RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Left using Royals to launch assault on the press
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: The vengeful Left is cynically using a rift in the Royal Family to launch an all-out assault on the British press
On an official visit to a school in East London, the Duke of Cambridge is ambushed by reporters desperate for a reaction to damaging allegations made by the Markles in their interview with Oprah Winfrey.
‘Is the Royal Family a racist family, sir?’ hollers one of the media pack, to the visible discomfort of a black female member of staff accompanying the Duke and Duchess.
Typical tabloid scum, hijacking a formal engagement to cause the maximum embarrassment to a family already reeling from uncorroborated accusations levelled against them by Harry and Meghan.
Have these reptiles no respect? Are there no depths to which they will not sink in pursuit of a sensational headline?
Disrupting a visit to promote a children’s mental health programme is surely a new low, even by the dismal standards of the gutter Press.
Except this wasn’t one of Fleet Street’s finest gatecrashing the occasion. The shouty inquisitor was Inzamam Rashid, from Sky News, who has just returned from suspension after flouting lockdown to attend his colleague Kay Burley’s 60th birthday party.
Nor was Rashid satisfied with demanding to know on camera whether the Royal Family is racist. He also yelled: ‘Have you spoken to your brother since the interview?’ William would have been justified in treating Rashid with the contempt he deserved. Instead he reacted with composed dignity, saying he intended to talk to Harry in due course, and denying the racism allegations.
On Thursday during an official visit to a school in East London, the Duke of Cambridge was ambushed by reporters desperate for a reaction to damaging allegations made by the Markles in their interview with Oprah Winfrey. Pictured: Prince William (left) and Kate Middleton (centre) on Thursday
What was he supposed to say? ‘Is the Royal Family a racist family?’ was straight out of the ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ school of journalism.
As Eric Morecambe used to say: ‘There’s no answer to that.’
But it didn’t stop Sky running the video every hour on the hour. Or BBC News doing the same, while simultaneously condemning newspapers for racism and tabloid excess.
Like Boris Johnson, broadcasters are pro-having cake and pro-eating it. They have gleefully repeated all the wild allegations made during the Oprah interview, while pretending piously to remain aloof from the mores and modus operandi of the popular Press.
Rolling news channels and radio stations have wheeled out panels of talking heads to pontificate on the alleged racism at Buckingham Palace and monster the newspapers for driving Harry and Meghan out of Britain.
The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire tried to badger Ian Murray, of the Society of Editors, into admitting that the entire Press was racist on the strength of two or three headlines.
This was just one of a montage of misleading headlines taken out of context and featured on the Oprah show as ‘evidence’ to support Meghan Markle’s unsubstantiated slurs.
Murray had put out a statement categorically denying that the Press is ‘ bigoted’. Yet rather than circling the wagons, sections of the newspaper industry turned on him for not being sufficiently ‘anti-racist’ and he has now resigned.
Somehow, what started out as a squabble within the Royal Family has mutated into yet another full-frontal assault on the Press in particular and freedom of speech in general.
Somehow, what started out as a squabble within the Royal Family has mutated into yet another full-frontal assault on the Press in particular and freedom of speech in general. The first casualty was Piers Morgan, who has walked the plank from Good Morning Britain because he said he didn’t believe a single word of Meghan’s lurid allegations, even though at least half his audience agree with him. Pictured: Morgan (left) with Susanna Reid (right) on Good Morning Britain
The first casualty was Piers Morgan, who has walked the plank from Good Morning Britain because he said he didn’t believe a single word of Meghan’s lurid allegations, even though at least half his audience agree with him.
Piers is big enough and ugly enough to fight his own battles, and he’d probably had enough of getting up at 3am, anyway. Like Kenny, from South Park, he won’t stay dead for long.
But what should concern us is that ITV’s boss Carolyn McCall appears to have caved into complaints not just from some of her own junior staff but also to an email from Markle herself.
OK, so even Morgan now acknowledges he was wrong to question Meghan’s claims to have entertained suicidal thoughts while trapped in her gilded royal cage.
He was stepping into a minefield, especially as ITV is still recovering from the suicides of troubled Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, and a guest on the gruesome Jeremy Kyle show.
Mental health issues, like race, are a guaranteed get-out-of-jail card in today’s victim culture. Even if they can cover a multitude of conditions from severe depression to feeling a bit fed-up, criticism is a career-ending taboo.
That’s no excuse for McCall allowing ITV’s breakfast show to be edited from California by the very woman being discussed on the programme. Since when did Meghan’s remit extend to dictating the content of Good Morning Britain?
Equally disturbing is a report that the BBC took a call from a fancy PR firm hired by the Markles, demanding that debate on the fallout from the Oprah horror show should not be confined to ‘old white men’.
Still, that would explain why Radio 4’s Nick Robinson cut off royal expert Hugo Vickers when he tried to explain the couple’s claims about their son being denied a title and being left without security were factually inaccurate.
The notion that the BBC is even entertaining editorial advice from a bunch of expensive West Coast spin doctors, employed by a pair of self-promoting multi-millionaires, is truly mind-boggling.
Where were the BBC’s famous ‘fact-checkers’ when Markle was speaking ‘her truth’ to Winfrey? None of her claims were backed up by any hard evidence, and certainly wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.
Yet because she spouts the fashionable drivel beloved of the ‘liberal’ Left and the wokerati, her sermon is treated as if it is carved on tablets of stone.
It is nothing less than extraordinary the way the self-appointed cultural elites have embraced Meghan as an authentic voice of social justice.
In Britain, she has been adopted unreservedly as living proof that the Royal Family, society in general and the evil Press in particular is riddled with endemic racism. Anyone who dissents must be cancelled, cast into the outer darkness.
The usual suspects have pounced on her ‘revelations’ to reactivate their deranged crusade to shackle the Press and control speech. Sadly, but predictably, they have attracted a familiar roll-call of useful idiots, including Kath Viner, the editor of the Guardian — a newspaper once managed by Carolyn McCall, now of ITV.
A campaign of vilification against newspapers is currently being whipped up by vengeful Left-wing MPs and Hacked Off, an outfit which has boasted such distinguished champions of free speech as Nonce Finder General Tom Watson and IRA stooge Roy Greenslade, employed for years as the Guardian’s impartial media commentator. Enemies of our free Press will seize any weapon to hand. For the past ten years, Fleet Street has been under siege, ever since rogue elements at the now defunct News Of The World were caught hacking mobile phones.
Politicians still smarting from the exposure of the MPs’ expenses scandal set up the Leveson Inquisition, which attempted to snare all newspapers including this one, even though the Mail had absolutely no involvement in phone hacking. Although Leveson didn’t lay a glove on most newspapers, it raised the spectre of state control of the Press.
That was headed off at the pass by the establishment of a beefed-up watchdog, IPSO, but — as Gerry Adams said of the IRA — it hasn’t gone away, you know.
Thanks to social media, IPSO is regularly inundated with vexatious complainants seeking to control what can and can’t be published.
So, too, is Ofcom, the body which regulates broadcast content and which reportedly received 41,000 complaints about Piers Morgan after a Twitter storm. Not so long ago, anyone wanting to lodge a complaint would have had to put it in writing. Most wouldn’t have bothered.
Harry (left) and Meghan (centre) made several explosive claims about the Royal Family during an interview with Oprah Winfrey (right) on Sunday
Today, ironically for Piers, who has more than seven million followers on social media, those who live by Twitter, die by Twitter. Craven chief executives like McCall fold in the face of an apparent avalanche of complaints, most of them little more than empty emojis lazily retweeted.
As a result, editorial independence is under threat as never before. There used to be a graffito outside Finsbury Park Tube station which read: ‘Nothing is true, only what’s permitted.’
And what’s permitted, what’s ‘true’, are only those opinions of which the Left-wing cultural elite approve. ITV effectively sacks Piers Morgan for doubting Meghan’s ‘truth’. But the BBC backs presenters such as Victoria Derbyshire and Emily Maitlis when they hurl random allegations of ‘racism’ against newspaper journalists.
The self-styled elites are all in favour of ‘diversity’, except when it comes to diversity of opinion. If they succeed in hobbling the Press, readers and viewers will end up with a one-track, homogenised world view.
They want nothing that threatens their cultural and political hegemony. Which is why they hate popular newspapers.
We have an unfortunate habit of telling the truth, as opposed to their ‘truth’. Confronted with reality, they react like toddlers deprived of another rusk.
Truth, real truth, is inconvenient. It’s disruptive. They can’t fault us when it comes to reporting the facts, so they resort to unfounded smears of racism, against which there is supposed to be no defence.
But this newspaper has a proud record of standing against racists, most notably our exposure of the killers of Stephen Lawrence.
Unlike some of the broadcasters, newspapers still understand the division between church and state, which is why we don’t hesitate to turn over stones — even if that threatens governments, institutions such as the police, and, yes, even the Royal Family.
Despite that, we wouldn’t have published the allegations made by the Markles in the Oprah interview without firm proof.
We could do with more disruption here, not more conformity. What’s wrong with having a Right-of-centre British TV channel? It would at least redress the balance. The British Left are obsessed with the ‘bias’ of Fox News. But if it wasn’t for Fox, the American TV landscape would be dominated by wall-to-wall ‘liberal’ pro-Democrat channels, pumping out Left-leaning propaganda.
American newspapers are no better. They’re not dying because of new technology, they’re dying because they’re unreadable and have purged conservative voices from their pages, even though 72 million people voted Republican at the last election. The First Amendment doesn’t apply at the New York Times or in the newsroom at MSNBC.
No wonder the Americans are cheering on the Markles’ campaign against the British Press, which is the most editorially diverse on the planet.
And, for the record, in case Harry isn’t aware, it wasn’t the British newspapers that published a sickening photograph of his dying mother, slumped in the back of a Mercedes in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, just moments after her fatal crash.
It was that bastion of liberal values, that custodian of truth and justice, the home of Oprah Winfrey to whom he and his wife have just poured out their woes . . .
Will you be speaking to your brother any time soon, sir?
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