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The Desmond defence

Post  Annabel on Fri 13 Jan - 15:45

http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2012/01/leveson%E2%80%99s-inquiry

MOST of the newspaper folk who have testified to the Leveson inquiry into the British press, set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, have been rather supportive of the inquiry’s aims. Although they have strongly defended free speech, they have tended to concede that some form of stricter newspaper regulation is in order. A few have the zeal of converts to the regulatory cause. And then there’s Richard Desmond.

Mr Desmond, who owns the Daily Express and the Daily Star newspapers, testified this afternoon. The effect was akin to one of those strings of small explosives that, when your correspondent was a child, friends would occasionally smuggle into the country from France. His competitors are “idiots”, he explained. He attacked the Daily Mail, calling it the “Daily Malicious”. He called the inquiry “the worst thing that’s ever happened to newspapers” and suggested he would very much like to be rid of it. He complained bitterly about the former chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, whose name nonetheless slipped his mind.

There was a particularly splendid moment when Mr Desmond was reminded that Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in 2007, had objected to fully 38 stories published in one of his newspapers over a four-month period. Mr Desmond apologised for that. But he went on to calculate that (since the newspaper was running roughly one story a day) it had probably published something like 65 stories in those four months that were not objectionable. That’s more than half of the total.

Mr Desmond also explained why he has so little time for the Press Complaints Commission, which regulates newspapers and is now, in the wake of the phone-hacking revelations, broadly regarded as toothless. It had “scapegoated” his newspapers, explained Mr Desmond. He spoke of the PCC as a particularly useless variety of trade association. Why had his papers withdrawn from the PCC? For the same reason that he might, in theory, one day decide to leave Britain—because he did not respect its laws and institutions.

Unlike Paul Dacre, the editor of Mr Desmond’s least favourite newspaper, the owner of the Express and the Star did not come to the Leveson Inquiry with a fully worked-out defence of the industry, or even of his own publications. He could not come up with a convincing explanation of how they ought to be regulated. Much of what he said was unimpressive. But Mr Desmond can run a newspaper profitably (something that is beyond some of those who have testified to the inquiry) and he is a crucial figure precisely because of his contempt for regulators. If the Leveson inquiry cannot come up with a form of regulation that Mr Desmond either wants to submit to or is forced to submit to, it will fail.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  malena stool on Fri 13 Jan - 16:23

The Leicester Mercury 13 Jan 2012

Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, last night denied the Leicestershire couple were "happy" with the way the Express group of newspapers covered their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

He spoke after the owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star, Richard Desmond, told the Leveson inquiry into press standards the McCanns, of Rothley, were content with his papers' extensive coverage.

​He said: "They were quite happy, as I understand, in articles being run about their poor daughter, because it kept it on the front page."

Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, described this as a "grotesque'' characterisation, adding: "Your paper was accusing the McCanns on occasion of having killed their daughter.

"Are you seriously saying that they were sitting there quite happy, rather than entirely anguished by your paper's bad behaviour?''

The McCanns were paid £550,000 after they launched a libel action against the newspapers.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' spokesman, said after the hearing: "The portrayal of his newspaper's coverage and the effect that it had on Kate and Gerry is not something that they or I recognise at all.

"The stories that we took issue with massively added to the stress and upset that Kate and Gerry were already suffering.

"For Mr Desmond to claim that Kate and Gerry were happy with the bulk of his newspaper's coverage, well, they weren't."


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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Oldartform on Fri 13 Jan - 16:35

Jay and Leveson seem to get irritated when any doubt is cast about the McCann`s innocence. Obviously exasperated Jay said to Desmond "But you ran an article saying the McCann`s had killed their daughter". Why the hell doesn`t someone speak up and say that it has yet to be proved that they didn`t have something to do with her disappearance ?

This Inquiry is being totally biased about the McCanns.

One thing that did worry me is that Richard Desmond seemed to be going out of his way to wind them up - his attitude isn`t going to win him any points with the Inquiry.


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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  ELI on Fri 13 Jan - 17:19

Oldartform wrote:Jay and Leveson seem to get irritated when any doubt is cast about the McCann`s innocence. Obviously exasperated Jay said to Desmond "But you ran an article saying the McCann`s had killed their daughter". Why the hell doesn`t someone speak up and say that it has yet to be proved that they didn`t have something to do with her disappearance ?

This Inquiry is being totally biased about the McCanns.

One thing that did worry me is that Richard Desmond seemed to be going out of his way to wind them up - his attitude isn`t going to win him any points with the Inquiry.


I haven't followed the Leveson inquire, just read bits which has been to do with this case / Madeleine, but I do wonder what some of these editors and reporters are really thinking after being so boldly criticised about the stories printed. I wonder if in the near future they might just start printing known factual details which could be even more detrimental to the McCann's or at the very least just as damaging as those previously printed.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Wallflower on Fri 13 Jan - 17:29

ELI wrote:
Oldartform wrote:Jay and Leveson seem to get irritated when any doubt is cast about the McCann`s innocence. Obviously exasperated Jay said to Desmond "But you ran an article saying the McCann`s had killed their daughter". Why the hell doesn`t someone speak up and say that it has yet to be proved that they didn`t have something to do with her disappearance ?

This Inquiry is being totally biased about the McCanns.

One thing that did worry me is that Richard Desmond seemed to be going out of his way to wind them up - his attitude isn`t going to win him any points with the Inquiry.


I haven't followed the Leveson inquire, just read bits which has been to do with this case / Madeleine, but I do wonder what some of these editors and reporters are really thinking after being so boldly criticised about the stories printed. I wonder if in the near future they might just start printing known factual details which could be even more detrimental to the McCann's or at the very least just as damaging as those previously printed.

We've been wondering that for years ELI - hasn't happened yet though...

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  ELI on Fri 13 Jan - 17:38

Wallflower wrote:
ELI wrote:
Oldartform wrote:Jay and Leveson seem to get irritated when any doubt is cast about the McCann`s innocence. Obviously exasperated Jay said to Desmond "But you ran an article saying the McCann`s had killed their daughter". Why the hell doesn`t someone speak up and say that it has yet to be proved that they didn`t have something to do with her disappearance ?

This Inquiry is being totally biased about the McCanns.

One thing that did worry me is that Richard Desmond seemed to be going out of his way to wind them up - his attitude isn`t going to win him any points with the Inquiry.


I haven't followed the Leveson inquire, just read bits which has been to do with this case / Madeleine, but I do wonder what some of these editors and reporters are really thinking after being so boldly criticised about the stories printed. I wonder if in the near future they might just start printing known factual details which could be even more detrimental to the McCann's or at the very least just as damaging as those previously printed.

We've been wondering that for years ELI - hasn't happened yet though...

I hope this changes after this enquiry and one of them develops a backbone and prints some home truths

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Wallflower on Fri 13 Jan - 18:02

One lives in hope ELI

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  IAMBAZZA on Fri 13 Jan - 18:24

What has to be remembered is that the broadsheets and the rest of the (self-styled) upmarket media hate the tabloids with a passion – and the tabloids themselves have a love/hate relationship with each other. The Leveson inquiry (and in particular the McCanns part) provides the Guardian et al with a convenient stick with which to beat the Express and their ilk.

It’s a shame, because my natural tendency is to side with the broadsheets over the tabloids - but the broadsheets do not get everything right and the tabloids do not get everything wrong.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Lillyofthevalley on Fri 13 Jan - 18:30

What ever the out come of this enquiry, the Mcs will still be media protected! why? I used to believe it was so the mcs can't say they've had a Trial by Media, but I nolonger think that, the Leveson inquiry at the moment was a good time for the Paper editors to speak out about the Mcs but they havent and yet again they rolled with the McCann punches WHY?, there has to be more to this, what I don't know..... but imo one day we will find out though!!!

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  T4two on Fri 13 Jan - 18:31

The establishment do not like Desmond. They never have. That's something Leveson and his farce of an inquiry made perfectly clear. The establishment considers Desmond to be a jumped up peddler of porno magazines. Even other newspaper people are scarcely able to hide their disdain. The establishment 'hates' Desmond and therefore 'likes' the McCanns. This only demonstrates that the establishment is always prepared to back anyone if they feel that by doing so they are getting at someone they do not like. The inquiry is a vehicle for certain groups to have their say and do some press bashing. The press show themselves to be contrite, Cameron has achieved his purpose, taken the heat out of the hacking affair and distracted from his own failings with Coulson and News International. Everyone is happy, things return to normal and Leveson walks off with a nice big pot of cash for his pains. Except that there's still a fly in the ointment. Desmond smells a rat and dreams of landing the big coup - against the McCanns for taking his money and against the establishment for keeping him out. He won't be bullied so easily into shutting up and letting it go. A very dangerous man to have against you if you are hiding a big secret.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  malena stool on Fri 13 Jan - 21:22

Oldartform wrote:Jay and Leveson seem to get irritated when any doubt is cast about the McCann`s innocence. Obviously exasperated Jay said to Desmond "But you ran an article saying the McCann`s had killed their daughter". Why the hell doesn`t someone speak up and say that it has yet to be proved that they didn`t have something to do with her disappearance ?

This Inquiry is being totally biased about the McCanns.

One thing that did worry me is that Richard Desmond seemed to be going out of his way to wind them up - his attitude isn`t going to win him any points with the Inquiry.

The McCanns do seem to have been allowed to abduct hijack this enquiry.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  gillyspot on Fri 13 Jan - 22:06

Leveson & Jay do appear to be somewhat biased towards the McCanns. Even calling extra witnesses just because of their media stories. Was theirs the only story in the media in the last few years? I don't think so but you could be forgiven for thinking so after this farce.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Oldartform on Fri 13 Jan - 22:24

T4two wrote:The establishment do not like Desmond. They never have. That's something Leveson and his farce of an inquiry made perfectly clear. The establishment considers Desmond to be a jumped up peddler of porno magazines. Even other newspaper people are scarcely able to hide their disdain. The establishment 'hates' Desmond and therefore 'likes' the McCanns. This only demonstrates that the establishment is always prepared to back anyone if they feel that by doing so they are getting at someone they do not like. The inquiry is a vehicle for certain groups to have their say and do some press bashing. The press show themselves to be contrite, Cameron has achieved his purpose, taken the heat out of the hacking affair and distracted from his own failings with Coulson and News International. Everyone is happy, things return to normal and Leveson walks off with a nice big pot of cash for his pains. Except that there's still a fly in the ointment. Desmond smells a rat and dreams of landing the big coup - against the McCanns for taking his money and against the establishment for keeping him out. He won't be bullied so easily into shutting up and letting it go. A very dangerous man to have against you if you are hiding a big secret.


Yes, the Inquiry has made that quite clear. They must hate him for his lairy attitude and the way he calls a spade a spade. At one point Jay seemed to lose focus because they couldn`t control him and at times the room was giggling at some of Desmonds remarks. Although Desmond`s lairy attitude worries me a bit, I do hope you`re right about him not being bullied into shutting up.


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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Oldartform on Fri 13 Jan - 22:29

They also got irritated with Desmond when he brought up the Diana affair. He brought it up to show a similarity to the McCann case, but Jay didn`t like it and said there was no comparison. But Desmond was trying to show how the Diana affair is another example of an unsolved mystery and that people aren`t necessarily convinced by what the establishment spout and that there are varying opinions on what happened.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  AnnaEsse on Fri 13 Jan - 22:34

Oldartform wrote:They also got irritated with Desmond when he brought up the Diana affair. He brought it up to show a similarity to the McCann case, but Jay didn`t like it and said there was no comparison. But Desmond was trying to show how the Diana affair is another example of an unsolved mystery and that people aren`t necessarily convinced by what the establishment spout and that there are varying opinions on what happened.

I think Desmond is just waiting for a chance to let rip and I hope he gets it soon.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  gillyspot on Fri 13 Jan - 22:51

I think Desmond will be the media owner to break ranks on the McCanns and their lies and once one does they all will after getting the Leveson whitewash treatment. The simple thing for them to do is to refer to the official police files and statements by the McCann's, T7 & others. Also remember I am sure they will have Clarences & K & G's statements to them taped (for posterity) so can use these to bolster up any libel action by Carter-Ruck.

TBH what the media NEED to know is that the vast majority of the UK population actually don't believe the McCanns and even more don't like them as well.

I have noticed lately a number of online editions of UK media allowing comments - which we all agree is a positive new step to free speech - and not just in Madeleine's disappearance.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Oldartform on Fri 13 Jan - 22:54

AnnaEsse wrote:
Oldartform wrote:

I think Desmond is just waiting for a chance to let rip and I hope he gets it soon.

Yes I hope so too. Desmond`s disdain for the whole inquiry showed up big time - he could barely take it seriously. I just wish he`d seriously challenged their bias towards the McCanns while he had the chance.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Loopdaloop on Sat 14 Jan - 0:03

Oldartform wrote:They also got irritated with Desmond when he brought up the Diana affair. He brought it up to show a similarity to the McCann case, but Jay didn`t like it and said there was no comparison. But Desmond was trying to show how the Diana affair is another example of an unsolved mystery and that people aren`t necessarily convinced by what the establishment spout and that there are varying opinions on what happened.

I love it! You know the express will now have another excuse to put Diana on the front page!

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Angelique on Sat 14 Jan - 1:13

I too thought Desmond was a 'near the knuckle' sort of witness. I hope he does get his chance in the future to print the truth. Regarding his response to the "ethical question" - I am not sure it's possible to print "ethical truth"!

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  gillyspot on Sat 14 Jan - 1:19

But as Desmond says one persons ethical story is another's abuse. it is all a matter of opinion. If Desmond just shares evidence in official poilce files he and his paper are gold plated in law and the McCann's and Carter-Ruck can't touch them. In fact once he is proved right by printing he can probably get his money back from the previous "libel" case too.

No lose, No lose!

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Angelique on Sat 14 Jan - 1:53

gillyspot

Yes I agree, on the face of it, this to be seems eminently easy but would he survive!

Is there not a Super Injunction operating at the moment?

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Chris on Sat 14 Jan - 8:25

I think some are forgetting the Express has been one of the worst for simply trotting out the PR stories over the past couple of years. RD is only interested in what sells his papers whether it be Fayed fed Diana stories or Clarrie inspired fairy tales from Rothley.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Guest on Sat 14 Jan - 8:35

AnnaEsse wrote:
Oldartform wrote:They also got irritated with Desmond when he brought up the Diana affair. He brought it up to show a similarity to the McCann case, but Jay didn`t like it and said there was no comparison. But Desmond was trying to show how the Diana affair is another example of an unsolved mystery and that people aren`t necessarily convinced by what the establishment spout and that there are varying opinions on what happened.

I think Desmond is just waiting for a chance to let rip and I hope he gets it soon.


Agree in principle, but let's hope that in doing so he doesn't give the culprits the opportunity to claim any Trial has been prejudiced.

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Lillyofthevalley on Sat 14 Jan - 9:28

Desmond is no fool you could see that when he was questioned, he's a thorn in Team McCanns side (I say that because he will have tons of stories regarding the whole lot of them waiting to go to print), he is just waiting for his chance, imo he is the Man who is going to start the ball rolling, you see

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Re: The Desmond defence

Post  Panda on Sat 14 Jan - 10:43

Iv"e just been reading the transcript of Desmond"s Interview, keela posted the link on another thread but I can"t find it. Desmond is apparently a hard
taskmaster, there have been reports of him behaving very badly physically towards his Staff. This bit caught my attention, can anyone remember this?

When Madetine McCann disappeared, there was huge amount of public interest
in what had happened to her. We decided to hire an ex-police chief constable to
try to find Madeline and I would have known about that expense being incurred;"

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Re: The Desmond defence

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