Hacking Report Says New Regulatory System Needed for British Newspapers

An inquiry triggered by The News of the World scandal recommended a new system of press regulation that would be backed by parliamentary statute.

Comments: 83

  1. You don't say ...a new regulator? It isn't hard to see where this comes into play with the current administration in the U.S. and the woeful financial shape of the American "news" media....

    The "news" media here will embrace, that's right, they will embrace an accepted form of regulation by a new U.S.government agency called the FCC Division of Standards and Practices...in exchange for public funding of the "news" media.

    The financial benefits once received will finally make the "free press" an arm of the federal authorities and its employees a part of the permanant government.

    What this portends to Americans when they need important information from a "free press" is frightening. The electorate were useful idiots in the 2012 election, snookered by the Obama administration and the news media. Now we're stuck when this comes to America

    Katie bar the door because this scenario will likely play out during this administration.

  2. You do know that this article was about the UK, not the US, don't you?

  3. Actually Josh, this was just an excuse for another partisan screed by a true believer. Location, not to mention relevance, is irrelevant to such as TJ Fod

  4. The learned Mr. Hill doesn't seem to know that the criminal enterprises of U.S. citizen Rupert Murdoch stretch around the globe.

  5. Amazingly, Wall Street Journal, writing on behalf of the organization that gave the world the "News of the World Scandal" initially headlined the findings as just merely more of "self regulation" as if the two newspapers read completely different reports. The new headlines in WSJ is now more critical. Journalistic integrity anyone?

  6. This is typical Murdoch empire behavior. I was about to say that it's sad that it now afflicts once-great newspapers like the Journal and the Times of London, and it is, but the real harm comes from Fox News, which has I think done more than anything in recent years to harm the US and the world. The consequences of warming denial alone, of which we have just had another foretaste, will be catastrophic.

    Al Qaeda has killed thousands of our citizens, but Fox News has endangered our political process and our democracy, and made it impossible to take timely action to save the planet. How do you put a price on that?

  7. The root cause of the problem is the UK's harsh libel laws. Media organizations are so terrified about getting sued they are forced to go to highly unethical lengths to uncover scoops and stories which can later hold up against claims of falsehood. Ironically what is needed are expanded press freedoms to say whatever they wish, just like the press enjoys in the United States. Not only will the incentive to hack phones and bribe police be diminished, the general public will learn to treat news reports, especially those from the tabloid press, with a high degree of skepticism. As soon as the public loses confidence in the free wheeling media outfits the press' ability to embarrass and influence will disappear.

  8. Our libel laws for stories about public figures are significantly less strict. The bottom-feeders search the garbage over here too. It's just a matter of time until the phone-hacking evidence surfaces on this side of the pond as well.

  9. Mike B., I think you may not understand the problem here. It is the fact that they have said whatever they want to and used blackmail via personal info gained by illegal spying and breaking into private phone accounts to prevent the lawsuits you speak of.
    Your argument also falls flat in that if your posit were true, it does not explain the criminal, callous, and abusive behavior of "reporter's" or the hurtful things that the papers did print intended to cause distress and punish the chosen personal enemies of Mr. Murdoch or his reporter's.

    The Public's duty to discern lies in its duty to apply reason to any information they act upon. Whether or not the members of the general Public can reason is something for the Educational System to address.

  10. A very good point Mike B.

  11. According to the article, "the press had hacked into their phones, followed them, intruded on their privacy, illegally obtained information like their phone numbers and medical records, and made up stories about them." All of these things are illegal, or should be. Doesn't it make more sense to increase penalties and enforcement of the law than to create a regulatory body that might compromise freedom of the press?

    In particular, it seems that Rupert Murdoch has so far isolated himself from the legal consequences of his skulduggery by throwing his lieutenants to the wolves. Even firm action against lower-level employees won't end this kind of behavior if the man in charge walks free. Neither will fines of a few million here or there deter a man like Murdoch, who considered court settlements nothing more than the cost of doing business.

    A way must be found to hold the head of the enterprise or the enterprise itself responsible for rampant criminal activity on the part of underlings. Only if the men in charge or the companies they run face substantial consequences such as prison or bankrupting fines will this behavior stop.

  12. Is that what racketeering prosecutions are for?

  13. You make very good points. I think the line about his either knowing or lacking proper control of his business in the report was intended for the US regulator's to use in their investigation.
    We must remember that NOW is a US company, that i of the one reasons Murdoch moved here to escape British laws that would have held him more in check if he were still a British Citizen and based in Britain. It also freed him up to do what he has with FOX news which is the same sort of abuse of his position as an alleged "newsman" to exercise undue influence over politicians. I think by now we can all see he is not now and never was a newsman.

  14. Agreed. Something like our laws concerning harrassment in the workplace at a private company.
    In that instance the CEO is held responsible by the court. This would have curbed the Murdoch staff excesses because the staff would not want to feel his wrath.

  15. The British press doesn't need new regulators, it needs new owners. `A fish rots from the head down.'

  16. I ask myself with wonderment why we here, with our strict freedom of the press and less strict libel laws, don't have the problem of press abuse that the British do--certainly nowhere near to the same extent.

    I sense that there's something in our distinctly American character that they lack. Perhaps it was best expressed by Katherine Lee Bates in the second stanza of her "America the Beautiful":

    America! America!
    God mend thine every flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law!

    It might seem that issues of liberty and self-control over there have not yet fully evolved to the degree that they have over here.

    Steven Ager
    Philadelphia/Cherry Hill

  17. We don't have problems with press abuse? What would you call it when an entire network - Fox News Channel - makes its living feeding disinformation to all that watch? And if you believe that God mends our every flaw, He had to have a hand in creating them, n'est-ce pas?

  18. Maybe it's because America is full of saints, as you imply, or maybe it's because America barely has a press at all, compared to this side of the pond. Here every newsagent offers a choice of a dozen or more daily papers, ranging from scandal sheets, to middlebrow to serious business titles and from the left and right wings of politics.There is massive competition for readers and little pretence of impartiality.

    Ironically, the British press probably expresses Americal values of raw capitalism, freedom of expression, competition and a free market better than the American press, which includes some decent (if sometimes dull) newspapers, but little or no competition or consumer choice.

    I would suggest our (slightly) tougher libel laws are a response to a more free-spirited and sometimes chaotic press rather than the cause.

    I woud also mention that a number of British titles are owned by a certain Americal corporation, which appears to have both flaws and a lack of self-control.

  19. I wouldn't be so smug, Mr. Ager. Every day I watch CNN give more press coverage to Lindsay Lohan's escapades than to world news. No, we may not have all the issues that preoccupy British media, but there is a real problem here insofar as the empty-headed infotainment culture.

  20. History has shown repeatedly that unfettered freedom can not last for very long. That I will have it for most of my life I am very appreciative.

  21. The real problem is concentration of media ownership and the totally unbalanced and undemocratic political reality which follows from it. We used to actively try to control media concentration on the simple grounds that effective control over our common means of communication undermines out ability to hear different points of view and to form a consensus. Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts - press corruption hasn't yet reach absolute terms but we are getting there. Oligarchies may present the appearance of competition but that is illusionary for anyone or any institution that is not part of the oligarchy. Much of the problem could be eliminated with the creation of a tightly regulated common communication utility (most likely best served with both public and private providers) coupled with relatively unregulated easy entrance content industry with guaranteed access to communication facilities but prohibited from any cross ownership. Of course the sanctions against stealth attempts to defacto break the legal divorce of content from delivery mechanism would have to be coupled with draconian personal and corporate criminal penalties.

  22. I think you are talking about regulations and laws that used to exist prior to the reagan wave of De-Regulation that created the entire mess we are in at every level of US society.

  23. Coulson and Brooks were in court today. Why have Murdoch Sr and Jr not been charged?

    All of these events occurred at papers owned by News International. The owners have to be held accountable. Throwing the editors under the bus is a predictable tactic and should not be allowed to work.

  24. News International is a public company traded on the stock exchange. The "owners" are whoever is holding the stock today, and they may not be holding it tomorrow.

  25. Because the Murdochs own David Cameron.

  26. The American perspective came in 1947 with the Hutchins Report. A fascinating evisceration of the press/media had newspapers burying the story and poking fun at the commission members as "dumb professors" and "arm chair ignoramuses."
    The Chicago Tribune published the news account of the report on page 40 under the headline: "'A Free Press,' (Hitler Style) Sought for U.S."

  27. A maximum $1.6 million fine is ludicrously low. Murdoch eats that for breakfast. No mention of jail time The report didn't say who appoints the new regulators and if if they get punished ff they fail to stop the crimes. As usual ,the brit boss class will continue to run the show as they want. A stinking system. firmly entrenched.

  28. And the U.S. just let Rupert add to his media monopoly with his buy of YES. So now he controls financial opinion,news, and comment with Dow Jones; right-wing media propaganda with everything FOX and its alternate reality; and print and scandal-mongering "journalism." And this toxicity is spread around the world - Rupert is global. He is like an incurable virus that's moving swiftly to infect ever wider regions.

    Do we continue to have anti-monopoly laws on the books or have they been discarded like Glass-Steagal with Repubican fervor? We need a new Teddy Roosevelt, the Trust Buster!

  29. Another regulator? Why not clear laws that define what is illegal and criminal enforcement. The concept of regulator controlling the press should be frightening except perhaps to leftists.

  30. The report will be taken by Rupert Murdoch et al as a "green light" for business as usual, and that doesn't feel good. The upcoming (related) criminal cases in the UK have their sacrificial lambs already in place, and I suspect the outcome there will not feel good either.

  31. The Leveson Inquiry was tremendously well handled, and it appears thus far that the report's recommendations will be implemented by Parliament, with the exception of a statutory backstop. They are arguing over that and it appears will continue to do so for some time. In the end, I hope that a law will get written to support the independent scheme, to ensure that all players remain involved.

    As far as Murdoch is concerned.... he walked away and is back on a buying spree, and if he snaps up more papers in Chicago and California, and keeps on doing so.... the far right-wing agenda will permeate more and more of the worldwide press. The disaster of FOX (and all his media holdings) is not that it has an agenda, but that it pretends to be objective.

    The British did a wonderful job with this, and I hope they follow through. If so, it will be an example to the world.

  32. I think it's fairer to say that Sir Brian Leveson did a wonderful job with his report. Whether we as a nation, via Parliament, rise to be deserving of your level of praise remains to be seen,

  33. Responding to Josh hill

    Of course the article is about the UK.

    However the ability to spot trends is a hallmark of the NY Times readership. I say let's not ignore trends even if they harm our personal political sensabilities.

    The legal math connecting the government licensing of media in the UK and other european nations is not complex calculus. It is a financial remedy as well as a social compact.

    American news media has serious financial difficulties that some consider this as a remedy.

  34. The article isn't about the UK. It's about a U.S. citizen named Rupert Murdoch, whose criminal enterprises stretches around the world.

  35. Leave us hope that eventually Murdoch in America will be investigated leading to the demise of Fox News. You can bet Murdoch's business model in Europe is Murdoch's business model in America.

    If our truth in advertising laws were enforced in the US it would be the end of fact-less Fox News which people in my neck of the woods accept as the gospel. It would also rid the US of these horrible rags littering the check out counters in every drug store & grocery store. You know, the ones that proclaim Obama has a love child on the moon, the product of his sexual relationship with a Martian. I remember one trash article that stated George W. Bush was a giant lizard able to morph into human form & feast on children. Good lord...everyone knows that's Dick Cheney, not Bush! My neighbors & friends are dumb enough to believe this trash!

    When Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine & Bush-Cheney elevated a lie to the same level as the truth, it gave Murdoch free rein to damage at will, to suck dry the minds of the dimmest American voters & gave us a Congress that can't govern. How many more years must we suffer just because Murdoch wants to add another billion to his billions no matter how many lives or countries he destroys.

  36. He wants a lot more than money.

  37. That's the whole idea of freedom of the press, anyone can say anything.

    If the giant lizards don't like it, let them sue.

  38. What took them so long?

  39. an excoriating critique of -the- press as a whole on Thursday, saying it displayed “significant and reckless disregard for accuracy

    "The" press is not an enttity, a singular being.

  40. I cannot wait until there is finally an investigation of the media (hmm, we no longer call it news) in this country. No matter what your political beliefs the media has failed miserably to perform as guardians.

  41. I find Murdoch's news empire extremely disturbing. The minute we lose unbiased, competitive national coverage of civic events will be the minute that the government becomes inaccountable for its actions.

  42. I agree... I find spreading of Murdoch's news empire into the US even more frightening.... If it truly were "free" press , facts would be published, not politically motivated pieces.....His influence over political figures truly scares me... Just look at how he inserted himself in the American election going after Chris Christie for his appropriate praise for the president during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy....I have no problem with capitalism, however, Murdoch appears to want a great amount of influence over how others think and that bothers me... immensely

  43. The problem is that we have never had "unbiased, competitive national coverage" of anything...and we never have had this.

  44. The dificulty is with the public. We prefer "facts" that support our biases--what entertains us. The difference between a fact and a factoid is merely a matter of opinion. In my opinion the American media and film industry did and to a lesser extent still does have a liberal bias. But along comes Fox which does not have so much a conservative bias as much as it has a corporate bias. Sean Hannity is a two-legged factoid--in my opinion of course.

  45. You are dead wrong.
    Your first sentence is a the sort of deceptive manipulation of ignorance that is the problem with fake press organizations like FOX News.

    A fact is something real that anyone can see or find using reason and evidence. There is no opinion involved in the matter.
    If your opinion is the part of you that has veto power over what information you allow to hold weight and be part of your view or decisions, then you are not dealing in facts you are dealing in at best information that makes you feel good about the decision you have already decided to arrive at.

    The Press and the media are two different things but I will admit the line between them has been successfully blurred over the last 30 years.

  46. The fact that you include 'the film industry' in a discussion of a free and open press tells me you have no idea what the difference is between fiction and fact.

  47. magicisnotreal

    It has been demonstrated numerous times that nearly all people read publications that back their world-view. How many conservatives read The Nation, or liberal/progressive/centrists read the National Review?

    Facts are real (or perceptions of reality) but interpretation of facts differ according to the individual. Interpretation is where things get murky. FOX News presents facts. It is their interpretation that is askew.

    News organizations also differ on what is newsworthy and what is not, which means the reader is relying on the discretion of what the editor determines as newsworthy.

  48. This move is long overdue. British Prime Ministers from Blair to Cameron to Major have been in bed with Rupert Murdoch.Hopefully, this will end the unholy alliance.!

  49. As loathsome as the free press can sometimes be, I much prefer it to a shackled press. Prime Minister Cameron is right, they should not start down that slippery slope. Laws to constrain the press can be twisted to a particular party's advantage, thwarting the very fairness intended.

  50. well stated.

  51. This is a NY Times PICK? How embarrassing.

    The "free press" isn't really free at all. The "free press" normally sells us the news that we want to hear, suppresses more of the news we don't want to hear...and serves the interests of the elites, be they conservatives or liberals.

    Having spent a lot of time outside the U.S., I can tell you that to most foreigners, when the "free press" reports on issues of concern to U.S. interest, the "free press" news sounds pretty like propaganda written by the U.S. State Dept.

  52. Cameron is not protecting the "free press" he is protecting Murdoch who is funding his career, and that of many other politicians.....

  53. As a European professional journalist I think that a new regulatory body cannot solve the problem at its roots, nor in Britain, neither in Continental Europe or the USA. Just as an example consider this:
    a) The British "high brow" press is still a wonderful example of a well done job on a day by day basis. But they loose readers, money and advertising revenue. The constantly expanding arena of "rubbish press", the so-called tabloids, or even respected newspapers and magazines that have begun to follow the tabloid trend, are the bread, butter and ham providers of media mogul like Mr. Murdoch (or Mr. Berlusconi for that matters).
    b) Perhaps it is not a chance that the British press is under fire in Great Britain at the same time when the Bbc, another major international icon when it comes to good Tv and Radio, is bombarded by heavy criticism. It is a fact that anywhere in the developed world, many among the traditional media seem to respond to their own crisis with a disreputable tendency to ignore long established rules of professional conduct and importing from the magma of on-line information only the worst, like gossip, approximation, here-says and, sometimes, slander.
    c) One last, and sad, consideration as a European: This a matter in which the sometimes hyper-regulating EU authorities could work to promote a better professional standard. But of course, they are not and they will not.

  54. The "press" or media has always had free reign to print whatever it wants to as long as it's either the truth or labeled as an opinion. It has never been granted the right to print lies and fabricated stories. The idea that someones personal phone calls and private information is being hacked as a routine matter is very troubling. First of all , it appears this practice crosses all barriers in terms of attempts to deter same , which means that Heads of State and Military leaders must be included . Does Murdoch have "other" motives ? Does his relationship with Cameron then take on another dimension? Has information that may have gotten somebody murdered or eliminated in some far away country been part of this practice ? Doesn't this then mean Murdoch is far more powerful than just a media mogul ?
    I think it's time we examined the Fox empire and determined just how much is too much in terms of ownership.As he keeps munching away at print and airwaves media outlets , I feel like my freedom to hear and read the "truth" is being threatened.

  55. I agree with most what you say, a couple of comments though... you said the media "has never been granted the right to print lies and fabricated stories", this is arguable, just ask Jane Akre who lost her appeal through the Florida courts when it was successfully "argued [against her] that the FCC policy against [media] falsification was not a "law, rule, or regulation"".

    The second point I want to make is relative to your statement that you "feel like [your] freedom to hear and read the "truth" is being threatened". I fear this time has past. We cannot trust the media today, we cannot expect to simply hear or read the "truth", it takes personal effort to research subject matter- discovering the truth takes critical thought.

    I think we need laws to provide truth in anything purporting to be NEWS, otherwise they should not be allowed to call it news. Media opinion is fine, but call it such and don't try to pass it off as news. Start by renaming FOX News, the FOX Media Chanel.

  56. Oh great, just what we need: Another press scold.

  57. There is nothing new under the sun. I am very disappointed that the conclusion of the Levison's Report criticises police but says they are not corrupt. There is no doubt, The police and journalists are guilty of bad practice, of illegality and corruption. If the question is still : Do we need more regulation of the news media? My answer is we need a clear and critical distinction between information and intelligence. How many cops "lies" in the media? The public enlightenment is base on The ethic and the journalism should stay far away to the world of police and intelligence agencies. Do you need work done with out the huge price???

  58. "...calling for tighter self-regulation..."

    In other words, Murdoch and his gang of criminals will be asked to voluntarily reduce their criminal behavior.

    Sounds like a plan!

  59. But, but, we WANTED Journalism organizations to be for profit, right?

    Because regular news isn't sexy enough; we wanted 'infotainment'.

    Well, now we have it. Its just that the Brits may have an opportunity to reverse the trend.

    Americans, especially conservatives(but not to the exclusion of other political persuasions), are just that stupid.

  60. Oh Great Britain, please be our guide. Regulate the press. Please send prototype legislation to the USA so we can regulate FOX out of business.

  61. The comment of this panel will be useful to journalism across the planet.

    In some areas we have suppression of the press. In other places we have journalist oppressing the rights of some in favor of the rights of others. In still others, we have journalism as the lackey of dictatorships.

    Last, we rarely see journalism addressing journalism.

    Until the last is standard operating procedure, journalism will remain difficult to respect... everywhere.

  62. As a former journalist, I must say I am watching these events unfold with a smirk on my face. It takes a true confederation of dunces to take the fourth estate -- empowered as an extra layer of objective checks and balances on the government and society at large -- and diminish its integrity to the point where it needs to be overseen.

  63. Another case where some set of angels is intended to save everyone from themselves. Trouble is, there is no ready stock of angels, just people with enough connections to get themselves appointed to a powerful commission, all with their own fish to fry, oxen to gore or whatever.

    I read the article carefully (not the report itself) and it looked like everything stated as having been a clear problem was cited as already illegal. Perhaps a little more law enforcement should be tried. I'd be more impressed with a proposal for a special branch of law enforcement that would deal with illegal acts by the press. I do realize that part of the problem is said to be cozyness of some bits of the press and the police.

  64. The news organizations that shocked the UK and sparked the Leveson inquiry were evidently involved in criminal activity, not journalism. The UK has laws on the books to deal with those who commit or suborn bribery, illegal access of private records and phone conversations, and foster corrupt relationships with political figures and police officials. The UK's journalists are UK citizens subject to the same laws as everyone else, and are subject to the same criminal or civil penalties if convicted of breaking those laws. The UK's own justice system is sufficient to handle the rogue journalists and editors who caused the trouble. Convicted or not, what is more problematic and lasting is the deep damage these people did to the reputation of journalism in the eyes of the UK public.

  65. Oh c'mon. Of course the ends justify the means.

    They will continue to do so.

  66. The "free" or unfettered media in the west damages regular people all the time without meaningful or effective recourse against this powerful entity.
    Think of the subject matter which the News of the World phone hacked, messages of a 13 yr old murdered schoolgirl, deceased soldiers, parents of an abducted child and bomb victims.
    Self regulation has not worked. Legislating to punish such base behaviour in the pursuit of profit and under the banner of the “the public’s right to know” is overdue. It may also slow the quality media’s race to the bottom to match sensational headlines.

  67. I know it is difficult, but he cannot be called both lord and Sir -- he is Lord Justice Leveson. Mr Burns knows this.

  68. Before anyone in England should think about enacting any sort of governmental review of the Press, they ought to go back and reread Milton's Aeropagita--perhaps one of the best arguments ever made against the State censoring the Press. I find it sad that this obvious point had to come from an American.

    Instead of adding to any restrictions of the Press, why not increase the penalties for criminal, libelous, and egregious behavior which is already on the books. That way England's Press can still operate under a general principle of freedom of speech without its citizenry having to cower from the excesses of its media industries.

  69. Apparently 7/8 of the readers want FOX News fined and closed, Murdock bankrupted and forbidden to own any news organization, so our world would be subjected only to highly objective, distilled, free of propaganda, decent, politically correct, progressive, government-approved and government-supportive publications like New York Times.

    I welcome this noble initiative, but 1/8 of the readers may still disagree. Uneducated, unruly, hidden tea-party zealots, and just plain rednecks. How would we convince them that press uniformity is the best weapon against abuses, rights violations and tyranny? Who should be running the press and what would be a fair share of our money they would be receiving for their services?

    I think, only one man in the world is qualified to answer all these intriguing and challenging questions. He is kind and wise, handsome and healthy. He is our fellow American and he is an unsurpassed genius of all the times. His name is Barack Obama. We shall beg him to direct all the newsmen what and how they should write and print. He shall also instruct the readers how exactly they should interpret the articles to the mutual benefit of us all, for the sake of Supreme Social Justice. Everyone should play by the same rules and - of course - pay his fair share. Amen.

  70. More government = last resort. Why are we there so soon? The market can't decide for itself which news sources deserve clicks and which don't?

  71. Leveson's recommendations have divided the coalition government. Prime Minister David Cameron had "serious concerns" over statutory regulation and was
    wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and the free press. His deputy Nick Clegg supported some form of legal underpinning and believed that changing the law was the only way to ensure that "the new regulator isn't just independent for a few months or years, but is independent for good".

  72. Uncovering the breaking of the law by members of the news media, prosecuting it, and punishing it - how does a new regulatory body help with that?

  73. Corporate culture trickles down from the top. In order to succeed employees strive to meet the expectations, beliefs, values, and practices of their superiors. Those who do not leave the company. Those who stay become "stuck" in the company.

    The Murdoch culture turns child murders into entertainment in order to boost readership and ratings - and profits.

    It makes me sick to my stomach that people like Rupert Murdoch and his damaged protege (his son) are respected in certain quarters.

  74. Lord Justice Leveson has articulated the problem of journalism very well. A reporter can destroy the reputation in one day. BBC just did that to Lord McAlpine. It takes time to bring law suit against the media
    and get a judgment. By then the public attention is shifted to some other story. NYT did that to Wen Ho Lee. After the report I was sure he was Chinese spy. There are so many examples like that.
    Another point that Lord justice has raised is the nexus between the politicians, media and the police. Rupert Murdoch has chockhold
    on the politicians in Britain and to a large extent here through FOX.
    He can destroy the credibility of the politicians easily. It is all permitted in the name of free speech.
    It gets worse in case of foreign news reporting. If US picks a country as adversary such as China, Iran, Iraq, Syria and may be
    Venezuela and Cuba, the leaders are demonized in the media.
    In this case there is no legal recourse.
    The scientist was hounded by FBI for alleged involvement in anthrax
    terrorism who had nothing to do with it. He was humiliated in public, lived under tremendous stress for a long time before the inquiry against him was dropped. It was reported in the media regularly. Is someone's miserable life justifiable for the free speech?

  75. No different for the U.S. media: "'...displayed 'significant and reckless disregard for accuracy,' and urged the press to form an independent regulator to be underpinned by law. "

  76. When will America wake up to Rupert Murdoch and the bizarre inaccuracies they report on Fox 'News' under the masquerade that they're a news organization.

  77. Let's not leave the Gray Lady (NY Times) out of the conversation of news media weakness. The Times has been living on its reputation but shows literally no leadership in the field. As Saint Paul wrote, to whom much is given much is required and Times is not delivering on its promise made on the masthead.

    The NY Times has augured the polemic battle in Washington that's consuming the nation's will, sense, morality and economy. The reason is simple; the NY Times has never tried to understand, hence it does not cover nor respect middle -American sensabilities. And it's middle is the ballast of America's greatness, not its coasts.

    The Times is populated by Ivy League and near-Ivy writers. They speak to each other in the same wing of the media. They appear to believe to both trained and untrained eye that the high profile of a story's focus and the cult of celebrity it engenders, is magically important , even worse- accurate.

    The Times would do well by its mission of national leadership by focusing less on changing the culture by reporting on a thousand little cuts. Rather it should provide coverage of and understanding of what provides ballast to a nation so permissible of change, yet requires stability in its center to make that happen.

  78. Anyone who thinks middle America (I assume this refers to the geographic middle) is where the nation's greatness is has not been paying attention to where actual progress in terms of diversity, tolerance and equality originates. Cultural change is accepted last by many in the fly-over region of the country outside of larger cities.

    Leadership in journalism is not about championing stability over cultural change but recognizing and reporting on that change. it doesn't create the change in doing so, although it certainly will raise awareness of it.

    I have yet to find a newspaper in the U.S. that has the stature (which it has earned), depth of coverage and accuracy of the NYT. Meanwhile, that cesspool of propaganda, Fox "News," represents the virtual bottom of the barrel in journalism.

    Eclectic Pragmatist — http://eclectic-pragmatist.tumblr.com/

  79. Something's gone very wrong in journalism. My father worked for over thirty years in that fine profession (politics, cop beat, night desk, rewrite), and he said you must always, always get confirmation.

    He left with dignity when papers, like too may companies now, forgot what their true purpose is, and instead have merely become vehicles for extracting money for their clueless, ruthless owners.

  80. More restraint on media is not healthy for democracy.
    All such needs to monitor, thus possibly to censor media, especially those which cover and report on the higher end, more important political issues, takes the world further into totalitarianism, inhumanity, and ever-increasing separations of classes.
    These only divide us, with the upper-class caring even less about the masses (not that they ever have).
    To avoid 1, the need for constraint on media, and 2, media's need to go beyond the laws to get the info, the story, the British, and all of us, must force more democratic parliaments, in-the-main by ending the LANDED privileges inherent in the House of Lords.
    Until parliament(s) etc., are corrected fully to practical, sensible terms, elections, taxes, sponsoring and lobbying etc by wannabe candidates and parties etc., media must be ever teetering on the line between lawful and unlawful actions.
    Would Lord Leveson accept that the House of Lords and the privilege of their completely negative inherited wealth, are well passed their use-by date, and that Britain must move beyond such antiquated structures?
    If he does not, or, for peer-group pressure cannot, his conclusions are either false or deliberately backward, to "1984", a la the book of that name by....?
    Time really has run out. But maybe these upperclass snobs, can instigate corrections for the generations to come, before the complete breakdown of the global society, when war will be all, all of the future will know?

  81. We get the newspapers, the reporters and the editors we deserve. The UK public has a voracious appetite for the scandal sheets such as the Sun and the defunct NOTW. They have less of an appetite for the broadsheets such as the Times and the Daily Telegraph, even less so for the Guardian and the Independent. The Daily Mail and the Express appeal to the centre right in sufficient numbers to pull in a profit, but the UK newspapers on the centre left do not.

    In the USA, with a populace of over 300 million, you have sufficient numbers to ensure the survival of your quality press. Not so in the UK with its population of roughly a fifth that number. Almost no-one in the UK can read in a second language, so Continental Europe’s newspapers are not a serious option. Increasingly, those of us who want to read the quality news look to the NYT, the Washington Post or Al-Jazeera online, irrespective of our country of origin or where we're living at the time. TGF the Internet and the WWW.

    Last, few appreciate what rat bags end up working in the UK's national tabloid press. Hard bitten reporters have always had a scurrilous reputation, but in the UK those working for the tabloids are a breed apart. UK tabloid reporters really are the lowest of the low. They have no ethics, no scruples, just the instinct of the sewer rat for a tasty morsel. I would place UK tabloid reporters slightly below lawyers and fractionally above merchant bankers and hedge fund managers in my Nine Circles of Hell.

  82. I know it's a bit difficult to get the truth in the US about Leveson, but I'm afraid the NYT has been sucked in by the propaganda from the 'free' press (i.e. in general those who are very rich and have a right wing agenda) and the Tories.

    The regulator would be set up and administered by the press themselves ( and boy you should see them try and set up a regulator that would meet the Leveson tests so fast your eyes would water). The statutory body would not regulate the press, just check that the press's own regulator was doing it's job properly. Leveson made the mistake of suggesting that it was possible this regulator could be OfCom, which of course in the case of broadcast media is a direct regulator. If the BBC/ITV/Sky News produce a program that breaks the broadcasting code, OfCom can look at that programme directly. The statutory regulator would not get involved in looking directly at any particular contravention of the code (that the press themselves will define), but just in general was whether the press regulator was working properly (it is suggested a full audit every 2 or 3 years).

    The closest model I can think of are such professional bodies as the General Medical Council and the General Teaching Council. As far as I know neither of these bodies have had any interference from the politicians in the last century or so. In fact most people probably assume that they are voluntary professional bodies, rather than voluntary bodies set up by statute.

  83. Richiep40 is spot on. Firstly, I am surprised at this article. It's not as accurate as the one from AP on Leveson that was in The Boston Globe today. The first line is inaccurate. The Inquiry's remit was to look into The Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press, not just those "embroiled in the phone hacking scandal".

    Your editorial today was extremely disappointing, despite The NYT being a central player in re-opening the phone hacking investigation. The problem is not just enforcing the criminal law in Britain, but enforcing & making accessible the civil law for libel and privacy actions as well.

    The problem is also just what the title of the Inquiry says it is, The Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press. The point is the tabloids and some of the Murdoch broadsheets have failed in this area. The problem is deeper than what the evidence at Leveson revealed. I know, for I have been a victim of it and it is very nasty indeed. No American would believe or understand the nastiness unless they experienced it themselves as I have.

    The British tabloid press set people up and tell lies to get a juicy story. It's malice off the scale, yet in the most extreme irony, malice is not properly recognized in English libel law. But it is in US libel law, the land with the most free speech. A private US citizen has more protection under US libel law than a private UK citizen has under English libel law. It's malice without adequate legal redress, civil or criminal.