The presence in the media marketplace of Private Eye magazine may be one of the bright spots among the grey conformity of newspapers and periodicals whose writers obediently churn out the line handed down by dictatorial proprietors and editors, but not everyone likes having Master Emmanuel Strobes and his team in perceived competition, especially when it comes to the media and politics inside track.
In recent years, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have taken singular exception to Lord Gnome’s mighty organ, on one occasion telling readers “Over the last few weeks Guido has become increasingly irritated by Private Eye’s shameless pilfering of stories that had previously appeared on this blog … A two-week news-cycle just doesn’t cut it in the age of news streams”.
So anything that had previously appeared on the Fawkes blog should be streng verboten to the Eye, then. And, in the interests of fairness, the reverse should also be true. After all, The Great Guido has all those Fleet Street and Westminster “sources”, and so the idea of copying off the Eye would be anathema. Or maybe not.
Yesterday, the Fawkes rabble told “Interesting rumblings at Telegraph Towers. The word, according to three sources, is that Richard Ellis, one of the most senior figures at Telegraph Media Group and their former Publisher, Chief Development Officer and Director of Talent, is likely to be on his way out. Ellis was in charge of sacking the scores of journalists who have left the paper over the last few years, so the newsroom is awaiting news of his fate with keen interest”. Well, well. And there was a later update.
“Another source gets in touch to say Ellis was given the push on Friday. A Telegraph old hand says he was Murdoch MacLennan’s man and his departure is a consequence of MacLennan being sidelined”. There was only one problem with this - Private Eye readers already had the information, as an item on Page 9 of Issue 1447 shows.
“NO SOONER had Nick Hugh taken charge last week [at the Tel] than the trashing of the MacLennan era began in earnest,” told the Eye. “Several pre-millennial staff are lined up for the chop. First to go will be ‘head of talent’ Richard Ellis: apart from being MacLennan’s spy on the newsroom floor, nobody knew what he did for his £200,000 salary”. [My emphases].
So anyone interested in goings-on at the Telegraph could have read about Ellis’ impending demise without consulting “three sources”, or waiting for “another source” to get in touch, merely by availing themselves of a copy of the Eye, which was on London news stands two days ago, and on the doormats of subscribers yesterday morning - several hours before the Fawkes blog gave the world their allegedly authoritative take.
What was that about the Eye’s news cycle not cutting it? The Great Guido reduced to cadging information from the alleged Dead Tree Press. Another fine mess, once again.