Jeremy Paxman and Piers Morgan expose Leveson’s true purpose: to control tabloid readers
AT the Leveson Inquiry – the big shindig in which the State gets to investigate the press, that very thing that is supposed to investigate the State and formulate how it can be controlled (bloody hell!) – Jeremy Paxman recalls a 2002 lunch with the then Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan. Former telly weather girl and Sven-Goran Eriksson shagger was also there Ulrika Jonsson. During the troughing, Morgan poked fun at Jonsson, mocking her relationship with the then England manager.
Paxman says Morgan told him:
“I was really struck by something Piers Morgan said, I was sat between him on my left and editor of Sunday Mirror on my right. Ulrika Jonsson was sat opposite. Morgan said, teasing Ulrika, that he knew what had happened in conversations between her and Sven Goran Eriksson and he went into this mock Swedish accent. Now I don’t know whether he was repeating a conversation that he had heard, or he was imagining this conversation …”
“He turned to me and said ’Have you got a mobile phone?’ I said yes and he asked if there was a security setting on the message bit of it. I didn’t know what he was talking about. He then explained the way to get access to people’s messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn’t put on your own code, his words, ‘You’re a fool’.”
Mr Morgan denies any involvement in phone hacking hen he appeared before Lord Justice Leveson. He takes to the web to tweet:
“Right – that’s the last time I’m inviting Jeremy Paxman to lunch. Ungrateful little wretch.”
All easy-peasy to slap Morgan. We might get another bash should Leveson recalls him, as now appears likely. But one thing rankles: Paxman is a high-minded State employee at the BBC, one of what Hugh Grant and Leveson fans would call the good guys. Morgan has worked for the tabloids, the papers that create and work in a “culture of pure evil” (Grant, the self-styled face of the phone hacking victims, said that). But Morgan gets it. The tabloids have done wrong. But the culture they embody is not evil; it’s all about entertainment. The punters vote with their feet, whereas it is compulsory to pay for the BBC.
The Times offers this insight into Paxman’s elitism:
The BBC presenter said that he remembered the 2002 lunch for two reasons: he wondered why he had been invited to the lunch in the newspaper’s Canary Wharf office and because of what Mr Morgan said.
We might ask why Paxman went and stayed to sit next to Jonsson? Might if have been because it was free and the simple joys of spotting let alone meeting and dining with a celebrity cannot be overlooked?
How they despise the tabloids and all that celebrity drivel, those fine folk at the Guardian and the BBC. And how they love Grant and sneering at great length at all the celebrity drivel that sells papers.
The debate on press freedom and standards has become a chance to sneer at the tabloids as being ethically less worthy than the trusty and moral Beeb and the liberal media. Worse yet, ultimately it’s about controlling tabloid readers, who need the State and her fans to teach it what’s ethical and right.
This cannot end well…