Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gordon's Claims

Tonight Gordon Brown claims he has stood up against the evils of News International. He's made various claims against The Sun and The Sunday Times and, obediently, the broadcast media has been reporting it as fact all day long. Unfortunately, for once, the case the papers have quickly put forward in defence, is looking credible and calling into question Brown's version of the truth.

Gordo "standing up" to the evil Rupert Murdoch

The claims about what The Sunday Times got up to can be easily defended by the fact that pursuit of the story was entirely in the public interest. Much more damaging, if true, are the claims that The Sun illegally accessed Brown's son, Fraser's, medical records and published the story against the parent's wishes. Here's some of the, interesting, points being made in The Sun and Times tomorrow...
  • 5 years ago, The Sun reported that the Browns new baby had cystic fibrosis. The story was highlighted by The Guardian as "the best of today's papers" and they wrote two articles of their own on the subject.
  • No complaints were received from the Browns at the time
  • The Sun has a signed affidavit from the man that supplied them with the story, contradicting Brown's claims that they got the information illegally via accessing his son's medical records (a claim originating from The Guardian a competitor of News International's Times and Sunday Times)
  • The man was a father of another baby born with the same condition as the Browns' baby. He is quoted as saying "[I] had no access to the medical records of the [Brown's]child at any time" and that he felt vindicated in contacting The Sun because "we felt we could have made something positive out of the tragedy and...the truth would have come out eventually anyway... the fact they are so high profile could have made a difference". 
  • The Sun claims they had the consent of the Browns to publish, once they felt they were ready to go public. And they complied with a request to allow other papers to publish the story at the same time. 
  • The hospital where Fraser was born confirms that there has been no previous suggestion that medical records were compromised. 
  • Subsequently, after publication in 2006, Gordon Brown showed no sign of upset of desire to cool relations with News International...
    • Rupert Murdoch and Gordon Brown continued to enjoy a good relationship with regular visits from Murdoch when he was in London, cementing the view that Brown was Murdoch's "favourite politician" at the time. 
    • Brown rewarded the man that broke the story about Fraser's condition with the first exclusive newspaper interview after he became Prime Minister
    • Amongst many other social get togethers, Rebekah Brooks (the Editor of The Sun) was invited to Downing Street for a "World's most successful women" lunch and a sleep over (with Murdoch's wife and daughter) for sleepover at Chequers
    • Gordon Brown attended the wedding party for Rebekah Wade and Charlie Brooks.
  • `The close relationship ended abruptly in September 2009 when Brown heard about The Sun's intention to stop supporting Labour. Andrew Neil reports that Gordon Brown threatened to "destroy" Murdoch in a telephone call to him after learning he was deserting Labour's sinking ship. 
Well, there's little doubt that, following the demise of the News of the World, many in Labour's ranks and in the non-Murdoch media, can scent blood. I'm sure Brown would love to bring Murdoch down. I hope there's more to his Sun claims than we can see tonight. Otherwise, his use of his son's condition to attempt to increase the pressure on an organisation he hates for turning away from him, will be a new low, even for the man who employed Damian McBride

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