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Day: July 7, 2011

James Murdoch Statement on News of the World in full

I have important things to say about the News of the World and the steps we are taking to address the very serious problems that have occurred. It is only right that you as colleagues at News International are first to hear what I have to say and that you hear it directly from me.

You do not need to be told that the News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain’s largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation.

When I tell people why I am proud to be part of News Corporation, I say that our commitment to journalism and a free press is one of the things that sets us apart. Your work is a credit to this. The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.

The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself. In 2006, the police focused their investigations on two men. Both went to jail. But the News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose. Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued. As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter.

We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences. This was not the only fault. The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong. The Company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret. Currently, there are two major and ongoing police investigations. We are cooperating fully and actively with both. You know that it was News International who voluntarily brought evidence that led to opening Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden. This full cooperation will continue until the Police’s work is done. We have also admitted liability in civil cases. Already, we have settled a number of prominent cases and set up a Compensation Scheme, with cases to be adjudicated by former High Court judge Sir Charles Gray.

Apologising and making amends is the right thing to do. Inside the Company, we set up a Management and Standards Committee that is working on these issues and that has hired Olswang to examine past failings and recommend systems and practices that over time should become standards for the industry. We have committed to publishing Olswang’s terms of reference and eventual recommendations in a way that is open and transparent.

We have welcomed broad public inquiries into press standards and police practices and will cooperate with them fully. So, just as I acknowledge we have made mistakes, I hope you and everyone inside and outside the Company will acknowledge that we are doing our utmost to fix them, atone for them, and make sure they never happen again. Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper.

This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World. Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper. In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes. While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity.

We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend. Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers. These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do. Many of you, if not the vast majority of you, are either new to the Company or have had no connection to the News of the World during the years when egregious behaviour occurred. I can understand how unfair these decisions may feel. Particularly, for colleagues who will leave the Company. Of course, we will communicate next steps in detail and begin appropriate consultations.

You may see these changes as a price loyal staff at the News of the World are paying for the transgressions of others. So please hear me when I say that your good work is a credit to journalism. I do not want the legitimacy of what you do to be compromised by acts of others. I want all journalism at News International to be beyond reproach. I insist that this organisation lives up to the standard of behaviour we expect of others. And, finally, I want you all to know that it is critical that the integrity of every journalist who has played fairly is restored. Thank you. James Murdoch Deputy Chief Operating Officer

Chairman and CEO, International, News Corporation

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News of the World shutdown but how long until we see a The Sunday Sun?

James Murdoch has just released a statement stating that this Sunday’s edition of the News of the World will be it’s last and that all profits from this Sunday’s edition will be given to charity. This is obviously jaw-dropping stuff and is quite a radical decision by News International to get rid of the most popular newspaper in the country on a Sunday due to one investigation – but not really one investigation but one section of the affair. The tipping point was reached and the company knew that the waters would be rough and they clearly think the name is mud and it will be recover however News International aren’t stupid.

What are the odds of News International either starting up a new brand in the near future after a bit of a lull or The Sun starting up The Sunday Sun to pick up the slack. There is a huge market there and whatever anyone says people will buy that newspaper. The Sun at this point is not tainted with the issues of the News of the World and they could start up that newspaper with a relatively clean slate.

All I can say at this point is that these are very very interesting times in the media.

The future of Rebekah Brooks must now be in real question. If Murdoch is happy to shutdown a newspaper surely he’ll get rid of the former editor of the newspaper who oversaw the whole affair? Surely…?

I thought Brooks would survive. I really did but it looks as though her time is running out…

More on this no doubt in the next few days.

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The curious case of Mark Bolton

Up until a few weeks ago Mark Bolton had been the front man for Spanish Football on Sky Sports. He had been in the position for six years and he had something that wasn’t exactly the norm within the company – an opinion and a personality. That has seemingly ended his stint with Sky.

On twitter he posted on June 3 ‘After 6 years the season just past will be my final one presenting Spanish Football for Sky Sports. I will not be renewing my contract.’ and would go on to use twitlonger to further he message:

Mark Bolton will not be renewing his contract at Sky Sports.

After 6 successful and enjoyable years presenting Spanish football for Sky Sports, this past season will be my last.
My current Sky contract expires in August and I will not be renewing it.

Spanish football enjoys greater popularity now than ever and whilst sad to leave a product for which I have great affection, I am proud to have played a significant role in its development over the past few years. I am grateful to Sky Sports for their support in allowing me to do so.

Having expressed a long felt desire to take on new challenges, I have concluded these will be more successfully pursued outside of Sky Sports.

I wish the team every success.

Mark Bolton.

All seems fair until he posted this on June 22, ‘Sky Sports told me Im (sic) “Very talented & excellent on screen” but that Im (sic) “Anti-authoritarian” & that they’d decided to not renew my contract.’ So basically they didn’t like his attitude and wanted rid of a potential troublemaker within the company. Well that is their right of course but it seems clear enough that they would prefer a bland ident-i-kit presenter to someone with a bit of spark and that is a shame. As someone who has been labelled as similar in the past I can see his frustraition. Sometimes you can’t fight the regime even when you are right. People do not like to be told when they are wrong – certainly by people who they are paying – and the ability to know when to shut up is one I might not possess either.

There is a fine piece over at WSC entitled A rare good broadcaster leaves Sky Sports which is right on the money. Whilst I don’t put Mark Bolton up in James Richardson’s class – Bolton had something. Now we are left on Sky with Stelling (who is fine but not anywhere near as good when taken out of the Soccer Saturday studios), Jones (who is fine but nothing special) and Chamberlain (who seemingly in my eyes is the best of the three). I haven’t included Shepherd as he’s just not up to it, seemed a strange hire from the start and he just doesn’t fit.

So what will Sky do? They have yet to announce if they intend to hire from within in the football presenting team to replace Richard Keys full-time and now they have the Spanish football job available too. Will they continue with the status quo on EPL games with the current mis-mash of Jones/Chamberlain or will they give one of them the main EPL job and the other Spanish football? My fear is that Ed Chamberlain will be the new face of Spanish football on Sky with Dave Jones being the main EPL anchor with Ben Shepherd doing the odd game when needs be.

All in all the whole Sky Sports Football output has gone downhill in the past year. Losing Ian Darke to ESPN in the United States was the first blow then Keys and Gray whilst not being everyone’s cup of tea were well known and consistent. The parade of co-commentators since Gray has left has been bewildering and the yo-yo of Jones and Chamberlain as the face of the channel’s most important and iconic sport event has not sat well.

To be honest I’m disappointed in Sky with how they have dealt with the whole football department in the past six months or so. You have to hope Mark Bolton turns up somewhere soon and that Sky Sports can get their house in order sooner rather than later.

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‘Is calling someone a bitch sexist?’ – Discuss.

So last night I was watching The Apprentice as I usually do at around midnight. I’m out on Wednesday’s you see and watch Around the Horn and PTI at 11/11:30 before catching up with the Sky+ed episode of Lord Sir Alan’s latest offerings. I usually tweet throughout my own personal broadcast about how I’m feeling about the show. Last night I was just crushing Melody and Natasha endlessly because they were both horrible and down right awful. Natasha not even understanding the task was truly wretched but then when she won but blamed everything on Susan showed that without a doubt she had bitchy tendencies. However apparently me calling her out on this was both sexist and deeply misogynist. Please read the following (identity of tweeter who interacted with me has been protected)

The image that was here is broken and I can’t find the original – apologies

Now I’m not down on etiquette of what terminology you can use and what you can’t but I think calling her out for being a bitch is fair game. Webster’s defines bitchy as thus, ‘characterised by malicious, spiteful, or arrogant behaviour’ does that describe Melody and more importantly Natasha in last nights episode of The Apprentice? Yes I think it does. She was malicious, spiteful and arrogant towards Susan throughout the task and belittled her constantly because she thought she was better than her. The fact she sat on her arse all day and did nothing (according to both the editing and what people said in the boardroom) proves my point. If you could have any gripe with my tweet is that I called her evil which is probably not strictly accurate but still.

So anyway on to the tweet itself – is calling someone a bitch lazy? No. No it is not. It is a term used in every day conversation. I have read in many places across the interweb this morning that the term for a male acting in a familar manner is ‘asshole’ and if you are to call someone a bitch then you should be prepared to use the term asshole as well. I do. Brilliant. I shall do some more research. Look at me go – I can use the interweb. The Urban Dictionary has many descriptions for the term bitch but here are a few:

‘Word used to describe the act of whining excessively.’

‘Annoying and whining female’

‘A woman who would say things that if she were a man, she would be confronted or assaulted. (using her position as a woman as a shield)’

‘to complain’

‘a women with a bad attitude’

Do most if not all of these describe Natasha’s attitude during yesterday’s episode of the show? Personally I think so.

So on to whether the term is outdated. It is not because the term has actually moved on. The term bitch is now not associated (in my view anyway) with women solely but with an attitude. Men can act bitchy and be called a bitch. Some prefer the term asshole apparently but acting like an asshole and bitchy are seemingly similar to a lot of people. So I wouldn’t say the term is outdated but some people’s perceptions are stuck in the past. Bitch doesn’t just mean woman. It means a certain type of person with a certain type of attitude. That is how I see it anyways.

As for ‘deeply misogynist’ – well I have to be honest. I didn’t know that term but I had a stab in the dark at it before I googled it and was’t too far wrong. So calling someone a bitch means that you hate women. I don’t know where to start with this one. If there is a person over the age of say ten in the world who speaks fluent English hadn’t called someone a bitch in their lives then I would be genuinely flabberghasted. Therefore according to this tweet every single person (both male and female) in the English speaking world hates women. Bad times for the female of the species clearly.

I just think that is crazy talk but maybe it is just me.

As for my defence that it was nearly one in the morning and it is twitter I think is a fair one. I’m not going to be overly thoughtful as I lay in bed tweeting from my iPhone as I’m watching TV. I’m going to be concise and I think that I was. I thought the way Natasha (and to an only slightly lesser extent Melody) acted was bitchy to the extreme using the Webster’s definition that I gave earlier and therefore they could be justifyably described as a bitch.

However to follow through with my assertation that I would be more rounded with my terminology if I wrote a blog post…Natasha’s behaviour on the episode of The Apprentice last night reeked of someone woefully out of their depth. Her performance showed that first of all she didn’t have the brain to understand the basic premise of the task and that having stock left over wouldn’t be a problem as the stock would be added to their total and whatever price they paid for it. She was unwilling to listen to her teammates and was rigidly stuck on her path – which was the wrong one – but would not listen to reason from Susan (to whom she acted like Susan was a piece of shit on her shoe) nor Jim who kept banging on about the same thing – which he was right to do so. Natasha’s performance showed why she has as much chance of winning the show and the £250k investment from old Amstrad boy as I do of waking up with Sophie Ellis Bextor looking longingly into my eyes. Natasha both acted like a spoilt brat who wanted to do things her way – and her way only and like someone who didn’t have a clue how to manage either the task or the people she was in charge of during the task. All in all she showed that she is both a terrific candidate for the money and a less than spectacular human being on that showing.

There we go. However I still think when you have a 140 character limit calling her a ‘bitch’ is fine.

But heck my English skills are not the best and I have probably missed the point entirely. If you want to weigh in then send me a comment. I’d be happy to hear from you telling me that I’m right or that I’ve missed the point entirely.

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