Hacking trial verdicts, Queen's jail visit and Luis Suarez's 'Jaws III' bite
- 25 June 2014
While the verdicts in the News of the World (NoW) phone-hacking trial make most front pages, the papers take distinct approaches.
For the Guardian, the conviction of Andy Coulson raises questions about David Cameron's judgement, given the PM appointed the ex-NoW editor as his media chief months after he'd quit the Sunday tabloid following the jailing of its royal editor for phone hacking.
"This was not just a man misreading the character of a man he chose to employ. Cameron chose not to find out about him," writes Patrick Wintour.
Likewise, the Daily Mail's Stephen Glover describes it as "the most foolish blunder of Cameron's career" to have "stubbornly and arrogantly" taken Coulson with him to Downing Street on becoming PM in 2010.
Viewing Mr Cameron's "full and frank apology" for the appointment, the Daily Telegraph's Michael Deacon found the PM looking "oddly stern", writing: "If your TV had been on mute, you might have assumed that he was demanding an apology, rather than offering one."
He noted that the Conservative leader said it was a "bad decision" to give Mr Coulson a second chance, adding: "Mr Cameron's failing, in his view, was that he was just too damned kind for his own good."
And the Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire reckons the apology was neither full nor frank, arguing that the PM had previously "stood behind his mouthpiece when damning evidence emerged, then stuck two fingers up to the nation by inviting forced-out Coulson for a weekend at Chequers".
'Not so wicked'
For the Sun, there's plenty to celebrate in the acquittal of five others including its former editor - and Coulson's one-time boss - Rebekah Brooks.
It declares it a "great day for red tops", in a reference to both Mrs Brooks's hair and the tabloid industry. Its associate editor Trevor Kavanagh describes the verdicts as a "triumph for British justice" but warns that the innocent will unfairly be "permanently tainted" by the phone-hacking allegations, which he feels were used to "smear" papers - like his own - in the News UK stable alongside the now-defunct NoW.
Another News UK paper, the Times, suggests some of the trial evidence proved some celebrity victims were "not so innocent". "The cross-examination revealed that, in some cases, tabloid stories had been instigated by the victims themselves, or by their families and friends," writes Fiona Hamilton.
Like the Times, the Telegraph focuses on Mrs Brooks's acquittal. As its writer Philip Johnston puts it: "The Wicked Witch, as [satirical magazine] Private Eye lampooned her, was not so wicked after all."
The Daily Express's John Twomey charts her meteoric rise "from sweeping floors and making tea... to become one of the most influential women in Britain", while the Mail describes the "world-class schmoozer who bewitched three prime ministers".
And while several papers wonder what she will do next, the Independent's Ian Burrell suggests she could "return to her master's side in the US" by working again for media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
At Her Majesty's pleasure
The Queen's visit to Northern Ireland provokes some interest, with several papers focusing on her trip to Belfast's Crumlin Road jail alongside First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Both men spent time in its cells.
The Telegraph's headline imagines them telling the Queen: "And this, Ma'am, is the jail where we were held in the Troubles." Meanwhile, the Daily Express picks up on Mr McGuinness's praise for her contribution to the reconciliation process, describing the prison visit as "astonishing".
In an editorial, the Telegraph says the image of the Queen "beautifully dressed in a summery outﬁt of yellow sherbet and holding a posy, in a corridor of the old Crumlin Road jail" is a strange one. "The jail is now a tourist attraction; the ministers are law-abiding; and the Queen - she stays the same. Long may she do so."
Other papers, such as the Sun, use photographs from her visit to the set of Game of Thrones, where she viewed the TV show's "Seat of Power". It imagines her declaring: "I've got one just like this."
The Daily Star, meanwhile, prefers to highlight the actions of one teenager, who snapped a selfie with the Queen in the background. "It's hard not to laugh at the cheeky young scamp," says its editorial. "Let's hope he didn't chop off her head."
"England 0, Apathy won," declares the Daily Mirror, as it pictures a solitary man in a pub watching the nation's footballers bow out of the World Cup with a whimper by drawing 0-0 with Costa Rica.
And the Daily Mail reports that the early exit may have cost the economy £1.3bn, quoting a report suggesting it will result in "declining sales for retailers and a drop in productivity in the workplace".
The team don't even manage to provide the day's main football story, with their nemesis in the second group game - Uruguay's Luis Suarez - again snatching the headlines amid allegations he bit an opposing player for the third time as his side beat Italy to progress to the knockout stages.
"Jaws III," is the headline in the Mail and others, while the Sun restyles Suarez "Chewy Luis" after the 80s US pop star Huey Lewis. "Three bites and you're out," declares the Daily Mirror, suggesting that the Liverpool star faces a two-year ban if he's found to have bitten Italy's Giorgio Chiellini. The Times feels 24 matches is a more likely number for leaving the Italian a "marked man".
The Guardian prints images of the two previous occasions when Suarez went dental, on PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal when playing for Ajax in the Dutch league, and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during a Liverpool game.
Its writer, Paolo Bandini, says: "Another World Cup and another controversy with the Uruguay striker at its heart. His goal-line handball against Ghana in South Africa four years ago divided opinion. But there is no such obvious defence for chomping down on an opponent's shoulder."
"The man-child who destroyed England's World Cup hopes has a pathological problem and must pay for it with a minimum six-month ban from football," demands the Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward.
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