Letter: Hypocrisy of print journalists

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The Independent Online
From Mr Roger Gale, MP

Sir: A pity that your reporter who quoted (10 July) my views relating to BBC presenters' extra-contract earnings conveniently omitted half of the "story". I, and others in the House of Commons, are I think justifiably critical of the hypocrisy that allows BBC interviewers publicly to criticise Members for having outside interests, while themselves cashing in on the worldwide reputation of the BBC to earn interesting additions to their own incomes.

However, print journalists are as culpable, if not more so. Forgetting, momentarily, those "correspondents" who can only test-drive cars or "review" films while staying at the best hotels in the South of France, those foodie and travel writers who dine out and holiday in return for a "puff", and the "insider" scribblings of those with interests in the City, it might be wise not to scrutinise too closely the vested financial and political interests of those in some newsrooms. Or their expense accounts.

I dare say that BBC and, for that matter, ITV journalists and presenters do have something to answer for. But look at the beams in your own eyes, brothers, before you get too sanctimonious.

Yours etc,

Roger Gale

MP for Thanet North (Con)

House of Commons

London, SW1

11 July