Are you tired of the British press jumping down the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s throat over nothing? Or over old-ass news? So it is this week with the apparently brand-new information that the Sussexes will no longer work with four British tabloids: the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Express. These are the publications which have published the most unhinged stories about Meghan in particular for more than two years. It was clear from the lawsuits last year, just as it was additionally clear with the Sussexit announcement in January that Meghan and Harry were rejecting the “Royal Rota” way of royal-media relations. But Harry and Meghan still clarified it again Sunday night when they dropped their announcement that they would 100% refuse to deal with those four publications from here on out. Let the pearl-clutching commence!
Harry and Meghan yesterday launched an unprecedented boycott of sections of the British Press in a protest over the way their lives have been covered. In a move that stunned Buckingham Palace courtiers and prompted allegations of ‘censorship’, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided to withdraw all forms of co-operation from many of the country’s most popular titles, including the Daily Mail. Last night one Palace insider said: ‘We have been left stunned. They have not taken any of our advice.’
The Duke of Sussex also did not tell his father Prince Charles before they took the action, reported The Times.
Those close to the Queen were angered that the couple chose to release details of their new media policy on the eve of her birthday – today – and at a time when Britain remains in the grip of the coronavirus crisis.
Yesterday Ian Murray, of the Society of Editors, said the decision was a ‘clear attempt to undermine certain sections of the UK media who often ask uncomfortable questions’. He added: ‘Although the duke and duchess say they support a free press, there is no escaping their actions here amount to censorship and they are setting an unfortunate example. By appearing to dictate which media they will work with and which they will ignore they, no doubt unintentionally, give succour to the rich and powerful everywhere to use their example as an excuse to attack the media when it suits them.’
He noted that many of the news outlets had produced a ‘huge amount’ of positive coverage about the couple, and warned that ‘the answer should never be to shun individual titles and their millions of readers’.
The palace’s advice was to the Sussexes was “just sit there and let all of the royal households smear you and racially abuse you forever,” so no, the Sussexes did not take the courtiers’ advice. And while it’s true that Harry and Meghan’s announcement came during a pandemic and just before the Queen’s birthday, it’s also worth noting that it came just days before a significant hearing for Meghan’s lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday, which I think was a factor as well.
As for the cries of censorship… I do not think that “censorship” means what they think it means? Harry and Meghan refusing to provide comment (denials, confirmations, quotes or interviews) to certain publications is NOT censorship. It’s literally just… media management. Public relations. Even if Harry and Meghan refused to ever speak to ANY media outlet ever again, that still wouldn’t be “censorship.” As for the “uncomfortable questions” asked by the British tabloid press… are the questions anything like “But how long will it be before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – especially the duke – begin to experience niggling regrets?” Rebecca English at the Mail asked that question just three weeks ago. Super-uncomfortable, I agree.
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