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Monday 4 April 2016

David Aaronovitch - Byline Paranoia

Not everyone reading Nick Mutch’s Byline Media revelations concerning Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and his more than year-long relationship with a known prostitute - a story that was an open secret in the Westminster village, yet was repeatedly ignored and then suppressed by much of the press - was convinced that this was a straightforward example of a story published voluntarily and without a pre-conceived agenda.
Total freedom to publish? F***, that's a bit radical

One of those who has become convinced that dark forces are at work is Murdoch shilling taker and conspiracy theory floater supreme David Aaronovitch, whose descent into what looked like rank paranoia was one of those performances that makes Twitter worth the candle. There had to be an agenda at work. Whittingdale was a Tory, so Labour must be behind it. Someone had put Mutch up to it. It couldn’t be mere journalism.
The first sign of delusion came with “A line may be traced from Byline via @peter_jukes and @tom_watson to an interest in Whittingdale”. Wrong. But on he ploughed: “I think we both know how this came about. Watson wouldn’t need to say anything to you”. Yes, Labour MP Tom Watson was manipulating everything by the power of thought alone!
It got worse: “I think we both know that had the man dating the dominatrix been,say, a Labour figure you’d not have published”. See my many and varied posts on Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk, some of which have also been posted to Byline. Wrong again. Have another go. “Watson’s target in 2012, as [you] know, was Whittingdale. But the evidence wasn’t there. [You] found a way to get him”. Wrong again.
And Peter Jukes, the target of Aaronovitch’s inquisition, did not publish the Whittingdale item. But now The Great Man changed tack: “I don’t give a flying f who people have consensual legal sex with. Unlike @peterjukes … Has Whittingdale crusaded for sexual morality? If so you or @peterjukes should be able to provide a link”. That’s not stopped the press in the past, and of course it’s about far more than consensual sex.
Then Aaronovitch moved on to implying an agenda, and this was where he lost the plot completely, demanding of Jukes “Are you saying Byline doesn't ever turn down anything offered for publication? Does Byline publish anything submitted?” Writers using the Byline platform do not “offer” work for publication. No-one has to “submit” anything. This isn’t the mainstream press. This is what freedom to publish looks like.
For Aaronovitch, this was truly bewildering. The Great Man was aghast at the idea of writers deciding what to write, and when and where to publish it: “'Individual writers' decide if their own pieces on whatever topic appear on the Byline site?”. Yes. You have a problem with that? “What then is meant by ‘curation’? Who vets for legals? Who says 'this story is not for us’?” It’s still not the mainstream press, David. YOU JUST DON’T GET IT.

Anyone still believing that we have a free press in this country need look no further than David Aaronovitch’s befuddlement to see that not only do we not have a free press, but also that he doesn’t understand press freedom when he sees it. For him there has to be an agenda, there must be submission to editorial control. What a sad fellow he is.


Anonymous said...

A very sad fellow.

rob said...

You can lead a Murdoch journo to the facts but you can't make him think?

Let's say that the article was purely based on gossip and published for prurient reasons (i.e to attract readdes by the subject matter) he, as a Murdoch employee should have been the last person to query it given the history of Murdoch's tabloids whose very existence is down to prurient stories.

He should have consulted his stable mate Guido, who probably knows all these type of goings on, yet seems to have "spiked" this story too?

AndyC said...

The sad decline of a once interesting writer. I really enjoyed Aaronovitch's 'Voodoo Histories - How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History' in which he demolished their absurdity but that was then and this is now so we find him spinning his own.

Anonymous said...

Considering who Aaronovitch "works" for......would you buy a second hand car from that fellow - let alone second hand propaganda and hypocrisy?

Every time I read anything belched by far right neocon Bullingdon-supporter Aaronovitch I always look more fondly on my dog.

The fellow has the intellect of a guinea pig.

Brian Higgy said...

It seems that the closer you get to the truth, the more the Main stream media protest, especially if they are employed by the Murdoch Mafia.

Anonymous said...

The beauty of social media is how, ever so gradually, it's making morons like Aaronovitch of no account - however much publicity his type gets. They look and sound more and more like the neocon tin drummers they are.

It also exposes London-controlled mainstream media as a cash cow for a few corrupt "presenters" and "journalists." You need only see how often the same tedious loons - like Aaronovitch - spring up in the same places spouting the same old shite.

Their propaganda has fallen so low it now resembles the foam spattered yelps of a rabid mongrel.

If you're ever introduced to one of them it's best to punch him in the mouth immediately. You'll only want to do it later. Which is why none of the gutless bastards will venture outside their corrupt M25 ghetto, cowering behind Murdoch and Rothermere. No wonder they're hated by everyone.

Unknown said...

I love the way Aaronovitch felt entitled to take on the underground blogs, which tell us what is really happening, as if he was their proprietor! And his argument that Whittingdale never campaigned on family morals was blown open by the fact that Whittingdale is a member of the Tory Cornerstone group, who believe in "traditional marriage"! https://cornerstonegroup.wordpress.com/about/

Bandini said...

"...there must be submission to editorial control."

It would seem so. I submitted comments dealing with several of the points re-raised in THIS article beneath the previous 'Now The Excuses' post... but the control exhibited by the Editor meant they never appeared!

Given that the comment above (referring to "gutless bastards" & posted by 'Anonymous') advises anyone meeting Aaronovitch to "punch him in the mouth immediately" I'm at a loss to understand how 'comment moderation' blocked me but not others. Someone must have an agenda!

Rivo said...

It's interesting how the mainstream press are so keen to assure us that Whittingdale's dalliances with a lady of negotiable affection are of no import whatsoever. It is curious that they didn't show the same forebearance towards Lord Sewell's indiscrete soirees...

Anonymous said...


Sure Tim has an agenda.

It's an agenda totally opposed to Murdoch, Rothermere, their cowardly employees and their paymasters' policies.

And that's fine by anybody who wants to see this country start on the long road back to social fairness and decency.

Anonymous said...

Aaronovitch has a reasonable point amid all his bluster. Editors do serve a valuable purpose, rather than simply being oligarchal lackeys who suppress stories to keep the public in the dark. (As do subeditors, who would - for example - have spotted and removed the block-capped sentence 'INSERT PICS OF HER AS DOMINATRIX' before the Byline piece was published).

He's also right about the desirability of legal vetting (but to a lesser degree, because pretty much everything you need to know is contained in the latest edition of McNae).

The long and short of it is that the higher the number of experienced readers check your copy before it gets published, the smaller the chance of you coming a cropper (although it's no guarantee!).

How many times have any of us written something, seen it out online, and then noticed numerous clinkers and had to pull it, alter it, and re-publish it? This is true of any writing exercise, from a friendly email to a doctoral thesis -- the act of thinking something is complete actually changes the way your brain processes it when you re-read it.

All that said, Aaronovitch is a smug sack of shit who holed himself below the waterline when he swallowed Blair's fibs about Iraqi WMD (he said he would never believe anything the Government said, ever again, which turned out to be as big a fib as any other that he's told).

And really, all he's trying to do is justify in his own head why the mainstream media aren't picking this up. It's just that he's demanding answers from other people in public, rather than figuring it out for himself in private.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 4th April @ 22:43.

What matters is not the technical aspects of editing, but the intent of "journalists" and "editors."

No amount of improved editing would cleanse the intentions of weasels like Aaronovitch, any more than it would the content of Murdoch's or Rothermere's propaganda. Those people are beyond the pale, well into ur-fascist country - and they not only know it, they embrace it.

Editing is easy. Take your comment for instance. I wouldn't call Blair's murderous lies mere "fibs." They led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children in the Middle East; he even said "I'm proud of what I did in Iraq." That makes him a mass murdering war criminal. But a pound to a pinch of shit he'll never find himself in front of the International Court. Usually you have to be of dusky hue or be a distant East European to face that version of justice. That's not my idea of a "fib."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (5 APRIL 2016 AT 11:12)

I wouldn't argue with your point re: Murdoch and Dacre, but would urge you not to throw the baby of editorial skill out with the dirty bathwater of the Tory nationals. Editors are like generals, there are good, bad and indifferent. Dacre and co are contemptible spivs, but there are (morally) good editors out there -- we just tend not to talk about them so much, because they're not a problem.

As for Blair's "fibs", well, what is "fib" but a slightly flippant word for "lie"? Forgive me for not unpacking the heinousness of Blair's warmongering, that argument didn't seem relevant to the subject matter in hand, and I still feel that way.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 11:12.

Unfortunately, you made Blair's warmongering "relevant" when you mentioned it in the fifth paragraph of your original post (see above). And the war crime of killing hundreds of thousands of innocents makes it even more "relevant."

That's apart from the morality of support expressed by "editors," "journalists" and, later, a contemptible neocon jingo like Hilary Benn and all the other order-paper waving tenth-raters.

Even "heinous" doesn't begin to cover their betrayal of innocent humanity.

Anonymous said...

I have no interest in the relationship between a Minister and whips but the fact that the mainstream press is not publishing the Whittingdale story is very concerning - there is clearly some mutual self-interest/leverage in play. The press must not only be free / not corrupt, it must be seen to be free and honest.

I am also amazed at the lack of forensic questioning re Cameron's offshore trust - although the Telegraph seems to be the most switched-on on the topic (I wonder why?)

I would have expected Private Eye, the Guardian and Independent to have run the Whittingdale story, but as my grandmother told me "don't expect much and you won't be disappointed"

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you made Blair's warmongering "relevant" when you mentioned it in the fifth paragraph of your original post (see above). And the war crime of killing hundreds of thousands of innocents makes it even more "relevant."

-- I'm struggling to find a molecule of agreement with you on this. The purpose of mentioning Iraqi WMD in passing was in the context of pointing out what an untrustworthy person Mr Aaronovitch is, which is the subject in hand. It did not indicate a change of subject. You might have seen that as an opportunity to mount your Blair-related hobby-horse, but I wasn't intending to go off at that tangent, and nor am I going to join you now that you have.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't intending to go off at that tangent

But you did. So tough. Molecular or not.

Nor is there anything remotely "hobby horse" about mass murder or war criminality.

Steve Peers said...

Aaronovitch makes a sound point that journalism ought to be checked for lies and errors, and it is entirely possible that some blogs serve up one or both of those. But the point is that *so do the mainstream media, despite editors*, and they are contemptuous when they are called out by the complaints bodies - most obviously the Sun.

Anonymous said...

But you did. So tough. Molecular or not.

In navigational terms, I pointed out a turning to my left, and drove past it anyway. You slammed on the brakes, failed to indicate, did a five-point turn and reversed down that turning while angrily flicking V-signs at me as I passed out of view.

Anonymous said...

"...flicking V-signs at me as I passed out of view..."

Nah. I let you do that to yourself. As you turned right.