Plainly Not Fit and Proper Persons 165


Rebekah Brooks has now laid down several hundred jobs to save her own. She has also made way for the brand new super soaraway Sunday Sun. News International have evidently decided to gamble on the idea that there is no end to the gullibility of the British mass public.

But let us stop and consider. A great part of British newspaper history, a paper that supported imprisoned Chartists , has just been lost. With it have gone hundreds of jobs. It has been lost because the management of News International at the News of the World was either criminally involved or culpably negligent – there are no other choices. By their destruction of the News of the World, News Corp have proven beyond any doubt that they are not fit and proper persons to run media in this country. Ofcom must now act on this to use its powers to disbar unfit persons, and force News Corp to sell all its media interests in the UK.


165 thoughts on “Plainly Not Fit and Proper Persons

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  • angrysoba

    “But perhaps this was a mistaken attribution? Newspapers do make mistakes (!) I don’t know for sure, actually; if you know where the phrase originated, please share. Thanks.”
    .
    No, that’s not a mistaken attribution. It’s a correct attribution. I did make a mistake though. Claud Cockburn’s pen-name for the Daily Worker while covering the Spanish Civil War was Frank Pitcairn, not Frank Sinclair. Frank Sinclair is a footballer who played for Chelsea and Leicester City and who currently plays for Wrexham. He also had 28 appearances for Jamaica and scored one goal.

  • angrysoba

    As is very common on the schismatic left there is a lot of bad blood between followers of Cockburn and those of Orwell (as you can see from this review of one of Cockburn’s books: (http://tinyurl.com/6f7pnkh). Alexander Cockburn and George Galloway still routinely denounce Orwell and praise Cockburn when they think a more mainstream audience isn’t listening mostly because of Orwell’s antipathy towards Cockburn’s work spreading Stalin’s NKVD propaganda in the Spanish Civil War – the Stalinists denounced the anarchists and the anarchists denounced the Stalinists. Orwell was mostly sympathetic to the anarchists although he himself was not an anarchist. (Of course, the best ammunition the Stalinists have against Orwell is that he rather hypocritically drew up a MacCarthyite list of journalists and politicians for British intelligence to keep an eye on). Technicolor, if you do have Cockburn’s book (which book?) I should be interested in hearing what he does say about Stalin and the show trials. I notice that Cockburn’s memoirs are being republished and has already garnered a very enthusiastic review:
    (http://tinyurl.com/3zz6emw)
    “He was on-scene to witness the Wall Street Crash; interviewed Al Capone; fought in the Spanish Civil War; was publicly condemned by British PM Ramsay MacDonald; was pursued around town by Joachim von Ribbentrop’s conspicuously Aryan-looking spies; he even survived the polio epidemic in Ireland’s County Cork.”
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    Ermmm…well, let’s get this right. Cockburn actually moved there to cover the polio epidemic and brought his family with him. This is why his son Patrick, who contracted polio, still hobbles about with a cane to this day. But Patrick Cockburn is a magnanimous soul as is clear from his acceptance speech for an Orwell Award.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGXdcFcAOXM

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Angrysoba, so, if the quote I gave from the Independent is a correct attribution, Claud Cockburn did say that and Mary was correct, no? I’m just trying to clarify.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Dreoilin, wrt turf wars, I’m not sure, really. I wondered whether perhaps News International had overstepped its role and attempted to assume the role normally occupied by the intelligence agencies. NI’s role is as propaganda outfit and maybe some in the intel. services got shirty about their own powers being encroached upon. I’ve no evidence though, it was speculation. If we’re drawing parallels with Watergate (and it seems clear that some in the media are), then, ought we not to look at Watergate as a whole, in all its aspects? It may simply be that Nick Davies’s work has come to fruition and that this is why it’s all coming out and unraveling at this point. Anon, I think, had raised the possibility again of more-than-meets-the-eye going on and I’d alluded to that in a previous thread. Btw angrysoba, a lot of writers/journalists supported the USA/British Empire et al during WW2 – it needn’t discredit everything they wrote. Unfortunately, a lot of people on the Left supported Stalin, esp. before 1956 (and some after too); the same applies. Indeed, the truth contained within an aphorism need not depend on its originator – I’m sure Stalin came up with a few; Mao, Roosevelt, King Farouk (of Egypt) and even Genghis Khan and a host of others, some good, some bad, some ugly, certainly did. Surely, the truism contained within the Cockburn quote has been proven time and again. The fact that he supported Stalinists in Spain is another, separate, historical, matter. A truism transcends time.

  • angrysoba

    “Btw angrysoba, a lot of writers/journalists supported the USA/British Empire et al during WW2 – it needn’t discredit everything they wrote.”
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    No. In my opinion that is not a discreditable opinion.
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    ” Unfortunately, a lot of people on the Left supported Stalin, esp. before 1956 (and some after too); the same applies.”
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    Well, I take it you mean up until the Hungarian uprising. Well, that for me is pretty late in the day to say the least but as you say some continued to support the SSSR even after. As for the British state and the US as well, criticism of Stalin was routinely suppressed. I believe that Orwell’s Animal Farm was initially censored because of the obvious piss-take of Stalin.
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    “Indeed, the truth contained within an aphorism need not depend on its originator – I’m sure Stalin came up with a few”
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    He certainly did, “When one person dies it is a tragedy; when one million die it is a statistic” and “How many divisions does the Pope have?” etc…
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    “Surely, the truism contained within the Cockburn quote has been proven time and again.”
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    Well, yes. But it takes the wind out of the sails somewhat to say, “As Ghengis Khan once said, ‘What…EVAAAAAH!'”

  • technicolour

    angrysoba comparing a writer to Ghengis Khan? Standards are slipping.

    Of ‘The Week’, Cockburn’s own publication, Wikipedia simply states: ‘Much of the information that The Week printed was false and was designed to serve the needs of Soviet foreign policy by planting rumours that served Moscow’s interests’.
    And yet another case of Wiki disinformation, I think, since it only gives one reference. Cockburn’s own account (which I still don’t have to hand) is remarkably different, and remarkably compelling.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    My point, angrysoba, simply was that the truth of an aphorism does not depend on the circumstances of its creation or on those of its creator. Do you disagree with Cockburn’s maxim because Cockburn (the Stalinist) said it, or because you disagree with the actual maxim? Remember that a maxim need not express the entirety of the truth in every single instance; it is simply an instrument to provoke and at most might be regarded as a self-checking/ self-alerting device: ‘A stitch in time saves nine’.

  • angrysoba

    “angrysoba comparing a writer to Ghengis Khan? Standards are slipping.”
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    I was kidding.
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    “Of ‘The Week’, Cockburn’s own publication, Wikipedia simply states: ‘Much of the information that The Week printed was false and was designed to serve the needs of Soviet foreign policy by planting rumours that served Moscow’s interests’.
    And yet another case of Wiki disinformation, I think, since it only gives one reference. Cockburn’s own account (which I still don’t have to hand) is remarkably different, and remarkably compelling.”
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    It seems that Cockburn himself has agreed that much of what he wrote was in the service of the Soviet Union and also that it didn’t matter so much if it was false if it furthered the Soviet Union’s aims. Cockburn was also staunchly anti-POUM and according to the annotations in a set of diaries I have of Orwell, Cockburn later appeared on Arena to say, “Any damage I could do to them I would do. Certainly no bones about it at all. In the same way you are prepared to shoot people with a gun. Well then – as in my case, the typewriter was more mighty than the rifle.” It is then suggested to read “Reporter in Spain” and “Crossing the Line” (apparently pp.26-27) which were books by Cockburn in which he quite happily explains that his intention WAS very much to spread about propaganda. One occasion happened to be a completely invented revolt that was supposed to have happened against Franco’s troops in Morocco. I think you can find the episode on Counterpunch’s website.

  • angrysoba

    Suhayl, yes, yes, I do agree with you. I’m just being my usual disputatious self. As it happens I don’t simply agree with Cockburn the Stalinist (I like that and may use it in future) despite being a Stalinist but will also agree with Stalin the Stalinist or Hitler the Nazi or even, and I’ve said this precisely before, I would agree with Dr Mengele IFF I thought they said something truthful and it would not effect the truth status of what they said just because they were shits.
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    That said, “Don’t believe anything until it is officially denied” is really rather trite isn’t it. It means if a government stays silent on a topic then there is no reason to believe something about it.

  • mary

    Robert Fisk who once worked for the Times writes about his experience of Murdoch’s machinations. Chilling.
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    The good news: a few months later, I was Middle East correspondent for The Independent. The bad news: I don’t believe Murdoch personally interfered in any of the above events. He didn’t need to. He had turned The Times into a tame, pro-Tory, pro-Israeli paper shorn of all editorial independence. If I hadn’t been living in the Middle East, of course, it might have taken me longer to grasp all this.
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    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/robert-fisk-why-i-had-to-leave-the-times-2311569.html

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