Prime Minister Cameron: “You don’t get to choose the leaders that you have to work with, but all I can say is that it is a pleasure to work with someone with moral strength, with clear reason, and with fundamental decency.”
George Clooney sits beside first lady Michelle Obama during the State Dinner
Three Rupert Murdoch stooges: Piers Morgan with Rebekah Brooks (disgraced former editor of The News of the World) and Andy Coulson (disgraced former editor of the News of the World and recently arrested former communications director for Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron)
Daily Beast: Members of Parliament are calling on the CNN host to return to the U.K. and disclose what he knew about phone hacking at his former paper, the Mirror.
…. Piers Morgan is certain to face official questioning in the U.K. about alleged phone hacking at the Daily Mirror while he was editor.
He will be required to answer claims by a former Mirror journalist, James Hipwell, and by Paul McCartney’s ex-wife, Heather Mills, that Mirror group reporters illegally accessed mobile-phone voicemails in the same manner that prompted the closure last month of Rupert Murdoch’s London Sunday tabloid, News of the World. But his questioners will have bigger, more general suspicions in mind as well.
… Morgan was editor of the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004 …. The new allegations leave him on the defensive, but other, more circumstantial evidence has long raised serious suspicions about what went on at the Mirror.
… Morgan is not known as a pillar of journalistic ethics. In 2000, while editor of the Mirror, he was censured by the Press Complaints Commission for his share-buying activities …. And in 2004 he was sacked after publishing photographs of British soldiers abusing Iraqis that turned out to be fake:
At the time, he was criticized for failing to make appropriate checks; later he would mount the curious argument that publication had been justified because later evidence showed that some British soldiers, in different circumstances, did abuse Iraqis.
… The allegations of the past few days make close scrutiny of Morgan’s record a certainty. James Hipwell, a former financial journalist who was jailed in 2004 in the same scandal over share dealings for which Morgan was criticized, told the Independent newspaper that hacking was common at the Mirror. Heather Mills described on BBC television a conversation with a senior Mirror Group reporter, at the time that Morgan edited the Mirror, in which the reporter admitted listening to her voicemails.
If Morgan is not already in close consultation with his British lawyers, he will be very soon.
AP (July 20): After remaining on the sidelines of Britain’s phone hacking scandal, Piers Morgan was finally drawn into it, defending himself and his former boss Rupert Murdoch.
While Murdoch testified in London before Parliament, Morgan took to Twitter.
A former editor of the News of the World the CNN host has largely declined to address the scandal on his CNN nightly prime-time show, but he tweeted frequently in support of Murdoch throughout Tuesday’s inquiry.
….Morgan has backed Murdoch during the scandal. He said he was a “big admirer of” Murdoch and he would not “join in the kind of witch hunt that’s been going on”.
While following Tuesday’s hearing, he wrote: “Strong finish by Rupert. Love him or hate him, does anyone genuinely think he’s a crook or condoned crime? Because I don’t.”
Piers? Go hack a murdered kid’s phone. Truly, that’s your ‘journalistic’ level 😉
The Guardian: Vince Cable (UK Government Business Secretary) has launched an extraordinary attack on “rightwing nutters” in America who are trying to block the raising of the US government’s debt ceiling and who are, he said, a bigger threat to the world economy than problems in the eurozone.
… He said: “The irony of the situation at the moment, with markets opening tomorrow morning, is that the biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few rightwing nutters in the American Congress rather than the eurozone.”
Negotiations on raising the US government’s debt limit above its current level of $14.3tn (£8.7tn) collapsed in acrimony late on Friday over details of a package of spending cuts and tax rises that would help to pay for such a move.
A visibly angry Barack Obama attacked the Republican speaker of the house, John Boehner, for refusing to return his phone calls and said he had been “left at the altar” in trying to reach an agreement. Most experts agree that if the US were to default on its debt payments, stock and bond markets worldwide would plunge, threatening a new great recession. The deadline for agreement is just over a week away, on 2 August……
Channel Four (UK): You get a flavour of why David Cameron might be so keen to bask in Barack Obama‘s glory on this trip in various photo ops. We asked YouGov to repeat a poll they did in November 2003 when President George W Bush was in town and see how the numbers changed. It suggests that Brits love Obama as much as they hated Bush.
The 2003 poll suggested that 75 per cent polled had little or no confidence in President Bush. Today 72 per cent have a great deal or fair mount of confidence in President Obama. In today’s poll, 81 per cent think President Obama is highly intelligent, back in 2003 17 per cent thought the US had got itself an highly intelligent president. You get the picture.