Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Realised That I Was Eminently Qualified to Become a High Court Judge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Realised That I Was Eminently Qualified to Become a High Court Judge

Article excerpt

Byline: keith hann

WHY does anyone ever complain about anything in the media? A few may sense the distant jangle of a sure-fire, jackpot libel payout, but there are plenty of bankrupts and convicted perjurers to attest that this is a strategy fraught with risk.

Like all PR practitioners, I spent a fair chunk of my career trying to persuade angry clients to rise above it.

"Hardly anyone will have read it. It's tomorrow's chip wrapper." (It's not any more, thanks to the Elfin Safety fanatics, but it still sounds more poetic than "already in the recycling bin".) "They'll end up reprinting the story to correct it, and it will get far more attention that way. Papers hate admitting they got it wrong.

Much better if I have a quiet word with them and they make a note on the file so it never gets repeated. That way, they'll end up thinking they owe us a favour."

Most times, it worked. Sometimes it didn't and you'd see a note buried away in a corner of page 74. "In our profile of Sir Richard Buggins, chief executive of Gubbins plc, on pages 42-43 on September 26, we did not intend to imply that he was in the habit of beating his wife.

We regret that some readers may have misinterpreted the article in this way, and are happy to confirm that Sir Richard has never laid a finger on Lady Buggins except for approved matrimonial purposes, duly sanctioned by both Church and State."

And for the rest of his life, whenever two people are gathered together and the name of Buggins crops up, one will wink at the other and lean forward confidentially to say, "Ah, you mean the wife-beater." These reflections were inspired by last week's furore about Ant and Dec. I realised that I was eminently qualified to become a High Court judge when my first reaction to reading about them was to ask "Who are Ant and Dec?"

I have never knowingly seen them on the box, and am amazed to learn that they are among the medium's highest-paid stars. …

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