Andrew Marr’s hypocrisy (not a trace of schadenfreude here, honest)

by Stephen Tall on April 26, 2011

It’s been one of the worst-kept secrets in the media, and today Andrew Marr finally admitted he was one of the 30 people who’ve taken out a super-injunction to prevent reports of their private life being made public.

The BBC interviewer’s legal action dates back to 2008, and has been credited with popularising the use of super-injunctions, which not only prevent reporting of allegations, but also prevent the injunction being reported. Today’s Guardian reports:

Marr said he felt “uneasy” and “embarrassed” about the use of the high court injunction, which he won in 2008 to suppress reports of an extramarital affair. He said the use of the so-called rich man’s gag “seems to be running out of control” and said he would no longer seek to prevent the story being published.

Marr’s decision to go public comes after Private Eye launched a challenge to the injunction last week. “I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists. Am I embarrassed by it? Yes. Am I uneasy about it? Yes,” Marr told the Daily Mail.

This image shows Google’s predictive search returns for ‘Andrew Marr’: I think it’s fair to say the cat was pretty much out of the bag.

Ordinarily, I would have sympathy for Mr Marr. I don’t care about his private life, and he has every right to protect his family from untoward intrusion.

But there’s a problem: his failure to extend that equivalent courtesy to others, most notably when he took the decision to question Gordon Brown live on TV about whether he used prescription pills to treat depression, an inaccurate allegation for which there was no credible source, but had been given some oxygen on a few right-wing blogs. (For the record, I’d previously rejected running the story on Lib Dem Voice because there was no evidence to support it.)

It was a genuinely shocking moment, when seemingly respectable political journalism descended into the gutter. As I blogged at the time, That Andrew Marr question: wrong, wrong, wrong.

That Mr Marr then chose to attack bloggers who, he said, lacked proper journalistic standards struck me as more than a bit hypocritical. As I blogged at the time, Andrew Marr: a little bit of a hypocrite. It’s an article which appears to be drawing in quite a few new readers to the site today.