Media Money: Former GMG man spins banking story

That was quick. On 3 October, Guardian Media Group announced that chairman Paul Myners was stepping down to become Gordon Brown’s Financial Services Secretary (at HM Treasury).

Five days later, Myners this morning found himself chairing an off-the-record briefing on the state-led recapitalization of Britain’s banking system for the nation’s business hacks. Like this:

Following the RNS announcement to the markets at 07.30 this morning,
HM Treasury will be holding an off-the-record, background briefing
chaired by Financial Services Secretary, Paul Myners at the Treasury
at 10.00 Wednesday 8 October 2008.

The really funny bit about Myners’ appointment was the way in which the Guardian‘s rivals reported it.

At the Mail, Rupert Steiner simply omitted to mention any connection between Myners and GMG.

Instead of describing him as the chairman of GMG in its headline, The Times referred to Myners as a ‘former M&S chairman” – a job he left in 2006. Mention of Myners’ role at Farringdon was relegated to the third par of Carl Mortishead’s report.

Similarly, at the Telegraph, deputy political editor Robert Winnett mentioned Myners’ work for Marks & Spencer – but not GMG.

Elsewhere, the Telegraph took a tilt at Myners’ membership of the board at a hedge fund – before mentioning Myners’ work at GMG in the seventh par of its report.

Even amid a national emergency, it’s heartening to note that the ancient policy of denying the oxygen of publicity to one’s rivals is alive and well.

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