Gunnhildur Arna Gunnarsdóttir, one of the news editors of Morgunblaðið, has resigned from the paper as she disagreed with the paper’s handling of the information published in the Black Report. In particular she found fault with the screaming headline on the front page of the paper the day following the publication of the report, and the fact that the Morgunblaðið editors did not wish to elaborate in any great detail on the negligence of politicians and public officials.
In large letters, the headline proclaimed:
THE BANKS ARE RESPONSIBLE
Of course, as many people will know, Davíð Oddsson, who is now Morgunblaðið’s editor-in-chief, was instrumental in implementing the liberal policies that created the foundation for the collapse. Along with his political compatriot Halldór Ásgrímsson he then went on to privatize the banks and personally intervene in that process to ensure that they were sold to people close to his own political party, who just happened to have little or no experience in banking. Having done that, he installed himself as Central Bank Director, where he remained for three years until the Icelandic economy melted down. He obstinately refused to leave his post at the CB, until he was forced out by a change in legislation introduced by the new government.
That man now edits one of the major daily papers in this country.
One of the main concerns when Doddsson took over as editor of long-established Morgunblaðið was that he and those under him would not be able to report on the findings of the Black Report in any credible way. These recent developments bear this out.
As far as I know, Gunnhildur Arna is the only person who has resigned over this so far, and reportedly she’s content with her decision. Or as she told visir.is:
Since I’m from the West Coast I like to use seafaring metaphors. The editor controls his vessel and has to have people on his crew who he can trust to obey and carry out his orders. Similarly the entire crew, the deckhands and mates, have to believe in the captain and feel confident in following his orders.
I wish them luck in finding a successor who believes in their direction and news policy.
Hats off to Gunnhildur Arna for showing the integrity and courage to take a stand and walk away. As for the paper’s handling of the SIC report findings — well, we can’t really say we didn’t see it coming, can we?