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Editor raps Python star over anti-press jibes

CleeseA Monty Python star has been accused of tarring all journalists with the same “big, clumsy brush” by a regional daily editor.

The Northern Echo’s Peter Barron spoke out against John Cleese after the actor made disparaging comments about journalists during a rally organised by the press regulation pressure group Hacked Off.

In a speech, the comedian is reported to have likened the principle of newspaper self-regulation to murderers wanting to police themselves.

He also accused editors of “almost entirely cold-blooded lying” in respect to claims that further regulation would hinder press freedom.

On his blog, Peter wrote: ” Tarring us all with the same big, clumsy brush has always been one of the concerns surrounding the on-going debate over press regulation – and John Cleese is becoming chief tar-brusher.

“As much as I admire his work, Cleese is in danger of becoming more over-the-top and disturbingly manic than Basil Fawlty after a bad day at the hotel.”

He added: “We need a sense of perspective: an acceptance that a minority of national journalists behaved abominably, but without leaping to the madcap conclusion that every editor in the country is a terrible, shameful monster who deserves to be tarred and feathered.

“I know lots of editors – most of the them running local papers, making a genuine difference to their communities – and I wouldn’t describe any of them as cold-blooded liars.”


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  • March 10, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I thought the old stager must have shuffled off this mortal coil and joined the choir invisible, because we haven’t heard some words of wisdom on something or another from him for about a fortnight.

    And it is good to see John Cleese is still up and about as well.

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  • March 10, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I have to say I admire the lofty genius Cleese. His funny walk is a comedy institution and the cheese shop sketch is a veritable masterpiece. But if he came over here with his strange voices and ill-informed views on honest, hard-working journalists and started spouting off in the lounge bar I’d say OI, CLEESE, NOOOOOOO!
    You may have three-quarters of the population quoting hilarious lines from the parrot sketch, and all credit to you for that pal, I do it myself occasionally, but you know squid-all about the inner workings of the local press and you should keep your tatty views to yourself.
    (with apologies to Harry Enfield).

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  • March 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

    The biggest problem with local rags is not malice but ineptitude. Sadly, standards of reporting, writing and photography are disturbingly low . Worse, publishers accept this.

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  • March 10, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    The fact that the bizarre John Cleese has added his support to the odious Hacked Off group does nothing to enhance the credibility of an already heavily tarnished bunch of so-called celebrities.

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  • March 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    The fact that John Cleese has added his support to Hacked Off does little to enhance the group’s credibility.

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  • March 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    I wish to complain about this newspaper what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
    Oh yes, the, uh, the Evening Muckraker…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?
    I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘it’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!
    No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.
    Look, matey, I know a dead newspaper industry when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.
    No no it’s not dead, he’s, it’s restin’! Remarkable tabloid the Evening Muckraker, idn’it, ay? Beautiful Masthead
    The Masthead don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.
    Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

    with apologies to the Pythons.

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  • March 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Cleese, the odious Hugh Grant, the unfunny Coogan and all the other Hacked Off losers have done very well out of the press over the years.
    Without the much-maligned media, we wouldn’t have heard of any of them.
    The big question is whether we should allow a bunch of self-preening asses to meddle with our fundamental freedoms. Answer: No.
    Let the luvvies get on with their luvving. Leave the serious business of freedom of speech to its chief custodians – the hard-working journalists of Britain.

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