Nothing shows the schoolboy tendency of the libertarian and right leaning part of the blogosphere off to better effect than its repeated dishonesty in smearing those who get under its skin. The serially tenacious Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame has been on the receiving end of this for some time, and I was given a taster by one of the more desperate participants recently.
Mehdi Hasan gets kitted up for a friendly chat with the Great Guido
But the greatest welter of vitriol has been directed at Mehdi Hasan, now in the process of moving from the New Statesman to the Huffington Post UK. And the smears are as dishonest and predictable as ever, with deliberate attempts being made to try and take Hasan “off the air” and bully the HuffPo into reconsidering his appointment – then belittling his move for good measure.
So who is on smear duty this time? Predictably, at the centre of this characteristically nasty exercise, are the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, at the Guido Fawkes blog, but there are others on board, notably Raheem Kassam, another from the libertarian fringe, and across the north Atlantic the Washington Free Beacon has been roped in.
Yeah I got sacked ... er, I mean he did. I think
“HuffPo’s House Jihadi” screams the Free Beacon’s headline, managing to frighten its loyal readers (Chuck and Marlene Bonkers) with tales of a “devout Muslim”, while missing Kassam, whom they quote at length and who is also a follower of The Prophet. But the Free Beacon is just a right leaning repository of wingnuttery, and nobody at the HuffPo, or elsewhere, cares what they think.
And the central allegation being peddled by Staines and Co – that Hasan was sacked by the Staggers – has been shown to be wrong only this morning, as another piece carrying his by-line has been published by the magazine. Had he been given the boot, that article would not have appeared. That emphasises – as if anyone needed to know – just how dishonest Staines and his pals are prepared to be.
Look everyone, I'm a real journalist, 'cos I'm on telly!
So the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere and their pal have only one line of defence on which they can fall back: that Hasan moving to the HuffPo is some kind of career ending humiliation. Kassam dutifully trotted this out to the Washington wingnuts, and by all accounts kept a straight face while so doing, while Staines and Cole polished their particular turd with a pretend “leftie”.
The Fawkes blog could then refer to a conversation with “one of Mehdi’s fellow leftie hacks” who dutifully gave the correct reply “that’s worse than being fired. That’s worse than being dead”. The identity of this “source” won’t be revealed, as it does not exist. But Andrew Gilligan, purveyor extraordinaire of dodgy journalism, agrees with Staines and Cole, calling Hasan a “liar”.
He thus joins Staines, Cole and Kassam in their uniquely draughty glasshouse. Another fine mess.