Dangerous stuff in The Guardian

About hoax stories being placed in the newspapers:

Atkins defended his project, saying the onus was on the newspaper to corroborate what it publishes. \”Had those fake stories been fact-checked by the newspapers before they were printed, they would have realised – I think within minutes – that they were about to publish complete and utter babble.\”

Of course, at The Guardian they manage to do this entirely on their own, without any outside help. Remember that 6 month investigation into Tesco\’s tax avoidance? You know, how they were avoiding £1 billion in corporation tax? And it actually turned out that they were using exactly the same techniques as Guardian Media Group to reduce a (much, much smaller) stamp duty bill?

I\’m not all that sure which is the more embarrassing. Being fooled or fooling yourself…..

7 comments on “Dangerous stuff in The Guardian

  1. You know that the libel case involved Carter-Ruck charging gbp350,000 to explain *to Tesco* what the deal involved. And you know that Tesco refused to answer any of the Grauniad’s questions at the time of the original story, preferring to wait til it came out and sue.

    Having a go at piecing something insanely complicated and in the public interest (whether or not you happen to come to the right conclusions) is not the same as repeating PR verbatim without fact-checking. We need *more* of the first.

    (and so what if the paper’s parent does the same? That makes the paper’s actions *more* creditable, not dropping the investigation for fear of embarrassing its proprietor…)

    Tim adds: Up to a point Lord Copper. Even I (no tax expert at all) could see that the G had got that story wrong immediately. Marks for trying, yes, but anyone even reasonably financially literate could see that they had very much the wrong end of the stick. So very few marks overall.

  2. @LFAT, erm, this week even Guido had to praise the Grauniad for being the only mainstream paper with the balls to stand up to the whole super-injunctions case.

  3. (and so what if the paper’s parent does the same? That makes the paper’s actions *more* creditable, not dropping the investigation for fear of embarrassing its proprietor…)

    anecdata:

    I know some Guardian journalists. They are very proud the Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust and believe it gives them more freedom than other media organisations. They might be right.

    But it seems a bit rich to run stories attacking organisations for their approach to taxes when the Scott Trust does the same, without mentioning the Trust does the same.

    I’m sure I’m running a risk of “whataboutery” here or, as I like to call it, pointing out that someone has a bit of wood in his eye…

  4. It’s harmless celeb gossip. Good fun and all, but making a movie about it is pretty pompous. None of these headlines were going to get a paper sued, they filled column inches, got the celeb in the papers and entertained a few people who like that stuff.

    I’d rather someone did a movie about how supposedly serious news items are little more than cut-and-paste from PR companies.

  5. O/T
    Comeuppance?

    Billionaire financier and cricket entrepreneur Sir Allen Stanford spat up blood in court after suffering a severe beating in a jailhouse brawl.

  6. Has the Guardian actually admitted that it is using exactly the same techniques as it’s hate-of-the-decade, Tesco? You can’t be embarrassed until realise the true nature of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    Which tax avoidance, of course, has nothing to do with being owned by a trust, a mass-ownership PLC or a ‘traditional’ newspaper magnate.

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