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Thursday 24 October 2019

Cummings Fake News Row Escalates

While the targets of his ire have mostly been conspicuous in their collective silence, old school journalist Peter Oborne has stepped up his J’Accuse against not only Dominic Cummings, chief polecat to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, but also the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, plus two very senior broadcasters.
Now here's a thing, viewers

Oborne’s claim is that all of his targets have been doing little more than acting as conduits for Polecat Dom and his fellow smear merchants, and he has now said so in an interview with Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Here’s what he had to say.

Journalists have always relied on anonymous sources, but what … has happened the moment that Boris Johnson entered Downing Street … and brought with him Dominic Cummings … and a group of other figures from the old Vote Leave campaign, a total unscrupulousness has developed, and I would criticise a very large number of very senior British journalists, Laura Kuenssberg, [Robert] Peston …”.
No Laura K., no comment

There was more. “What they’re doing is passing on rubbish, straight on, much of it false … instead of doing the job of a journalist, which is to interrogate in a sceptical way information you’re getting from 10 Downing Street. What they are actually doing is just shovelling it on, unmediated, and allowing themselves to become press spokesmen for Boris Johnson, and the senior adviser Dominic Cummings”. And he wasn’t finished.

My very strong criticism of a large number of political editors is they are not interrogating this. Government sources are also using them to pass on smears, lies, Fake News, and they’re debauching British political discourse. There is a difference between … the Cabinet Office, which has integrity, and this gang of feral smear merchants based around Dominic Cummings, who just chuck out Fake News [which] is taken on board and used shamelessly by news organisations”. Ouch! And, whisper it quietly, he’s right.
Peter Oborne - right to call out the toadying ...

As Oborne concedes at the outset, there will always be the need for journalists to maintain the anonymity of some sources. Fine. That’s not a problem - except for the likes of mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott, who managed to shop hers to the law.

Where Oborne makes the distinction is between the necessary anonymising of some sources, and the wholesale abuse of that same system by Polecat Dom and his pals. In the latter case, as he points out, there is no journalistic enquiry being exercised - what Cummings and Co want out there, gets out there, no questions asked.

And while Robert Peston has replied to Oborne (see HERE), Ms Kuenssberg has not: for someone already under fire for alleged pro-Bozo partiality, this is what might be termed a high risk strategy. Moreover, the sheer contempt that Downing Street now has for anyone and everyone else in Westminster is now ringing alarm bells - as Peston has confirmed.
... as one of his targets has shown

I am told PM has pulled out of scrutiny tomorrow by Commons Liaison Committee. If so, really confirms whole system breaking down”. He should not be surprised. Cummings has been found in contempt of Parliament. Many in Government were part of a referendum campaign that flagrantly broke the law - and lied persistently about doing so.

Time for less stenography, and more proper journalism. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Anonymous said...

At last one genuine journalist has had the courage to break ranks and expose the whole rotten media scam. Due thanks and congratulations to Peter Oborne - my guess is that his career is now on the line.

Not that any of it comes as, er, news to anybody with a sense of reasonable decency. Which automatically excludes Robert "Greed Is Good"* Peston and crooked mouth Kuenssberg.

But once again the problem runs much deeper than untalented corrupt front-clerks. What of editors, managers, owners and governors who let this poison through? What of THEIR responsibility? The likes of Kuenssberg and Peston get away with their lies because they're allowed to in full knowledge of their propaganda intentions.

Watch now as guilty corporate media hastens to ignore Oborne's honesty. Even Guru-Murthy tried to cut off Oborne.

*See Peston's book (read: far right propaganda diatribe) Who Runs Britain?, page 336, paperback edition 2008.

Mark said...

Kuenssberg really must go. Surely her 9 lives are running out now? As for Peston, he'd be better off as a poor Cliff Richard tribute act at Butlins

Anonymous said...

Laura Kuenssberg's father was on the board of Coats plc......fined 110 million Euros for price fixing and running cartels.
Meet the rest of the family:
Mother: CBE.
Father: OBE.
Grandfather: Lord Robertson (High Court).
Great Uncle: Last Governor of Colonial Nigeria.
Sister: diplomat.
Brother: civil servant.
She ain't no journalist bruv.

LiamKav said...

Criticise Kuenssberg for her own failings all you want, but saying that she can't do a job because of some members of her family have had different jobs and titles is pretty bad ground for anyone with an ethical bone to stand on and is the sort of tawdry sniping you'd expect from one of the red tops ("Gina Miller's great aunt once said that the EU was NOT VERY GOOD!!!")

Mark said...

I don't want to put words in Anon at 23.10's mouth, but I didn't personally get a sense of him or her saying Kuenssberg couldn't do her job because of her family, rather that her background inevitably shapes how she approaches her job. Just as how we all, in one sense or another, follow in our father's footsteps.

What Anon perhaps should have pointed out is the disturbing truth that the BBC routinely recruits its political journalists from the same pool, which just so happens to be deeply Tory. Why is it acceptable to employ someone like Amol Rajan, a former Cameron campaigner, when left wing journalists and Labour campaigners like Owen Jones would never have such employment? Not saying that's what Jones wants of course but that, as a public service, the employees should represent more than one political outlook.

Anonymous said...

@ 20:51.

The problem with that "argument" is Kuenssberg's actual behaviour and appallingly slanted "reporting" (read: right wing propaganda) is remarkably parallel to her family record. Plus her year at Georgetown University and her husband's spell at Harvard, both establishments which have CIA-officers-in residence*, while the CIA also previously ran illegal Operation Mockingbird as a network of "media assets", to say nothing of the CIA's corruption of the US film industry***.

If you believe Kuenssberg is "clean" you're living in cloud cuckoo land. But that's your choice. You'd have to be naive in the extreme to think our home-grown loonies in MI5 and MI6 don't run parallel operations probably co-ordinated with their homicidal maniac colleagues at Langley.

*See CIA Off Campus, by Ami Chen Mills, South End Press 1991.
**See The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein, 20th October 1977, Rolling Stone magazine.
***See National Security Cinema, by Mathew Alford & Tom Secker, Drum Roll Books 2017.

LiamKav said...


Oh, I absolutely get the argument that the BBC should employ journalists from as wide a range of social economic factors as possible. It would be healthy approach for any public news source that's supposed to represent the entire population.

What I'm less convinced is that it's worthwhile going "her mother has a CBE (for, er, work in child's services), and her husband was at Harvard and so the CIA have definitely got to him and so that's why she hates the Left". It's both smearing by association and also needlessly complicated. You can be a bit biased towards the Tories without bringing in arguments about how the CIA control the US film industry.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:19.

Sadly, you don't "get it" at all. But that's your problem.

The point is Kuenssberg's OWN BEHAVIOUR merely confirms the suspicions and associations. She's her own worst enemy.

You might check the references previously provided.

You might also check out C4 Lindsey Hilsum's connections to US Columbia University......though I doubt you'll "get" that either.