I have an untested theory that journalists who leave publications on points of principle ultimately prosper – because such people are a rarity.
I won’t retell the story of Richard Peppiatt here, The Guardian has done a good job of that. And I won’t get into the murky claims, and counter claims that are being made.
The quick summary is that Peppiatt left his job as a reporter at the Daily Star by writing an extraordinary letter to proprietor Richard Desmond to denounce the paper’s journalism – and did so publicly by leaking the letter to The Guardian.
In the letter he admits to being involved in made-up showbiz stories, but says his decision to leave the paper followed coverage of the English Defence League, and a controversial front-page story about it becoming a political party – which he believes was wrongly hyped-up.
Many a morning I’ve hit my speed dial button to Muslim rent-a-rant Anjem Choudary to see if he fancied pulling together a few lines about whipping drunks or stoning homosexuals.
Our caustic “us and them” narrative needs nailing home every day or two, and when asked to wield the hammer I was too scared for my career, and my bank account, to refuse…
He is now facing threats and intimidation from we know not where following his stand.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of the case Peppiatt is clearly a brave and principled journalist (OK, albeit one who has only become brave and principled after being involved in some fairly mucky stuff). And his resignation letter shows he can write. I don’t think he will stay out of work for long. I believe he can be contacted via Twitter.