It is hard for some to break the habits formed over the years, and apparently impossible for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole, the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere, at the Guido Fawkes blog. Staines called Phonehackgate wrong at the start – Cole, at the time blogging as Tory Bear, did even worse – and they can’t climb out of their rut of cluelessness.
At least they're holding it the right way up
So the appearance of Murdoch Junior before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday, instead of being assessed strictly on its merits, was used by the Fawkes blog for yet another cheap snark at Labour MP Tom Watson, with the headline “Watson’s Grandstanding Slammed – Won’t Stop TV Headlines Though”. In support was a Tweet from, er, a Daily Mail hack.
Watson’s shot at Junior – “You must be the first Mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise” – might not have pleased Staines and Cole, but the characterisation is entirely apt for a company that exercised power over elected politicians by fear, hacked phones, blagged information, indulged in surveillance and whose newsrooms saw a culture of bullying.
Moreover, the Murdoch empire carried on that way substantially because it considered itself untouchable. The Mafia comparison runs deep, and the headline writers (not the TV ones) knew it. So even Rupe’s troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have reported the remark. The Express has gone with “MP’s Mafia Boss Jibe At James Murdoch”.
Even the Daily Mail – pals of Staines and Cole – has come up with “Don’t Call Me A Mafia Don”. Online news source the Huffington Post – not TV, folks – has splashed with “You’re Familiar With The Word Mafia?” to head its coverage. So why has the Fawkes blog fixated on “TV headlines”? Simples. Staines is equally fixated on the BBC as the source of all that is evil in the media.
That means he and Cole yet again look the wrong way as Phonehackgate breaks out from the rule that “Dog doesn’t eat dog”. But their pals in the Fourth Estate are equally clueless: Quentin Letts (let’s not), trying in vain to generate humour at the Mafia remark, told “Mr Whittingdale allowed it to stand, so I suppose he’ll now have to be sent to the bottom of the Bay of Naples wearing concrete boots”.
Very good, Quent. But organised crime in and around Naples is not the business of the Mafia, but of the Camorra. Small wonder that the Fawkes blog is routinely clueless, when its pals in the MSM are equally so.