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Tuesday 8 March 2016

Don’t Menshn Michael White

Surveying the mix of showbiz, Fourth Estate and media mafiosi at last week’s wedding of Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall, the Guardian’s resident sage Michael White mused “Should I do what the old rogue’s attack dogs would do to someone on the enemies list and mercilessly take the piss? Or should I smile indulgently and murmur: ‘It shows what a romantic old rogue he really is. He actually likes being married’”.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

White then concluded his observation by telling, as gently as he could, that Rupe is not a very nice person: “As a senior Murdoch executive once explained to a younger high-flier: ‘You have to understand, if there was only one place in the lifeboat, Rupert would take it. But he’d weep as he said goodbye to you’”, before adding “So if there’s any trouble at sea, Jerry, you just push him over the side and hold his head down. He was born rich and he’s 84. You’re much tougher – and you deserve to enjoy a well-earned pension”.
The two comments are clearly connected: context, as so often, is key. But in one reassuringly upmarket corner of Manhattan, one loyal Murdoch vice-president (or, as my friend Dan Waddell put it, “gobshite without portfolio”) was livid at White’s effrontery. Yes, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch was about to go off the end of the pier.
And off she flounced in no style at all: “Words can't describe my contempt for @MichaelWhite & @Guardian for publishing this sick piece about @rupertmurdoch … The utter hatred, the nastiness, the bitterness, the envy and spite of the left will never conquer the optimists of the free market [Look over there fail: check!] … @MichaelWhite piece, on wedding day … @MichaelWhite you are beneath contempt”.
Whine, Madam? And there was more. Rather a lot more: “The end of @MichaelWhite's sick piece on the wedding of two people who love each other [wouldn’t be too sure about that, but hey ho] … How could @Guardian publish this by @MichaelWhite, on @RupertMurdoch's wedding? Where is your basic decency?
But nobody who mattered was listening, so she just kept on ranting: “You people sicken me. I wouldn't wipe you off the soles of my shoes. You are failing as journalists and as a business, and this is why … normally one doesn't notice the nonentity that is @MichaelWhite but that was breathtakingly foul”. Context? Aw, screw context!
It was left to the Guardian’s pundit to point out the blindingly obvious: “Louise wrenched my words from their significant context, as a good tabloid hackette does” (mildly sexist, but in the circumstances, and all that), before reminding his Twitter followers of just how splendid a chap Rupe was - or not. “Much more important than [coarsening the press], he coarsened public life, frightened politicians , corrupted police etc etc”.

Louise Mensch not only fails to understand simple concepts such as context, she falls into the same trap as so many who take the Murdoch shilling - seeing only good in a fundamentally repellent human being. And remember, they allowed her to become an MP.


Anonymous said...

As much as we all know, the Murdoch defenders are only in it for the work.

Journalism on its knees and siding with the Don will better their chances.

Not for the long term.

SimonB said...

What Anonymous said, above. If you ever wonder why apparently good journos turn out tabloids bilge, it's because they want a future career and Murdoch still seems to be on the ascendant. If you were going to travel back in time to kill just one person...

Anonymous said...

I couldn't care less about Murdoch or Mensch.

I suspect Jerry Hall feels the same way, probably other "things" on her mind. At least eventually......