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Thursday 9 January 2020

The Unsurprising Exile Of Henry Zeffman

Yesterday, seemingly to the surprise of some other journalists, Henry Zeffman, political correspondent for the Murdoch Times, announced that he was being sent by the paper to cover goings-on in Washington DC. Congratulations from other Blue Tick Twitter accounts flowed in. But no-one was asking the question: was this a promotion, or an exile?
That lawsuit cost HOW MUCH?

Because, while Zeffman was telling everyone “From one election to another... excited to say I'm going to the US to become Washington Correspondent for [The Times]. But sad to be leaving my amazing colleagues in Westminster from whom I've learnt so much”, it was less than a month after another, rather more embarrassing, announcement.

As Press Gazette has told, “The Times has apologised and paid damages to an imam who questioned the Conservative leadership candidates about Islamophobia during a televised BBC debate in June. Imam Abdullah Patel, who appeared on BBC One’s Our Next Prime Minister on 18 June, was selected to ask Boris Johnson and the four other Tory leadership hopefuls whether they agreed that Islamophobic rhetoric had real-life consequences”.

There was more. “He was subsequently suspended from his mosque and his job as a deputy headteacher after controversial posts he had made online emerged. Press Gazette understands he has since been fully reinstated and that no action was taken against him”. So what did the Times say that got the paper into such hot water?

Two days after the debate, The Times wrongly claimed Patel had blamed Israel for the 2003 murder of a British police officer by a terror suspect in Manchester [and] also wrongly claimed that Patel ran a primary school that had been warned by Ofsted for imposing a segregation policy for parents at events that ran ‘counter to British democratic principles’”.
The story, which was on the front page of the Times on 20 June last year, was titled “Tory candidates threaten BBC debate boycott”. Two of the names on the by-line were Andrew Norfolk (no further comment required) and Henry Zeffman. Worse is that the PG article notes “The claim is believed to have been based on posts by someone with the same name”. And who started going after Abdullah Patel, the day before the Times story?

That would be the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Which suggests that it was The Great Guido who gave the Murdoch press a serious bum steer - as well as someone not bothering to do the basics when it comes to that increasingly elusive newspaper phenomenon called journalism.

Being awarded what looks like a promotion after dropping your title in the legal mire is not unknown among those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet: the Mail on Sunday rewarded Charlotte Wace, whose intrusion and amateurish hit piece caused such distress to beautician Danielle Hindley, by making her the paper’s Royal correspondent.

And now Ms Wace has taken another step up the journalism ladder. Oh hang on a minute, someone must be taking the piss … she’s now the Northern correspondent of the Times!

See what I mean about getting on by fouling up? Bad journalism can be so rewarding.
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Anonymous said...

Murdoch goons never got a "serious bum steer" they weren't willing to believe or intensify anyway.

Zeffman?......Straight into the arms of fellow goons from Langley or the Pentagon - "Hey, Harry! Let's doo lernch at the Mayflower!" Or, as did Peter Jay, if Zeffman's REALLY lucky, get to play tennis with the directors of the CIA and/or the FBI. The cesspit's his playground, all on expenses or at someone else's invitation. But on no account must he bring "news" of anything other than far right bullshit from the Congress. Murdoch will expect a return on his "investment".

Anonymous said...

Not sure about this one Tim. Boer Deng, the Times's US correspondent made a surprise announcement that she was going to the BBC and they needed to find a replacement in a hurry. Presumably he put himself forward. The story that you quote from looks much more like an Andrew Norfolk story than Zeffman's.

Jonathan said...

As so often in the higher echelons of the mass media Failing upwards is an increasing phenomenon.
For the rest of us it's the sole queue
But telling porkie pies and spreading disinformation usually for the Murdoch goons comes with perks.
How our nation has fallen

Sam said...

When will the public wake up to Rupert Murdoch who is not only taking the piss when he labels his outlets "newspapers" but is leeching off the general taxpayer?. In Australia alone News Corpse had a nearly $15Billion turnover over the past 5 years with at least a $250M profit on which he paid tax of..nil!. Via some complicated accountancy re an alleged "debt" owed to it's HQ in Delaware where corporate secrecy rules.
There are heaps of others of course: Virgin airlines etc and why any working person patronizes these scoundrels when they are subsidizing them via their tax payments is a mystery. The government needs to crack down on them- oh that's right the "Czech Spy" Jeremy Corbyn was going to. The vicious unprecedented propaganda campaign of lies hurled at him by the Murdoch media and others is entirely co-incidental.