Morgan’s line on #Hacking is less than convincing…

Quote of the day has to be this opener from Guido:


It’s an interesting contribution, not least after Piers Morgan’s assertion he knew nothing about phone hacking at the Daily Mirror. As the Sabotage Times notes:

 …while he could offer up an explanation of how to hack a phone he struggled to remember who had told him how to do it.

And a former financial journalist on the paper, James Hipwell, has told inquiry and reported by the Daily Mail (which seemed strangely quiet during the News of the World story):

‘Looking at his style of editorship, I would say it was very unlikely that he didn’t know what was going on because, as I have said, there wasn’t very much he didn’t know about. As I think he said in his testimony, he took a very keen interest in the work of his journalists. Showbusiness is very close to his heart.’

It certainly doesn’t stack well, but we’re now about where the Commons was back in July 2009 with the News of the World story… Morgan’s line is less than convincing, but there’s no one, yet, who can falsify his protests of ignorance… Any sign or proof that hacking happened ought to be enough..

The Coulson line that “I never knew what they were up” surely cannot hold this time round for this former acolyte of Kelvin McKenzie, editor at the Sun at the height of its pugilistic aggression, and commercial success…

, , , , ,

  • Jimmy Sands

    No idea if he’s guilty or not but so long as Hipwell is the star witness against him let’s face it he’s pretty safe.

  • lover not a fighter

    Piers is effortlessly slimey and slippery and when he puts his mind to it he can be even more so.

  • One of the great joys of being retired and unemployable is that I can sit around all day watching Leveson on TV and then blog about it on a nightly basis.
    The Public and I suspect real journalists (note Michael White sitting behind Robert Jay during Piers Morgan’s evidence) want a victory over the tabloidists. So does the General Public. The tone and sighs of exasperation from Leveson during much of the evidence is I suggest a good indicator of what his report will say.
    Tabloidists are in the dock on their own. Journalists and the General Public are not in the dock. Perhaps they should be ….on lesser charges. As every beleaguered witness has said “The Guardian did it too” and as Paul McMullan said “the public hand over their £1 every Sunday”. And surely every member of the General Public who stood around a water cooler discussing Gerry and Kate McCann owe them an apology as much as the tabloids do.
    I don’t think it is simply a matter that the evidence of James Hipwell…….tainted and axe-grinding perhaps… more or less credible than Piers Morgan(with an interest in “celebrity” before and after his career as an editor)…….but rather how Morgan’s evidence holds up against the public record. His own book “The Insider” is I’d submit part of the public record.
    As with many witnesses there is the familiar “I can’t recall”. Acceptable enough in some cases but almost too much now a mantra.
    The clever thing about Leveson is that the witnesses are clustered. So really Piers Morgan was grouped with Sharon Marshall, a former tabloidist, now like Morgan, working in television.
    The common denominator here was that they had both written books on tabloid culture. Ms Marshall seemed to spend the entire time allocated to her distancing herself from her own book. Rather than being a hilarious exposé of the excesses of tabloid journalism, “Tabloid Girl”, she now claims is dramatized, shaggy dog stories from old hacks, pub talk and “top spin”.
    “The Insider” was also written in the same vein. And Morgan also spent a lot of time distancing himself from what he had written there. He could not recall what made him write things five years previously. But five years previously he was writing of events which were ten years old. Fair enough.
    Of course……as with all “history” the key thing is when the books were written. In the days when as Colin Myler almost put it, it was believed the Police had no further interest in things and the “rogue reporter” line had become accepted by all.
    The Media had got away with it. And would mend its ways. But safe to write books about the sharper practices and dark arts. It was historic. But it came back to bite big time.

    There was a time when tabloidists could get away with being “wide boys”, robohacks and love rats (cf Ms Marshall) living in a laddish, bullying culture pocketing expenses ………… December 2011, nobody is laughing.

  • sherdy

    Piers Morgan’s evidence was more an object lesson in ‘selective amnesia’. Would anyone buy a used car from this excuse for a man? No, I wouldn’t either.

  • Mick Fealty


    What ‘agency’ are you suggesting this ‘general public’ should be charged with? At what point does this ‘crime’ come into play: thought; word; or deed?

  • I think you might be taking me too literally Mr Fealty.
    Clearly Tabloids are not in the Leveson or any other “dock”. Individual journalists await justice in other courts.

    Leveson is an Inquiry.
    But Tabloids are clearly in the dock in the Court of Public Opinion. Despite the best efforts of Tabloids, the Broadsheets are not in the same “dock”. My point was that “perhsps they should be”……….For the record I think their crimes might be more reasonably justified by a public interest defence.

    And clearly the General Public are not in the dock. I dont think that the image of 60 million people in the dock is to be taken literally.
    My point again……and I take no side……other than “perhaps”……is that Paul McMullan has suggested that the tabloids served the wishes of that Public.
    Can the Publics craving for sensationalism be justified?
    Have we all picked up a copy of the Sun (discarded by a fellow traveller on a train)……..Im as guilty as the next person).

    Are the tabloids scapegoats for Broadsheet and the Publics shortcomings?
    The sound that we DONT hear at Leveson is the Innocent gathering the stones to hurl at the Guilty.
    Its that word “Zeitgest”.
    Ten years ago the Tabloids had the Public Mood.
    Now they dont.
    Ms Marshall and Mr Morgan……and their books…….dont look so benign as the time they were published.

  • Mick Fealty

    I asked, because there is a serious point to be made about the role of the consumer in a more proactive/interactive age…

  • I take the point…but I think it is limited.
    The point can be fairly made that not reading about “indiscretions” by soap stars and premiership footballers will add to the Internet rumour mill.

    But I dont think that means that we “should” be able to read about invasions of Privacy in the Sun and other tabloids.

    If I can make a comparison……timely because I am currently writing some stuff on “Comedy” (over 50 years)
    There was a time 1960s…..when lovable Arthur Askey, Ted Ray and others dominated our TV screens.

    In the early 1970s they were replaced by the likes of George Roper, Bernard Manning and Mike Reid on shows like the Comedians.
    It took us a few years for reasonable people to catch on that the rampant homphobia, sexist and racist jokes had no place in the mainstream.

    This I would argue…seriously ….is the point that we have reached with the Media and New Technology.
    There will always be a place for consumer choice…..pornography for example…..but not in the mainstream.
    We might say that we have merely driven racist jokes, sexist jokes and homophobic jokes on to Tinternet…..thats true of course……..they have lost any credibility as being respectable. They belong in the gutter.

    We never see the successors of Roper, Manning and Reid (eg Roy Chubby Brown) on mainstream TV . Not that it affects his DVD sales.
    But I think we can do the same with tabloid culture…….marginalise it.
    And it cant be marginalised by Self Regulation (not that the PCC fits that decription)

  • dodrade

    I never realised why so many people dislike Piers Morgan…until I saw him give evidence yesterday, his crude attempt at character assassination of the man who first discovered the possibility of phone hacking was despicable.