The coverage of the Mosley scandal on The Times F1 blog is missing something

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

As ever The Times’s Ed Gorman is doing a first-rate job covering the developments in the latest big F1 story – his blog is one I check daily without fail.

Yesterday he wrote, “this affair is going to seep like an open wound and infect everything the FIA does between now and then and especially its most prestigious championship, Formula One,” and as I’ve already explained I agree with him.

But given how hard The Times have been pushing this story since the News of the World broke it almost a fortnight ago, it’s notable that there’s been no mention of the lawsuit the FIA threatened against the parent company of both newspapers last year.

I wonder why Ed hasn’t mentioned it – because it doesn’t take a particularly suspicious mind to make the connection. At least one person asked about it in the very first post about it on the blog.

Can Ed enlighten us about whether the owners of The Times hold a grudge against Mosley because of the lawsuit?

Is it just a coincidence that the tabloid that broke the story and the ‘quality’ paper that’s pursued it at least as hard as any other, day-in, day-out,are both owned by the same company – the one which Mosley asked the FIA to sue last year?

Are The Times simply pushing this story out of good old-fashioned journalistic interest? Or is it more personal than that?

Ed posted a follow-up piece later on yesterday thanking his readers for the “level of debate” on the site. But to those who’ve brought up questions about whether Rupert Murdoch’s company wanted to bring Mosley down he’s not yet said anything, as far as I can tell.

I hope he does soon because it’s starting to look like an elephant in the corner of the room.

11 comments on “The coverage of the Mosley scandal on The Times F1 blog is missing something”

  1. I’m surprised anyone even needs to ask ! I said last year when the whole Brundle/suing issue arose that S&Mosley had met his match in Murdoch, and it appears I was right.

  2. Keith raises an excellent point about this, and as i’m about to complete one degree in communications and hopefully start on an advanced one in the fall, I can espicialy appreciate this.
    I currently attend school in the smallest media market in the US to feature two competing daily newspapers, while my hometown in the next major city only has one daily. While my hometown paper is of high quality, many accuse it of pursuing it’s own political agenda, and that appears to be the case on a much larger scale here. It would not suprise me at all to see the papers covering this scandal to be slow in bringing up the lawsuit- while it’s perhaps not journalism in it’s purist form, it’s a common practice that is being put into play in this situation.

  3. I think a blog by a newspaper columnist that is published on the web of the same newspaper he writes for can be of high quality and very personal but never independent …

  4. Michael Counsell
    11th April 2008, 3:05

    This case is going to be far more important for the media industry than the motoring / motorsport industry.

  5. reported that Jon Stewart and Jay Leno made cracks about "Mosleygate" in their monologues this week, Leno referring to Mosley as the "head of Formula 1".  Yikes.  At least now Americans know Formula 1 exists.  That’s a step forward, right?

  6. Matthew, I remember reading a season review article on after last season that Leno’s main competition- the Late Show with Dave Letterman- turned down an offer to have Lewis Hamilton on the show because Dario Franchetti had just appeared and they diden’t want another racing driver on so soon again. Can’t those late-night shows ever make a good move?

    Sorry to all about the small-town paper info- it’s the topic of a workshop i’m running here at a student journalist conference tomorrow- but I agree with Milos that the articles in question will always incorporate the interests of the paper they run in as their first priority.

  7. Nico Savidge
    11th April 2008, 7:03

    I think there’s definitely a connection between the Times pursuing the story and NotW breaking it, but I don’t think it’s as sinister as you suggest. When the Mosley story first broke, I found it hard to take seriously because of the ridiculous way in which the article was written (as an American, I’m not used to NEWSPAPERS that have to put IMPORTANT WORDS in ALL CAPS to grab people’s ATTENTION). By pursuing the story with such vigor in the Times, NewsCorp can give the developments in this saga more legitimacy. It’s one thing for a tabloid to go crazy over a story like this, but if a more respected paper like the Times does so, the story can seem more important and believable. NewsCorp basically floated the story with NotW (so that the Times wouldn’t risk being accused of tabloid journalism), and when they saw that it was perceived to be credible and could be safely brought to the paper with a better reputation, they shifted the focus to the Times.

  8. The thing I find strangest is that it’s The Times which is keeping this topic current rather than the News of The World’s true sister paper, The Sun.  As far as I can tell they have covered the story but in nowhere near the same depth as The Times.

  9. That’s probably about ‘balancing the ticket’. The tabloid aspect is catered for by the NOTW, who can provide a drip-drip of allegations now every seven days. Any extra heat provided by The Sun would not do much of a job. Better to use a paper with "gravitas" and get The Times to do the daily calls for a resignation, or whatever.

  10. I find this whole Max Mosley affair overblown. What he does in his bedroom is his private affair. If playing the Snowwhite gives him pleasure, that is his business. If he likes SM with military undertones, that is fine too.

    The hysterical condemnation of his behaviour because of alleged or real Nazi undertones is just it. Hysterical and hypocritical.

    In the end, all F1 is concerned about is numbers of viewers. That is all the sponsors care about too. And publicity F1 has received plenty because of this.

    Give the guy a break and show some respect. Not everyone can keep it up for 5 hours at the age of 67. Well done, Max!

  11. qed – I think that most of the motor racing people, and the fans, who are objecting to Mosley’s continued presence in the FIA are actually feeling this way because if it had been anybody else, from Bernie and Charlie to Christian Horner and especially Ron Dennis, Max would be onto them to resign their position immediately, and they would be sued for bringing the Sport into disrepute.
    So Max refusing to go without a fight, though brave, noble and painful, is seen by most as hypocritical at the very least. Even Bernie is keeping his distance from him now, and I notice that certain ITV presenters are not being allowed too far on the Grid at races in case they ask the wrong questions.
    This should have been resolved quickly – in any other business enviroment Max would be given ‘Gardening Leave’ or a Suspension and be allowed to do the legal business in private, but because nobody in the FIA seems to be able to push him, he is still here and frightening the various heads of state and company bosses who cannot be seen with anyone so politically dangerous.
    I have just thought – is that why he is behaving like this? If he wins his case will have so much extra pressure to put over these people!

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