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Sunday 3 June 2012

Raheem Kassam Plays Let’s Pretend

[Update at end of post]

In today’s world of digital media, Walter Mitty would have been in his element. Little energy need have been applied in projecting himself as famous beyond his wildest dreams, given judicious use of the tools available. We can be certain of this because it has already been done. So, without further ado, let us observe the online land of make-believe created by one Raheem Kassam.

Look everyone, it's "Mr Conservative", and he's on telly! Pass the sick bag!!

Kassam is “a notable political and media figure”. We know this because his Wikipedia page says so. The page was mostly constructed and edited by himself, and is now the subject of debate over whether it should be deleted. Things are not going well in WikiLand for Mr Notable right now. But Kassam is also “director” of an “organisation” called Student Rights.

However, Student Rights consists of Kassam and an intern. Its “Media Appearances” page is padded out by using two blogposts by the intern and passing them off as articles in the Huffington Post UK. Its website gives every appearance of being based on an off-the-peg template from 1 & 1 Internet, who hold the registration. Its approach to “campus extremism” is to go after Muslims (full stop).

Kassam also speaks at events hosted by the Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF), which we’ve encountered previously. But it has been asserted that Student Rights and the YBF are under the same ownership – our old friend Donal Blaney – so that’s just part of his job. Ah, but he’s also “executive editor” of The Commentator, which is a blog. Big deal, so am I for Zelo Street (and all the other jobs).

Fact is, Kassam is just another of the endless line of right-wing nobodies that populate Astroturf lobby groups like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (he’s been there, too). His Twitter avatar and background project the otherwise false “I’ve been on telly so I’m famous” line. And he confirms Olbermann’s dictum – “the right exists in a perpetual state of victimhood” – in spades.

Everyone who shows him up for the empty shell he is “plays the man and not the ball” (his own involvement in trying to smear Medhi Hasan as an “Islamist”, while trying to induce the HuffPostUK to fire him, is not mentioned). But the real objective is given away as he and his pals tell that they have “made itby being subjected to criticism by Liberal Conspiracy. Only one thing worse than being talked about.

And to cap it all, he and his pal, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, have their strawman ready to answer anyone of dissenting view: they’re all “haters”. In support of this, these two supremely dishonest nonentities star, preening away, in their own photo sessions (readers will be glad to know that no link to this display of vomit inducing narcissism is provided). This, too, shows how famous they really are.

So remember, don’t worry about becoming famous. You can just pretend instead.

[UPDATE 6 June 1430 hours: as the comments continue to accumulate, it's clear that most of those minded to give an opinion on Raheem Kassam are of dissenting view. Having taken on board their thoughts, I've been noting the further opinions of Mr Notable, and can see why.

There does appear to be a borderline case of paranoia here, as well as the customary misrepresentation, abuse and other lashing out. You can see the latest analysis of The Great Man right HERE. No doubt this will result in further Kassam commentary, which of course I welcome]


Tim said...

I'm beginning to suspect there's a manual for right-wing propagandists who wish to pose as legitimate journalists, commentators and what have you.

RK said...

A delicious hodge podge of BS. Allow me, will you?

1. Nice that you picked up on my Goldwater reference that just went up 24 hours ago. Aimed squarely at your lot. You don't half help me :)

2. Wikipedia claims are easily trounced by the numerous edits on the page and tidying by lots of people. I've already admitted to removing malicious comments (probably made by you) - so where's the juice? Oh wait, looks like there is none.

3. Student Rights is staffed by me and an intern? Er... nope. Two fully paid staff. Much like many advocacy organisations, and a raft of activists and a distinguished advisory board. Or can't you navigate my 1and1 template? Except that at the bottom of the page it says who the site was designed by, and that therefore it can't quite be an off-the-rack job. You really are shit at this.

4. YBF and Student Rights are not affiliated in anyway. You cite an article that makes no reference to the point. Good work. Oh and our Media Appearances section that goes back to 2009 is hardly buffed out with HuffPo blogs. My researcher likes to write there. Why do you begrudge him that?

5. "Go after Muslims?" What, so... all my family and about 80% of the people i was raised with? Oh dear. Learn the difference between Islam and Islamism, please.

6. The Commentator isn't a blog, sadly for you. We have some of the best analysts out there in our field writing for us. But that'd only be reflected if you had actually looked. I'm not claiming every one of our 250+ contributors are major philosophers, but please do take care. Also, we turn over more than £50k per annum. What does Zelo Street make?

7. I don't believe I've ever said I'm famous. I just happen to think it's a rather dashing shot of me. Yeah, you heard.

8. So you're saying this blogpost played some kind of philosophical ball, are you? Really? REALLY?

9. Uh, exposing extreme views is the BALL not the man. Are you really this thick? Actually probably so given that you can't seem to move off a blogger template.

10. Did you like my 'haters gonna hate' image? It seems to have riled you up no end.

Anyway, thanks for spending a whole day writing about me. I'm distinctly flattered and happy to provide supporting materials for anything I've said. Unlike, er... you. Drat. Another fine mess!

Tim Fenton said...

Kassam shows his tenuous relationship with reality as he states that I have "probably made" what he classes as "malicious references" on Wikipedia. Sadly for him, I have not made any comment or reference on his or indeed any other Wikipedia page.

Then we get "you really are shit ... learn the difference ... are you really this thick" along with the usual "look over there" drivel. And still the sad narcissist says he's playing the BALL (yes, a Raheem Kassam response is A BIT like an ARTICLE in the Sun).

My post stands unaltered, Raheem. And, as you enjoyed it so much, there will be at least one follow-up. And maybe another after that.

After all, you're not only Mr Notable and Mr Conservative, you're really, really famous.

Another fine mess indeed.

Anonymous said...

Does he have a smallholding? Does he have a permit to keep writers in a field? How big a field do you need to keep 250+ writers in? Does he have other animals that are large excrement producers?

Bartholomew said...

Response from Kassam includes a false allegation of planting malicious comments, followed by a boast about how much money his site makes compared to yours. Classic signs.

Anonymous said...


Mr. Kassam is a bit rude, isn't he?

Also not really addressing the comment put forth in relation to Mr. Hasan, although that has been an... interesting... series of events.

From the Wiki page... it appears to be internally inconsistent, to say the least, and the points made in favour of deletion all appear reasonable. Additionally, the only comment against deletion appears to be by someone who has a similar set of political views.

Anonymous said...

"Also, we turn over more than £50k per annum"

So does my window cleaner.

Anonymous said...

Impressive that Mr.Kassam has managed to hit on a figure that is simultaneously deeply unimpressive (as another poster points out, he might do better washing windows - sorry as "executive CEO of a hard transparency cleansing firm"), while simultaneously being almost impossible to achieve.

I own a publishing company, so know quite a bit. Out of professional interest, i wondered how they were making £50 grand out of a blog. The going rate for the kind of banner ads on the commentator is about £15 per 1000 page impressions. They'd need about 400,000 page impressions a month to turn over that kind of cash - about 200,000 readers per month. It'd make the commentator one of the most read political blogs in the UK, running a close second the Mr.Fawkes.

Of course, he could have ad partnerships, but even selling rate card on decent trade mags, you're looking at maybe £500 per ad partner; you also need a decent sales team to set that up.

Almost anyone who has tried to run a blog, let alone a magazine, could tell you these figures look fishy. I bet really good sites of this type (like Milo Yiannopoulos' Kernel), with some kind of paid distribution model, would struggle to make £50 grand per title.

I suspect the money comes from Mr.Kassam's sugar daddy - there's a big button marked SUPPORT complete with begging letter- are donations "turnover"?

I'll say this, it's either a brilliant business or the figures are nonsense - and considering what you've found out about this bloke, I suspect the figures are as fictional as everything else. Is his name even Raheem?

Anonymous said...

As I understand things, Anonymous @16.15, they must at least be treated as income to the organisation. However, I am a bit out of date on this.

While a 'sugar daddy' is possible (as with organisations like the Heartland Institute, there are potential incentives for interested parties to make large contributions), making comments in such an accusatory tone doesn't sit so well.

Accusations of lying based on assumptions generally don't sit well with me either, but the evidence which Mr. Fenton has cited, plus the overly defensive and slightly obnoxious tone of the above comment, don't exactly inspire confidence in Mr. Raheem's character.

Anonymous formerly @02.55

RK said...

More, more, more!

Whoever reckons £50k turnover for a side-project is poor is (as you pinkos might say) 'out of touch'. Try telling the man on the street than £50k isn't much. Oh you people...

With regards to HOW it's made. Actually, we're quite frank about our readership. On last glance, Google Analytics had us pulling in 500k page views per 30 days from around 100k unique visitors. Not astronomical, we know, but I bet a damn site more than this blog?

Regardless, a combination of ad-revenue, sponsorship and donations makes up our turnover. Like you know... normal non-profits?

Bazinga. Goodnight.

Tim Fenton said...

500k page views a month, when you have the services of "250+ writers" at your disposal, is not very wonderful at all. I am not quaking in my boots at this news.

Also, note that Mr Notable deploys the "pinkos" smear, but remember, he's playing the BALL!

And I love the latest excuse - it's "a side project". Remember that one, folks, next time someone tries to tell you how important The Commentator is.

Anonymous said...

If you Snapbird @RaheemJKassam "Profit", you'll therefore find him telling a big fat lie to Owen Jones about making a profit on the "non-profit" Commentator.


Or not lying, if his recent post is true. Poor diddums, so many lies, must be hard for him to remember!