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Thursday 15 October 2020

Polecat Stenography - Oborne Speaks

After a number of those in the media establishment were discovered to have Tweeted out the Government line on Keir Starmer’s call for a “circuit breaker” lockdown to combat rising levels of Covid-19 infection, questions were once more asked as to why those who should be interrogating their sources were, instead, just transmitting propaganda.

Peter Oborne

And, as with his previous appearance before the interrogation of Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News, it was Peter Oborne who was asking them. Seeing that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Sky News’ Beth Rigby, Times Radio’s non-bullying pundit Tom Newton Dunn, and the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, now pretending to be political editor of the Murdoch Sun, had done the transmission, he asked why.

There are loads of media organisations. Why were these four picked?” And why, he might have added, did Newton Dunn manage to get his Tweet out before Tory chair Amanda Milling (who also Tweeted out the same “Keir Starmer is a shameless opportunist playing political games in the middle of a global pandemic” line). The answer was not long arriving.

Harry Yorke of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph was the one who owned up. “They weren't, Peter. Every lobby journalist received the same quote. Some are just more active on Twitter than others”. There did not even need to be a meeting: every member of the Lobby was sent the quote. Those four then transmitted it unmediated.

It was exactly as Oborne had described to Guru-Murthy: “Journalists have always relied on anonymous sources … but what … [has] happened since Boris Johnson arrived in Downing Street … a total unscrupulousness has developed [he named Ms Kuenssberg, and Robert Peston of ITV] … instead of doing the job of a journalist, which is to interrogate … what they are actually doing is just shovelling it on unmediated”.

But this time it was worse, as he pointed out. “This revelation from [the] Telegraph political correspondent that [the] quote was sent to every lobby correspondent is significant. It suggests a gross breach of civil service guidelines. Government officials cannot be used to smear political opponents. Cab Sec Simon Case must investigate”. There was more.

It is deeply incriminating that Conservative chairwoman Amanda Milling used the same quote at the same time last night. Looks like the rules have been broken. I think Keir Starmer would be within his rights to demand [an] official investigation. Big test for new Cab Sec Simon Case”. One Labour MP with a keen sense of Parliamentary history and, indeed, things like rules took one look and agreed with him.

Chris Bryant, who represents the Rhondda, concluded “This is a clear breach of civil service and government guidelines”. He was then reminded “It's seemingly happened again this evening with regard Tier 3 restrictions in the North despite the decision not being finalised. The press released it within minutes of the call between CMO and Lord Mayors ending pending a call in the morning with the PM to continue negotiation”.

That is bad. What is worse is that those like Ms Kuenssberg and Ms Rigby, who should know this, are not pushing back against it, such is the fear of losing their “sources”.

We knew politics was broken. Now we also know the media establishment is complicit.

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1 comment:

RodJ said...

And so with one mighty bound the 21st Century British media manage to combine the very worst of the Voelkischer Beobachter and Pravda. It won't be long until
Johnson starts strutting aroubnd in a comic opera uniform with a chestful of medals.