March 13

New Idea apologizes



…belated apology…

New Idea has apologized, belatedly, for breaking a media embargo on Prince Harry's frontline deployment in Afghanistan.  The editors obviously realised that their defence that they didn’t know of the embargo was making things worse for them.

It says it is sorry it was not "alert to the possible ramifications" of running the story.

The  full page report, “War Lord,” was published with pictures in New Idea on page 22 on 12 January, 2008 ,( see above)  with an invitation to go to the magazine’s website.

The earlier story that the information about Afghanistan only being on the website is not correct.

The magazine story is quite explicit. It opens:

“Prince Harry bites the bullet and goes to war- against the wished of his family and royal advisers.

“Maverick Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.”

Fortunately the Taliban do not subscribe to New Idea. It  was only noticed when the US Drudge Report website sent the story around the world.

The Taliban claimed they knew, but only Mark Day swallowed that. "We did not knowingly breach any embargo and were not party to any agreement for a media blackout on the story," New Idea declares. We could not find the apology on  the New Idea site, but saw the summary on the News Limited site, “New Idea says sorry for Harry story,” posted on 10 March 2008.

 "However, and more importantly, we do acknowledge that our actions in publishing the story can be reasonably viewed as insensitive and irresponsible." The magazine said it acknowledged and regretted "the distress and anxiety felt by readers" over the revelations.  "We regret this serious lapse of judgment," it says.

"We sincerely apologise to all our readers, to the servicemen whose lives are at constant risk while serving at home and abroad and to their families and loved ones."


The Australian  public did not seem impressed by the belated apology by New Idea for revealing Prince Harry was on the front line in Afghanistan. That is, if the selection of emails from apparently young people published in The Daily Telegraph on 11 May, 2008. is any indication.

What it does show is how out of touch  one curmudgeon correspondent to my piece on Crikey, Steven McKiernan, who insisted, in a spew of vulgar abuse, that ”  No-one cares” (12 March)

Well, Mr. McKiernan, the young bloggers to the Telegraph do – and this was just a selection from the reaction in just one newspaper.

“New idea should be ashamed,” wrote Melissa Small. “ I feel sorry for Harry, who for once in his life could feel almost normal only to have it yanked from underneath him.”

Kath said she was embarrassed to be an Australian. “How could a magazine be so selfish… I am proud of Harry for going to war…”

Chrissy said New Idea deals in scandal and trash.

“This so called apology isn’t worth the paper it is written on, “ wrote Ellen who declared that she was not buying the magazine again “ until you grow up.”.

Chris Sharpe called for New Idea to be” heavily fined….they carelessly placed a member of the royal family in great danger.”

“New idea equals stupid , frivolous, irrelevant, a gossiper masquerading as serious media,” said “Goose.”

“ Anyone with half a brain would know not to disclose sensitive military information, let alone where such a bullet magnet like Harry would be,” said Raymo summing up the case.

His advice to New Idea?

 “ Stick to cooking recipes and move stars.”  

 …republican royal watchers stick together… 


When we pointed out that Mark Day’s ludicrous appalling allegation that the Royal Family leaked the story that Prince harry was in Afhanistan, and should have declared his interest as a senior member of the  republican nomenklatura, fellow republican royal watcher Barry Everingham rushed to his defence.

He misquoted me, ignored the glaring breach of the requirement that journalists declare any conflict of interest and contradicted what he had written on (See this column, 6 March, 2008, and the column of 10 March. 2008)

The Australian published our views on this in the column First Byte on 10 March, 2008:


“Barry Everingham (Letters, 8-9/3) claims I called on Mark Day to name his source for the story on the royal family leaking information about Prince Harry being in Afghanistan.

“I did no such thing. I said he didn’t even claim a source for this.”  


As so many people have said to me, the idea that any member of the Royal Family would endanger the Prince is preposterous.  

Mark Day had nothing to say in his next column on 13 March 2008 – no explanation, no apology, no declaration of a confict of interest. 

Instead he move don to delays in the rollout of the promised broadband network fand media regulation generally. Almost as though he never made that foolish, unjustified and  and outrageous allegation.   


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