for diverse, democratic and accountable media
Real press power resides in the the ability to suppress a scandal, at least as much as the ability to produce one. This is the lesson we learn repeatedly when journalists, facing the combined pressures of austerity, failing business models and an increasingly cautious and interventionist management decide enough is enough. The latest in this new cadres of whistleblowers from inside the fourth estate is Jim Cusick, former political correspondent for the Independent. Like his former counterpart at the Telegraph Peter Oborne, who resigned amidst the appalling silence of his paper in the face of the tax scandal embroiling HSBC (coincidentally, a major advertising account holder), Cusick has pointed the finger at senior management – and an enduring Fleet Street cabal – for strangling journalism at the Indie.
Rupert Murdoch's latest bid for empire expansion has fallen on deaf ears. His offer to buy Time Warner for US$80 billion was resoundingly rejected by the owners of CNN, HBO and Warner Brothers.
This week we learned lessons in crisis management given by Tony Blair to former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks at the height of the phone hacking scandal. According to Brooks, the former Prime Minister advised her to set up an independent inquiry that produces a 'Hutton style report'.
A little over two months ago, the Daily Mail ran an editorial describing the leader of the Labour Party's father as 'the man who hated Britain'. Although that article was widely criticised in the broader media and by politicians of all colours, it is difficult to imagine that Keith Vaz would have posed his question had that article never appeared.