by UnHerd
Friday, 4
June 2021
Video
11:50

Former press chief: the media was not racist towards Meghan

Ex-director of the Society of Editors Ian Murray speaks out about his resignation
by UnHerd

When 49.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the Harry and Meghan interview on Oprah, the drama that unfolded left many victims — not all famous or royal — in their wake. One such casualty was Ian Murray, the head of the Society of Editors, who came out to defend the British press against the claim made by the Duke of Sussex that the industry was racist. According to a statement put out by Murray, such an “attack” was “not acceptable” without any evidence. Following the statement came a now-infamous interview with Victoria Derbyshire, in which Murray got into a heated row with the interviewer over whether certain headlines could be construed as racist.


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In spite of a second statement issued by the Society of Editors, the damage was already done: over 160 journalists of colour and the editors of the Guardian, Financial Times and HuffPost wrote an open letter describing the SoE’s initial statement as “laughable” proof of “an institution and an industry in denial”. This left Murray in the strange predicament of being attacked by the people he was trying to defend. Meanwhile, an ITV presenter and editor of the Yorkshire Post both pulled out of the Society of Editors awards. 

Effectively, the executive director was left with no choice but to resign from the organisation he helped to found some 22 years prior. In an exclusive interview with UnHerd, Murray finally speaks out and give his version of events: does he regret the statement? Is the British press racist? And what does it feel like when the mob comes for you? He discusses all this and more in today’s LockdownTV:

On why needed to leave:

When the mob turns, they need a target and it’s vicious — the phone calls, the hate, the threats of violence and worse, actually reaching me and my family in my home with phone calls and all kinds of things. I calculated that if I was going to save the Society of Editors, I needed to walk away.
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

Why did his statement cause such a furore:

One, it’s the Meghan and Harry ‘sparkledust’ coming down from Hollywood. Secondly, I was following in the wake of Piers Morgan, who had resigned a little earlier before I did… Thirdly, it was a classic witch trial, whereby someone stands up to defend someone who’s been accused of being a witch, must therefore be a witch. 
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

On the show trial that followed:

What happens at the end of a show trial is when you’ve got your admission and your culprits, you must shame them publicly. You must make sure that everyone gets the message that “if you don’t agree with what we say, if you push back against anything that we say — then this is what we will do to you: we’ll come for your family, we’ll come for your career, your friends, anyone that associates with you. So don’t question. Don’t question”. 
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

On the current climate:

Now it’s coming to a point that if you try to defend against anything, you’re going to get swamped attacked, and overwhelmed. And that has a chilling effect. That means people will shut up. Whether they are in the media or elsewhere. It’s censorship. It’s self censorship. And that is a dangerous thing.
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

Does he stand by his statement?

Absolutely…It was a strong statement, but that was to counterbalance the fact there is no proof or no evidence that there is a general theme of racism or bigotry in the British media or that large sections of the media have got a racist agenda.
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

Why did the press turn on Meghan?

We [the British people] don’t like being preached to, by members of royalty in particular, especially when they appear hypocritical and do something completely different…They also made it plain that they didn’t particularly like the press. And, if you’re going to say, “look, we don’t like you”, parts of the media, we’re going to say, “well, we don’t like you either”.
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

On the health of the free press:

I think it is in a very worrying place. I can be annoyed with the Left of the media, who traduced and damaged me… But I’m not going to say that they should be silenced. I’m not going to say that they shouldn’t have a voice. Now that would be hugely hypocritical of me after all these years. I want them to continue to have a voice.
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

How does he feel?

Am I bitter and twisted about it? Yeah, I can be. I can be pretty annoyed about it. In the first stage, you’re obviously in shock from doing it. But you take an awful lot of comfort from the outpouring of support from people I know and people I’ve never met at all….But there is also disappointment with some others that I thought were friends or associates who ran for the hills. And it quickly dawns on you, that your reputation has been shredded in some ways, that it’s been tarnished.
- Ian Murray, UnHerd

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Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

“But there is also disappointment with some others that I thought were friends or associates who ran for the hills. And it quickly dawns on you, that your reputation has been shredded in some ways, that it’s been tarnished.”

Being disappointed by those you previously thought were friends or associates, or at least a bit more courageous is an awful feeling. But at the end of the day, I think Murray will come out looking better than they do. They are cowards and run with the other sheep to protect themselves from harm. Fair enough. Murray was much braver and is thus far more deserving of respect.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Ian Murray’s former friends and associates are a classic example of what Winston Churchill called ‘one who feeds a crocodile , hoping it will eat him last.’ The entire population of the world who identify as originally European is 6% and according to many of the other 94% this is 6% too many as an example the DM today reprinted parts of a speech given by a Yale professor which openly shows this attitude.This new world order will only be satisfied with total destruction of European life and culture. Meghan is part of a group who enjoy showing their power & need total obedience Surely seeing a President who told a jury which verdict he wanted before the trial began was evidence of this?. This is the end of the European enlightenment which guaranteed a free press if everyone just caves into the opposition.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

If he is high up in the Press he got petarded. He is like the Florida man, meth head, whose own pit-bull just bit him on the a**.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

Well, yes, but we knew that all along. And initially, of course, the media and everyone else welcomed the fact of a coloured member of the ‘firm’. Sadly, she turned out to be a real grifter and a real wrong ‘un by any standards.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fraser Bailey
John Standing
John Standing
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Great if you don’t particularly want the white world mulatto-ised, though.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Standing

Well she’s technically a quadroon, and Archie is therefore an octoroon, which is some way short of mulatto in either case.

John Standing
John Standing
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

There is probably fifty shades of that, too.

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Standing

lol

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

She decided to identify as 100% black on the day of her wedding-thats why she could only have her mother there-as other 3/4 of her family would contradict her message of being a member of a persecuted group. She & Harry arranged all these television things-interview & series with Oprah then & seemed to have persuaded the palace the series was about mental illness in the armed forces.As Oprah and friends are very key democrat supporters and have succeeded in getting their ‘girl’ in as Vice-President nothing must go wrong.. The interview & series syncronized with BLM message-white privilege & all that which has now taken over all the areas of power, now you only have to claim something for it to be ‘your truth’-no evidence required. Wouldn’t surprise me if Queen resigns & appoints Harry & Meghan as King & Queen-things are that weird.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Her Oprah interview is a successful version of the Jussie Smollett incident. They have learnt to be non specific this time so cannot show evidence to disprove-how can you prove a negative? Smollett’s mother was friends with Kamala Harris & Angela Davis-the same ‘actors’ and message-but to a wider audience.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

It’s a racket, but we don’t get to say so. Shooting ducks in a barrel, this is a good earner!

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Meghan means to take the throne, become President of the U.S. and finally General Secretary of the U.N. Harry might have completed his therapy by then.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

She looks like an octoroon to me. Has anyone ever seen her jailbird mother Doria’s parents?
That would, of course, make Archie an hexadecaroon.

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago

Good or bad and no grey areas between or roads to redemption. This is a world which none of us can live comfortably in.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
1 year ago

This article is instructive:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/post-factualism-and-politics-of-confusion/
If you want to understand why it is that the assortment of movements that come together to make up the new Left in politics are adopting a zero tolerance approach toward dissent that falls into certain categories (racism, homophobia etc), then read it.
The author makes some very interesting points about the politics of confusion but undermines his own efforts by failing to recognise that they are being used by the left as well as the right in the UK.
it seemed to this reader that he is arguing for a forward march to reclaim lost voters starting from a base which has already effectively outlawed a platform for views he has decided are heretical.

What you are guilty of, Mr. Murray, is heresy. Pure (and simple) heresy.
Certain matters, you see, are already settled, and no further discussion is necessary (or permitted).
There is a rather enjoyable irony at work here: the very politics of confusion that are said to be the preserve of the right (notwithstanding their origin, at least in the current form, in Putin’s Russia) are used to enforce taboos on the rest of us.
The BLM movement is an example of the politics of confusion in action. The name, and the broad thrust of the proposed narrative (soon to become the enforced narrative), is intended to disorientate, and to prevent counter by way of argument or action.
It is impossible to state that black lives do not matter, and only possible to agree with the idea that black lives matter. Because it is only possible to agree, any qualification and equivocation is taken, and described as, evidence of insincerity – ie, you are a racist after all. All fall before the eminently logical and entirely manipulative thrust.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kremlington Swan
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago

Quite right about wilfully confusing names. Take “hope not hate” – which in three words skews the migration / asylum debate and leaves no room for dissent at all. In fact, the pressure group should be called “Pie eyed optimism not due precaution”, but even that does not plumb the depths of Marxist malice lurking at its heart. For the pie eyed are just the surface constituency, the angry dupes who imagine that their tearful ranting embodies “compassion”. No, the real name of the pressure group is “manipulative moralising with a view to destroying western culture”, for that is the agenda at its rotten heart. And in the end, along with the whole Marxist mob currently running the west, it wishes to make dupes or internal exiles of us all. And even silence, even a refusal to join the tearful ranting, now carries costs.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Denis
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Oh yes, ‘Hope not Hate’.

Is it Marxism? I nurse a hunch that it’s mostly radical Islam in disguise these days.

If I were a radical islamist and I was running out of ideas, I might be tempted to pretend to be a Marxist in order not to be banned.

Or it might be the Chinese state. That lot seem to have made glove puppets out of most social, political and economic organisations in the West. God knows who they own.
Or it could be the Russians, who used to be rather good at subverting the decadent West (although not so good they could prevent the collapse of Soviet communism).

Who knows. I wish we could have a clear out though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kremlington Swan
Mike Olley
Mike Olley
1 year ago

I looked at up with a degree of enthusiasm, sadly this article is heavy work and it didn’t hold my attention- shame …

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike Olley
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Olley

Yes, it is heavy work. All left wing diatribe is. Like wading through treacle while wearing a rubber coat and a gas mask.
What was interesting for me, chiefly, was the flagging of the politics of confusion.

You see, this is so important one cannot be too serious about it, in order to avoid having a stroke. One needs to be light hearted, jokey even, because this country, and many others beside, are sailing into the abyss, blown there by the politics of confusion.

Boris Johnson practices the politics of confusion. He is reported to have told Cummings that he rather likes chaos because it makes people look to him for leadership.

Any idea how deeply sinister this is? It is the ABC of despotism, nothing less.

He is getting away with it because so few people know what he is doing.
He can even be upfront about it, as happened in Russia, because the concept is too difficult for most people to grasp.

The key imperative, in my view, is to find a way to persuade people to look properly at this idea, the politics of confusion, and to make efforts to really see its practitioners for who they are.

This should concern left and right equally, and should not be used by one side as a stick to beat the other.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kremlington Swan
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

You are quite correct that they are ‘being used by the left’.For example the more the press laugh at Biden’s age & frailty the more his supporters feel justified in voting for him. The Bidens are like that nice old couple you meet at the theatre , museums etc-usually academic. He is usually onto his second marriage-he married one of his students-doesn’t the Biden story fit into the middle-class democrat supporters story-they can identify with them.They also feel comfortable with Kamala Harris as she is from a middle-class academic background. They can support affirmative action with no payment to themselves by having her-look how tolerant this country is-Obama & now Harris they say from their nice safe homes-far from the ghetto.

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
1 year ago

Sigh … I’m getting so fed up of waiting for the MSM to come to their senses. Will their tiresome stupidity never end?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Sandy Anthony

NO. And look how Unherd has become a mere fluff rag, all ex-Guardian type human condition writers in its stable. No Economics writers, although the globe economy is balanced on a knife edge with a dozen new economic paradigms pulling at it. No ‘NEWS’ no actual political Journalists, just political editorials which try to walk the center. It is all womans issues, culture, lifestyle and so on, with a anti-woke leaning as its claim to being un-herd.
That they are firing all us who will not join is good and fitting.

John Standing
John Standing
1 year ago

Racism n. the dehumanisation of the natural right of non-Jewish white skinned people to defend their life and homeland from non-white aggression.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Standing

Have you got a dictionary in the pipeline? Just curious.
I thought racism was a special form of hatred and fear of difference, of the ‘other’.

John Lewis
John Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  John Standing

How about over 90% of UN resolutions condemning majority Jewish countries?

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
1 year ago

Never mind the
points raised in the article,some of the comments here make me feel ashamed to be English; good grief, “mulatto”, “octoroon” (Redman, I’m looking at you)?
I live in France, which has a lot to learn about tolerance – the UK is probably the least racist place on Earth, and its press, although horribly tainted, is, in my opinion, not guilty in this case.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stanley Beardshall
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

Oh, be off with you. How many words for black have there been that the grievance industry has gone on to decide they don’t like after all? Who gave these cretins (Beardshall, I’m looking at you) authority to police our language?
They no longer like “negro”, they no longer like “coloured” as in “coloured people”, but weirdly “people of colour” is just fine. They don’t like “blackboard”, they don’t like “blacklist”, they don’t even like “niggardly” because it sounds like a word they don’t like even though it predates the word they don’t like by about 1,000 years. Of course, they can use these terms themselves but white people can’t. Whether something is racist or not depends on the race of the racist.
Gimme a b|00dy break.
The reason they don’t like ‘quadroon’ or ‘octoroon’ or ‘hexadecaroon’ is that these terms are accurate descriptors that undermine attempts by the likes of Meghan to identify as something they’re not. I absolutely guarantee you that very soon, they won’t like “mixed race” or “black” (or “Muslim”) either, that we’ll all have to call them “people of black” or some stupid new thing, and you Stanley will be a hindsight racist for ever having used the word “black”.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

They are just giving back some of what they are getting. Just calling an insult back at the bully from a safe place. The Media, the Politicos, the entertainment and Education industries, the MSM, the Social Media has been hurling accusations at them for being racist, so they are just responding by using the actual words which have been put in their mouths. They are teasing. Can you not understand that?

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
1 year ago

I am concerned about Meghan’s genderism . She told us all that she would be raising gender free children. Yet here she is, proclaiming that she has a son and a daughter!
It is amusing that MeghanHarry are now taking time off…not because we ask, “from what?”, but because it is another move to say that we are unavailable for questions—after dropping another magnificent bombshell—taking away the specialness of The Queen’s intimate nickname. They birthed Merchie and now Besmirchie, showing their love of lucre and revenge.
I mean, The Queen is all about her faith and duty, and MeghanHarry first set up their child with a foundation, and then decided they won’t christen the child. And they get enabled in lovely Montecito.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Delszsen
stephaniehauselmann
stephaniehauselmann
1 year ago

Looking at it as a Swiss, I find the English tabloids extremely disrespectful, hurting anyone’s feelings no matter their skin color. Meghan said so in an earlier interview after her South African trip, nobody really seemed to care how hurt she was, bc that‘s just how the tabloids are. And then she hit the nail with the racist accusation, and really just turned the press against each other. I find it a clever move.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago

Was complaining about her lot in South Africa a good look though? It seemed more than a bit tone deaf to me. Yes, the British press can be awful but she wasn’t singled out anymore than anyone else. Anyone hawking environmental pablum while flying around on private jets is going to be criticized.
The racism accusation is just a tactic to deter criticism. She has tried it in the US as well. Meghan is not exempt from criticism because she is black. She is also not exempt from criticism over environmental hypocrisy, which she clearly didn’t like. But it wasn’t undeserved.

Last edited 1 year ago by Annette Kralendijk
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

As a person who loathes wokery, I nonetheless witnessed a huge deluge of disgraceful press towards Megan from early on which was completely disproportionate to the ‘crime’. Anything and everything was seized on and chewed over by the media and a baying mob of the public – themselves oblivious to the fact that many of them are critical of baying mobs. There is no ‘one truth’ here. Maybe some introspection and discernment is required from all sides.

Alex Hunter
Alex Hunter
1 year ago

I agree with this – I haven’t got a lot of time for either of them but some of the media coverage was deeply unpleasant in my view.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

I agree with you, Lesley. However, there was also a lot of reporting on Meghan which was labelled racist when it was simply critical.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Katherine, it went beyond ‘critical’. So there was something else at the heart of it. In the absence of anything else, it is perhaps reasonable to say ‘race’. What else? American?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago

What went beyond critical? It seems like you cannot give even one example.

Last edited 1 year ago by Annette Kralendijk
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

It is deeply unacceptable to play the race card when you don’t understand the motives of someone who criticises.
If the same criticisms are issued by people of the same ethic make-up as the “target”, are they racists too ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

Obnoxious?

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
1 year ago

But was it racist?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

She wasn’t disliked because she was black, though. She was disliked because she is very, very dislikeable.
She refused to accept not being taken at her own self-regarding estimation of herself, and therefore played the race card. It suits her better to kid herself that she’s suffered racism than to concede that she’s a thick, selfish, disloyal, narcissistic, dishonest, scheming, money-grubbing cow.

matthewspring
matthewspring
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Actress = egoist.
She was never likely to subject herself to somebody else’s ruleset. She would have gone into the marriage expecting the royal family to bend to suit her.
Predictable disaster.

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

It’s amazing how many people applaud this sort of hate-filled abuse.
If “the left” are sometimes guilty of virtue signalling, what would this be called? Vice signalling?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago

What would be an example of this disgraceful press toward Meghan early on? What was she criticized for? Perhaps we just didn’t see it in the US but from here the media seemed very admiring of her.

Neil Turrell
Neil Turrell
1 year ago

It was Annette. I’d go so far as to say that some people felt this was the dawn of something very special. Harry was extremely popular and his bride excitingly different. Things started to go wrong in a simple way, such as in refusing to share their new baby with the public in the time honoured manner of the Royal Family.

Of course, looking at Megan’s relationships with her family should have alerted those whose responsibility it is to know such things that the
Sussex’s ship was never going to stay in untroubled waters.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil Turrell

That’s how it looked from here as well. Everyone seemed very happy that Harry had found someone he loved. I’m sure she wasn’t happy playing second fiddle to Kate Middleton but there is a pecking order and she certainly must have known that from the outset.
refusing to share any information about their baby in the royal family manner was not early on. Lesley keeps saying these disgraceful press comments were early on.

Last edited 1 year ago by Annette Kralendijk
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Annette I followed the British press and comments to witness it.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

The comments aren’t the same as the article. There were numerous items in the Daily Mail showing her in each of the expensive outfits Prince Charles ( why not Prince Harry? ) paid for. The newspaper likes to report gossip , but it seems they chose not to print some of worse criticisms of her from her own staff.The ‘cryingate’ story was printed as being her fault , but they were all alleged happenings.As Meghan seems to read & watch every item about herself ( which is how she got Morgan the sack) she would probably prefer the press was more like that of North Korea.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I wouldn’t classify highlighting her wardrobe as disgraceful press comments. After all the same thing happens to Kate Middleton and lots of glamorous women.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

I meant that was favourable coverage. As an actress she must have received bad reviews and comments on her clothes.The royals get a lot of bad press-however the new order-which she is part of -take a third world attitude-everything must be over the top praise-they only like the press as sycophants.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago

So what were the disgraceful press comments from early on, that’s what I was asking. You keep saying there were disgraceful press comments early on but you have not been able to point to even one.

Last edited 1 year ago by Annette Kralendijk
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

There weren’t any-Meghan was written about as a breath of fresh air , the royal family is delighted to welcome this new member etc.The wedding coverage was adoring and uncritical. The press supressed stories of her bad behaviour to staff and instead used ‘cryingate’ to suggest knowledge of something but, to most people it was just women arguing over socks. The press must have checked out her background & know how political she is & how this wouldn’t fit with impartiality necessary for royal life.-so their break with the royal family can’t have come as much as a surprise to them.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
1 year ago

You must have seen what I failed to notice.

What I saw was, more or less, a celebration of the fact that he had chosen to marry someone with a different ethnicity.
How could discussion of her race be avoided when it was so unprecedented? I thought there was a general agreement that it was bringing the Royal Family into the modern age.

Perhaps I missed the racism, though. I don’t read the papers that much these days.