Monday, 6 December 2010

Richard Desmond redefines words

In July 2009, Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express, Daily Star and Channel 5, lost a libel case against Tom Bower.

As the Press Gazette reported at the time:

Media baron Richard Desmond has been left facing an estimated £1.25m legal bill after losing a libel action made over claims by journalist Tom Bower that he interfered in the editorial running of his newspapers.

A jury at London's High Court took nearly four hours yesterday to reach the majority decision that the owner of the Express and Star newspapers and OK! magazine was not defamed in Bower's 2006 biography of the disgraced former Daily Telegraph owner Conrad Black.

Last week, in an interview with Management Today, Desmond had a slightly different take on the outcome:

'I won that case conclusively because I showed I don't order my editors to write things and I didn't give in to Conrad Black. The fact the jury thought Bower was right and I was wrong, I don't care.'

So he doesn't care what the jury decided because he knows he won really.

Elsewhere in the interview, he is asked about the portfolio of porn magazines that he sold in 2004 (the interviewer, Chris Blackhurst, who was deputy editor of the Express when Desmond took over, uses the past tense, thus failing to mention the pornographic TV channels he still owns):

What about the porn (Asian Babes, Horny Housewives, et al), does he now regret it? He hesitates. Perhaps he does but, if so, he won't admit it.

He fixes me with a stare. 'First of all, it's not "porn", Mr Blackhurst. It's adult magazines that were sold through the same distribution channels as all newspapers and other magazines. It was all regulated. It was honest.'

'Honest'. It's a curious word for Desmond to use given he believes he won a court case he actually he lost, believes 'adult magazines' are not 'porn' and given he owns the Express and the Star.


  1. I've worked for a few people who came out with "gems" like this. For years I wondered what made them tick until recently I had Sam Vaknin's "Malignant Self Love" shoved under my nose.

    It's about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Check out the diagnostic criteria and then compare these and the discussions in the book or on the website ( with your favourite tabloid editor or proprietor.

  2. That comment rather reminded me of the book "The Story Of Anvil" which I recently read, in which the members of Anvil hammer their reputation of real life Spinal Tap even further home by saying of their on-stage antics with dildos and lyrics about breasts that no woman they know every considered it sexist because they knew "it was done with integrity". It seems to me that the word "honest" is used in similar vein here, rather than in any strict "telling the truth" manner. Still, what a dolt, that mr. Desmond.


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