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McCarthy lives

This has been a week of Murdoch bashing, and no mistake. The old man has been labelled unfit to run his company by the Labour members of a Commons select committee. These are people with short memories if they cannot recall the days when Rupert’s was the most assiduously kissed arse in Britain, or the fact that it was their own leader whose lips were the most puckered. Almost as distasteful has been the zeal of  the rest of the media in reporting their condemnation,and that makes it all the more important that their short-comings are not allowed to slip under the radar.

Once upon a time there was a fine British newspaper called the Daily Telegraph. It was the home of Bill Deedes, one of the great journalists of my lifetime, and of distinguished figures across the board. In its hey-day, its Page Three was better read than that of the Sun, by those in the know. If ever there was a titillating court case, the details of which were a little too fruity for the other broadsheets and contained words that were too long for the tabloids, you would find the full and unexpurgated version there, unless it was beyond the basest definition of good taste.

Then along  came the internet, with its on-line editions, and the world changed. The Telegraph joined the rest in the gutter, and worse than that, it became vicious and censorious into  the bargain. Even its news reporting became imbued by this and has reached a point where editorial thought seems to have disappeared. Here’s an example. A couple of days ago, a footballer got himself into trouble in the north west of England. He was arrested on an assault charge, then released on bail pending further investigations. A short time later he was arrested again, ater a motoring incident, and charged with driving while disqualified, while over the limit, and without insurance. If this man is guilty as charged, then I have no brief for him, but to me there seem to be three questions that need answering.

The first is for the police. How come this guy was released, under the influence, after being accused of punching a woman in the face? They may not have anticipated that he would go out and commit a raft of, alleged, motoring offences, but surely the safety of his, alleged, victim might have been a consideration. He was arrested at 3:30 am. At 5:30am the car accident happened, and the driver of the other vehicle wound up in hospital. Shouldn’t that have been prevented by the simple and normally routine act of locking the guy up for the night?

The second is for the editor of the Telegraph? If that very obvious question occurs to a simpleton like me, how come it wasn’t put by your reporter?

The third is also for said editor. His disreputable organ chose to publish, in its story, the address of the footballer involved, but not in its entirety, only the town in which he lives and the street. I’ve just had a look at it on Google Earth; we are not talking modest family terrace here, we are talking leafy suburbia and serious wealth. In recent years, the burglary of footballers’ homes has become a significant part of the black economy in the north west of England. That being the case the Telegraph‘s partial publication has put not only the accused footballer at risk, but potentially, the homes of every one of his neighbours. So my question for Mr T0ny Gallagher is this. Was your action one of negligence, thoughtlessness, or stupidity, or was it deliberate? And if it was the latter I’ll put a supplementary, one that was put to someone else along time ago. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last?



Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Joy
    May 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Not much time between 3.30 and 5.30 if you take into account he was probably still in the Police Station for some time after being arrested. Does this mean he drove home from the Police Station under the influence or are we sure he wasn’t sober when first arrested but managed to down a bottle of Scotch in a very short time after being released. As you say, there are many questions, but the tone of the reporting would appear guilty as charged! Man in the street would never have been named let alone an address given, such are the penalties of being famous – but it won’t be long before such guys are able to get off any charges because their cases have been prejudiced by poor reporting.

  2. May 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Or because the CPS and Crown Office don’t prosecute anything with less than a 75% chance of conviction? Or is it higher than that?

  3. Bill Tackaberry
    May 12, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Like the Scotsman, the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs are victims of the curse of the Barclay Brothers. The ST was founded in 1961 and over the last year has been running stories from its archives. Big mistake. They are painful reminders of what a good newspaper it used to be.
    PS Glad to hear the new Bob Skinner is going to do well. I admit I was a bit taken aback when I started Grievous Angel and found it was a first-person narrative. The appeal – well, the main part of the appeal – of this series has been the way the stories are seen through the eyes of the large group of vividly-realised central characters; so I thought I’d really miss this. Should have known better. It was a smashing book!

    • May 12, 2012 at 10:40 am

      I am not certain how much editorial influence those two wield, or whether the Torygraph has been dragged down by a perceived need to follow market trends. Glad you liked GA; if that’s your approach, I suspect you’ll like Funeral Note even more.

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