While bookers at the BBC, in their infinite wisdom, ignore her presence and instead - looking at today’s line-up, for instance - give nobodies like Camilla Tominey a seat on the paper review sofa for The Andy Marr Show™, the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr goes and gets herself another award, this time the 2019 Hay Festival medal for journalism.
Yes, I know Ms Tominey is associate editor at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, but nowadays that does not count for much. Moreover, her list of awards encompasses, er, well, none of them, actually. And she is not the only non-award winner the Beeb turns to when they need the benefit of a pundit’s wisdom.
There is also mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott, who was on hand to shout down Ms Cadwalladr on the Marr Show sofa, but who also has managed to garner a total of zero awards for the lack of excellence she brings to journalism. But she does have the distinction of persuading Vicky Pryce to spill the beans about Chris Huhne’s speeding points, then effectively shopping her to the Police. Ms Pryce was subsequently jailed.
Another failing conspicuously to congratulate Ms Cadwalladr, but who has been so keen to slag her off in the past, is BBC political host and former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil. But he can point to a stellar career in journalism including the Sunday Times “losing” star informant Mordechai Vanunu (who was then lifted by Israeli security forces in Rome), and libelling Death on the Rock eyewitness Carmen Proetta (twice).
Still, there’s always Julis Hsrtley Dooda, who also hasn’t congratulated Ms Cadwalladr, and who also hasn’t managed any awards of note. But she is called upon by the BBC to give viewers the benefit of her opinions, often on shows like Question Time. As, on occasion, is the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie, another who doen’t seem to bother with awards. Or with reality (pace that wrong call on phone hacking).
And that may be why the increasingly defensive BBC steers clear of a journalist who has scooped the Orwell Prize for political journalism, the RSF “l’espirit de RSF” award, been named Political Studies Association Journalist of the Year, and nominated (with journalists from the New York Times) for a 2019 Pulitzer Prize. The exposure of Cambridge Analytica and its role in a tainted referendum is this decade’s phone hacking scandal.
It’s a story that has already uncovered so much, and has the potential to uncover so much more. It is highly likely to result in some of those involved being prosecuted and even jailed. As phone hacking exposed the unethical nature of much tabloid journalism, so Ms Cadwalladr’s work has exposed the unethical nature of so much political campaigning. And rather a lot of people would rather she stopped digging and went away.
So it is that when she scores yet another award, it is inconvenient to that part of the media establishment which finds dealing with all that dirty washing is something it would rather not do. Anything for an easier and more comfortable life.
But Carole Cadwalladr is not going away. Perhaps the BBC will eventually take notice.
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