Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News -

This may sur­prise you, but we jour­nal­ists fre­quently face ex­cru­ci­at­ing dilem­mas which se­verely test our moral com­passes.

I imag­ine it was so for writer Is­abel Oakeshott when she ob­tained the con­fi­den­tial emails writ­ten by Kim Dar­roch es­sen­tially call­ing Don­ald Trump a tw*t.

It was clearly in the pub­lic in­ter­est to re­veal what our US en­voy re­ally thought of his Amer­i­can host.

But was that trumped (sorry!) by the un­doubted dam­age it would cause to the na­tional in­ter­est? With a thin-skinned tw*t like Trump this was al­ways go­ing to lead to tw*ttish tweets by the Pres­i­dent and jeop­ar­dise a valu­able post-Brexit free trade deal with Amer­ica.

Know­ing this, Is­abel would have ag­o­nised long and hard over whether to pub­lish.

As I would have done in her shoes.

But the truth is al­most al­ways bet­ter out than in.

And de­spite the dam­age this might have caused to the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship, it’s the duty of a free press to pub­lish and be damned. In 1986, then Daily Tele­graph pub­lisher Conrad Black hired Max Hast­ings who, as ed­i­tor, hired Boris John­son in 1988. Max is not nice about Boris. Baron Black says Hast­ings “is an ill-tem­pered snob with a short at­ten­tion span... a cow­ard and a flake”.

He also says John­son “was ca­pa­ble, suc­cess­ful and re­li­able... a pleas­ant man”.

Black served 37 months for fraud. He was par­doned in May. By Don­ald Trump. Make your own judge­ment.

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