Thursday, December 23, 2010

Journalistic ethics? Not at the Telegraph

After my comments yesterday about the determined attack on the Liberal Democrats coming from the right just as much as from the left, the scale of the moral rot at the Daily Telegraph becomes a little more shocking every day.

After the theft of confidential information which exploded the MPs expenses scandal- which was illegal, but where prosecution was not undertaken, because the story was deemed to be in the public interest- the Telegraph got two of its associates to pose as constituents in order to gain private comments from Vince Cable about the coalition.

It now appears that the newspaper then tried to suppress the most incendiary comments- about Rupert Murdoch- because the views that Dr. Cable was expressing were in the commercial interests of the Barclay brothers- the secretive tax exile proprietors of... the Daily Telegraph.

OK, so Robert Peston then leaked the real story, but it seems pretty clear that the Telegraph should be facing some very real questions about their own journalistic ethics. The Independent explains the whole story here.

If journalists are going to use underhand methods to gain a story, they are already sailing close to the wind. The Telegraph has- it seems now- quite clearly crossed a line. The Press Council should now be taking a look at this- the Telegraph has thrown quite enough mud gained in highly questionable ways over the last year- it is time that they were called to account.


Lord Blagger said...

There's nothing underhand.

We pay MPs. We should know about everything they are up to as MPs.

So if we take St Vince, patron saint of the befuddled. Why is he in his job when has decided to break the Human Rights act, article 6.

Fidtz said...

I normally agree with your posts but I cannot understand why you see journalists doing what they should be doing as a bad thing. There is no reason that anything said by a Minister should not be published unless it causes material risk to others.

Political journalists have turned into lazy press-release spouting lackeys of the state and the sooner that ends the better.

Piers said...

Can't help thinking that your previous two commenters have missed the point here. It was clear that the Telegraph was careful to excise Vince's comments that were prejudicial to its own interests (ie BSkyB) before publishing the rest. The susbsequent leak to Peston was a three michelin starred irony.

The question of obtaining information through underhand methods is a separate argument and we all have views on that. As does the Telegraph whose views on Wikileaks is at odds with its own operational mode and, from what I can see, the majority of commenters to its opinion pieces on the subject (strangely this dichotomy is true in the Daily Mail as well).

Anonymous said...

Isn't it truly ironic that they redacted the video? My own view is that they did a public service on the expenses scandal yet should have pulled the Vince story if they didn't want the BskyB thing coming out.

When will they be publishing their interviews with Conservative and Labour? Also the coalition between DUP and Sinn Fein would make interesting reading.