servants, would now be standing in the dock.

Anonymous said...

But David Cameron has in the past been quite frank about using disposable nappies. He pointed out they do their best, but as they have three children in nappies, this is a lot to ask. I don't mind anyone having a go at politicians when they deserve it, but let's not drag the children into the equation.

Frankly, I've no time for these bin trawling antics by newspapers, much less Editors who lie about them. Perhaps the editors would like the contents of their bins examined in public, then we could all have a good laugh.

The Remittance Man said...

Trumpeter Lanfried,

You say that like it would be a bad thing.

To be honest, forcing the bastards to tell the truth by gaoling a few who didn't pour encourager les autres strikes me as a bloody great idea.

Beau Bo D'Or said...

Probably worth checking a key point before accusing someone of lying so publicly.

Date of giving 'evidence' Vs. Date of going through Cameron's bins.

Maybe a technicality but, I'm sure a key legal one.

nsfl said...

Yes, 11.27 poster, The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Mirror are discrete entities but Mr Duffy is Managing Editor of Mirror Group Newspapers and therefore has direct responsibilty for both titles.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

All the papers employ a weird obsessive compulsive bloke (whose name I forget)who makes a living out of rummaging through the bins of the rich and famous and who sells the results to them.

Technically I suppose they can say they do not go through bins, but they certainly pay a freelance to do so.

I myself have rummaged through Iain Dale's bins and have found a letter of rejection from the "Tie Man of the Year" organisation and half a dozen Tango bottles.

Chris Paul said...

Thanks for your visit Iain, and yes I do blog about things other than you! Though I do reckon someone from the Labour side needs to be standing up against the Tory tosh from yourself and Guido and that Dizzy too. It's good sport.

In fact I am getting monstered by local Labour folk, over some blogging I did six weeks ago about Frank Gallagher from Shameless looking like a certain local Lib Dem councillor.

You would have thought they'd show more gratitude rather than pretending I am about to be disciplined!

They can't have it both ways saying me and my blog are nothing to do with them AND claiming the right to discipline me for that blog.

Meanwhile the Lib Dems have moved the story they say is despicable on from a few dozen Town Hall insiders to a free paper with a VFD of 42,000 and 80,000 readers. That's how genuine they are.

There's a story for you!

Search LoL on Shameless should do it.

Anonymous said...

the remittance man 1.07 PM.
You're right, of course. One would only have to bang up half a dozen of the shysters and the message would get home.

Unfortunately Select Committees are very unskilful questioners. They should learn to put short, unambiguous, factual questions which leave no wriggle room.

Anonymous said...

Tories urge jailing of hacks who write a story they don't like. And you lot say Blair is a control freak. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Buenaventura Durruti said...

'We have never found much material there worth publishing!'

Seems to imply that we may not do but we have done in the past. Were they particularly dopey that day not to pick it up.


Anonymous said...

anonymous 3.50 PM. Nobody has suggested anything of the sort.

Paul Burgin said...

I agree, it's no way for journalists to behave whatever their political persuasion and the person they are doing a hatchet job on!

Anonymous said...

"we do not go through people's bins. We have never found much material there worth publishing!"

of course if the bin was full of old 'Mirror' s then it would be full of what was not wirth publishing!