Brown: Murdoch tabloid undermined war

2012-06-11 17:43
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown leaves the High Court with his wife Sarah after giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry. (Tim Hales, AP)

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown leaves the High Court with his wife Sarah after giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry. (Tim Hales, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday accused a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid of personally attacking him, failing the British people and undermining the war in Afghanistan through its coverage of the conflict.

In an often bitter attack on the Murdoch press in testimony to Britain's media ethics inquiry, Brown directly contradicted Murdoch's claim that the then-prime minister had made an abusive phone call to the media mogul in 2009.

Murdoch told the inquiry last month that Brown had vowed to "make war on your company" after The Sun switched its support to the Conservatives.

"It didn't happen," said Brown, adding that he had been shocked to hear Murdoch make the allegation under oath.

Brown is the first in a string of current and former political leaders to appear this week at the inquiry, set up amid a tabloid phone hacking scandal to examine malpractice in the media and ties between politicians, police and the press.

Brown told the judge-led inquiry that The Sun newspaper was guilty of "the conflation of fact and opinion" in its coverage of the Afghanistan conflict and of his premiership.

Focused on ephemera

He said that instead of covering the difficult decisions facing his government, The Sun had concluded "that I personally did not care about our troops in Afghanistan".

He said the newspaper had made a series of spurious claims, for example that he had fallen asleep during a service of remembrance for dead troops. Brown said he had been bowing his head in prayer.

Brown asserted that The Sun's coverage had done "huge damage" to the war effort.

The former prime minister said the press had "failed this country" by focusing on opinions and ephemera when the war in Afghanistan was at a crucial stage.

"I'm afraid half the country [Afghanistan] is falling into the hands of the Taliban," Brown said, accusing the press of failing to reflect this.

The Sun's political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, denied Brown's allegations, saying on Twitter that the newspaper had given the conflict prominent coverage.

Pain of exposure


"Military loathed Brown because they felt he didn't care about them. Sun reported that, but Gordon rewrites history to shoot the messenger," he tweeted.

Brown had a testy relationship with the powerful Murdoch press during his 2007-2010 term in office. The Sun, renowned for its political clout, backed the Conservative party over Brown's Labour in the 2010 national election.

The election ejected Brown from power and produced a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Two years on, Brown appeared bruised by his relationship with a press that often characterised him as prickly and awkward.

Brown also spoke of his pain at seeing leaked details of his young son's health splashed in the tabloid. The Sun revealed in 2006 that Brown's infant son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Brown said he and his wife Sarah had been distressed by the leak - which apparently came from a hospital worker - but acknowledged that Sarah had remained friendly with Rebekah Brooks, the Sun's then-editor, and even organised a 40th birthday party for her in 2008.

"I think Sarah is one of the most forgiving people I know," Brown said. "I think she finds the good in everyone."

Cameron to face questioning

Brooks, aged 44, along with her husband and four aides, was charged last month with conspiring to pervert the course of justice in connection with the phone hacking scandal.

They are the first people to be charged in the current investigation into tabloid wrongdoing, which has shaken Britain's media, police and political establishments. More than 40 people have been arrested and questioned.

The ethics inquiry was set up last year after revelations that the now-defunct News of the World had hacked the mobile phone voice mails of scores of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in its quest for scoops.

Britain's current Treasury chief, George Osborne, is due to testify later on Monday about his relationships with Murdoch's media empire. Prime Minister David Cameron faces questioning on Thursday.

Osborne will likely be asked about his role in hiring a former editor of Murdoch's scandal-tarred tabloid News of the World, Andy Coulson, as communications chief for the Conservative Party.

After Cameron became prime minister, Coulson served as Downing St communications chief before resigning because of the scandal.


- AP

Read more on:    news corporation  |  rupert murdoch  |  gordon brown  |  david cameron  |  uk  |  uk hacking scandal  |  media  |  war
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.