Family values? 

10 November 2008 tbs.pm/976

Mail editor accuses Mosley judge

As other EMC writers will confirm, I sometimes get into trouble for championing (some) Daily Mail values and the rules of polite society in an arena that delights in using that newspaper’s name as a swear word.

So it is perhaps with some surprise that I find myself disagreeing with Paul Dacre, the Mail’s editor-in-chief, when he criticized Mr Justice Eady for bringing in a privacy act by the back door.

Mr Eady ruled that the News of the World should not have intruded into the privacy of Max Mosley by publishing lurid details of sado-masochistic sex sessions he took part in. Whatever you think of his private life, Mr Mosley, although a high-profile person in the public eye, is not a public figure in the sense that an MP or High Court judge or someone else who draws a government salary certainly is. The NOTW story, while undoubtedly of interest to the section of the public that is titillated by salacious reporting, did not constitute serving the public interest.

Mr Dacre overstates his case. Last time I checked, it was not an offence to display evidence of criminal conduct in high (or not so high) office, nor to point out the hypocrisy of an MP who stood for election on a family values platform, devoted family pictures an’ all, who subsequently went on to cheat on his wife. Mr Dacre is probably miffed that Mr Justice Eady’s ruling is liable to cramp some of the Daily Mail’s excesses, which, for all the sympathy I have with a good subset of its views and positions, may be no bad thing.

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