Anorak News | The Press Gang

The Press Gang

by | 14th, May 2004

‘AS predicted, Mirror editor Piers Morgan is clinging onto his job like a particularly stubborn barnacle despite the fact that the photos he published of Iraqi prisoners being abused by British soldiers have been shown to be fakes.

‘Pictures of the Loch Ness monster? Being ridden bareback by Lord Lucan?’

The Telegraph carries the official verdict from Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram on its front page – namely, that the pictures ‘were categorically not taken in Iraq’.

But, as we forecast, Morgan is refusing to accept the verdict, arguing that the MoD had still not produced ‘incontrovertible’ evidence to support its claim.

What evidence would satisfy the tabloid editor we don’t know. We say the sky’s blue; everyone we know agrees that the sky is blue; but how do we provide incontrovertible evidence to prove the blueness of the sky?

The funny thing is that, despite the fact that they all agree that the sky is blue and the photos were faked, none of the broadsheets calls for Morgan’s head.

Were it a politician that had committed such an egregious error, one can’t imagine them all being so forbearing – but journalists tend to look out for their own.

Only Andrew Gowers, editor of the Financial Times, thinks that this is a resigning issue.

‘This is similar to the Gilligan affair,’ he tells the Guardian. ‘The defence as I understand it is that the pictures may not have been of actual events that took place; and that the story is basically right – when it’s actually wrong.’

Having dug his heels in and insisted on the genuineness of photos which are not even good fakes, Morgan and his organ have nowhere now to turn.

The Guardian thinks the paper should say sorry, arguing that its position regarding possible abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers would be strengthened, not weakened, by admitting that it had been the victim of a hoax.

Roger Alton, editor of the Observer, tells the paper that Morgan is a first-class editor and the country would be worse off without him.

‘I don’t think journalists should sit in judgement on what other people in the press should do,’ he says, ‘because we don’t know what the circumstances were.’

Not something that prevents journalists sitting in judgement on the rest of the country…’

Posted: 14th, May 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink