Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to run a company? – Telegraph
Yet there is a curiosity at work here. Poulson himself, and the hapless individuals whose reputations he had destroyed, found no allies among British newspapers and politicians. Quite the contrary: they were greeted with contempt. The case of the Sun is quite different. It has already gathered an influential army of supporters as it fights its case.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary and a former employee of Rupert Murdoch, attacked the Leveson Inquiry, accusing it of having a “chilling” effect on press freedom. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and, like Mr Gove, a former journalist, has called for the inquiry to be “knocked on the head” as soon as possible.
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Others have been stronger. In the Daily Mail, the newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn responded to the police arrests of Sun journalists by warning of a “sinister assault on a free press”. In the same paper, the former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie declared that “these arrests are the real scandal – not the manner in which the reporters may have got their stories”. Even The Daily Telegraph argued that the police had “arguably overstepped the mark”.
Partly all this sympathy is inspired by special pleading. I remember the same cries of outraged innocence from MPs when their fraudulent expenses claims were made public by this newspaper. Suddenly, we have seen a wave of complaints from prominent journalists that their colleagues have been disturbed in their beds and arrested in the early hours of the morning. Yet this is a practice that has been going on for years, and there are good reasons for it (suspects have no chance to destroy evidence). I have never heard journalists protesting about it before.