The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have seen their ranks severely depleted this week: first came the loss of teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham to BuzzFeed News - how much “news” comes out of that site in the future may be an interesting one - and now it seems apprentice sandwich monitor, oops sorry, “senior reporter” Ross Kempsell is to leave as well.
Kempsell, who was taken on by The Great Guido following his eavesdropping on a conversation between real journalist Paul Mason and a Spanish MP in a Liverpool eatery at the time of the 2016 Labour Party Conference, had previously worked for Fame Flynet, the agency best known for just happening to turn up and snap disgraced now-former MP Simon Danczuk and his second ex-wife Karen.
He’s been on the Fawkes payroll for less than two years, and like Wickham, would not be able to identify journalism if it jumped up and kicked him in the undercarriage. So who is taking him on? Ah well. Here we encounter the Murdoch connection: Kempsell is on his way to TalkRADIO, a Murdoch property with, whisper it quietly, Very Few Listeners.
Ross Kempsell before joining the Fawkes rabble ...
But what will he do there? Press Gazette has told “Guido Fawkes chief reporter Ross Kempsell has joined Talkradio as the commercial radio station’s first political editor … Kempsell will be on-air later this month. Talkradio is owned by Wireless Group, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK - owners of the Sun and Times newspaper titles”.
There was more. “Kempsell will shape the station’s wider political coverage and react to events and breaking stories in his new role, according to a spokesperson … Talkradio programme director Dennie Morris said: ‘Ross immediately impressed us with his knowledge and passion for UK politics and his natural flair for broadcasting’”.
... and after two years' working hard and, er, playing hard
Yeah, right. The connection with the Murdoch empire - when Rebekah Brooks tells Staines to jump, he actually tries to - is probably more relevant. And what this move really means was summed up by a photo of the new hire with tedious morning rabbit purveyor Julia Hartley Dooda, while Morris noted his role would include “going head to head on Talkradio with the likes of Julia Hartley-Brewer at Breakfast”.
Thus ensuring that the Murdoch-approved, right-wing, Europhobic, fervently pro-Brexit, pro-Trump and anti-anyone not cheering for Rupe’s pals line is maintained. All of which must be terribly wearing for poor Kempsell. I mean, look at his mugshot from 2016, and the one used by Press Gazette. How does someone’s facial expression ch-ch-cha-cha-change so much over just two years? Perhaps he has a cold and sneezes a lot.
And here's the latest work experience student
And what of Paul Staines after his two best-known writers have gone? Ah well. There will be no shortage of replacements: the only problem The Great Guido faces is securing the services of those who can be trusted to be loyal to Himself Personally Now.
As to journalistic talent, there wasn’t any attached to Wickham or Kempsell - forget the faux establishment plaudits - and their replacements won’t need any. All they really need is to be able to trawl a target’s social media history, obediently recycle press releases from CCHQ and right-wing “think tanks”, cherry-pick figures that suit the Fawkes agenda, and otherwise lie with the same frequency as drawing breath. No real talent required.