Okay kicking off with David Blackburn at the Spectator’s Coffee House, one of the few centre right bloggers to even acknowledge the proceedings at Westminster yesterday, notes that “despite the efforts of Labour spin doctors, this remains a media scandal, not a political one.” Precisely so.
– One of the few, but not the only one. It’s hard to disagree with Shane on the narrow point of the usefulness of resignations, but…- Lib Dem blogger Mark Reckons confesses that his view last week that Coulson would inevitably have to go was based on two miscalculations:
* David Cameron’s determination to hold onto his communications chief.
* The determination of (much of) the press to close ranks (even much of the non-Murdoch press) and dampen this story down.
To which we might add that simply speaking the Guardian did not have the smoking gun…
– It has however managed to unearth a strange inconsistency in News International’s account of what it did and did not know. First Coulson reveals James Murdoch was involved in the decision to pay off Gordon Taylor with a cool £700,000… Yet, the NYT reports, that is not the way it was last week after the Guardian initially reported material suggesting that:
…two tabloid newspapers owned by the News Corporation, the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, had engaged in the widespread use of private investigators to illegally hack into the cellphone messages of public officials and celebrities in Britain. News Corporation has denied the allegations.
Shortly after The Guardian article was published, Rupert Murdoch told Bloomberg News that he was unaware of any such payment. If that had happened, he said, I would know about it. A News Corporation spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday.
– Sceptic Isle is sceptical, of course:
…all could be blamed on those who had since left, or those who are still at the paper strangely don’t seem to be able to remember anything about it. The junior reporter who wrote the email which Davies revealed last week couldn’t remember much about it, and was currently in Peru, Neville Thurlbeck couldn’t remember receiving it, and there was no trace of the email on the NotW email system.
– And last word to Howard who reckons, correctly IMHO that Mr Coulson is safe, but damaged…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty