Rebekah Wade at the LCC: An audition for greater things?

Rebekah Wade didn’t leave anything to chance when she delivered her Cudlipp Lecture at the London College of Communications last night.

The speech was scripted on autocue, there was a sophisticated lighting job and it was interspersed with professionally produced audio-visual segments.

Consipiracy theorists among the audience (well me anyway) thought that perhaps Wade was auditioning to take a  more senior role in the News Corp empire – where her presentation skills might be more in demand at a corporate level.

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She’s been Sun editor for six years now – and is known to be a huge personal favourite of the The Boss Rupert Murdoch.

In the audience was News Corp UK, Europe and Asia boss James Murdoch – who was sat next to Sun political editor George Pascoe-Watson (in indication perhaps of the huge importance attached to that role).

In the audience at the LCC were more editors, past and present, than you could shake a proof at including: Eve Pollard (formerly Sunday Express and Sunday Mirror), Veronica Wadley (Evening Standard, for now anyway), Lionel Barber (Financial Times), James Harding (The Times), Stefano Hatfield (thelondonpaper) and Will Lewis (Telegraph Media Group).

Axegrinder also spotted Telegraph Media Group MD Murdoch MacLennan – but there was no sign of the Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, who normally enjoys this sort of thing.

It was probably just as well, as his title’s “knee jerk tabloid kicking” came in for some criticism on more than one occasion in Wade’s speech.

She was strident in her defence of free speech – except when it comes to The Guardian giving publicity to the views of privacy-loving S&M fan Max Mosley.

Echoing the views of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, she said that any privacy law should be debated in parliament, not created by the case law of one judge.

And she said: “Whatever side of the argument you are on – you can’t really beleive that in a democracy we should have a privacy law being made by case law.

“If we want a privacy law in this country then it needs to be debated in parliament by all sides…As an industry we want a debate and the debate should be in parliament.

“When I saw the other day G2 [in the Guardian] having I think about seven or eight pages of Max Mosley’s view on S & M and privacy law and press freedoms in was like a parallel universe.

“I do not believe in any shape or form in a privacy law, and I don’t think it’s the tabloid’s problem – I think it’s a very small section of our media commentariat’s problem.”

She said: ” Sometimes I suspect most of the media commentariat are suffering from Munchausen syndrome.

They are certainly making us suffer unnecessarily.

“Only journalism allows us to exist. Yet they often decry its existence. And it’s the epitome of self-flagellation when The Guardian publishes Max Mosley’s views on press freedom.”



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