Some political editors of national newspapers still cling to the idea that they are serious media players, that their name carries a certain cachet, sufficient for it to be mentioned in hushed tones during the paper review on The Andy Marr Show™. These people are considered the most knowledgeable of pundits. They write moderately well-selling books. They command significant salaries; maybe even rank as high as any in Rome.
Tim Shipman - only talks the talk ...
Prominent among these supposedly august individuals is Tim Shipman, political editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times, a paper whose reputation has been in decline ever since its previously well-regarded Insight team was used for blatantly partisan purposes by former editor Andrew Neil, as he strove to discredit Thames Television’s award-winning documentary Death on the Rock - because it offended Margaret Thatcher.
... while Carole Cadwalladr actually walks the walk
Thus the bar for Shippers is not set particularly high, yet even so, he has been shipping significant amounts of bull recently, culminating in a shameful attack on a fellow journalist, and one whose awards cabinet is considerably fuller than his own. The old Fleet Street adage of “Dog doesn’t eat dog” does not apply when it is those exposing establishment malpractice who get it in the neck. And Shipman is as establishment as they come.
“Look! It’s only The Most Festive Thing Ever! Carole going to war with Grimes and Vine, slagging them off on Christmas Day cos she wouldn’t let her hatred of Brexiteers drop for even 24 hours” he gurgled happily, celebrating putting the boot in on the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr. That much was bad enough; the company he was keeping was worse.
Like, for instance, Tom Harwood, replacement teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, a viciously dishonest and malicious nonentity who claims to be a real journalist (no, don’t laugh). “Imagine genuinely trying to play the victim against a young guy you’ve obsessively tried to ruin the life of for three relentless years - off the back of that innocuous tweet. Get over yourself” he scolded.
Worse was to come as Harwood sneered “Wisely deleted [who does he think he is sitting in judgment on others?]. Chill out, stop trying to ruin the lives of people half your age off the back of baseless conspiracies [Vote Leave and BeLeave broke the law. There is no conspiracy], and settle down to a nice bit of Gavin and Stacey this evening”.
And Darren Grimes, in whose defence Shipman had intervened (yes, a supposedly serious political editor went in to bat for a far-right nobody) then joined in the kicking. “Yeah, you should always try to help out those suffering against a cruel media and political establishment, eh?” He must have almost wet himself with excitement over that one.
It was left to Peter Jukes to remind Shipman of his shortcomings. “Since you’ve brought this up again, Tim: exactly how much did you know about Cambridge Analytica in 2016?” One Tweeter added “Unparalleled access to Leave EU. He knows what claret they drink but missed Cambridge Analytica. Courtier”. While Ms Cadwalladr does proper investigative journalism, Tim Shipman recycles gossip and Tory Party propaganda.
In the days of the great Harold Evans, the Sunday Times meant something. Tim Shipman stands as a sign of how the paper and its hacks have descended from gutter to sewer.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at