Editor helped chancellor manipulate news – World (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
MARK LEWIS: The editor at the time was Andy Coulson. And I think that’s worth remembering because of the future relationship that we have between the Conservative Party, the prime minister and Andy Coulson.
EMMA ALBERICI: Andy Coulson also wrote an editorial, or had it written for him, dismissing Natalie Rowe’s story.
It said George Osborne had been a young man who got caught up in this murky world. The editorial then spoke on his behalf, quote: “Mr Osborne robustly condemns drugs for the destruction they wreak.”
MARK LEWIS: That editorial could have gone completely the other way. It could have said, for example, whilst we do not believe that George Osborne took drugs he showed a serious error of judgement being at the party or being at the flat where drugs were taken, where there was an allegation of prostitution. He showed that error of judgement and therefore he’s not right to be in the heart of politics.
Now the decision on which spin to give to the story by the editor of the News of the World particularly was something that determined his future in politics.
EMMA ALBERICI: You think so?
MARK LEWIS: Undoubtedly so because the editorial could have been written the other way. And if it would have been written the other way it would have finished his career I’m sure.
EMMA ALBERICI: George Osborne’s office claimed that the stories that appeared were defamatory and untrue. And yet in the six years since then the now chancellor has never sued a newspaper or Natalie Rowe about the prostitution and drugs claims.