Thursday, 29 March 2012

Guardian Makes a Monkey of Itself - Again

THE GUARDIAN’S ability to misreport the facts never ceases to amaze this blog.
Today their  media diarist claims my wife told me to personally apologise to Mary Ellen Field for the fact that her phone was hacked by the News of the World.
And that when I did so, she was “confounded”, telling the Guardian: “Myself and Mark Lewis [her lawyer] were extremely surprised. We didn't know what to say. We were speechless."

Responsible journalism, the Guardian would like to tell us, is about gathering information and asking the subject of the article to comment before going to press.
Alas, no such standards prevail in the 'Monkey' diary column edited by John Plunkett.
If he had bothered to call me I would have told him that upon entering City University on Monday evening, I made myself known to one of the organisers and asked to be introduced to Ms Field in private.
I was guided to where she was sitting, introduced myself and told her that as I left home, I informed my wife that I intended to apologise to her immediately on behalf of the News of the World.

I said I had read in detail how it had affected her life and I was terribly sorry. I reassured her I had not hacked her phone, commissioned the hacking or had knowledge of who did so.
I felt it was the least I could do. It would have been churlish not to do so, especially as she was sitting alongside me and the hacking fall-out has had severe effects upon her life and her health.
I went on to repeat my apology publicly during the debate. It was sincere.
Ms Field wasn’t “speechless”. She looked me in the eye and thanked me.
Her lawyer wasn’t “speechless” either. He smiled and made a joke about how I had recently lampooned his famous orange coat.
We all shook hands and we got on with the debate.
I cannot believe the Guardian have faithfully reported Ms Field’s version of the events.
And I don’t believe for one minute that Ms Field heard my fulsome apology and then went storming in outrage to the Guardian.
It would appear the Guardian would rather follow the evidence to where it would like it to be, rather than where it actually is.
It's a dangerous tactic and one it has deployed to its cost before.


  1. Colin29 March 2012 22:51

    Isn't it great to hear the whining from those such as yourself about "mis-reporting".

    That's what you & the NotW made a career out of.

    You at least have a platform to make some limited amends for any wrong or not wholly true stories. Many of your victims did not.

    Maybe now you can see the harm that many (not all) in the press have caused.


    1. Neville Thurlbeck30 March 2012 12:19

      It may interest you to know that no one has ever managed to successfully sue me for getting the facts wrong in my entire career.

    2. Anonymous31 March 2012 18:25

      Well, congratulations that no one has managed to "successfully" sue you! More to the point, have you purposely and harmfully gotten the facts wrong during your career?

    3. Neville Thurlbeck1 April 2012 13:59

      No. Daft question!

    4. Anonymous2 April 2012 11:44

      No? What about Colin Stagg?

    5. Neville Thurlbeck2 April 2012 16:58

      What about Colin Stagg? Don't understand. I've never been successfully sued by him, if that's what you mean? In fact we paid him rather a lot of money for his story.

    6. Reply
  2. Anonymous29 March 2012 23:00

    Was he wearing an the infamous coat again?

  3. Miranda2 April 2012 17:59

    Being successfully sued isn't a useful yardstick, Neville. (Far too many nightmarish legal and financial issues involved.) Instead consider how cross you are about the Guardian's report ...

    You wouldn't stand a snowball's of winning a libel action against the Monkey, but you will probably remain upset by the "distorted" picture he presents for a long time to come. Now look back on all the stories you've written and say with hand on heart that your conscience is clear as far as "unfairness" and "imbalance", etc, are concerned.


  4. Neville Thurlbeck2 April 2012 18:44

    I had very, very few complaints about unfairness. Possibly a handful in 25 years. And non were upheld against me. I tended to get the story correct and with ample evidence, which is why I lasted so long on the paper. Sorry if that doesn't fit with any preconceptions or assumptions! But thanks for reading and providing input.

    I'm not cross with the Guardian. They got it wrong, so I put the record straight.

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