Back Issues 26.08.05

Press Council attacks NoW! chiefs

Sir James Goldsmith’s NoW! magazine was on the receiving end of a biting adjudication from the Press Council.

Journalist Michael Gillard had complained that Sir James claimed he
was on the payroll of Lonrho in a book review. Sir James and NoW!
editor-in-chief Anthony Shrimsley refused to co-operate with the Press
Council and said the magazine had published Gillard’s denial. The
Council said it couldn’t allow “the service it offers the public to be
eroded or devalued by an editor or proprietor deciding to opt out of
obligations… which are accepted by the rest of the press.” Shrimsley
hit back and accused the Press Council of “menacing” press freedom and
being arrogant.

No apology to Scargill for communist claim

Another Shrimsley in trouble with the Press Council was Anthony’s
brother, Bernard, editor of the News of the World. The NoW editor had
refused to run a correction and apology after the paper described
Yorkshire miners’ leader Arthur Scargill as a communist.

Shrimsley said Scargill had been a member of the Communist Party and
wanted to run this as a footnote to any correction. The Press Council
said Scargill was a member of the Barnsley Labour Party and the NoW
should have run a straightforward correction.

Hacks in small doses

Daily Mirror features writer John Edwards and American correspondent
Chris Buckland (both left) were snapped on the podium of the Democratic
Convention in New York by Kent Gavin. Edwards and Buckland aren’t
exceptionally small. The hydraulic system that raises the platform
wasn’t working that day.

Mirror pounces on Express “betrayal”

Daily Mirror seized on a remark made at a private meeting with staff by
Express Newspapers managing director Jocelyn Stevens. He was alleged to
have described the Thatcher government’s policies as “frightening” and
warned that savings would have to be made across the Express group’s
titles. The Mirror said the remark was devastating as the Daily Express
had been “as loyal as any of Mrs Thatcher’s poodles”. The Express
snapped back: “There should be no doubt about where we stand: Unless
Mrs Thatcher and her government get it right this time we see an even
bleaker future for everyone and that includes the Daily Mirror.”

Newspapers rise in sex crime reporting questioned

National papers were accused of using rape trials and reports of
other sex crimes as soft pornography to boost sales. The accusations
were made in a New Society article by sociology lecturers Keith
Soothill and Sylvia Walby. Their research showed that between 1971 and
1978 the number of rape cases reported increased from 25 per cent to
nearly 40 per cent. Soothill and Walby claimed: “From this kind of
evidence, we suspect the press is increasingly using the soft
pornography of rape reports and reports of other sex crimes as a
mechanism to sell newspapers.”

Grandma, we love you

Fleet Street photographers chipped in £1 each to buy the Queen Mum a
birthday gift of a Wedgwood bowl. The photographers regarded her as the
most popular and co-operative member of the royal family.

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