Recently I observed that the publication now known as the Maily Telegraph could no longer be counted as a paper of record. Now, by its own hand, we can see that it has reached rock bottom, crudely and blatantly indulging in agenda driven hackery – note that I do not use the term “journalism” – in order to produce the kind of knocking copy that might even have Astroturf lobby groups like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance thinking twice.
The Telegraph has had access to some of the Wikileaks information. This has revealed that a London telephone number was found in several seized notebooks and mobiles. That much is routine and uninteresting. The assertion is then made that the number was associated with the BBC, and the Telegraph believes the Beeb location concerned to be Bush House, where the World Service is based.
But, so what? Someone who has been detained by security forces somewhere in the world has a phone number for the BBC World Service programmed into their mobile. It’s hardly proof that some kind of terrorist cell is operating out of the Beeb. It could possibly be that someone has been trying to pass propaganda to the BBC, but that doesn’t mean anything got through to being broadcast.
And what apparently does not occur to the Telegraph hacks is that there may have already been a follow-up investigation. It is most unlikely that this information was gathered, connected to the BBC, and then left on file. Given that there have not been any arrests involving Bush House staff, it’s more than likely that there is no Beeb terror connection.
Moreover, I can provide a little information that the Telegraph may not have known about: Bush House and the nearby former UK head office of a multi-national corporate in the energy business had, for many years, blocks of very similar phone numbers. Wrong numbers were an occupational hazard, and Bush House regularly complained about the number of wayward calls they received.
As far as is known, the large corporate left its former UK head office well before the period covered by the Wikileaks material. But the phone numbers will still be in use. So it’s entirely possible that the BBC has been wrongly fingered, and that would make the Telegraph look doubly foolish.Thus the continuing descent of a once great newspaper.