Thursday, September 09, 2010

Guardian Makes It Up

Remember how the Guardian trumpeted yet another ex News of the World journalist who reckoned Andy Coulson knew all about the phone tapping while it was going on? The BBC naturally followed suit and used the story on all their news bulletins.

Well thank God for a proper journalist at Channel 4 News, who had this to say...

“Paul McMullan told the Guardian newspaper this morning that David Cameron’s communications chief “would certainly be well aware that the practice was pretty widespread,” but Channel 4 News has learnt from the former features executive that he left the paper in 2001, two years before Mr Coulson became its chief.”

Yet another example of Guardian muckraking masquerading as serious journalism. Amateur night.

So, Mr Rusbridger, do tell us what you've got to say about that?

Taps fingers waiting...

Hattip: Guido


Unsworth said...

Not too sure that Channel 4 has got this right. McMullan may have been contemporary with Coulson - it's worth checking.

RonLiddle said...

"Coulson joined the paper in May 2000 and Paul McMullan left in late 2001."

Red Rag said...

The Tories must me desperate if all they are left with is you defending the Chief of the Hackers.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Bugger the Guardian. I don't get threatening letters from the Guardian telling me I am being investigated for not buying it.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Think you`ll be waiting a long time for a reply Iain..This is the Grauniad....they are never wrong especially when they are being anti tory.

Ben Whisker said...

Mr Dale, Mr Coulson was deputy editor of the News of the World from May 2000, before Mr McMullan left in October 2001, and is alleged to be directly responsible for appointing Mr McMullan to the investigative team, so Mr McMullan is in a position to comment on the extent of Mr Coulson's knowledge. It is Channel 4 News, you and Guido which are misleading in this instance, not the Guardian and the BBC.

Red Rag said...

Oh Dear Mr Dale - As Mr Ben has said....always check your facts when trying to extract urine out of someone....especially if you are extracting it over checking facts.

It shows Guido is better doing the gutter side of things....speaking of which,any chance of asking him how his Hague Hunt is going.

OperaNut1972 said...

You know what why don't we all wait and see what comes out of the Parliamentary investigation. In the meantime, I'm of a mind to suggest the Mr C takes a leave of Absence until the report hits the PM's desk. Its not a sacking it is in the public interest and would happen in any business to person of this position to be sent home on gardening leave. Situation resolved only took a little thought. Depends on the Labour party interest in fanning these flames after Lord Tubby of Scott told porkies re his phone!

Matt said...

Ah. So another Gruaniad story doesn't quite add up, then?

It's a Nearly story, isn't it?

Rather like the press release I got the other day: "girl nearly hit by car on pedestrian crossing."

So, if Mr Coulson "would have been well aware..." how come Paul McMullan wasn't? Oh! Paul McMullan WAS well aware of the practice? And did nothing about it, presumably?

Doubtless The Gruaniad and its little helpers in the comment section here will be calling for Paul McMullan to be investigated by the police?

No? Why not? Oh, we know why, really, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Red Rag thinks that we are desperate when you point out Grauniad/Labour attacks are lies. It might be that Labour are getting desperate when their attacks are such easily refutable lies.

Jimmy said...

"Mr Coulson was deputy editor of the News of the World from May 2000"

I think Ian's argument is that that isn't a sufficiently senior position to be expected to know what the staff were up to.

Is that it?

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Not convincing.

Nobody is saying that Coulson initiated the phone-hacking at the Sun. The whole point is that it was an established practice, and one that was common across London news-rooms.

A great many people, in and out of the loop, were complicit. The numbers are staggering. Two years back, the original Guardian story quoted numbers from the Information Commissioner: just one private investigator tracked down by the police had received a total of 13,343 requests, from 305 reporters, for information that typically required hacking into confidential databases, including tax returns, phone records, social security data, bank statements, records of drivers’ licenses and information on police computers.

Coulson was recruited into the Sun office as early as 1988, and was a regular fixture for much of the next two decades. Before being anointed by Murdoch as the Chosen One, he had a desk in the office running the Bizarre column. Indeed, bizarre.

Only when Goodman targetted the royals did it all become too hot to handle. That was indisputably on Coulson’s watch. Coulson, almost honourably, took the rap and walked: which was what Brown acknowledged and Clegg was able to quote in Wednesday's PMQs. Now, who, what and where is Clegg's only obvious source of information on that?

All that remains in doubt is whether we can trust Coulson’s shrill bleats that he didn’t know what was SOP in his own office.

That apart, where did Channel 4 get its tip from? Again, there is one obvious source.

Tapestry said...

The first casualty of a political war of words is the truth. The truth is few are that interested in a story about rich people spying on each other, and endless accusations and denials skirting around it. People want the stories of footballers screwing hookers, stories about Cameron's Dad dying, or 'is Hague gay?' stuff.

In the City, £1200 is now becoming the unit of currency, and is called a Roonie. Is this the end of decimilisation?

Cynic said...

Cioulson should sue. Getting access to who is the Labour Party is feeding the muck should be interesting .... as should exposing the Guardian's pecuniary interest now that all those lucrative and ludicrous BBC and Civil Service Adverts will be pulled

tory boys never grow up said...

Absolutely right the Guardian should check its facts and sources before publishing.

Giving his concern about these matters perhaps Iain could tell us what standards he and others (Guido) do, or should, apply in this regard before deciding to publish.

Tap fingers waiting....

tory boys never grow up said...

The New York Times of corse has a detailed code of ethics and detailed rules on the use of unidentified sources which might put in perspective some of their recent comments on "Hackergate"

Perhaps Mr Dale would like to comment as to why he doesn't use similar standards for his own unidentified sources.

Anonymous said...

Coulson was not editor when McMullan was there.

Its not 'hacking' its not recording phone calls and its doubtful if there is a law against it.

You ring someone up and it goes to answer phone.
You can access messages remotely with a code, most people do not change it from 0000, probably because they are not aware of the service. And it is a service provided by the phone companies
Anybody can do it - if they have half a brain and any intent - like journalists, like police like bloggers like the man on the nr9 bus.
The ability to do this has been known for ages there is no way anybody can keep track of it.

For once Gordon Brown was right and Coulson did the honourable thing - years ago. Funny how the socialists are not in favour of a 'fresh start'.

golden_balls said...

No rebuttal from Mr Dale i see

Try to get your facts from someone more reliable than Guido next time.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

trevorsden @ 9:57 am:

There's the Criminal Law Act of 1977 (under which Goodman and Mulcaire were originally charged, and to which - if I recall aright - Goodman pleaded guilty).

There's the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000, (under which Mulcaire was condemned).

There's the Data Protection Act of 1998. Section 32 gives journalist some legal protection as a "public interest" defence. The problem there is the "public interest" can only be shown retrospectively. Any general trawl must be in breach of the Act.

As they say up north: think on.

Now here's a funny thing: the Guardian doesn't lose too frequently, too badly, as Jonathan Aitken discovered.

Unsworth said...

@ toryboys

"The New York Times of corse has a detailed code of ethics and detailed rules on the use of unidentified sources which might put in perspective some of their recent comments"

Naturally you believe that this 'code' and these 'rules' are followed to the letter by each and every NYT hack. Now, care to take a look at similar codes and ethics worldwide?

RonLiddle said...

Actually, most of the hacking has nothing to do with pin code hacking.

When I first read of these stories, I assumed that it was a simple case of a default pin. If that were the case you'd have to say the victim should take some blame.

However, a lot of these hacks sound like 'reset' hacks, or master-code hacks - which would require internal knowledge from phone operators.

A quick search of "How to reset voicemail pin" on google and you'll find several methods that could be used - without requiring the original PIN.

Dr Evil said...

Guido nailed it. Also it seems the Mirror has the biggest finger in this pie of a non story. The usual Labour prats are bleating on and on about it and the Graun is drip feeding nonsense to try to make the 11 day limit. I just don't listen to what any Labour politicians say these days, not after the dreadful mess they have made of my country.

tory boys never grow up said...

@Unsworth - "Naturally you believe that this 'code' and these 'rules' are followed to the letter by each and every NYT hack."

No I don't - but I certainly do believe that such codes have contributed to the higher journalistic standards in the mainstream US press. And if you look at US bloggers you will find that they often pull up jopurnalists when they fail to comply with such standards.

And I'm sure even you can appreciate the irony of bloggers such as Mr Dale and Guido commenting on the standards of journalists any where in the world.

Matt said...

Tory boys never grow up said:

@Unsworth - "Naturally you believe that this 'code' and these 'rules' are followed to the letter by each and every NYT hack."
No I don't -

Then you are condemned out of your own mouth. And you reveal yourself as a mealy-mouthed poseur who is to the world of Blogging what John Prescott is to marital and political continence.

You are full of it. Aren't you?

Unsworth said...

@ toryboys

"No I don't - but I certainly do believe that such codes have contributed to the higher journalistic standards in the mainstream US press."

Believe what you wish - but there's no evidence for that statement at all. Mainstream US Press is remarkably superficial - in my view - and profoundly limited.

As an aside I'd mention that the NYT circulation figure is less than one million (half that of the Wall Street Journal) - compared with The Sun at over 3 million, the News of the World at about 3.5 million, and The Daily Mail, over 2 million. Now compare the relative population sizes, you can see that by British standards the NYT is little more than a relatively successful local rag.

"if you look at US bloggers you will find that they often pull up jopurnalists when they fail to comply with such standards."

They may. But these self-appointed regulators are of no consequence at all. The real question is, what 'standards' are these? Where are they codified? Like so much of what you have written, they're opinions - no more and no less.

As to criticism - well, a cat may look at a king. You seriously believe that criticism may only be voiced by certain people? Bang goes any dialogue about anything, then - including your views.

Middle Aged Bloke said...

I wonder why the likes of Paul McMullan didn't come forward with this information before. What could have motivated him to come forward now? Perhaps this article includes a pointer:

ken555 said...

this looks pretty stupid now