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The Daily Mail
Every weekday evening at around 9pm, in the Daily Mail’s headquarters in Kensington, west London, the slightly stooping, six-foot three-inch figure of Paul Dacre emerges into the main open-plan office where editors, sub-editors and designers are in the final stages of preparing pages for the next day’s paper. The atmosphere changes instantly; everyone becomes tense, as though waiting for a thunderstorm. Dacre begins with a low growl, like an angry tiger. His voice rises as several pages are denounced, along with those responsible. Imprecations reverberate across the office, sometimes punctuated by the strangely anomalous command to a senior colleague, “Don’t resist me, darling.” Pages must be replaced or redesigned, their order changed, headlines altered. New pictures are required with new captions. Dacre waves his long arms, hammers the air with his hands, shouts even louder and, if particularly agitated, scratches himself. Nobody tries to argue. For all the fear and exasperation – “He never thinks of logistics and he has no idea of what’s an unreasonable request,” says one former sub-editor – there is also admiration. Dacre, Fleet Street’s best-paid editor, who earned almost £1.8m in 2012, has been in charge of the Mail since 1992 and, by general consent, is the most successful editor of his generation. The paper sells an average of 1.5 million copies on weekdays, 2.4 million on Saturdays. Only the Sun sells more but, on Saturdays, the Mail has just moved ahead. Its 4.3 million daily readers include more from the top three social classes (A, B and C1) than the Times, Guardian, Independent and Financial Times combined. Its long-standing middle-market rival, the Daily Express, slightly ahead when Dacre took over, now sells less than a third as many copies. Under Dacre, the Mail has won Newspaper of the Year six times in the annual British Press Awards – twice as many prizes as any other paper. If anything, its authority and clout have grown in the past two years as Rupert Murdoch’s Sun has struggled with the fallout from the hacking scandal. Politicians no longer fear Murdoch as they once did. They still fear Dacre. The opposition from Murdoch’s papers to the government’s proposals that a royal charter should regulate the press is muted. Dacre’s Mail is loud and clear about the threat to “our free press”. Summoned twice before the Leveson inquiry – the second time because he had accused the actor Hugh Grant of lying in his evidence – he didn’t give an inch. Everyone who has ever worked for Dacre, who has just passed his 65th birthday, praises his almost uncanny instinct for the issues and stories that will hold the attention of “Middle England”. No other editor so deftly balances the mix of subjects and moods that holds readers’ attention: serious and frivolous, celebrities and ordinary people, urban, suburban and rural, some stories provoking anger, others tears. No other editor chooses, with such unerring and lethal precision, the issues, often half forgotten, that will create panic and fear among politicians. “He’s the most consummate newspaperman I’ve ever met,” says Charles Burgess, a former features editor who also occupied high-level roles at the Guardian and Independent. “He balances the flow of each day’s paper in his head.” “He articulates the dreams, fears and hopes of socially insecure members of the suburban middle class,” says Peter Oborne, the Mail’s former political columnist now at the Daily Telegraph. “It’s a daily performance of genius.” But Murdoch’s decline leaves the Mail under more scrutiny than ever. Is Dacre at last running out of road? Rumours circulate in the national newspaper industry that members of the Rothermere family, owners of the Daily Mail, are increasingly nervous of the controversy that Dacre stirs up, notably this year with its attack on Ralph Miliband, father of the Labour leader, as “the man who hated Britain”. More than any other editor since Kelvin MacKenzie ruled at the Sun – and, among other outrages, alleged that drunkenness among Liverpool football fans led to the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 – Dacre attracts visceral loathing. His enemies see the Mail, to quote the Huffington Post writer and NS columnist Mehdi Hasan (who was duly monstered in the Mail’s pages), as “immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting”. The loathing is returned, with interest. In Dacre’s mind, the country is run, in effect, by affluent metropolitan liberals who dominate Whitehall, the leadership of the main political parties, the universities, the BBC and most public-sector professions. As he once said, “. . . no day is too busy or too short not to find time to tweak the noses of the liberalocracy”. The Mail, in his view, speaks for ordinary people, working hard and struggling with their bills, conventional in their views, ambitious for their children, loyal to their country, proud of owning their home, determined to stand on their own feet. These people, Dacre believes, are not given a fair hearing in the national media and the Mail alone fights for them. It is incomprehensible to him – a gross category error – that critics should be obsessed by the Mail’s power and influence when the BBC, funded by a compulsory poll tax, dominates the news market. It uses this position, he argues, to push a dogmatically liberal agenda, hidden behind supposed neutrality. Scarcely an issue of the Mail passes without a snipe and sometimes a full barrage in the news pages, leaders or signed opinion columns at BBC “bias”. To its critics, however, the Mail is as biased as it’s possible to be, and none too fussy about the facts. In the files of the Press Complaints Commission, you will find records of 687 complaints against the Mail which led either to a PCC adjudication or to a resolution negotiated, at least partially, after the PCC’s intervention. The number far exceeds that for any other British newspaper: the files show 394 complaints against the Sun, 221 against the Daily Telegraph, 115 against the Guardian. The complaints will serve as a charge sheet against the Mail and its editor. This year, the Mail reported that disabled people are exempt from the bedroom tax; that asylum-seekers had “targeted” Scotland; that disabled babies were being euthanised under the Liverpool Care Pathway; that a Kenyan asylum-seeker had committed murders in his home country; that 878,000 recipients of Employment Support Allowance had stopped claiming “rather than face a fresh medical”; that a Portsmouth primary school had denied pupils water on the hottest day of the year because it was Ramadan; that wolves would soon return to Britain; that nearly half the electricity produced by windfarms was discarded. All these reports were false. Mail executives argue that it gets more complaints than its rivals because it reaches more readers (particularly online, where the paper’s stories are repeated and others originate), prints more pages and tackles more serious and politically challenging issues. They point out that only six complaints were upheld after going through all the PCC’s stages and that the Sun and Telegraph, despite fewer complaints, had more upheld. But the PCC list, though it contains some of the Mail’s favourite targets such as asylum-seekers and “scroungers”, merely scratches the surface. Other complainants turned to the law. In the past ten years, the Mail has reported that the dean of RAF College Cranwell showed undue favouritism to Muslim students (false); the film producer Steve Bing hired a private investigator to destroy the reputation of his former lover Liz Hurley (false); the actress Sharon Stone left her four-year-old child alone in a car while she dined at a restaurant (false); the actor Rowan Atkinson needed five weeks’ treatment at a clinic for depression (false); a Tamil refugee, on hunger strike in Parliament Square, was secretly eating McDonald’s burgers (false); the actor Kate Winslet lied over her exercise regime (false); the singer Elton John ordered guests at his Aids charity ball to speak to him only if spoken to (false); Amama Mbabazi, the prime minister of Uganda, benefited personally from the theft of £10m in foreign aid (false). In all these cases, the Mail paid damages. Then there are the subjects that the Mail and other right-wing papers will never drop. One is the EU, which, the Mail reported last year, proposed to ban books such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series that portray “traditional” families. Another is local authorities, forever plotting to expel Christmas from public life and replace it with the secular festival of Winterval. It does not matter how often these reports are denied and their flimsy provenance exposed; the Mail keeps on running them and its columnists cite them as though they were accepted wisdom. The paper gets away with publishing libels and falsehoods and with invasions of privacy because the penalties are insignificant. Often the victims can’t afford to sue and, if they can, the Mail group, with £282m annual profits even in these straitened times, can live with the costs. The PCC, even when its rules allow it to admit a complaint, has no powers to impose fines or to stipulate the prominence of corrections. Besides, many victims don’t pursue complaints because they fear the stress of going to war with a powerful newspaper. They included the late writer Siân Busby who, the paper wrote in 2008, had received “the all-clear from lung cancer” after “a gruelling year”. In fact, the diagnosis had come less than six months earlier and she hadn’t received the “all-clear”. More important, as her husband, the BBC journalist Robert Peston, explained in the James Cameron Memorial Lecture in November this year, she wanted to keep the news out of the public domain to protect her children. “The Mail got away with it,” Peston said. “As it often does.” (The Mail, in a statement after the lecture, said the information had been obtained from Busby herself and that the reporter had identified himself as a Mail writer.) In his 2008 book Flat Earth News, the Guardian journalist Nick Davies compared the paper to a footballer who, to protect his goal, will deliberately bring down an opponent. “Brilliant and corrupt,” Davies wrote, “the Daily Mail is the professional foul of contemporary Fleet Street.” Even a list of official complaints and court cases doesn’t quite capture why the Mail attracts such fear and loathing. It has a unique capacity for targeting individuals and twisting the knife day after day, without necessarily lapsing into inaccuracies that could lead either to libel writs or censure by the PCC. For instance, as publication of the Leveson report on press regulation approached, the Mail devoted 12 pages of one issue – and several more pages of subsequent issues – to an “exposure” of Sir David Bell, a name then almost entirely unknown even to well-informed members of the public. A Leveson assessor and former Financial Times chairman, Bell was allegedly at the centre of a “quasi-masonic” network of “elitist liberals”, bent on gagging the press and preventing freedom of expression. This network, based on the “leadership” training organisation Common Purpose, had spawned the Media Standards Trust, of which Bell was a co-founder, which in turn had spawned the lobby group Hacked Off, an important influence on Leveson. To the Mail, this was a perfect illustration of how well-connected liberals, through networks of apparently innocuous organisations, conspire to undermine national traditions and values. The paper also targets groups, often the weak and vulnerable. The Federation of Poles in Great Britain complained to the PCC that the Mail ran 80 headlines between 2006 and 2008 linking Poles to problems in the NHS and schools, unemployment among Britons, drug smuggling, rape and so on. Most of the stories, as the federation acknowledged, were newsworthy and largely accurate. The objection was to the way they were presented and to the drip, drip effect of continually highlighting the Polish connection so that, as the federation’s spokesman put it, the average reader’s heart “skips a beat . . . with either indignation or alarm”. The PCC eventually brokered a settlement that led to publication of a letter from the federation. ￼ Yet there is something magnificent about the Mail’s confidence and single-mindedness. Other papers, trimming to focus groups, muffle their message, but the Mail projects its world-view relentlessly, with supreme technical skill, from almost every page. It is a paper led by its opinions, not by news. It is not noted for big exclusives, nor even for rapid reaction. “We were often known as the day-late paper,” a former reporter recalls. “Dacre wouldn’t really be interested in a story until he’d seen it somewhere else. We would sometimes give our exclusives to other journalists. Dacre surveys all the other papers, selects the right lines for the next day and follows them.” Although Dacre has little enthusiasm for new technology – he still doesn’t have a computer on his desk – his paper is perfectly primed for the age of instant 24-hour news, when the challenge is not so much to find and report news as to select, interpret and elaborate on it. Long before other papers recognised the merits of a features-led or views-led approach, the Mail under Dacre was doing it. The Mail gives its readers a sense of belonging in an increasingly complex and unsettling world. Part of the trick is to make the world seem more threatening than it is: crime is rising, migrants flooding the country, benefit scroungers swindling the taxpayer, standards of education falling, wind turbines taking over the countryside. Almost anything you eat or drink could give you cancer. Above all, the family – “the greatest institution on God’s green earth”, Dacre told a writer for the New Yorker last year – is under continuous assault. The Mail assures readers they are not alone in their anxieties about this changing world. It is a paper to be read, not on trains or buses or in offices, but in the peace and quiet of your home, preferably with an old-fashioned coal fire blazing in the hearth. “Readers like certainty,” says a former Mail reporter. “Newspapers that have a wavering grip on their ideology are the ones that struggle. The Mail is like Coke. It’s consistent, reliable. Dacre is one of the best brand managers in the business. He lives the brand.” Dacre lives mostly in the shadows. His two appearances before the Leveson inquiry gave the wider public a rare glimpse; apart from Desert Island Discs in 2004, he never appears on television or speaks on radio. If the Mail needs to defend itself (and it deigns to do so only in the most desperate circumstances), the job is assigned to an underling. Requests for on-the-record interviews are invariably refused, as they were for this article. A rare exception was made for the British Journalism Review, whose then editor, Bill Hagerty (a former editor of the People), interviewed Dacre in the tenth year of his editorship. There was also that audience with the New Yorker last year. Public lectures are equally unusual for him, though he gave the Cudlipp Lecture (in memory of Hugh Cudlipp, a Daily Mirror editor who was an early hero of his) in 2007, and addressed the Society of Editors in 2008. Even former staff members mostly prefer not to be quoted when talking about Dacre. If they agree to be quoted, they wish the quotations to be checked with them before publication. BBC Radio 4 used actors for several contributions to a recent profile. The journalists’ fear is not only that they may be cut off from future employment or freelance work – “The Mail pays far better than anybody else and you don’t want to jeopardise the £2,000 cheque that might drop through the letter box,” said one writer – but also that the Mail may hit back. These concerns are shared by many politicians, who are equally reluctant to be quoted. Dacre has few social graces and even less small talk. His body language is awkward, his manner prickly. He seldom smiles and, according to one ex-columnist, “He doesn’t laugh, he just says, ‘That’s a funny remark.’” He treats women with old-fashioned courtliness, opening doors and helping them with coats, but is otherwise uncomfortable with them, perhaps because he was one of five brothers, went to an all-male school and has no daughters. He speaks gruffly, with a slight north London accent and an even fainter trace of his father’s native Yorkshire. He sometimes buries his rather florid face deep in his hands, as though exasperated with the world’s inability to share his simple, common-sense values. He became notorious for the ripeness of his language – so frequent was his use of the C-word, almost entirely directed at men, that his staff referred to “the vagina monologues” – but when Charles Burgess told him women didn’t like hearing it he was profusely apologetic. On Desert Island Discs, he confessed to shouting at staff. “Shouting creates energy,” he said. “Energy creates great headlines.” He still shouts, but in recent years, as an insider reported, “He’s no longer the expletive volcano he once was; his barbs these days tend to concern the brainpower of his target and their supposed laziness.” He owns three properties: a home with a mile-long drive in West Sussex (known to Mail staff as Dacre Towers), a more modest weekday residence in the central London district of Belgravia and a seven-bedroom house in Scotland with a 17,000-acre shooting estate. He is a member of the Garrick Club, and sometimes takes columnists to lunch at Mark’s Club in Mayfair, which one recipient of his hospitality described as “very decorous, the sort of place you could have gone to in the 19th century”. He sent both of his sons to Eton. There are no stories of past or present indiscretions involving women, alcohol or drugs. Jon Holmes, a contemporary at Leeds University who is now a sports agent, recalls him as “a very cold fish; he never, ever, seemed to go out in a group for a drink or a meal or anything”. A former Mail reporter says: “We’d all be in the Harrow [a Fleet Street pub, heavily frequented by Mail journalists], and he would come in, buy a half-pint, take it to the opposite end of the bar, drink alone, and leave without speaking.” He has an apparently stable and successful marriage to a woman he met at university, which has lasted 37 years. He frequently attends Church of England services, but is not a believer. He likes and sometimes goes out to rugby union matches, the opera and theatre – the last partly because his wife, Kathleen Dacre, is a professor of theatre studies and partly because he has a son who is a successful director and producer with surprisingly avant-garde leanings. Asked what television he watched, he once mentioned Midsomer Murders and nothing else. He mostly eschews the trappings and opportunities of wealth and power. It is impossible to imagine him as a member of the Chipping Norton set or anything like it. He rarely dines or lunches with the powerful or fashionable, nor does he attend glitzy parties and social events. Frequently, he lunches in his office on meat and two veg. Sometimes he will lunch with politicians, but he has little respect or liking for them as a class and thinks it wise to keep his distance; Oborne recalls how, one evening, he ignored at least five increasingly urgent requests to take a call from a senior Tory minister. He declines nearly all invitations to sit on committees; his chairmanship of an official inquiry into the “30-year rule” (under which Whitehall records were kept secret for three decades) was unusual. “Editorship is not for him a route to something else,” says a former employee.
Dacre was born and spent much of his childhood in Enfield, an unremarkable middle-class suburb of north London whose inhabitants, he told the New Yorker, “were frugal, reticent, utterly self-reliant and immensely aspirational . . . suspicious of progressive values, vulgarity of any kind, self-indulgence, pretentiousness and people who know best”. Though his parents divorced late in life, his family was then (at least in his eyes) stable, happy and secure. But the more important clue to him and his relationship with the Mail’s Middle England readership is the Sunday Express of the 1950s and 1960s under the editorship of John Gordon and then John Junor. “That paper,” Dacre told the Society of Editors, “was my journalistic primer . . . [It] was warm, aspirational, unashamedly traditional, dedicated to decency, middlebrow, beautifully written and subbed, accessible, and, above all, utterly relevant to the lives of its readers.” Talking to Hagerty, he described Junor’s Sunday Express as “one of the great papers of all time”. After leaving school in Yorkshire at 16, his father, Peter Dacre, joined the Sunday Express at 21 and stayed there for the rest of his working life – mainly as a show-business writer but also, for short periods, as New York correspondent and foreign editor. Each Sunday that week’s paper was discussed and analysed over the Dacre family dinner table. It was then in its heyday, selling five million copies a week, and it didn’t go into severe decline (it now sells under 440,000) until the 1980s. It was a formulaic paper, which placed the same types of stories and features in exactly the same spots week after week. As Roy Greenslade observes in Press Gang, his post-1944 history of national newspapers, it was “virtually devoid of genuine news”; what it presented as news stories were really quirky mini-features, starting, as Greenslade put it, “with lengthy scene-setting descriptions or homilies”. Its staple subjects were animals, motor cars and wartime heroes. Its biggest target was “filth”, in the theatre, the cinema, books, magazines and TV programmes. It particularly deplored any assault on the delicate sensibilities of children. Dacre’s father criticised the BBC in 1965 for the unsuitable content of its Sunday teatime serials. Lorna Doone, he wrote, ended “gruesomely”, with a man drowning in a bog, and in the first episode of a spy serial the actors used such expressions as “damn”, “hell” and “silly bitch” at a time supposedly reserved for “family viewing”. “Have the men responsible for these programmes,” asked the elder Dacre, “forgotten that there can be no family without children? What kind of men are they? Do they have families of their own?” Another piece denounced the BBC’s Sunday evening play for “an overdose of twisted social conscience”. The young Dacre was hooked by newspapers. He only ever wanted to be a journalist and he always had his eyes on editing: “I’m a good writer, but not a great writer,” he told Hagerty. As a child in New York, during his father’s posting there, he would wake to the clattering of the ticker-tape telex machine outside his bedroom. In school holidays, he worked as a messenger for Junor’s Sunday Express and then spent a gap year before university as a trainee on the Daily Express. At the fee-charging University College School in Hampstead, north London, he edited the school magazine, and once ran, he told the Society of Editors, “a ponderous, prolix and achingly dull” special issue about the evangelist Billy Graham. It “went down like a sodden hot cross bus”, teaching him the essential lesson, which the Mail remembers every day on every page, that the worst sin in journalism is to be boring. To his disappointment, his application to Oxford University failed. He went instead to Leeds, where he read English and edited Union News, taking it sharply downmarket from, in his own description, “a product that looked like the then Times on Prozac” to one that ran “Leeds Lovelies” on page three. It won an award for student newspaper of the year. The paper supported a sit-in (led by the union president, Jack Straw, later a Labour cabinet minister), interviewed a student about “the delights of getting stoned”, wrote sympathetically about gay people, immigrants and homeless families, and called on students to help in “breaking down the barriers between the coloured and white communities of this town”. At the time, he subsequently claimed, he was left-wing, though Jon Holmes, who worked on Dacre’s Union News, says: “I never heard him express a political view except in favour of planned economies for third-world, though not first-world, countries.” His left-wing period, as he calls it, continued until the Daily Express, which he joined as soon as he left Leeds, sent him to America in 1976. He stayed there for six years, latterly working for the Mail. “America,” Dacre told Hagerty, “taught me the power of the free market . . . to improve the lives of the vast majority of ordinary people.” The Mail brought him back to London in the early 1980s and made him news editor. According to various accounts, he would “rampage through the newsroom with arms flailing like a windmill”, shouting “Go, paras, go” as he despatched reporters on stories. He climbed the hierarchy until in 1991 he became the editor of the London Evening Standard, then owned, like the Mail, by the Rothermeres’ Associated Newspapers. Circulation rose by 25 per cent in 16 months and Rupert Murdoch sounded him out about the Times editorship. To stop him leaving, the Mail editor David English resigned his chair, recommended that Dacre should replace him, and moved “upstairs” as editor-in-chief, another title that Dacre eventually inherited after English died in 1998. Dacre’s editorship has been more successful than his mentor’s but most staff do not love him as they did English. English, though capable of great coldness to those who fell into disfavour and no less likely to fly off the handle, had charm and charisma. “He would be delighted when you rang,” a former foreign correspondent says, “and he’d want to gossip and know about everything that was going on. Sometimes we’d talk for an hour. But Paul doesn’t give good phone.” He will invite writers into his office, push a glass of champagne into their hands and start saying their latest story is rubbish even as he does so. “And you hardly got time to finish the bloody drink,” a former reporter complains. A former executive says: “His track record for creating columnists is nil. He buys them up from elsewhere. He doesn’t home-grow talent because he doesn’t nurture and praise it. That’s where he’s unlike English.” Dacre is a passionate and emotional man. Though the story that he sometimes sheds tears as he dictates leaders is probably apocryphal, nobody who has worked with him doubts that he is sincere in the views he and the Mail express. “He’s not an editor who wakes up in the morning and wonders what he should be thinking today,” says Simon Heffer, a Mail columnist. Another columnist, Amanda Platell, a former editor of the Sunday Mirror and press secretary to William Hague during his leadership of the Conservative Party, says: “When I was an editor, I had to second-guess my readership because they weren’t my natural constituency. Paul never has to do that.” But while his views are mostly right-wing, he is not a reliable ally for the Conservative Party, or for anyone else. This aspect of his way of working is little understood. More than most editors, it can be said of him that he is in nobody’s pocket, not even his proprietor’s. He inherited from English a paper that was slavishly pro-Tory (“David was always in and out of No 10,” said a long-serving Mail editor), firmly pro-Europe and read mainly by people in London and the south-east. Dacre changed the politics of the paper and the demographics of its audience. Today, it is resolutely – some would say hysterically – Eurosceptic and a far higher proportion of its readership is from Scotland and the English north and midlands. The Mail has ceased to take its line from Tory headquarters or to act as a mouthpiece for Conservative leaders. Indeed, every Tory leader since Margaret Thatcher has fallen short of Dacre’s exacting standards. That applies particularly to John Major and David Cameron. According to a former columnist, Dacre regards the latter as “brash, shallow, unthinking and self-advancing” and he takes an equally jaundiced view of Boris Johnson. Twice he backed Kenneth Clarke for the party leadership, despite Clarke’s enthusiasm for the EU. Clarke is a model for the politicians Dacre generally favours even if he disagrees with most of what they say: earthy, authentic, unpretentious, consistent in their values. Jack Straw and David Blunkett – both, like Clarke, from humble backgrounds – are other examples. For a time, Dacre took a relatively kindly view of Tony Blair, having been impressed by the future prime minister’s “tough on crime” approach as shadow home secretary. But he was always suspicious of Blair’s socially liberal views on marriage, gays and drugs and he told Hagerty that once Labour attained power, he saw the new government as “manipulative, dictatorial and slightly corrupt”. He wished, he added, that Blair had “done as much for the family as he’s done for gay rights”. Gordon Brown, however, was smiled upon as no other politician had ever been. The two men developed a strange friendship, involving meals together and walks in the park, which one Mail columnist described to me as “the attraction of the two weirdest boys in the playground”. Brown, Dacre told Hagerty, was “touched by the mantle of greatness . . . he is a genuinely good man . . . a compassionate man . . . an original thinker . . . of enormous willpower and courage”. At a Savoy Hotel event to celebrate Dacre’s first ten years as editor, Brown was almost equally effusive, describing the Mail editor as showing “great personal warmth and kindness . . . as well as great journalistic skill”. “We tried to tell Dacre,” says a former Mail political reporter, “that Brown was not a very good chancellor and the economy would implode eventually. But frankly, Dacre has poor political judgement. They were united by a mutual hatred of Blair. Both are social conservatives; they’re both suspicious of foreigners; they both have a kind of Presbyterian morality. Dacre would say that Brown believes in work. It’s typical of him that he seizes on a single word as the key to his understanding of someone else.” It is inconceivable that the Mail would ever back a party other than the Conservatives in a general election, but Dacre’s support can be cool, as it was in 1997 and 2010. Although he described himself to Hagerty as “a Thatcherite politically” and though self-made entrepreneurs are among the few people who can expect favourable coverage in the Mail, Dacre is, to most neoliberals, a tepid and inconsistent supporter of free enterprise. Nor is he a neocon. The Mail opposed overseas military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria. It has denounced Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition and torture. It may be hard on immigrants and benefit scroungers, but it is often equally hard on the rich and famous, pursuing overpaid bosses of public-service utilities to their luxurious homes, exposing “depravity” among the well-heeled and high-born, and rarely treating TV and film celebrities with the deference that is the staple fare of other tabloids. Many Mail campaigns have centred on liberal or environmental causes: lead in petrol, plastic bags, secret justice, the extradition to the United States of the hacker Gary McKinnon, and so on. For a time, the Mail furiously campaigned to stop Labour deporting failed (black) asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe, even though, almost simultaneously, it was berating ministers for allowing too many illegal immigrants to stay. Other campaigns, such as those against internet porn and super-casinos (both of which influenced government action), though reflecting the Mail’s conservative social agenda, highlighted issues that concern many on the left. Dacre’s most celebrated campaign, which even some of his enemies regard as his finest hour, was to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice. In 1997, over the five photographs of those he believed were responsible, he ran the headline “MURDERERS” and, beneath it, asserted: “The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us”. It was hugely courageous, but did it exonerate the Mail from accusations of racism? Critics point out that the paper rarely features black people except as criminals, though this is not exceptional for the nationals. The “soft” features on women, fashion, style and health are illustrated almost entirely by white faces and bodies.
Dacre’s somewhat belated support for the Lawrence campaign was prompted by a personal connection: Neville Lawrence, Stephen’s father, had worked as a decorator on Dacre’s London house of the time, in Islington. The Mail’s campaign, critics argue, was based on substituting one frame of prejudice for another. Young Stephen eschewed gangs and drugs, did his homework and wanted to go to university. His parents were married, aspirational and home-owning. In everything except skin colour, the Lawrence family represented Middle England, while his white alleged killers were low-class yobs who threatened the safety of all respectable folk. In that, as in much else, Dacre’s Mail recalls 1950s Britain, which rather patronisingly welcomed migrants from Asia and the Caribbean as long as they behaved as though they and their ancestors were English. “If you’re in twinset and pearls, your colour is irrelevant,” says a former Mail journalist. “And Dacre’s attitude to gays changed when he realised it’s possible to be an extremely boring gay person.” The Mail’s attitudes to drugs are also redolent of the 1950s. Writing about the disgraced Co-operative Bank chairman Paul Flowers, Stephen Glover – the Mail columnist whose views, according to insiders, track Dacre’s most closely – criticised commentators who “concentrated on his financial unsuitability”, placing “relatively little emphasis” on his “moral turpitude”. Most of all, the Mail seems determined to uphold the 1950s ideal of womanhood: the stay-at-home mother who dedicates herself to homemaking and prepares a cooked dinner for her husband on his return home every night. That, the paper’s defenders say, is something of a caricature of the Mail’s position. It objects not so much to working mothers as to middle-class feminists who insist that women can “have it all”. English aimed at turning the Mail into “the women’s paper”, and succeeded: it became the only national newspaper where women accounted for more than half the readership. That remains true, and yet Dacre sometimes seems determined to drive them away. The paper subjects women’s bodies, clothes and deportment to relentless and detailed scrutiny, and often finds them wanting, particularly in the thigh and bottom department. It gives prominent coverage to research that warns of the negative effects of working mothers on children’s lives. The Mail’s poster girl is Liz Jones, the columnist and fashion editor celebrated for her self-hatred and misery. “She has so much,” says another Mail journalist, “lots of money, expensive houses, the newest clothes. But she’s never had a child, she hasn’t kept hold of a man, and she’s unhappy. The message is: it’s what happens to you, girls, if you pursue worldly success. You can succeed but, oh boy, you will suffer for it.” The Mail’s punishing hours, requiring news and features executives to stay at the office until late into the evening (not uncommon in national newspapers), and its largely unsympathetic attitude to part-time employment make it an unfriendly environment for working mothers. When Dacre took over at the Mail, he immediately appointed a female deputy, which, said another woman who then had a senior role in the group, “was quite a statement”. But the paper now has few women in its most senior positions, other than the editor of Femail (though sometimes even that post is occupied by a man), and few staff have young children. Yet in some respects, the Mail, even though it does not recognise the National Union of Journalists, is a good employer. Unlike the Mirror, it is not under a company ruled by accountants who single-mindedly seek “efficiencies”. Unlike the Times and the Sun, it does not have a proprietor who touts his papers’ support to the highest bidder. Unlike the Guardian and Independent, it is not beset by financial problems. The proprietor, Viscount (Jonathan) Rothermere, whose great-grandfather Harold Harmsworth founded the paper with his brother Alfred in 1896, allows his editors wide freedom, as did his father, Vere Rothermere, who appointed Dacre. The Mail, alone among national newspapers, has had no significant rounds of editorial redundancies in recent years and its staffing levels (it employs about 400 journalists) are comparable to what they were a decade ago. Dacre’s paper is his sole domain; MailOnline is run separately (though Dacre, as editor-in-chief, has oversight) and although the website carries all daily and Sunday paper stories, much of its content is self-generated and the editorial flavour is distinct. Dacre demands, and mostly gets, a generous budget, paying high salaries for established editorial staff and columnists and high fees for freelance contributors. Journalists are driven hard but, at senior levels in particular, they rarely leave, not least because Dacre is as loyal to them as they mostly are to him. Outright sackings are rare and nearly always accompanied by large payoffs. Those who do leave often reach the top elsewhere. The current editors of both Telegraph papers – Tony Gallagher at the daily and Ian MacGregor at the Sunday – are former Mail executives. Despite more than two decades at the helm, Dacre shows few signs of slowing down. After heart trouble some years ago – which caused an absence of several months from the office – his holidays, which he usually takes in the British Virgin Islands, have become slightly longer and more frequent. But he still routinely puts in 14-hour days. Nevertheless, speculation about his future has grown among journalists on the Mail and other papers. At the end of November, Dacre sold his last remaining shares in the Daily Mail and General Trust, the Mail’s parent company, for £347,564; he disposed of the majority in 2012. His latest contract, signed on his 65th birthday, is for one year only. Geordie Greig, the 53-year-old editor of the Mail on Sunday, is widely regarded as the most likely successor, though Martin Clarke, the abrasive publisher of the phenomenally successful MailOnline, now the most visited newspaper website in the world, is also tipped and Jon Steafel, Dacre’s deputy, is favoured by most staff. The surprising announcement in November that Richard Kay, the paper’s diarist and a long-standing friend of Dacre’s, is to leave his position looks like another straw in the wind, particularly given that his almost certain replacement is Sebastian Shakespeare, previously the diary editor at the London Evening Standard, where Greig was editor before he moved to the Mail on Sunday. Fleet Street rumour has it that Kay is being moved because he upset friends of Lady Rothermere, the proprietor’s wife, and that she is also behind the abrupt departure of the columnist Melanie Phillips, apparently on the grounds that her style – particularly during a June appearance on BBC1’s Question Time – is too shrill. Lady Rothermere, it is said, is desperately keen to oust Dacre in favour of Greig. Senior Mail sources pooh-pooh such tales, but they stop short of outright denials that Dacre is nearing the end of his days on the paper.
Happy Father’s Day -- JAY SEKULOW: Trump is not under investigation -- Scalise update -- WHITE HOUSE week ahead -- KNOWING MARK CORALLO – SCHUMER’s first big test -- WEEKEND READS – RODAY/MARRE wedding pool report
Happy Father’s Day -- JAY SEKULOW: Trump is not under investigation -- Scalise update -- WHITE HOUSE week ahead -- KNOWING MARK CORALLO – SCHUMER’s first big test -- WEEKEND READS – RODAY/MARRE wedding pool report by [email protected] (Daniel Lippman) via POLITICO - TOP Stories URL: http://ift.tt/2soWHWP Good Sunday morning. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! SPEAKER PAUL RYAN discusses what he’s learning as a father as his kids approach their teenage years. http://bit.ly/2rJIO3F FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- Speaker Paul Ryan spent the weekend at the Homestead in Virginia for his annual “Team Ryan” summer outing. His message to K Streeters and donors: the Republican agenda is on track. The Wisconsin Republican laid out his preferred timeline for Obamacare repeal bill, saying that it will be done by mid-summer and tax reform will be completed by the end of the year. Ryan said that he expected the Senate to pass their health care bill before the July 4 recess and that would give House Republicans the rest of July to take action. Ryan said he has been talking to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell daily. Ryan also was bullish on infrastructure, telling the group that a series of infrastructure bills will be passed by the end of the year. SPOTTED: Chris Russell, Bob Wood, Chris Giblin, David Tamasi, Richard Hunt, Ray Berman, Ed Kutler and Nicole Gustafson. STATEMENTS FROM PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP FROM CAMP DAVID -- @realDonaldTrump at 6:38 a.m.: “The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,..” … at 6:46 a.m.: “...massive regulation cuts, 36 new legislative bills signed, great new S.C.Justice, and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax Cuts in works!” …at 7:02 a.m.: “The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That’s higher than O’s #’s!” -- @kylegriffin1: “For reference (spot the outlier): Gallup 38 … Economist/YouGov 42 … Reuters/Ipsos 40 … PPP 41 … Quinnipiac 34 … Rasmussen 50” TAKE NOTE: Trump had just one surrogate on the Sunday shows: a member of his legal team. Not one Cabinet secretary or adviser talking about policy or politics. SUNDAY BEST, PART I -- JAY SEKULOW tells CHUCK TODD on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS” that the president isn’t under investigation -- TODD: “The president tweeted earlier this week, ‘I am being investigated for firing the F.B.I. director by the man who told me to fire the F.B.I. director. Witch hunt.’ So let me start with this. When did the president become aware that he was officially under investigation by the special counsel?” SEKULOW: “The president is not under investigation by the special counsel. The tweet from the president was in response to the five anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to The Washington Post about a potential investigation of the president. But the president, as James Comey said in his testimony and as we know as of today, the president has not been and is not under investigation.” -- MARCO RUBIO to JAKE TAPPER on CNN’s “STATE OF THE UNION” -- TAPPER: “Some of your Senate colleagues, as you know, are concerned that President Trump is preparing to fire Mueller or Mueller and Rosenstein. How would you react if he did?” RUBIO: “Well, first of all, that’s not going to happen. I don’t believe it’s going to happen. And here’s what I would say. The best thing that could happen for the president, and the country, is a full and credible investigation. I really, truly believe that. If we want to put all this behind us, let’s find out what happened, let’s put it out there, and let’s not undermine the credibility of the investigation. And so my view on it is that’s the best thing that could happen for the president and for the country, and I believe ultimately that’s what will happen, irrespective of all the other stuff that’s going on out there.” -- SEKULOW GETS TESTY under sharp questioning from Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday": "I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth, when I've been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation." SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK -- MONDAY: Trump has Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and his wife to the White House. He will participate in an American Technology Council roundtable at 5 p.m. WEDNESDAY: The president is going to Iowa. THURSDAY: The Congressional picnic. THE BIG SUNDAY READ -- NYT, A1 -- “How Michael Flynn’s Disdain for Limits Led to a Legal Quagmire,” by Nick Confessore, Matt Rosenberg and Danny Hakim: “Mr. Flynn decided that the military’s loss would be his gain: He would parlay his contacts, his disdain for conventional bureaucracy, and his intelligence career battling Al Qaeda into a lucrative business advising cybersecurity firms and other government contractors. Over the next two years he would sign on as a consultant to nearly two dozen companies, while carving out a niche as a sought-after author and speaker -- and ultimately becoming a top adviser to President Trump. “‘I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit,’ Mr. Flynn said in an interview in October 2015. In the military, he added, ‘I learned that following the way you’re supposed to do things isn’t always the way to accomplish a task.’ But instead of lofting him into the upper ranks of Beltway bandits, where some other top soldiers have landed, his foray into consulting has become a legal and political quagmire, driven by the same disdain for boundaries that once propelled his rise in the military.” http://nyti.ms/2sDrCkx SCALISE UPDATE -- “Hospital says Scalise showing ‘signs of improvement’ after additional surgery,” by Rebecca Morin: “[House] Majority Whip Steve Scalise is showing ‘signs of improvement’ and is ‘speaking with his loved ones’ following an additional surgery, according to an update provided by MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Saturday. The hospital also downgraded his condition from critical to serious. “‘Congressman Steve Scalise is in serious condition. He underwent another surgery today, but continues to show signs of improvement,’ according to a statement from the hospital, courtesy of the Scalise family. ‘He is more responsive, and is speaking with his loved ones. The Scalise family greatly appreciates the outpouring of thoughts and prayers.’” http://politi.co/2tBoHG5 -- TEAM SCALISE’s video from Thursday’s Congressional baseball game http://bit.ly/2rsXeGe FROM TYSON LOBBYIST MATT MIKA’S FAMILY: “We want to thank the team at George Washington University Hospital for their world-class care, and we continue to be grateful beyond words for the heroic actions of the U.S. Capitol Police this week. In addition, the positive thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement from across the nation have meant the world to Matt and to all of us. “Matt has undergone additional surgery and his physicians have reported positive results. Matt will remain in the ICU through at least this weekend. He continues to communicate with us through notes, and even signed the game ball for the Congressional Baseball Game. Matt especially valued the professionalism of the officers of the Capitol Police, and would appreciate contributions to the Capitol Police Memorial Fund, one of the designated charities at Thursday night’s ballgame. “While we know there will be difficult and challenging days ahead for Matt and our family, the physicians and specialists at Matt’s side expect a full recovery. This will be our final update pending Matt’s discharge from the hospital. We again ask for your understanding and respect of our family’s privacy.” FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Navy stops search for 7 missing sailors after bodies found,” by AP’s Mari Yamaguchi in Yokosuka, Japan: “The search for seven U.S. Navy sailors missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship off Japan was called off Sunday after several bodies were found in the ship’s flooded compartments, including sleeping quarters. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, described the damage and flooding as extensive, including a big puncture under the waterline. The crew had to fight to keep the ship afloat, he said, and the ship’s captain is lucky to have survived.” http://apne.ws/2sGAXc0 BLAST FROM THE PAST -- KNOWING MARK CORALLO: “Meet the man managing Trump’s biggest crisis yet,” by Eliana Johnson, Josh Dawsey, and Josh Gerstein: “Veteran GOP operative Mark Corallo is known for accepting tough crisis-management cases, but even he wasn’t daredevil enough to accept the job an embattled President Trump considered him for last month: White House communications director. Instead, Corallo chose to stay outside the building, becoming the top spokesman for Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz. “In his new role, he finds himself handling the White House’s defense against independent counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, which has expanded to include inquiry into whether Trump himself tried to obstruct the investigation. Corallo had never met Trump or Kasowitz before taking the job but is now routinely in the West Wing several times a week, strategizing with a temperamental and media-obsessed president who sees himself as his own best spokesman. “‘I think I will be more help to the president on the outside than I would have been on the inside,’ Corallo told POLITICO.” With cameos from Karl Rove, David Ayres and Ed McFaddenhttp://politi.co/2seOZjF -- FLASHBACK: Corallo speaking to Isaac Dovere in May about Trump staff: “They’re hostages.” http://politi.co/2rKcOMS SCHUMER’S FIRST BIG TEST -- “Democrats to step up attacks on GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort,” by Burgess Everett: “Democratic senators are planning to hold the Senate floor until at least midnight on Monday to thrash Senate Republicans for refusing to hold committee hearings on their health-care overhaul, according to several people familiar with the plan. The round of speeches is being organized by Sens. Patty Murray of Washington state and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. “But on the more weighty question of whether to object to the GOP’s committee hearings or refusing to allow routine business in the Senate regarding nomination votes or uncontroversial matters, the party has made no final decision. While the party's liberal wing is demanding that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and his team shut the Senate down, Schumer has made no decision and often tries to forge consensus in his caucus before executing party strategy. “Though several sources on the party’s left believe Schumer may be open to the idea, Democratic leaders have been resistant to procedural obstruction thus far. They believe blocking unrelated matters could shift the spotlight from Republicans' secretive process to Democratic obstruction. And it could set expectations high among the party's base that Democrats can stop the repeal, when in reality if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the votes the party will be powerless to stop him.” http://politi.co/2seOyWF -- IT’S WORTH NOTING: Since assuming the top Senate leadership job after the 2016 election, Schumer has made it his leadership style to govern by consensus. Depending on how the Obamacare repeal effort plays out, this could be test for how he’ll appease his frustrated left flank while not overplaying his hand. THE JUICE … -- Community Catalyst Action Fund is launching a seven-figure TV and radio ad buy targeting Republican senators in Alaska, Maine, Nevada and West Virginia on Obamacare repeal. The TV ads, produced by GMMB, will run for the next two weeks and feature a mother whose son has chronic asthma and requires frequent trips to the doctor. The radio ad, also produced by GMMB, and digital ad component are part of the “Keep Care at Home” campaign, which is focused on Medicaid cuts, and will also include events in each state. The TV adshttp://bit.ly/2tglz3j … The radio adhttp://bit.ly/2seKt4W THE LATEST IN GEORGIA -- TOO CLOSE TO CALL: “Georgia special election hurtles toward nail-biting finish,” by Steven Shepard: “As the most expensive House race in history rushes toward the finish line Tuesday, the latest public polls are unanimous: The Georgia special election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel is too close to call. The race for the suburban Atlanta seat, closely watched for clues about the shape of the 2018 midterm elections, appears to be within a few percentage points — with perhaps the slightest edge to Ossoff, the 30-year-old Democrat seeking to wrest away a traditionally Republican seat in the first major election of Donald Trump’s presidency. … The current state of play: Of the six public polls conducted in June, Ossoff leads in five of them — and hits the 50-percent mark in each of the five — with the fifth showing a tie.” http://politi.co/2rt57uY -- NYT's ALEX BURNS and JONATHAN MARTIN: "High-Stakes Referendum on Trump Takes Shape in a Georgia Special Election"http://nyti.ms/2rEqr50 SUNDAY BEST, PART II -- JOHN DICKERSON speaks to SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FLA.) on CBS’S FACE THE NATION -- DICKERSON: “The president has called the investigations a witch hunt. What’s your opinion of that?” RUBIO: “Well, I know he feels very strongly about it. My advice to the president is what I communicated publicly. The way I’ve tried to communicate to everyone on this issue. And that is this. It is in the best interest of the president and the country to have a full investigation. If I were the president, I would be welcoming this investigation. I would ask that it be thorough and completed expeditiously and be very cooperative with it. That’s what ultimately I anticipate they will do. That’s in the best interest of the president. I really believe that. I think it’s in the best interest of our country that we have a full-scale investigation that looks at everything so that we can move forward.” DICKERSON: “So regardless of what you may think about James Comey’s firing as FBI director, you think it should be investigated?” RUBIO: “Well, I just think it’s important to answer questions. Because otherwise, if people have any doubts, it undermines confidence in our system of government, in our elections, in our leaders. As I said, the best thing that can happen for the president and for America is that we have a full-scale investigation that is credible, that it reaches its conclusion one way or the other so that we can move on. But at the same time be knowledgeable. We have to know everything the Russians did and how they did it so that we can prevent this from happening in the future.” RUBIO talks with CHUCK TODD on NBC’s “MEET THE PRESS” -- TODD: “The more the administration tries to soften the sanctions in the House, at any point, do you understand, if some people see that as circumstantial evidence in this probe?” RUBIO: “I could understand how some people would make that argument. I could also tell you though that I personally believe that at the core of the resistance is not the president. And I don’t think the president himself has a problem with additional sanctions on Russia. I think the concern actually comes from the State Department and for the following reason: they argue that they are trying to get the Russians to be more cooperative on a number of fronts and that this could set us back. It's a legitimate argument, I’ve thought about it, I don't agree with it. And you saw the majority of my colleagues didn’t agree with it this week.” POWER PLAYBOOKER – DAVID PETRAEUS to PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff on why Americans should support staying engaged in Afghanistan: “This is a generational struggle. This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade. We need to be there for the long haul but in a way that’s sustainable. You know we’ve been in Korea for 65-plus years because there’s an important national interest for that. We were in Europe for a very long period of time, still there of course, and actually with a renewed emphasis given Russia’s aggressive actions.” Videohttp://bit.ly/2rF21IN THE BIG QUESTION AHEAD OF TRUMP’S TECH SUMMIT -- “CEOs Have Access to Trump, but Do They Have Clout?,” by WSJ’s Vanessa Fuhrmans and Peter Nicholas: “When tech industry executives gather at the White House Monday, brainstorming ways to modernize government will be on the agenda. But on display will be President Donald Trump’s evolving relationship with America’s corporate chieftains. Some 300 business leaders have met with Mr. Trump since he took office promising the nation’s top executives a direct line to the Oval Office and a chance to shape economic policy. “The discussions have helped the president project an image of CEO-in-chief as he awaits a major legislative victory and have given CEOs a voice in initiatives like the administration’s push to expand apprenticeship programs. But corporate leaders are learning about the limits of their clout. Hopes for an overhaul of the corporate-tax code this year are fading, some executives and corporate lobbyists say, as the White House and lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on a plan that could get through Congress. Mr. Trump’s move to quit the Paris climate accord has been a stinging lesson for some that White House face time doesn’t always translate into influence.” http://on.wsj.com/2rEUp8V WHAT K STREET IS READING -- “Republicans debating remedies for corporate tax avoidance,” by Reuters’ David Morgan: “President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress will soon confront a complex challenge for tax reform: how to limit U.S. corporate tax avoidance schemes that take advantage of low tax rates in foreign countries. Congressional and administration staff have begun to examine options to address profit-shifting schemes that include so-called transfer pricing, earnings stripping and tax inversions. A decision on how to handle these in tax legislation could come before Congress leaves town for its one-week July 4 recess on June 29, officials and lobbyists said.” http://reut.rs/2seHWaU WAPO’S ABBY PHILLIP -- “Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke rescinds acceptance of Homeland Security post”: “‘Late Friday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. formally notified Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly that he had rescinded his acceptance of the agency’s offer to join DHS as an assistant secretary,’ said Craig Peterson, an adviser to Clarke. ‘Sheriff Clarke is 100 percent committed to the success of President Trump and believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the president’s agenda in a more aggressive role.’” http://wapo.st/2sDJaNA MORE ON MEGYN KELLY -- “Unedited Putin Interview Reveals A Missed Opportunity For Megyn Kelly and America,” by Yashar Ali in HuffPost: “As Megyn Kelly and NBC News face a firestorm over her interview with InfoWars’ Alex Jones, unedited footage from her recent interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin shows a nervous Kelly who asked the authoritarian leader softball questions and failed to hold him accountable on key topics. Most troubling, Kelly devoted precious time in her short interview to a question that led one former CIA Russia analyst to say that it sounded as if Putin had written the question himself. “In the full, unedited discussion, obtained by HuffPost, Kelly repeatedly fails to interrupt the Russian president while he rambles in his responses. She also asks Putin questions he can easily dispute. The last question Kelly asked Putin, which was not aired, was startling in its pandering. ‘We have been here in St. Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?’” http://bit.ly/2rsxPwo MEDIAWATCH -- “The Danger of Ignoring Alex Jones,” by Charles J. Skyes in the NYT: “When Mr. Jones was merely a marginal figure on the paranoid right, the case could plausibly be made that he was better left in obscurity. But now that, at least according to Mr. Jones, the president of the United States has praised him and thanked him for the role he played in his election victory, it’s too late to make that argument. We can’t keep ignoring the fringe. We have to expose it.” http://nyti.ms/2rsZ61q … Charlie Sykes is an MSNBC contributor TV TONIGHT -- MSNBC will air a special edition of “The Point with Ari Melber” at 5 p.m. for the 45th anniversary of the Watergate break in. The show features Tom Brokaw, Dick Cavett, former Watergate special prosecutors and never-before-seen documents from the Justice Department’s Watergate Special Prosecution Force. BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman: --“Young Men Are Playing Video Games Instead of Getting Jobs. That's OK. (For Now),” by Peter Suderman in Reason in the July 2017: “A military shooter might offer a simulation of being a crack special forces soldier. A racing game might simulate learning to handle a performance sports car. It’s a simulation of being an expert. It’s a way to fulfil a fantasy. That fantasy is one of work, purpose, and social and professional success.” http://bit.ly/2twpXdC --“Can Democrats Fix the Party?” by Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson: “Trump’s victory exposed the party establishment as utterly broken – now Dems hope to rebuild in time for a 2018 comeback.” http://rol.st/2rAh2eF --“What Makes a Glass House the Ideal Home for a Communist Gynecologist,” by Cody Delistraty in JStor: “The windows in the waiting area are high, allowing light to enter, but also arranged so that infertile women waiting for the doctor weren’t forced to see the Dalsace children playing in the backyard.” http://bit.ly/2syDZhU --“The Ideal Iceland May Only Exist in Your Mind,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner in Afar magazine: “But you can, and should, still go in search of it.” http://bit.ly/2tBnmzi --“Vatican tailors, cobblers try to adapt to Francis’s ‘papal athleisure,’” by Claire Giangravè in Cruxnow: “Pope Francis’s emphasis on simplicity and frugality is a hit all around the world, but it’s produced just a bit of backlash among fashion-conscious Italians, including an exclusive club of tailors and shoemakers who outfit pontiffs -- some of whom are a little nostalgic for the days when being pope also meant dressing to the nines.” http://bit.ly/2sBCccz --“The Fake Hermit,” by Natalia Portinari in piaui: “Thomas [Pynchon] was very thin and very handsome, like a Romeo kind of guy. He was like an Italian lover, very, very sexy. He wasn’t interested in money. He had a very dry sense of humor, so that’s why we got along so well. He never hurt my feelings. He tried to be a hippie, but it wasn’t easy for him. He was a hard worker.” http://bit.ly/2roGnnU --“What Duck Sex Reveals about Human Nature,” by Johann Grolle in Der Spiegel: “Copulation in most birds is achieved by a cloacal kiss, just an apposition of orifices. This is the essential reason why birds are so beautiful. Since they have the freedom of choice, females exhibit aesthetic preferences. And, as a result of these preferences, males developed amazingly elaborate ornaments.” http://bit.ly/2sC9W9A --“How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico,” by ProPublica’s Ginger Thompson, co-published in NatGeo: “There’s no missing the signs that something unspeakable happened. Entire blocks lie in ruins. In March 2011 gunmen from the Zetas cartel swept through like a flash flood, demolishing homes and businesses and kidnapping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women and children. The destruction and disappearances went on in fits and starts for weeks.” http://bit.ly/2sHUo43 --“If Israel were smart,” by Sara Roy on Gaza in the London Review of Books: “[A]lmost half the labour force [do not] any means to earn a living. Unemployment – especially youth unemployment – is the defining feature of life. It now hovers around 42 per cent (it has been higher), but for young people (between the ages of 15 and 29) it stands at 60 per cent. Everyone is consumed by the need to find a job or some way of earning money. ‘Salaries control people’s minds,’ one resident said.” http://bit.ly/2roQAR5 --“Philip Roth’s Newark,” by Steven Malanga in City Journal: “The city at its peak and in its decline are the novelist’s two greatest characters.” http://bit.ly/2sa9tu0 (h/t ALDaily.com) --“‘A reckoning for our species’: the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene,” by Alex Blasdel in The Guardian: “Timothy Morton wants humanity to give up some of its core beliefs, from the fantasy that we can control the planet to the notion that we are ‘above’ other beings. His ideas might sound weird, but they’re catching on.” http://bit.ly/2rF51QB (h/t Longform.org) --“What It Would Really Take To Sink A Modern Aircraft Carrier,” by Robert Farley in Jalopnik: “Even a supersonic cruise missile can take twenty minutes to reach its target area at maximum range, and a carrier maneuvering at high speed can move ten miles in the same period of time. A massive aircraft carrier can move surprisingly fast for something weighing over 100,000 tons, with a top speed of more than 30 knots, or about 35 miles an hour, which is what you get when you go for nuclear power.” http://bit.ly/2roV3Dy --“After Oranges,” by Wyatt Williams in Oxford American, discussing “Oranges,” by John McPhee: “Fifty years later, Oranges reads as an agile survey of world history, a vivid period piece of changing American foodways, and an early classic by a master just beginning to find his form ... Today, no one is quite sure if Florida’s oranges will survive” http://bit.ly/2tbvwPw (h/t TheBrowser.com) WEEKEND WEDDINGS – Zack Roday, press secretary for Team Ryan, and Alleigh Marre, who does press for HHS, got married on Saturday with the ceremony and reception at Rust Manor House in Leesburg, Virginia. The bride came down the aisle to “At Last,” and the wedding was officiated by Zack’s childhood friend and Best Man Ben Horwitz. The couple met on Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign in Wisconsin. Picshttp://bit.ly/2sHijAK ... http://bit.ly/2rEL5Cb ... http://bit.ly/2sE16r1 --SPOTTED: Gov. Scott and Tonette Walker, Matt Gorman and Annie Clark, Jesse Hunt and Kim Kaiser, Ian and Elsie Prior, Chris and Andrea Grant, Jake Kastan, Kevin Seifert, Betsy Ankney, Eli Miller, Jason Heath, Alexandra Clark and Scott Dillie, Bryant Avondoglio and Ellie Krust. --“Cathryn Clüver, Tom Ashbrook”– N.Y. Times: “The bride, 41, is the founding executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She graduated from Brown and received a master’s in European studies from the London School of Economics and a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. ... The groom, 61, is the host of the NPR talk show ‘On Point,’ a daily program produced at WBUR in Boston. He graduated from Yale. He is the author of ‘The Leap,’ which chronicles his time as an internet entrepreneur, after a career as a journalist.” With pichttp://nyti.ms/2soxxYq – “Stephanie Sy, David Ariosto”: “Ms. Sy, 40, is a New York-based special on-air news correspondent for PBS and the host of Carnegie Council’s ‘Ethics Matter’ interview series, a public affairs program that is shown periodically on PBS. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. ... On June 26, Mr. Ariosto, 36, will begin working as a supervising producer of ‘All Things Considered,’ the NPR news program. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University. ... The couple met in June 2015, at Al Jazeera America, where the bride was a news anchor and the groom an on-air reporter.” With pichttp://nyti.ms/2sMcBgR --“Sara Randazzo, Christopher Kirkham”: “The bride, 31, is a legal reporter at The Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. ... The groom, 33, is also a reporter at The Journal in Los Angeles, covering the casino and hotel industries. He graduated from Northwestern, where he also received his master’s degree in journalism. ... The couple were introduced through mutual friends in New York in November 2011.” With pichttp://nyti.ms/2seYvDG SPOTTED at the going-away party last night (with a live band) in DC for Paul Wood and Ruth Sherlock, who is leaving in two weeks to become NPR’s new Beirut correspondent (she was previously U.S. editor at The Telegraph): Susannah Cunningham, Merrit Kennedy, Susannah Wellford, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Emily Lenzner, Suzanne Kianpour, John Hudson, Nihal Krishan, Vivek Jain, Matt Rosenberg, Karoun Demirjian, Diaa Hadid, Athena Jones, Karen Attiah. BIRTHDAYS: Dina Powell ... WaPo’s Fred Barbash … Charlie Herman … Joanne Lipman, chief content officer at Gannett and editor in chief of USA Today … Niall Stanage, WH columnist at The Hill, is 43 ... David Wood (Mr. Beth Frerking), Pulitzer winner ... Kate Knudson ... Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) is 66 ... Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) is 68 ... Nick Johnston, editor at Axios, is 4-0 (h/t Bill McQuillen) … Megan Mitchell ... Bipartisan Senate alumni birthday: former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa.) is 8-0 and former Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is 67 ... David Drucker, senior political correspondent at Washington Examiner, is 46 ... Romney alum John Whitman, now press secretary for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ... HFA alum John McCarthy, COS for Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.), (h/ts Fran Holuba, Anastasia Dellaccio and Ben Chang) ... Millie Harmon Meyers, public affairs at the U.S. Mission to the UN (h/t Ben) ... Geri M. Joseph is 94 ... Kenneth Lipper is 76 ... Blair Effron is 55 (h/ts Jewish Insider) ... DOT alum Ajashu Thomas ... Clare Bresnahan, executive director of She Should Run (h/t Jill Bader) ... Politico Europe’s Blanca Renedo is 29 ... Kevin Landrigan, legendary New Hampshire political correspondent ... HFA and GSG alum Chris Allen ... Bob Scutari ... ... Will Kinzel, managing director of gov’t affairs at Delta ... Jennifer Carignan ... Politico’s Claire Okrongly and Shannon Rafferty ... LifeZette’s Jim Stinson (h/t Jon Conradi) ... BuzzFeed’s Mary Ann Georgantopoulos ... Bert Gomez, Univision’s SVP of federal and state gov’t relations... Tom Readmond ... Michael Van Der Galien ... former Hardballer Jeremy Bronson, now creator of “The Mayor,” airing this fall on ABC ... former CNNer Meryl Conant Governski, now an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP ... Zach Wilkes … Jason Kello ... Daniel Epstein is 33 ... Levi Drake ... Max Stahl is 3-0 ... Lisa Barron ... AJ Goodman ... Ron Rosenblith ... Dick Mark ... Debbie Shore (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... country singer Blake Shelton is 41 (h/t Kurt Bardella) ... Sir Paul McCartney is 75 ... Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses) is 54 (h/ts AP)
China's Economic Collapse, It's Coming! (repeated ad nauseum for at least a decade now)
Morgan Stanley president Kelleher says China 'is just fine' China is "just fine" and the recent worries about its economy was just an excuse to sell the market off after a good run, Morgan Stanley (MS.N) President Colm Kelleher said on Wednesday. "I think there's no new news here, emerging markets will not grow, we know that. Developed markets are carrying the growth, particularly in the U.S. and we are of the view that China is just fine, 6.9 percent growth is okay and we believe those numbers broadly," Kelleher told a conference in Dublin.
Whatever does cause the next global recession, it likely won’t be China. That’s according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who gathered its top experts on the nation to mull the "34 questions about China that you were afraid to ask." They concluded the world’s second-largest economy will steer clear of a hard landing and the government will contain the risks arising from its financial market turbulence. While its slowdown will weigh investor confidence, it won’t cause major negative spillovers to the global economy based on an analysis of trade, portfolio and commodity channels.
Lagarde: We have faith in China, despite volatility The head of the International Monetary Fund said Thursday that she's not concerned about volatility in China's markets, which have suffered wild swings in recent weeks. Lagarde remains confident that Chinese authorities will be able to guide the country during its transformation from an economy based on investment and exports, to one driven by consumption.
Why China doesn’t mind being left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Beijing already has free trade agreements with more than half of the TPP countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam, and it can exploit those arrangements to minimize or avoid import duties that would normally apply to made-in-China products. Felipe Caro and Christopher Tang of UCLA's Anderson School of Management explained in Fortune magazine this week how that could work. “To satisfy certain country-of-origin conditions stipulated in TPP, China can manage the supply chain operations of cotton shirts by importing cotton from Pakistan (via its existing free trade agreement with China) and conduct 'upstream' operations, such as fabric design, knitting and dyeing at home. "Then China can ship the fabric to Vietnam (via an existing free trade agreement with China). At the same time, Japan can ship the buttons to Vietnam (via the TPP). Vietnam can perform 'downstream' operations (sewing) and then ship the finished shirts via TPP agreement to Australia, Japan and the United States, cutting off the 5%, 10.9% and 16.5% import duties that would have applied if China had dealt directly with these countries.” And China clearly doesn’t require the TPP to enhance its already sizeable influence in the world.
Credit Suisse CEO Says He Remains Positive on China, Echoing UBS Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam said he remains positive on China, echoing comments by his counterpart at UBS Group AG, following an equity selloff and a deepening economic slowdown.
ADB head optimistic China's economy to grow 6.7 percent MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank president is optimistic China's economy will post a healthy 6.7 percent growth this year despite jitters over the yuan's depreciation and a plunge in Chinese stocks. Nakao says he does not see a serious adjustment in the Chinese economy because there is much room to expand services and fiscal reforms are being undertaken.
China on right economic path: World Bank economist China is following the right path and is making progress in its bid to rebalance the nation's economy, according to a World Bank economist. Franziska Ohnsorge, a lead economist at the World Bank, said Chinese officials had outlined an economic plan at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in 2013 and were implementing the reforms to enact that plan. "They are steadily implementing these reforms and these are exactly the reforms that China needs, but they will yield benefits over the long term," she said.
The `Hard-Landing School' Has It Wrong on China, Says Roach The Yale University senior fellow said the economy is in a transition and employment data showing strong urban job growth paint a more positive picture. “You can’t look at top-line GDP and conclude about whether China is going hard or soft,” Roach told Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television. “You have to look at the pieces, the mix, and the mix is far more constructive than the China bears would lead you to believe.”
German, French central bankers warn of overreaction to China Speaking at a meeting of French and German central bank governors and finance ministers in Paris, Bundesbank Governor Jens Weidmann warned against painting everything black and said he did not expect a sharp deterioration in the Chinese economy. “I agree with Jens Weidmann that financial volatility is somewhat excessive. I think we need to look through the short-term (market) swings,” Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau told reporters.
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said here Tuesday that IMF "does not believe that the world's second largest economy will face a hard landing" and that China's decision to transform "from quantity to quality" is the right way.
China hard landing unlikely but debt levels a concern: Fitch "China's financial system is dominated by banks and funded overwhelmingly by retail deposits. Both the banks and borrowers are either state-owned or heavily state-influenced. These factors combine to suggest that the kind of collapse of confidence among creditors that might precipitate a financial crisis is unlikely in China," Fitch said.
Why China's Housing Market Refuses To Crash: Control of interest rates, financing, who can be a buyer, how many houses someone can buy, where people invest their money, the urban markets home buyers are pushed into One of the ways that China’s government influences the direction of the housing market is with interest rates. When they want to cool things down a little, the government charges higher interest rates on loans to developers and home buyers, when they want to heat the market up give more favorable rates. One of the saving graces of China’s housing market, no matter how heated it has appeared, was that home buyers have always been extremely under-leveraged. At 90%, China has one of the world’s highest home ownership rates, but only 18% of the country’s households have mortgages. In large part, this lack of leverage is due to the fact that lending for home purchases are tightly controlled by China’s central and municipal level governments. Who qualifies for mortgages and how much financing they can receive is based on formal calculations which vary from city to city and are continuously adapted to suit current economic conditions. In China’s cities, among other classifications, people are divided up between potential home buyers and what’s known as non-buyers. There are set rules which outline how a non-buyer can become a buyer, which generally consists of living in the city and paying income tax there for a specified number of years. Another way that China’s government quells speculation in the housing market is by simply restricting the quantity of houses that people can buy. For an extended period of time, big cities like Shanghai have had home purchasing restrictions (HPRs) which have limited its residents to only being able to buy one additional house. As I’ve covered earlier, viable investment options for people in China are extremely limited. Interest on bank deposits are less than inflation, the stock market is about as secure as a casino, WMPs have had their attractiveness regulated out of them, and channels to invest overseas are being plugged up. This leaves housing. Basically, Chinese investors are funneled into the housing market, and, in a country with one of the highest savings rates on the planet, this means a huge amount of ready-to-invest capital continuously pouring in. Growing very distinct in 2015 and lasting into this year is a sheer disparity in China’s housing market between big and vibrant tier-one and some tier-two cities — where everybody wants to live — and the rest of the country. While China’s real estate market has usually vacillated in almost uniform waves across the country, we’re now seeing a situation where prices in some cities are exploding while others are posting all time lows. To help rectify this situation, China’s government seems to be engineering a climate in the big, booming cities that’s intended to push buyers into other nearby markets. When looking at China’s housing market one key point to remember is that this isn’t really a free market and can’t be expected to behave like one. Behind the scenes are governmental ventriloquists pulling at proverbial strings, controlling supply and engineering just the right amount of demand.
Bank of Canada still bullish on China despite economic slowdown The Chinese economy has the potential to grow at 6 per cent a year for another 15 years, more than doubling its economy and sustaining its appetite for Canadian goods, senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said Tuesday. “China’s demand for commodities should remain high and grow from a higher base, even if the country’s economic growth is slower and less reliant on natural resources,” Ms. Wilkins said in remarks prepared for a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade. She argued that China’s slowdown to a more sustainable pace is “not only inevitable, it’s desirable.”
HSBC’s Gulliver upbeat on China economy, reforms Gulliver said China’s growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent is still robust, while the central bank has room for further cuts in interest rates and lenders’ reserve requirement ratio, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. The country’s ability to pursue reforms has been underestimated while its currency valuation moves should be seen as progress rather than regression, he said. He said China is capable of boosting domestic consumption to offset any gap in growth targets given its enormous fiscal reserves.
China debt a risk but authorities are handling it: Moody's "Not only do the authorities know what the situation is, but they have the tools and the intention , the willingness to address the issue (of) high leverages," Moody's managing director Atsi Sheth told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday. "China's growth and its growth outlook is still quite robust. This is a low-income economy playing the catch-up model….A lot of China's debt is still domestically generated; there are domestic savings that led to this debt creation as opposed to foreign borrowing …. That gives it some stability and support," added Sheth
China debt fears cloud the real picture, says AXA Fear about the build-up of debt in China ignores the fact that most of it is internal and much of it will be converted into long-term financial assets, says a senior manager at one of Europe's biggest funds group. The main distinction with other developing economies, he says, is that most of the debt load is domestic, meaning little foreign currency exposure. The other is that an important chunk of it comprises short-term bank loans to special-purpose vehicles set up to fund local government infrastructure. These will ultimately be repackaged as long-term bonds and sold, via banks, to institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies, including outside China, says Tinker. Oxford Economics is less alarmist, agreeing with Tinker that much of the debt has been sunk into capital stock that will pay for itself. The problem, it says, are in sectors such as heavy industry and manufacturing where returns on investment have been declining.
China's economic reforms have received a vote of confidence from heads of key international economic organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank In a joint statement with China, they said fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain positive in the long term, thanks to its efforts in developing new growth drivers. The statement noted that China's economic structure has "improved" and that consumption and the services sector have become the major driving forces of the economy.
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