Politics watchers are regularly regaled with the doyen status accorded to the political editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times, Tim Shipman. His outpourings are awarded appropriate gravitas on broadcast media, most notably on the paper review of The Andy Marr Show™. The impression is created that Shippers has his finger on the pulse, his ear to the ground, and his nose attuned to sniffing out the finest of scoops.
Sadly, this is total balls. Shipman has consistently shown that he is no more clued up than all too many of his fellow hacks, with the latest unfortunate giveaway coming only yesterday in the wake of BuzzFeed UK’s shameful hit job on the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr for the heinous crimes of Reporting While Female and Winning Awards That Other Less Proficient Journalists Thought Were Theirs By Right.
When the BuzzFeed story was published, Shipman’s reaction was not to ask whether this was perhaps a little OTT, or whether some highly selective journalism had been employed in order to arrive at the desired result. Instead, he took the article on trust, which is never a good look for someone whose job is to ask those difficult questions. “I've never heard of anything like this in 20 years of journalism. Genuinely staggering” he exclaimed.
Carole Cadwalladr - attacked again
This was then Retweeted by Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, whose arrival at BuzzFeed has been followed by some dubious hit-jobs of which the one on Ms Cadwalladr was not the first. Still the penny failed to drop. Indeed, he doubled down: on finding that Mark di Stefano, the author of the article, had been busy deleting years of Tweets, his reaction was not to ask why, but to attack the person bringing him that news.
“The reporter who wrote about Carole Cadwalladr is now being threatened by her friends” he harrumphed. But his ridiculous posturing - and siding with those in whose interest it is to keep schtum about the taint surrounding the 2016 EU referendum - had been picked up by the Tweeter known as Steve Analyst, who mused “Tim is probably going to have a heart attack when he hears about the phone hacking scandal”. Quite.
Shipman may also find it uncomfortable when told that the paper for which he works employed the services of a well-known blagger for 15 years, and that one of John Ford’s specialities was accessing former PM Gordon Brown’s bank account records. Or that one long-serving ST editor presided over the crude politicisation of the paper’s Insight team in the wake of the Gibraltar shootings, along with twice libelling a key witness to the event.
Oh, look who's here
He wouldn’t like it at all to hear that the ST and its sister daily have been effectively taking dictation from the security services, notably in the wake of the Snowden revelations, or that the daily title has recently sullied its reputation once more with the now totally discredited “Muslim Fostering” story. Or that John Witherow, former ST editor and now at the Times, ran a totally untrue “Soviet agent” smear of Michael Foot. Twice.
That, of course, was a story Witherow admitted was untrue before the Leveson Inquiry. It didn’t stop him running it again recently. Perhaps, also, Shippers never heard of Operation Motorman, Benji the binman, and the rest of the so-called “Dark Arts”.
No, the political editor of the ST has led such a sheltered life that he “never heard anything like” someone protecting her sources. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
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So, let’s get this straight... If you... are... a... confidential source for... a story... in... the Sunday Times... then don’t expect them to protect you or your identity?
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