22 April 2013

Mr. Kavanagh's bovvered...again!

The Sun today carries the latest in a series of grenades lobbed by its political columnist Trevor Kavanagh.

Kavanagh begins by explaining the apology given by someone on Twitter who had accused the Sun of falsifying a photo taken at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. Kavanagh then writes:
It reflects an incessantly watchful Twitter world of grievance-seeking vigilantes eager to take offence. But there are signs that it is now seeping into mainstream British culture, especially those with something to hide.
There then follows a short list of examples Mr. Kavanagh uses to illustrate his point, interspersed with such comments as:
At other times these incidents might be shrugged off as amusing examples of human error. But they point to an increasingly suspicious and judgmental atmosphere (#nb - my emphasis) in which people with no axe to grind are encouraged to take offence on other people’s behalf.
The public? 'Suspicious and judgemental'? Surely not! That's the Sun's and Mr. Kavanagh's job! 
You might think this information was in the public interest. No, they risk prison for misconduct in a public office in two cases and “perverting the course of justice” in one.
This is the Leveson Effect. It has begun to suffocate the crucial flow of information that distinguishes a free country from a police state.
Which came first, Mr. Kavanagh, the questioning, arrest and sometimes charging of News International journalists for 'perverting the course of justice', 'causing misconduct in a public office' or the incidents you itemise? If the police are ultra-strict now about officers' contacts with journalists, who must bear the blame for that?
Britain set an example to the world by establishing a force which polices by consent. By definition, a wall of secrecy removes that consent.
There now follows a petulant Mr. Kavanagh's railing at the fact that the police no longer tip off his journalists when an arrest is made:
It is now common for suspects — innocent and guilty — to be held in absolute secrecy while their personal lives and careers are in limbo indefinitely.
Dozens of decent journalists who have been left to swing in the wind, uncharged for more than a year, know exactly how this feels.
How frustrating that must be! Trial by tabloid denied an unarrested, presumed innocent suspect! Dreadful....
Chief constables have shut down normal channels and begun reacting with hostility to legitimate inquiries.
The ugly assumption is that journalists with impeccable sources must have obtained information by skulduggery. It is the perfect cop-out.
But completely understandable? 
The Press deserves criticism and has taken it by the bucketload. But this sinister new culture of suspicion benefits those with something to hide — not those with the right to know.
Just as, for many years, the silence of editors, journalists and newspaper owners over the phone-hacking scandal benefitted those with something to hide, Mr. Kavanagh?
Lord Justice Leveson barely concealed his contempt for journalists but naively swallowed Hacked Off’s half-truths and exaggerations and accepted evidence from left-wing mischief-maker Full Fact as gospel.
Lord Justice Leveson showed no contempt for most journalists, just coolness towards those few who had been proven to have lied, cheated and shown contempt towards the Inquiry.
Lord Justice Leveson barely concealed his contempt for journalists but naively swallowed Hacked Off’s half-truths and exaggerations and accepted evidence from left-wing mischief-maker Full Fact as gospel.
His adviser throughout was Sir David Bell, intimately linked with the Media Standards Trust which spawned Hacked Off — and the discredited Bureau of Investigative Journalism which smeared Alistair McAlpine.
These oft-repeated accusatory comments against Full Fact, Media Standards Trust and Hacked Off really are wearing thin indeed and need to be left at the bottom of your ammo box, Mr. Kavanagh!
What a shabby basis for new Press laws, stitched up at 2am in a Hacked Off ambush, which is snuffing out Press freedom and the right of the British public to hold authorities to account.
Even an inventive tabloid hack could not make this one up. (#nb - My emphasis)
Oh, I'm sure any of your 'inventive tabloid hacks' could make this one up, Mr Kavanagh.....

Along similar lines is this article from Melanie Phillips in Mail Online:
The Leveson Lovers and a Compromised Inquiry That's Begun a Chilling Assault on Free Speech - Melanie Phillips - Mail Online