Monday, April 11, 2011

How not to admit your mistakes

Heaps of coverage of News International (the UK outfit of News Corp, the publishers of both The Times and News of the World) and its apology and compensation scheme over the phone-tapping scandal in the UK.

It takes some work to find it, but the full release makes an interesting read.

The key para reads;

That said, past behaviour at the News of the World in relation to voicemail interception is a matter of genuine regret. It is now apparent that our previous inquiries failed to uncover important evidence and we acknowledge our actions then were not sufficiently robust.

"Genuine regret" is probably the weakest apology that could be made, and it appears the greatest regret is about their investigation of the matter rather than the tapping in the first place.

The release goes on;

News International’s commitment to our readers and pride in our award-winning journalism remains undiminished. We will continue to engage with and challenge those who attempt to restrict our industry’s freedom to undertake responsible investigative reporting in the public interest.

There is no element here of the words one might expect to see. That is "News International's commitment is to the ethical standards of journalism and respect for the law." Instead it is to "praise" their journalists and to suggest that they are up for a fight on any attempt to restrict them.

News Corp globally, and Rupert Murdoch in particular, would be amongst the first to employ the standard right-wing littany that "rights come with responsibilities". But here they argue that their "rights" should not be infringed no matter how irresponsible they have been.

I hope this release gets a good airing on the ABC's Media Watch, or even the original Media Watch run by Gerard Henderson!

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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