Dave’s chillaxing: when news becomes comment | Daniel Finkelstein

There’s a perfect example in this morning’s Telegraph of why it is impossible to separate news from comment. The paper reports that the Prime Minister ordered a pint of beer and talked to some friends in a pub.

The purpose of this article was to imply that David Cameron wasn’t working hard enough on the euro crisis.

Without that obvious underlying meaning – driven by the Telegraph’s dissatisfaction with his leadership – the entire story would have been: Extraordinary feat! Man drinks entire pint of beer! Together with his wife!

Lord Leveson is puzzled by the fact that separating news and comment is part of the PCC code, but hasn’t been implemented. This story provides an answer: the selection of news and the tone of the story constitute the comment – without a word of “comment” being included.

Twitter: @Dannythefink

Read more: Carol Midgley | We need more pubs that let children in

The Times says… | Leading articles and Thunderer | Friday June 15, 2012

So, how does this Westminster lobby system work? | Hugo Rifkind

I asked how the House of Commons lobby system worked years ago in the Spectator. The piece isn’t online any more so I offer the question again:

I could find out, but only by asking one of those proper political journalists – the ones who use the word “lobby” in myriad, self-satisfied ways, as though it were a weapon. “You can’t go into the lobby because you’re not in the lobby,” they’ll say, smugly, before telling you that they spend half their life in the lobby with the lobby, but not lobbying, because only lobbyists lobby. God knows what it means. I suppose they’re usually pissed.

Twitter: @hugorifkind

Bacon, eggs and Ofcom | Daniel Finkelstein

Recently I received a tweet from someone who had been watching me on TV. He felt I didn’t appreciate the concern over BskyB’s bid not being referred to Ofcom.

I informed him that it had been and gently tried to make the point that the public weren’t concerned about Ofcom because very few of them knew what Ofcom was or what it did.Description: http://assets.tumblr.com/javascript/tiny_mce_3_4_7/themes/advanced/img/trans.gif

A poll of 2,000 young people in this morning’s Times found that 33 per cent didn’t know that eggs came from hens and 36 per cent didn’t know that bacon came from pigs.

I am confident about my Ofcom point.

Twitter: @Dannythefink

Gorillas in the mist (of the Leveson Inquiry) | Daniel Finkelstein

Rupert Murdoch says he talked to Gordon Brown shortly after The Sun endorsed the Conservatives in September 2009. Gordon Brown says that he did not. One of them, under oath, must be lying.

Not quite. 

One of the most striking features of the Leveson Inquiry has been how much most people seem to have forgotten.

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The monstering of John Major | David Aaronovitch

I got a tweet this morning from, as far as I can tell, a youngish man who seemed axeless to me. He had been watching Sir John Major at the Leveson Inquiry and had a question that perhaps a greybeard like me might be able to answer. “Finding Sir John v impressive and sincere,” he wrote, “Why has the press for years told me he was useless & incompetent?”

Well, precisely. It’s hard to know when the business of “monstering” (as opposed to criticising) public figures began. Major was not an idiot, everything he did was not useless, indeed his most substantial crime was probably to win an election that most people thought that he and his party really should lose.

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Philip Collins gives his verdict on Gordon Brown’s appearance at the Leveson Inquiry

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