Peter Worthington has had an amazing life. And his obituary, which he wrote himself, certainly has an arresting opening line.
Guardian Edward Snowden scoop makes four splashes
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the Guardian: "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."
Matthew Ingram on PaidContent: "The fact that both Greenwald and the Guardian are to some extent 'outsiders' may have helped them land what could be one of the biggest national-security stories since Watergate. And the stories — a series that Greenwald says has only just begun — will undoubtedly burnish the Guardian‘s reputation in the U.S., not to mention its web traffic."
Rod Logan in a letter to the Guardian: "It is good to know that our email letters to the Guardian that do not make it into your paper are at least being read by somebody, somewhere, sometime."
Roy Greenslade on his MediaGuardian blog: "The breaking of the Snowden revelations story must surely put The Guardian in line for a Pulitzer, making it the first British newspaper to win the award."
Ben Brogan in the Telegraph on Edward Snowden: "A close reading of his manifesto, with his talk of a “federation of secret law” ruling the world, CIA hit-squads, surveillance nets on the verge of activation and his right to act against a duly constituted, democratically elected government, suggests he has spent too much time watching Hollywood DVDs on his laptop and studying conspiracy theory forums on the web. Whether he is naive, deluded or malicious, he has generated a drama that is more about the fantastical steps he took to put himself beyond America’s grasp than the content of the classified information he released."
Boris Johnson in the Telegraph on the NSA allegations: "I think if I were Shami Chakrabarti, or my old chum David Davis, I might get thoroughly aerated at this point; and I have some sympathy with their general position. But then I am afraid I also have sympathy with our security services, and their very powerful need to use the internet to catch the bad guys – the terrorists, the jihadis, the child porn creeps. There is a trade-off between freedom and security, as Barack Obama rightly says; between the citizen’s right to total internet privacy, and the duty of the state to protect us all from harm."
The Sun apologises to Aliens: "IN an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated “two flat silver discs” were seen “above the Church of Scientology HQ”. Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists."
Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley: "I was quite interested in the Newspaper Society’s seven-point plan to save the regional publishing industry – and then I actually read it. Dropping opposition to mergers despite monopoly issues, curbing BBC competition, enforced use of local press advertising by government and public bodies, keeping statuary public notices in newspapers, shutting down council newspapers which compete with the local press, tighter copyright enforcement on the content of newspaper websites and maintaining zero-rating on newspaper cover prices. Is this really the best the NS can do? Seven points, every single one of them either defensive or protectionist (although I do agree with a couple of them). No leadership, no innovation, no brilliant ideas… Pathetic, just pathetic."
Peter Preston in the Observer: "The delay in agreeing some formula for press regulation is dangerous on both sides. The press – having written off the PCC as not tough enough – can't bodge along indefinitely with no successor in place. Something, in such a vacuum, is bound to go wrong. It always does. Witness the rather unexpected award of damages to a Tory deputy fundraising chairman complaining about a Sunday Times sting. If newspapers can't provide their own authority together, they may be left to swing separately. And think of what, post-2015, an incoming government with a clear mandate might do then."
Acting Times editor John Witherow ruling out an editorial merger with the Sunday Times [£]: “Fundamental changes are limited by the undertakings and in fact we see no great benefits at this stage from merging much of editorial, though we will keep this under review. It is important as much for commercial reasons as editorial that we keep the characters of the papers separate and this requires different staff in several areas.”
Peter Wright on the deal between Hacked Off and the political parties at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, as reported by Press Gazette: "I think it has placed the Government in a position where they are trapped with a royal charter proposal and a set of recognition criteria that they know the industry are not going to sign up to. I can quite see that it may be difficult to get things moving again but at some point they do need to be got moving."
Guido Fawkes @GuidoFawkes on Twitter: "Great strategic thinker and master tactician Harriet Harman has devised a plan to force Murdoch to support the Tories. 15% market share cap."
The Media Blog @TheMediaTweets on Twitter re-Murdoch divorce: "Hopefully everyone will respect Rupert Murdoch's right to privacy. Pretty sure he'd do the same."
Charles Moore in the Telegraph accusing the national press of being dominated by bad news compared to the local media: "Local papers and broadcasters are unashamedly on the side of the areas they serve. Of course they relish scandals, but they also delight in successes. At flower and dog shows, if local papers are to be believed, rain always 'fails to dampen the spirits'. National papers only really get interested when every exhibit is swept away in a tidal wave or, as happened recently at a dog show in Kent, people start punching one another."
Peter Hirsch posts on Charles Moore's article (above): "Thank you, Charles. Now perhaps you could just post the link to that dog show in Kent?"
[£] = paywall
A biography of Sir Basil Clarke, the First World War newspaper correspondent and the father of the UK's public relations industry, is published this week.
From the Frontline is by Richard Evans, a media historian who has written for The Times and the Guardian, and is the first biography of Clarke.
Clarke joined the (then Manchester) Guardian in 1904 and then the Daily Mail in 1910, where he made his name during the First World War by defying a ban on reporters at the Front and living in Dunkirk as a fugitive so that he could send back reports of the fighting.
He was the first reporter into Ypres following the bombardment of it and he also caused a global scandal by accusing the Government of effectively "feeding the Germans" by failing to properly enforce its naval blockade.
After the war, Clarke became the UK's first public relations officer in 1917 and established the UK's first PR firm in 1924. His public relations career included leading British propaganda during the Irish War of Independence.
From the Frontline is published on June 14 and available from Amazon.
Peter Preston in The Observer: "Newsweek used to sell 3.3m copies per edition. Even when it was sold for a dollar, then folded in with Tina Brown's Daily Beast in a digital merger last December, there were more than a million customers out there wanting their old print fix. So the story that Newsweek online was blazing a path into the future rather than lurching towards oblivion seemed to have some validity. But today? What's left is up for sale again: think 50 cents. The owners want to 'concentrate' on the Beast instead. Sometimes going online-only is the sensible thing to do; but more often than not, it can seem like euthanasia with a buoyant press release."
Janice Turner in The Times: "I’m not sure where it started to go wrong with Rhys Ifans. A truly awful interview can catch you like a cloudburst in August. How quickly his answers escalated through disdain to disgust then mad-eyed vibrating hostility until he announced 'I am bored with you' and stalked out, leaving his publicist hand-wringing and ashen."
MP Patrick Mercer asked by an undercover Panorama reporter to lobby on behalf of Fiji: "Guido Fawkes will be all over this like a dose of clap."
The Sun in a leader: "WHAT a bonanza the Leveson inquiry was for lucky lawyers David Sherborne and his doe-eyed lover Carine Patry Hoskins. Not only did they find each other — but they also pocketed £385,000 of taxpayers’ money."
Acting editor John Witherow in a letter to readers of The Times [£]: "The Times is different from Britain’s other newspapers. Most are dominated by voices from the Left or Right. In contrast, readers of The Times can find a variety of opinions from across the political spectrum. That adds up to a more intellectually stimulating experience."
Daily Mail in a leader: "The politicians may have spent yesterday insisting they are committed to cleaning up the Westminster cesspit. But, disturbingly, their determination to try to silence the newspapers who continue to expose their wrong-doing suggests otherwise."
Michael Wolff on Rupert Murdoch, on USA Today: "Murdoch, gruff, cold, unable to talk in any personal sense, has seemed like the most steely and hard-hearted of businessmen — that's the Murdoch myth. In fact, he has always been a besieged king, balancing a precarious empire, fighting each battle as it came, seeing his wins and losses as a wholly personal reflection of his strength and character. The hard man is all emotion."
Attorney General Dominic Grieve on ITV News: "Clearly, if the press [has] got to know who somebody is who has been arrested and are publicising that, then clearly it might be very sensible for the police to confirm that fact."
Felix Dennis in The Observer: "I can't even count the number of business failures I've had. Mags that never worked. Mags that worked at the start then failed. Mags that we poured money into and they tanked. No one else remembers them, but I remember them all. They are engraved on my soul."
Suzanne Moore in the Guardian: "Governments play up the idea that a digital future creates jobs rather than eats them up. Culturally, there is now a fantasy world of start-ups and blogs and YouTube TV where a very few people manage to make money but most work simply for 'experience'."
Roy Greenslade's verdict on his MediaGuardian blog on Trinity Mirror's new Sunday Brands division for all its national and regional Sunday newspapers: "Sunday Brands is, quite simply, a giant mistake."
Tim Crook @libertarianspir on Twitter: " 'Oral sex caused my cancer' What an awful headline for the Guardian. Put me off my muesli."