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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