Now here's a thing, viewers
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg was already known to have devalued her credibility, possibly irretrievably, after all too obviously taking dictation from the slick and dishonest Matthew Elliott, telling her audience that Vote Leave merely “broke the rules”, instead of saying that they broke the law. Now has come her ITV counterpart Robert Peston.
For Peston, the moment of truth came when he told his followers yesterday “I am aware you have been missing Dominic Cummings. It turns out he had the operation in late July that he delayed a year ago when [Boris Johnson] persuaded him to become his chief aide and has been convalescing in north of England since. He returns to normal duties at No10 Monday”. Another trip to Durham, perchance? And there was more.
Remember Vote Leave lawbreaking?
“Whitehall source [D Cummings (no relation)] tells me he has not been working, and was not looking at emails or messages. I imagine it has been an unmitigated joy for him to switch it all back on again - especially to read the reported remarks of his father-in-law about the PM’s alleged (and denied) early retirement plans”.
Thus his Oh What A Giveaway moment. And Natalie Rowe was unimpressed. “Peston what went wrong with you ?... I certainly noticed Cummings giving you that Wry Smile when he’d gathered you lot in the No10 back Garden … You are up to your neck in collusion, not a Journalist”. Fionna O’Leary added “Nothing ‘normal’ in Cummings or his duties. And - of course - Johnson chooses to go on leave at the same time because he has no operating board without Cummings’ operating it”. Yes indeed.
But it was the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr who had the really difficult questions. “Bit baffled by this. None of us knew he was missing. Also, what operation? Also, you’re reporting this not as rumour or a ‘source’ but as fact meaning..it’s confirmed? From number 10? You went to them or it was deliberately leaked? If so, why without attribution? Why now?” And how did he get it done with the pandemic still raging?
She had more to ask The Great Man. “You must have asked, ‘what kind of op?’ Unless you already knew? If you don’t know, fine. And if you know & are not divulging for privacy reasons, fine. But can’t you say which? And if this has been strategically leaked to you, can’t you say? Or if it’s not been strategically leaked, can’t you say? It makes a difference … So it creates this weird situation where we have partial info but without context”.
Did Polecat Dom go private? And if so, where was the emergency cover to be provided in case anything went wrong? Who is Peston’s source, a source so authoritative that he does not need to even refer to it? Unless it came straight from the Polecat himself, in a manner not unlike Matthew Elliott “briefing” Laura Kuenssberg. Which leads to one conclusion.
We have a journalist class that is complicit to the point of sycophantic dependency. A class that appears no longer fit for purpose, having seemingly been captured by the Tories. That has, it seems, been devalued to the point of taking dictation. And that’s not good enough.
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