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Friday 26 August 2011

Quality Journalism – How It Works

In the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland, one stalwart contributor is Nile “Chauncey” Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, who assails those drifting around the comments sewer with a series of whinges about Barack Obama, his Presidency, his family, and anything else about his presence on the planet.

In pursuit of his mission, Gardiner has today demonstrated that he is prepared to sink as low as is necessary to kick the Prez. No restriction to sound journalistic principles restrains him, although you have to follow the trail of links to see how he stands up his attack. The latest complaint is against Michelle Obama, whose spending Gardiner says is “out of control”.

Firstly, Gardiner makes his assertion, that the First Lady is taking too many holidays – vacations for those Stateside – and cites Keith Koffler, “who edits the influential White House Dossier”. This unimpeachable source also features at The Conservative Speaker, and at Top Conservative Blogs. It’s not unlike calling Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) fair and balanced.

Gardiner then moves on to cite the Daily Mail – another source of variable and selective veracity – to back up his assertion that Michelle Obama has blown $10 million “of US taxpayers’ money” on hols in the past year. But the Mail is not the source of this story – they got it from the National Enquirer, which for the uninitiated is like the Daily Star, only glossier and a lot less reliable, if that’s possible.

Indeed, it was the National Enquirer that last February ran a story asserting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had only six weeks to live. Jobs may not be in the best of health – he just resigned from Apple – but it’s now six months later and he’s still around. The piece that the Mail cites is attributed to a “top source” which makes a raft of thus far unproven accusations.

So Nile Gardiner is basing his typically crude attack on two sources: a partisan blogger, and the National Enquirer. The rest of his post is just padding and speculation. Thus another example of how the Telegraph, once a paper of record, has sunk beyond recognition.

[Those of an eagle eyed persuasion will have noted that Gardiner cites Keith Koffler, but is unable to spell his surname correctly]

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