The refrain is the same across the Fourth Estate: why are all those readers deserting their allegedly favourite titles? Why does circulation and advertising revenue keep falling? What are they doing wrong? Sadly, the answers go unheeded, the circulations keep falling, and the public cease to listen to the message. This decline is now showing signs of hitting broadcast media in turn, as the recent BBC Radio 4 Today figures show.
Behold the rictus grin of the flannelled fool
Well, hello Press and Pundit Establishment: I have a modern-day morality tale to tell you which will point out, without having to resort to a dirty great club, exactly why your world is in such decline, why the public is no longer interested, and why all those New Left Media outlets are doing such a roaring trade. It concerns one Harry Cole.
Master Cole, the odious flannelled fool who for so long was tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, but has since 2015 been pretending to be not only a real journalist, but the Sun’s “Westminster Correspondent” to boot, has today announced that he is to exchange one bunker for another, leaving the Baby Shard and moving over to Northcliffe House, as deputy political editor of the Mail on Sunday.
Leave aside for one moment that Master Cole could not edit his way out of a paper bag. Consider instead his track record. While still at University, his campaign for the presidency of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association included getting his opponents to sign a “Clean campaign pledge”, while running an anonymous smear blog slagging them off.
Then came Cole’s graduation to blogger, where his Tory Bear blog got the phone hacking scandal disastrously wrong. Desperate Dan Hodges could not have done worse. He also lied about Zelo Street, but got caught out there, too. Then came the Fawkes blog, where his tenure was marked by such failures as his pursuit of former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan over phone hacking claims. That ended in humiliation.
And so to the Sun, where Master Cole’s first front page scoop, an attack on Jeremy Corbyn claiming that the Labour Party would lose its “Short Money” allocation unless Jezza became a Privy Counsellor, was a pack of lies. Even IPSO condemned it. One paragraph from the regulator’s findings tells you all you need to know.
“The misleading information identified was repeated throughout the article, and appeared as the lead story on the newspaper’s front page. It was significantly misleading, formed the principal basis for the personal criticism of Mr Corbyn set out in the article, and resulted from a significant failure to take care not publish misleading information, given that the factors that formally affect the allocation of Short money were known to the newspaper”.
It wasn’t the only occasion when Cole ran a pack of lies, either: there was also an attempt to whitewash Rod Liddle’s smearing of Muslims (that’s all Muslims) as viscerally anti-Semitic. He also tried to smear campaigning group Hacked Off. This, too, failed, as did his dishonest smearing of Owen Jones: “The man couldn't break a window let alone a story. And the realisation that the Corbyn team will never, ever forgive him seems to be eating him up”. Who wants to break the kinds of “stories” Cole cobbles together?
Master Cole has no journalistic qualification. He has bluffed his way into the profession, bluffed his way into the Sun, and bluffed his way into the Lobby. Worse, he is an utter and contemptible shit of the lowest order. No-one with brain plugged in and a hole in their arse would trust the SOB any further than they could trust him.
Pass the sick bucket ...
But in today’s Press and Pundit Establishment world, this does not count against him. No-one is overly concerned that Cole is a congenital liar with the grimmest of track records, even the holders of the keys to the morality kingdom at the Mail on Sunday.
That much is bad enough, but yet worse is the cringe-inducing procession of supposedly sensible media people queuing up to give this deeply unsavoury individual their heartfelt congratulations on his move (Tweet and thread HERE). There they all are, from across the political spectrum, from broadcasters, lobby groups, the dregs of politics (Andy Wigmore is in there somewhere), and just for good measure, Julia Hartley Dooda.
... you'll need a big bucket, mind
It is as with so much else: the Press and Pundit establishment is a closed world where reality is not permitted to intrude. Like a modern-day Titanic heading for the nearest iceberg, all are fully invested in the pretence that what they are doing is fine, and no-one who is not on board matters. As with Cole’s former colleague Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, he might be a sleazy opportunist, but he’s their sleazy opportunist.
Those who know Cole as an unprincipled bully and threat merchant, well, they don’t count. Nor do those who call out all the other shysters of the Fourth Estate, the likes of Rod Liddle, Cole’s old boss Staines, Andrew Gilligan, Andrew Pierce, Richard Littlejohn, Jan Moir, Leo McKinstry, Guy Adams, Isabel Oakeshott, Sarah Baxter, Toby Young, and all those editors and executives who order up the formulaic knocking copy which increasingly turns readers off. The answer to their question stares them in the face.
Why is circulation in freefall? Why is it starting to affect broadcasters (because they slavishly follow the bankrupt press agenda and give houseroom to their pundits)? Why is the Press and Pundit Establishment so out of touch (they never talk to anyone outside their bubble, or at least never listen to them)? Why is our press at the bottom of the European trust league? Why is New Left Media putting on views in leaps and bounds?
Why is the public turning away from the Press and Pundit Establishment? The journey of Master Harry Cole tells you why. If, of course, you are prepared to take notice of it.
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