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Saturday, 30 April 2016

James O’Brien Spells It Out

The press establishment does not tolerate dissent within its ranks. Those who transgress this unwritten but brutally enforced rule can expect abuse, ostracism, and above all a serious diminution in the demand for their services. This is a group that has elevated omertà above honesty and openness. Those that do as the Guardian’s Nick Davies did on phone hacking - calling out the bad behaviour - are a rare breed indeed.
It is not for nothing that many national newspapers waste no opportunity to put the boot into the Guardian, in the same way that they attack the BBC and other broadcasters. So when LBC host James O’Brien called out the Murdoch mafiosi this week in the wake of the Hillsborough inquest verdicts, he was taking a big risk. Here on Zelo Street the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker are routinely skewered. But most of the MSM keep schtum.

The target of O’Brien’s ire was the behaviour of the Sun’s former editor Kelvin McFilth, “whose conduct that day was so despicable he should never have been employed again, let alone elevated and rewarded with another column”. That Kel should still be employed by the Sun was “unbelievable … unless you see it as some kind of Mafia operation”. That was the same conclusion reached by Labour MP Tom Watson.

At the time, Watson was roundly condemned when he made the “Mafia” suggestion to James Murdoch during cross-examination before the DCMS Select Committee. O’Brien also reminded his listeners that MacKenzie was still sniping at Liverpool FC’s supporters, and therefore also the families and friends of the 96, just six months ago. Kel could get away with it because he enjoyed the protection of his proprietor.
That meant O’Brien was not merely calling out Kelvin McFilth - he was calling out Rupert Murdoch. And you’re not supposed to call out the head of the Cosa Rupra from within the profession. Simon Kelner had that demonstrated to him in 2010 when, as editor of the Independent, he ran a promotion for the paper telling “Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election. You Will”. For that he was visited by James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks.

Confronted within his own newsroom, Kelner was regaled by Murdoch Junior shouting “What are you playing at?” and, rather more threateningly, “You've impugned the reputation of my family”. That’s why those within the media have to think long and hard before calling out Creepy Uncle Rupe. James O’Brien will have thought thus: he, after all, has already been the target of Kel, who has suggested LBC should sack him.

But that, you might think, is just a pundit sounding off. It isn’t: that call is a reminder of what might happen if the target steps out of line. Kel is telling O’Brien that if he causes The Great Man further displeasure, the Murdoch doggies will turn their fire on him. Fortunately that did not stop O’Brien reminding his listeners that the Sun held ordinary people in contempt, and demonstrated it by keeping Hillsborough off the front page.

Worse, not only do the Murdoch mafiosi not want the likes of James O’Brien to say what he thinks, their own editors do not have the spine to explain themselves, as Tony Gallagher, Kelvin McFilth’s successor, showed after Channel 4 News caught him en route to the office. We’re not talking principled people here. We’re talking about thugs and bullies utterly devoid of principle or morals. Well done James O’Brien for telling the world about it.


Anonymous said...

James O'Brien is indeed a very fine broadcaster and clearly a man who values principles above career advancement.

Although his views are left leaning he is always willing to try to see the arguments from both sides, and call out hypocrisy when necessary from both the right and the left of politics.

The best presenter on LBC, followed by Iain Dale, but those two are streets ahead of the other presenters.

Anonymous said...

The problem, Tim - and one of the reasons "journalists" are loathed - is that there are not enough James O'Briens.

It isn't even necessarily that the guilty ones just stay quiet. It's that they actually help spread the poison. They are as guilty as the Westminster/Whitehall/Canary Wharf gobshites who have brought this country so low.

Gallagher is typical of those seedy, cowardly scum. Watching him scuttle away from the C4 News reporter was like watching a slug leaving a trail of slime behind it. Like all cowards and all employees of the Nazis Murdoch and Rothermere he can deal it out but can't take it when it's thrown back in his face.

Journalists could have helped stop this cultural rottenness. Instead, they helped it grow. And all they had to do was stick together and tell the truth. Instead, in broadcast news we got the corrupt, lying likes of exMurdoch rats Neil and Mackenzie on the BBC, Bradby on ITV and Hilsum and Frei on C4. There are many more amongst editors and presenters. Editors in print and broadcast are the most guilty of all, hidden cowards for the most part.

It wasn't until social media got traction that we saw the first mass resistance, but still not organised. The Hillsborough families have shown how to do it in the most awful circumstances. By comparison, editors and journalists look like the sorry collection of far right gutless, whingeing liars and propagandists they are.

As for the National Union of Journalists......words fail.

Anonymous said...

He's a good one.

I went off Dale when I found out his Guido connection.

Guido is something else wrong with politics. He screwed his own career and is bitter to the last.

He's wining and dining on selling people out.

Him and Murdoch are nothing short of terrorists.

Guido comes across as smooth talking and laid back but it doesn't fool everyone.

I look at how many in the political parties loom up to him and retweet him.

They need to realise, it will be their turn one day.
If it hasn't happened already.

'Who's shagging who?'

That tweet of his a while ago proved it.

Watch your backs.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to think the British public will take that power away from Murdoch & co. by not buying his newspapers.

It we stopped buying the Sun tomorrow it would be closed within a week.

Unknown said...

Its a shame that James O'Brien doesn't work for BBC Radio 4. Oh, but if he did, they'd just muzzle him. Silly me.

Anonymous said...

"Unknown" stated that it was a shame
that James O'Brien doesn't work for BBC Radio 4.

Indeed it is.

Mr O'Brien does though occasionally present BBC Two's NEWSNIGHT.

Anonymous said...

It will happen. The public will push back.

Anonymous said...

If the country and journalism/media.is to survive, they must rid of Murdy and the rest of the poison.

Shawlrat said...

Love James O'Brien. Wish he was on Newsnight more often. He's not afraid to speak out.

hatty said...

People like James should be applauded and signal boosted at every opportunity. There aren't many James-types so we need to look after them.