Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow condemned “pernicious and sometimes mendacious” elements of the national press in testimony to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday that chiefly targeted Associated Newspapers.
Five years ago the Mail on Sunday published a story, which it later admitted to be false, in which it accused Snow of having an affair with a writer and smoking cannabis with her.
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Snow said the paper’s apology had been a “pathetic” column on page two.
Adding his voice to calls for corrections to be given similar prominence as the original article, he said: “The way forward has to be that a newspaper suffers when it gets things wrong.
He added: “It would do editors no harm to know that they were going to be questioned about what they had done.”
Snow directed most of its criticism to the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday saying: “There is something more insidious about Associated Newspapers and very possibly they will go after me for saying so,” he said – adding that coverage could be “pernicious and at times mendacious”.
“I believe they have an agenda of trying to undermine or wreck the careers of individuals in public life. That is unhealthy.
“If the Archbishop of Canterbury was found frequenting Soho or something, that would obviously have some clear public interest. But this goes way beyond anything like that, where people with a quite modest role in public life are undermined.”
Fleet Street, he said, was populated by “really decent” journalists. “But somehow this culture sweeps through and is allowed to prevail, irrespective of the quality of the people who work there,” he said.