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Saturday 2 May 2020

Mark Di Stefano - A Modern Media Morality Tale

Ultimately, he jumped before being pushed: Mark Di Stefano has resigned his post at the Financial Times, following a mildly creative news gathering exercise which involved his eavesdropping on Zoom calls at the Evening Standard and Independent. The calls discussed such matters as staff cuts and furloughs. Both titles complained to the FT; the FT suspended him. And as Zelo Street predicted last Tuesday, he has now gone.
Mark Di Stefano. Not at the FT. No comment

So far, so procedural, but after Di Stefano Tweeted “Hi, letting everyone know today was my last day at the FT. This afternoon I offered my resignation. Thank you everyone who has given support. I’m now going to take some time away and log off” came a series of examples why our media class has a problem. A problem with itself.
Several otherwise rational journalists told him that they were sorry to see him depart, wished him luck, even offered praise for his work. I’ll refrain from embarrassing most of those concerned, except to note that heaping praise and sympathy on someone who has effectively just been caught with his hand in the till is not a good look.
As a small selection, Di Stefano’s former BuzzFeed colleagues have been effusive in their praise, Ade Onibada being one of them: “Mark, you’re one of the coolest, most talented and encouraging person I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Can’t wait to see what you do next”. Stuart Millar, BuzzFeed UK editor, went rather further.
Just gutted to see this. Mark is a superb journalist with a real gift for developing sources and landing stories. He's produced some great and fearless reporting since he landed in the UK and I don't doubt for a second we'll see his byline on big scoops again in the future”. Going to offer him a way back, Mr M? Don’t bet against it.
Pass the sick bucket

Then came the gradual giveaway: first, a gushing intervention from Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, Di Stefano’s former colleague. “Glad there is so much support already for Mark, who is a superb reporter and one of the best, most decent people I know. This is an absolutely ridiculous and appalling outcome. A good and experienced editor stands by their reporter”. Wickham’s journalistic standards are well known to Zelo Street regulars.
We're going to need a bigger sick bucket
Those standards include praising yesterday’s Coronavirus test figure-fiddling by the Tories, as he grovelled “Fair play [Matt Hancock and Jim Bethell] - am glad I didn't splash a newspaper yesterday that the target would be ‘comprehensively missed’”. An unprincipled sleazebag with an eye on the Future SpAd Main Chance.
And then the reputational coup de grace was administered by the BBC’s Hannah Bayman: “Two years ago [Mark Di Stefano] infiltrated a private chat of BBC women staff members - ordinary workers, not execs or editors - and published our conversations along with a string of inaccuracies. Never called anyone to verify or give right of reply. It’s not journalism”. “Coolest”. “Most decent”. “Superb journalist”. “Fearless reporting”.
As Peter Jukes of Byline Media observed, “This puts things into a different context, especially with the trolling of [Carole Cadwalladr]”. That’s putting it mildly, 007.

The media class persists in its own version of “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB”. And they wonder why their audience generally despises them. I’ll just leave that one there.
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The Toffee (597) said...

In no particular order...

The 'old bill'
Tv presenters/broadcasters
(Z-list) 'Celebrities'
board of deputies, friends of israel and other right-wing jewish 'associations'
C of E and Catholic churches

Every clique so far up their own arses; backslappers of no particular worth.
All more than able to dole it out and DO SO at every opportunity, but the biggest whinging bastards on the planet when caught 'in flagrante' and/or confronted with a few home truths.

Wankers, one and all.

Sam said...

They just don't get it. Advertisers are fleeing the MSM and the world is rapidly changing. It's a shrinking trade and the world is soon going to be full of dozens of Mark Di Stefanos competing for one job on right wing outlets. The Rupert Murdochs of the world can pick & choose from them but even they are facing insurmountable problems. It's a Brave New World and right-wing pundits are about to find there is a surfeit of those who parrot their nonsense.

Anonymous said...

It was once possible to laugh at obviously-organised far right lies.

Many thought the propaganda too absurd to deceive a self-styled "sophisticated" Western European nation in the 21st century. That, the notion ran, belonged to 20th century totalitarianism...the lesson had been learned. It could never happen again. One stupid right wing historian even claimed it was "...the end of history."

Except it wasn't. It became a regurgitation of the same mad filth in different words coming from different demagogues in different suits. But still the same old evil corrupt lunacy. Long ago Umberto Eco saw it coming and dubbed it "urfascism."

And here it is in all its rotten inglory. Perpetrated by tenth rate seedy second hand car salesmen and women, swallowed wholesale by ignorant fanatics, and tolerated by Micawbers incapable of genuine outrage and scared shitless of their own shadows.

Great and good pastor Dietrich Boenhoffer said, "I stopped arguing with the Nazis when they became too stupid to argue with." We're not quite at that stage. But at the present rate it won't be long delayed.

Laurence Rees knew what he was doing when he made the film documentary The Nazis - A Warning From History. So far it seems too many are ready to ignore the warning.

Andy McDonald said...

Rather sums up the problem with journalism, media, politics - rich kids treating it as a paid giggle, all just a big game.