The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

You're absolutely right. But it would seem to me that much of the press, you know, the usual excellent papers like the Independent and the Guardian and so on, do exercise their power responsibly, they do actually have quite a kind of reflexive attitude to what it is they do.

I quote in my submission from the Guardian's David Walker, who is one of those journalists who does acknowledge the power of the press, or the Observer's Will Hutton. But when you go out of the upmarket papers, it seems to me that the attitude of the red tops and the attitude of the Mail and the Express towards government are completely and totally different. You get a much more bullying aspect there.

The other evening when Lord Patten introduced Onora O'Neill at the Oxford lecture, he talked about that in a very interesting way, saying that essentially the Daily Mail seemed to have a kind of stranglehold over the way in which drugs policy has developed in this country, and someone like the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has also talked about the way in which large sections of the press have kind of bullied politicians into enacting more and more illiberal penal policies, probably against their better judgment and their better sense.

But the problem here really is not so much a problem to do with the attack doggery of the press. The real problem, surely, is that politicians of both main political parties have allowed this to happen, and I think that's the point that Ian ended up on before I started.

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