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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Whippingdale Saga: A drama in one Act

It has been reported that the editors of The People, the Mail on Sunday, The Sun, and The Independent all decided not to publish a story about John Whittingdale's private life.

REPORTER: 'Hey, boss, we've got a great story for you -- "Cabinet minister has it off with Miss Whiplash."'

EDITOR: 'Sounds good. Who's the minister?'

REPORTER: 'John Whittingdale.'

EDITOR: 'Smashing. Love it. So while he was trying to slap tougher restrictions on us, he was being slapped about by a fetish lady.'

REPORTER: 'Not quite, boss. This was before he became a minister.'

EDITOR: 'Ah, pity. But he's married, right? Betrayed his marriage vows?'

REPORTER: 'Er, no. Divorced.'

EDITOR: 'Ah. So the story is worth publishing because …?'

REPORTER: 'C'mon, boss. He took her with him to public functions, for Christ's sake. Blackmail? Security risk? Remember Profumo?'

EDITOR: 'Not quite the same, is it? Whitters ain't exactly the man with his finger on the nuclear button.

REPORTER: 'Yeah, but still …'

EDITOR: 'Does he know we know?'

REPORTER: 'Yup.'

EDITOR: 'So if we publish, will he then be more or less likely to push through all the Leveson stuff that we hate so much?'

REPORTER: 'Dunno, boss …'

EDITOR: 'Yeah, well I do. If we piss him off, he'll come down on us like a ton of bricks. And we don't want that, do we? Much better to be "responsible" for once in our lives. It'll make a nice change …'

REPORTER: 'Yeah, but hang on, he's a right-wing Tory bastard, hates the BBC, loves Murdoch …'

EDITOR: 'What's the public interest defence? Why are we invading his privacy?'

REPORTER: 'We do it all the time. Politicians, celebrities, footballers -- c'mon, it's what we're paid for.' 

EDITOR: 'You know what? If we publish this, we'll regret it. He'll push through Leveson and we'll all be worse off. Including our readers. So my decision -- and I'm sorry, cos it's a cracking tale -- is that in our interest, and in the public interest, we won't publish it.'

Something like that, anyway ...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wryly amusing today to see the two different takes on this - one being yours along with the tv and radio journalists, and the opposite one belonging to the newspapers (particularly the "gutter" press). So strange that today we learn "Sun on Sunday’s appeal against ban on sex scandal story to be heard on Friday". I thought they didn't run them any more...

Joanna said...

I just can't understand the whole hullaballoo. The story seems to be "man had girlfriend". So what if she had another job on the side? It's a non-story and the fact that he is responsible for press regulation is just a distraction.