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Paul Dacre at the Leveson Inquiry

(389 Posts)
bananaistheanswer Tue 07-Feb-12 00:35:15


I was going to add comment to the other thread I started here at the beginning of the inquiry but purely for the comedy value alone, I felt this warranted it's own, shiney new thread. The above isn't word for word, just the guardian blog, but there are some crackers in there, and I haven't even got to the end.

Did you know, criticism of the Daily Mail stems from a lack of understanding on how journalism works? Next time you see a thread on here quoting the Daily Mail, just remember, we just don't understand how journalism works. Feast your eyes on the pearls of wisdom dished out by the one and only Mr Dacre, and enjoy...

limitedperiodonly Tue 07-Feb-12 10:49:47

I've just heard that Dacre is being recalled to answer questions about the Mail's 'mendacious' allegations about Hugh Grant. Good.

Dacre is clearly not used to being called to account. It happens to us all, Paul.

I liked that Robert Jay refused to let him speechify and Leveson allowed him to read one quote from the piles of self-serving and irrelevant opinion pieces he wanted to recite.

Top comedy moment for me came when Jay examined the Mail's assertion that turning on the bathroom light in the middle of the night causes cancer.

The idea that journalists should be licensed by a body controlled by publishers horrifies me. It's been mooted before, often with the disgraceful collusion of some police forces.

The idea that the police or any commercial organisation, particularly one tainted by bias and poor reporting standards, should control journalists is terrifying.

I carry an NUJ card. That is enough. I will not carry any other.

It was laughable that Dacre wanted only his approved card-carriers to get access to news events. He's just trying to stitch everything up for himself and his ilk. If he thought Leveson couldn't see that he's even more deluded than I thought.

I did agree with him over his story about Abigail Witchells though. If newspapers couldn't publish stories just because some people didn't like them we'd never know anything.

Same thing with Jan Moir's Stephen Gately article. It was distasteful and appealed to the prejudices and prurience of ignorant people but I think it was fair comment.

limitedperiodonly Tue 07-Feb-12 10:55:35

Dan Wootton's only talent is as a star-fucker and is part of the Mail's long tradition of comedy campers.

Eyjafjallajokull Tue 07-Feb-12 11:03:08

In what way was the Moir/Gately article 'fair comment'? (Not being snarky, I read it at the time, much frothing etc, cannot remember anything fair in it.)

Eyjafjallajokull Tue 07-Feb-12 11:03:52

Also where is the best live coverage of the Leveson inquiry? (Late to the game.)

slug Tue 07-Feb-12 11:22:50

I think the best moment was when he said, with respect to the Gately story, that "Jan Moir does not have a homophobic bone in her body" hmm Really??

Alistair Campbell's twitter feed was hilarious. My Favourite was "For those wondering who is lady with the wheelie-bag behind Dacre as he enters court, she carries his prejudices around with him in case"

And this one also made me snort "Dacre showing Level 2indignation there. He needs 7 for leaders, 8 for front page headines and 9 for stories about women with cellulite"

limitedperiodonly Tue 07-Feb-12 11:35:31

Fair comment is a legal defence against defamation. It's that the matter complained of is a fair comment made in good faith and without malice on a matter of public interest.

It doesn't have to be 'fair' as most people might take the word or even nice.

I don't like what Jan Moir said but that covers it.

I rely on Sky's coverage. If it's not in their general broadcast you can access the Leveson inquiry live via the red button (as they say).

bkgirl Tue 07-Feb-12 19:52:19

I too am delighted Dacre is being made return, I thought he sounded tremendously pompous. He should respect the enquiry.
I get a live fee via the Guardian website or indeed the Leveson website.

limitedperiodonly Wed 08-Feb-12 12:34:33

Heather Millls gives evidence tomorrow grin

I'm clearing my diary, getting in a supply of snacks and drinks and thinking about getting a potty so I don't miss a single second of her bonkersness.

bananaistheanswer Wed 08-Feb-12 14:35:56

grin bunch over, I'm bringing popcorn and several large nappies.

This inquiry really should be serialised, and broadcast. Better than corrie any day!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 08-Feb-12 14:39:13

Heather Mills is going to be brilliant. Why, why, why am I at work!??

slug Wed 08-Feb-12 16:58:23

OOhhh!!! When??? <<clears diary>>

thestringcheesemassacre Wed 08-Feb-12 16:59:41

Just popping in to mention Alistair Campbell and his hilarious take on it, but Slug beat me to it. Was really funny.

kelly2000 Wed 08-Feb-12 17:06:34

I do not understand why he was right to publish the story about Abigail Witchells. It involved her private information, and she did not want to have it released. Why does the public have a right to know? Public interest and an interested public are not the same things. Mrs Witchill did not want her private information given out, no matter how interested complete strangers were, so it was wrong that it was given out. If she had wanted people to know she could have released the information herself.
I also do not see how it was fair comment in regards to the Gately story. Moir, who has no medical training, all but accused the spanish pathologist of lying because he said it was natural causes. She implied Gately's mother was wrong to think the patholgist was right, and claimed that healthy young men do not die of natural causes - forgetting that apparently young healthy men actually do, and she had no idea as to whether gately was healthy of just apparently healthy. She then implied he died because he was homosexual, but at no point come up with any evidence to say exactly what killed him, or why the Spanish pathologist was incompetant or lying. I think she was also the one that made a comment about the fact the pathologist said there was liqued in the lungs, as if this implied it was not natural causes, and ignored the fact that this (pulmonary oedema) is a sign of a heart attack. But of course anyone who thought the article was wrong had obviously not read it (although I am sure all those who complained about Ross and Brand being nastry about the guy from fawlty towers had listened to that radio show and not just read the mail's account of it). i am quite certain if the pathologist had been british and read her article the mail would have been in court for libel.

Dacre was just embarressing and the way he blustere dunder questioning demonstrated to me that he is not used to being challenged, which in my opinion something that an editor should be experiencing all the time as otherwise they become convinced that whatever they want to do is right -which is exactly what has happened.

Eyjafjallajokull Wed 08-Feb-12 21:27:50

Thanks LPO, I hadn't realised you were using it in the legal sense <dim>

I do feel that somehow the tide is turning for the Mail, this is the beginning. <rubs hands>

No doubt I am wrong, but a girl can dream.

limitedperiodonly Thu 09-Feb-12 12:20:33

The way Abigail Witchalls’s family was treated by the press was disgusting in many, if not most cases.

One of the purposes of this inquiry is to find ways that complaints to a governing body will be handled better and more rigorously. I welcome that.

You can see from my posts that I’m not a fan of the Daily Mail or Paul Dacre but newspapers have to be allowed to publish things that some people don’t want to read because if there was a law that said otherwise people would suppress things that we really ought to know about.

The Mail article complained of by Abigail’s mother was based on publicly-available facts – the details of the attack on Mrs Witchalls and those about the attack on her brother. An apparently motiveless attack which left the victim for dead, and an attack that appeared to be a hate crime against a person with disabilities, are in the public interest.

I’m not claiming that the public interest was uppermost in Dacre’s mind but the elements were there and that’s why I’m defending his right to publish the story.

The elements which could have been obtained illegally should be investigated and the culprits prosecuted if warranted.

But it’s not possible to legislate for taste and it never should be.

Regarding the Jan Moir article: I’ve said it would be covered by a Fair Comment defence to a libel action this is why:

The unexpected death of any person in unexplained circumstances is always in the public interest. That’s why we have inquests.

The facts on which she based her comment were true: Stephen was on holiday with his civil partner, they invited another man back to their flat, Stephen died alone of pulmonary oedema.

Moir said that ‘healthy’ young men do not generally die in their sleep but it transpired that Stephen was not ‘healthy’, he had a heart defect. She didn’t say the pathologist was lying , comment on his competency or say that young men don’t die of natural causes.

She did imply that Stephen’s mother was deluded and got it wrong when she dismissed Mrs Gately’s mention of a family history of heart conditions. That was very bad but not libel.

Jan Moir did not have to prove her comment was ‘true’; she couldn’t, it was her opinion. In claiming Fair Comment it wasn't even necessary that anyone agreed with her

Like I said, I didn’t like what Jan Moir wrote. It was designed to appeal to ignorant, prurient people and didn’t address the fact that many heterosexuals have ‘unconventional’ relationships too.

There’s no reason to believe Moir did not make her comments in good faith and without malice and they weren’t her sincerely-held beliefs. It is legitimate to express an opinion on relationships for good or for bad. We all do it all the time.

So I have to defend her right to make the comments she did and also to have them reported accurately.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 09-Feb-12 15:14:56

Have I missed Heather? Max Clifford is on now.

limitedperiodonly Thu 09-Feb-12 16:12:18

Heather was disappointing. She was on for less than an hour and mainly confined herself to matters of truth. I think Jay and Leveson were on the lookout for voyages to the far shores of fantasy and wrapped it up before she could set sail.

She categorically denied Piers Morgan's claim that she played him a voicemail from Paul MacCartney. Piers Morgan is acquainted with the truth but nobody could say they're close friends. Even so if my life depended on it, I'd have to plump for Piers.

Caught the end of Max when he said there were many things he could say about Heather Mills but he'd restrict himself to denying all her claims.

He's not the most reliable character in the world but he spoke a lot of sense about trying to improve standards of reporting.

Dacre next. Get ready for another bout of unnerving grunty noises when he really wants to say: 'Fuck off you speccy-four-eyed cunt. How dare you fucking question me. You're fucking fired.'

Sky are rerunning Heather highlights on the red button atm.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 09-Feb-12 16:16:44

Thanks, will have a look at Sky.

Yes Piers Morgan or Heather - who to believe. One is as smarmy as they come, I'm sure would do anything for a good story and also to save his own skin. Other is as mad as a box of frogs.

carernotasaint Thu 09-Feb-12 17:05:14

Ive been enjoying watching Paul Dacre squirm. Arsehole.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Fri 10-Feb-12 14:21:15

Dacre's a vile human being. A foul-mouthed bully, by all accounts.

margoandjerry Fri 10-Feb-12 14:24:42

I saw Paul Dacre briefly the other day and thought he was a sanctimonious git. I'm no Hugh Grant apologist but Paul Dacre almost made me feel sorry for Hugh Grant and that's quite an achievement. What a toad.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Fri 10-Feb-12 14:27:34

On a Mail-related topic, I remember reading a blog by a woman who agreed to do an article for the Femail section and was comprehensively screwed over by them.

The Mail's barrister's even threatened to take the shirt off her back at one point:

While I was considering my position, I received a call from the senior partner in the law firm representing Associated Newspapers. He ever so kindly pointed out that trials cost lots and lots of money, and it would be such a shame if they were forced to take my house off me were I to lose such a complicated case.

Scum. Absolute scum.

cbem Fri 10-Feb-12 14:32:17

Message deleted

margoandjerry Fri 10-Feb-12 14:35:17

that blog post is absolutely shocking.

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