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Angus Goes on a Daily Mail Rant

Should come as no surprise to discover that Paul Dacre, editior of the Daily Mail, is a bit of a prat.

Don't know in that case why I was surprised to discover he seems to be one. The man seems to talk utter twaddle.

"If Gordon Brown wanted to force a privacy law, he would have to set out a bill, arguing his case in both Houses of Parliament, withstand public scrutiny and win a series of votes," he said.

"Now, thanks to the wretched Human Rights Act, one judge with a subjective and highly relativist moral sense can do the same with a stroke of his pen."

The "wretched Human Rights Act" indeed. I'd hate to see a society where everything fit into Dacre's viewpoints if he doesn;t agree with the Human Rights Act and thinks it's an abomination.

His comments about the Mosley case (which his paper lost) also annoyed me. Ok, I sit very nicely on the liberal side of the fence but I do feel that if people want to have consenual 'unconventional' sex (in the eyes of the mainstream) then they should be able to without any worries or the media throwing it on the front page in outrage and scandal. Especially when said media actually lie about the facts.

The media should be about factual news. If you can't trust news sources to provide you factual news then they are not a good source of information any longer. Now I know many of my friends don't consider The Daily Mail as a *news*paper anyway so maybe it's unsurprising that the paper isn't interested in reporting the news in the same way as The Times, Guardian, Telegraph and Independent are. I guess I should lump The Daily Mail very firmly in the same camp as The Sun, Mirror and Star - the sensationalist tabloid gossip camp. But then I think I probably have done for many years anyway so I'm stop whining and giving The Daily Mail a higher status and importance than it actually holds

Mail Editor Accuses Mosley Judge (BBC News; Sunday 9th November 2008)


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 10th, 2008 09:51 am (UTC)
I don't know if you read Private Eye, but justice Eady has been involved in some *very* controversial decisions over the last few years, including allowing a Saudi Prince to sue a US author over a book which wasn't even made available for sale in this country.
Dacre may be a prat, but Eady is a lousy exponent of anything like 'justice'.
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
I can't properly comment on the decision, given that the US First Amendment gives a much broader right to free speech than exists in England (or indeed most of Europe). That being said, as a matter of abstract policy I am troubled by the idea of restricting the right to free speech when it comes to public figures - even when that speech is from sensationalist tabloids like the Daily Mail, The Sun, or even Newsweek.

I am curious why Mosley brought his challenge up under the Human Rights Act rather than a straight-forward libel claim (since the allegation that he enjoyed Nazi-themed S&M was far more damaging to his reputation than just the S&M).
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:23 am (UTC)
Because there is an absolute defence to libel - and that's veracity. He didn't deny that he was involved in the S&M sessions, and bearing in mind what the women involved were wearing it would be difficult to prove that it *wasn't* Nazi-themed.

Incidentally, Angus, it was the News of the World that was sued for the story, not the Mail. I despise the Mail and all that it stands for, but on this one Dacre is right. It's yet another example of the creeping lunacy of the human rights act.
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:28 am (UTC)
Given that Justice Eady is reported to have concluded that the paper "falsely claimed" that the S&M session had a Nazi theme, I assumed that was something that was supported by the evidence.
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)
Having seen the story in the NOTW, I have a feeling that a jury might well have seen it differently, so it would have been far too much of a risk for Mosley to go down the libel route. And since most of these sort of cases seem to land up in Eady's court, he probably felt he was on fairly safe ground.
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:35 am (UTC)
Makes sense to me and a good reason why one should never base one's personal legal analysis on press reports!
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)
Was listening to this on R4 on the way in (Lord Faulkner vs the editor of The Sun as interviewees) and have to say the newspaper side came out worse.

There's something inherently wrong about the editor of The Sun announcing that all of the UK newspapers are there as a moral compass and to look after the countries decency with regard to perverted acts.

Does anyone really believe that the newspaper didn't print this story because the idea of writing 'legitimately' about nazi themed S&M orgies was a sure reader winner?

As was pointed out, rather than bleating about it being unfair and back door politics, the papers could always choose to appeal the ruling.
Nov. 10th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
Oh god I heard that interview too!

The argument that newspaper circulation is higher because they can report scandal so they should be allowed to keep doing it, regardless on whether or not it has any bearing on the person job, is just rubbish. If the papers are full of misinformed scandal then what's the point in having them? He was trying to imply that after picking it up to read about S+M that same person will then turn to the political section. And I don't think it quite works like that.

And the Daily Mail as a moral compass! I was actually speechless at that point.
Nov. 10th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
The media should be about factual news.

There's a should:is disjunction in that sentence.

The media is actually about sales revenues -- 80% of which are from advertising sales, not newsstand sales. The media are a vehicle for delivering eyeballs to advertisers. Therefore, anything that maximizes ABC circulation figures (loosely: sales to the public) is good, whether it's factual news, gossip about Paris Hilton, BUY V1AGRA 0NL1NE!!!, or the bastard offspring of Mein Kampf and Das Kapital.

The proposed privacy law places a constraint on Dacre's ability to maximize his advertising revenue stream, and is thus a Bad Thing from his point of view.
Nov. 10th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Here here, completely agree :)
It was interesting being on the other side of the media speculation (work for a large financial organisation) and see how much rubbish the press print. I have thought previously about the media and it's capitalist standpoint.
Nov. 10th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)
"wretched Human Rights Act"

Yeah...that kinda sums up exactly why I resent the Mail and all it stands for.

As much as I'm all for free speech I do think the press should be barred from publishing a lot of things, I don't think it's "in the public interest" to publish details of someone's sex life, possibly "for the public's entertainment" though, and sell a load of papers.

I can't stand Max Mosley, because of the circus he's turned my beloved Formula 1 into, and I couldn't give a toss about his sexual preferences - so long as it's consensual - but I also think that there is a little too much freedom when it comes to privacy. And I'm also of the opinion that newspapers should only be allowed to print things that are true - the Mail makes up and skews stats all over the place and most tabloids are guilty of making up complete bollocks. All that stuff about banannas being too bendy for the EU was made up by hacks...so call me old fashioned but I would like to see regulations in place that ensures the press tells the truth and don't pass "opinion" off as fact. Because a great deal of the population are easily swayed by it.(Insert rant about the Sun being to blame for most of society's failings)

IIRC it's Art 10(2) which can trump the convention of press freedom (and ironically Art10 "freedom of speech" in that "wretched Human Rights Act") in favour of Art 8 "right to privacy" and to date it's been serious enough to only really be acted upon in the leading case of Venables and Thompson -v- Newsgroup + 2 others, (which was the case where the boys that killed Jamie Bulgar got released with new IDs and the press were going to print the details) and only the fact that they would probably be killed by a mob of Sun readers allowed the injunction. So it was a bit odd that Max "very rich" Mosely was also protected, (or not ;) but I think it was a step in the right direction as far as privacy goes - but I'm also wary that if this one gets passed as case law people will also be able to get things that are far more serious injuncted against which should be printed.

But I generally hate the Mail. And if I was ever Prime Minister I'd ban it, along with every other tabloid in the "Protection of the Public From Crap Act"
Nov. 10th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
Sticking this link at the top as my usual rambling nonsense is less important than decent news sources ICIJ, International Consortium of Investigative Journalism. The sort of journo's who find things out because they want the truth and often get shot at by all sides for it.

I've hated the daily mail since I used to deliver it to middle-aged women on my paper-round. It is literally there to frighten people into buying it with sensationalist headlines. A similar paper we have here -and I think might circulate a London version too? - is the 'Evening News'. Known locally (by me) as the 'Evening Depressor' or by others as the '5 minute hate'. Only ever prints negative articles and often quite minor or petty stuff; readers can send in pictures of pot-holes that the council should fix.

Media is generally shameful in it's lack of neutrality with my favourite tactic is what i use on the internet. Find as many sources as possible and then draw a median through the lot, you might actually get some truth then.

Oh and finally it's the wrong media group against the wrong individual to claim media responsibility or privacy of the individual.
Nov. 10th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
If Dacre thinks 'one judge with a subjective and highly relativist moral sense' is the source of an attempt by the courts to enforce a right to privacy, he has a very - conveniently? - short memory.

Without even going and looking at my course notes from Tort law two years back, I can think of several cases in recent years:

*There was the one where Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones sued one of the celebrity mags over unauthorised wedding photos. It was complicated by the fact that they had an exclusive deal with a different magazine.
*There was the one where a radio presenter (name escapes me) sued over a topless photo taken of her on a private beach using a zoom lens. She won her case and donated the cash to charity - they'll most likely be more careful around her in future.
*There was the footballer (don't recall or care what his name was) whose marriage was in trouble because of some affair or other.
*There was the rather more famous footballer who allegedly frequented prostitutes old enough to be his grandmother.

As best as I recall, the way our lecturer explained it was that if you're out doing something in public, you're pretty much fair game (hence the endless 'falling drunk out of a nightclub' shots you see), but the more reason you have to expect what you're doing to be private, the better a reason the press need to have to justify making it public. But even in public, you have the right to some privacy - there was a European case where a princess won a ruling that her right to a private life had been invaded by paparazzi who overstepped the mark.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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