The Daily Telegraph defends Vince Cable against its own undercover reporting allegations.
The FET, Monday 3rd January
This morning’s edition of The Daily Telegraph included an apology to Vince Cable for “misleading statements” made by the newspaper.
The Business Secretary was humiliated last week when it was revealed that he had boasted of planning to “beat Rupert Murdoch to death with my schlong” to two undercover female journalists.
Cable was consequently stripped of his authority over Murdoch’s BSkyB takeover bid, and replaced by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Hunt immediately moved to demonstrate his neutrality by attending a private meeting with Murdoch on the media tycoon’s luxury yacht.
However, in a startling about-face, The Telegraph is now calling for Cable’s reinstatement, claiming that their treatment of him had been unjust. Most notably, last week’s description of Cable taking off his shirt and cracking peanuts with his biceps has been retracted.
“We feel that our reporting of the peanut incident failed to do justice to Vince Cable’s class, charisma and really quite extraordinary talent”, stated the apology. “The ladies were genuinely impressed.”
Tony Gallagher, the editor of The Telegraph, told reporters that he deeply regretted setting up the sting. “It was really very unkind of us. We have tarnished the reputations of married men before, but I feel that we went a step too far with Vince.”
“The reporters working undercover were really outrageously pretty. We feel that Vince wouldn’t have acted as he did if they hadn’t been on strict orders to giggle continuously and drop hints that they found opinions about media regulation to be a sexual turn-on.”
The Daily Telegraph has not been alone in publicly defending Vince Cable. Since the government transferred media policy to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail and thirty-five other newspapers and television stations have come out in support of the beleaguered business secretary.
This demonstration of solidarity has included fourteen criticisms of the undercover reporting, twelve warm appraisals of Cable’s career, a front page analysis of his British lineage reaching back to the sixteenth century from The Daily Mail, and no less than twenty-nine assertions of his sexual decency and all-round marital regularity.
The government has yet to respond to this surge of media support for Cable, but it is thought that any attempt to remove Jeremy Hunt’s new responsibilities and reinstate Cable would be seen as political indecisiveness.
Hunt has been unavailable for comment on the subject since Wednesday, as he is currently working on the Murdoch takeover case from his new holiday home in the Canary Islands.