Times are becoming measurably more difficult at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph: proprietors the Barclay Brothers are experiencing a degree of apparent financial turbulence within their empire (see Jane Martinson’s excellent long read at Tortoise HERE) and the paper may be for sale to a suitably willing bidder. The problem for the owners is the credibility, or lack of it, of the pundits it employs.
And one Tel pundit with a distinct lack of current credibility is the increasingly alt-right Allison Pearson, whose attempt to blame anyone but Herself Personally Now for the spread of the Coronavirus has shown why her paper is becoming like the journalistic equivalent of Siberia: everyone knows where it is, but no-one wants to go there.
“Can the ‘Me’ generation, who have never been denied anything in their privileged lives, be relied upon to self-isolate or will they start whingeing how ‘stressy' it all is when the authorities try to curtail their freedom to even a minor degree?” teases the Tel’s Twitter feed, managing not to let slip that Ms Pearson is also part of that generation.
Her column, which the Tel expects you to pay to read (as if) has attracted significant response, but only in ridicule. Typical was “Never been denied anything? What about: - Local libraries? - EMA allowance? - Free university education? - University maintenance grants? - Erasmus? - Freedom to work and live in EU27? - If you think freedom has been ‘curtailed to a minor degree’ you're not paying attention!” From there it got worse.
Tom Peck recalled “The author of this piece demanded her son's A-Levels be re-marked, then when the grade was not changed, attacked the exam board in a national newspaper”. This precipitated engagement of Four Yorkshiremen mode elsewhere, with John Woolcott adding “Oh it's worse than that. The author of this piece denounces anti-vaxxers as 'self-righteous' people who watched alarmist videos and thought they knew better than the medical establishment. In 2004 she was writing anti-vaxxer pieces”.
Luxury! James O’Brien says she had it tough. “The author of this piece demanded her newspaper management remove her own article from their website attacking producers of The Voice on ITV after they failed to put her daughter through to the next round. The demand came after her (blameless) daughter secured another audition”.
One Tweeter chipped in “And who could possibly forget calling for the execution of the First Minister of Scotland”. It’s true that “Nicola Sturgeon is a liar and a traitor - off with her head!” was not the most temperate essay of Ms Pearson’t oeuvre. Then it was back to the Coronavirus: “The author of this piece has also spent the week spreading misinformation about the virus via her Twitter account such as ‘I’ve heard that children are immune’”.
On top of all that, some found the thought entering that the Barclays might rather they did not: “Imagine paying to read this crap”. The Telegraph, when they bought it, was a respected paper of record. Now, it is a trashy and worthless propaganda outlet where most of those employed would not, in the pre-Barclay days, have got through the front door.
Allison Pearson is one of them. She has no credibility, and nor does her paper.
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