Jess Brammar - a real journalist ...
One of those enduring truths concerned the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog: Staines claims he is, and always has been, an outsider vis-a-vis the media establishment. By 2011, this was arrant horseshit: Staines and his then tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, were front and centre of that establishment. They gave the right-wing press that little extra plausible deniability.
A further truth was that Staines is a deeply unpleasant and vindictive individual, yet he and his unappealing succession of stenographers expect to freely lie, smear, damage and worse, then be able to treat it all as a bit of a laugh. Tweak his tail, or that of his gofers, and it is a very different story. Thus the asymmetrical world in which he operates.
Part of Staines’ unpleasantness is as a boot boy for the right-wing press establishment: the HuffPo, back then, was denounced as some kind of leftist insurrection, even as he and Master Cole freely indulged themselves at the Sky Bar. The smearing of the HuffPo by the Fawkes blog has endured. So has the inability of media folk to call it out.
During Ed Miliband’s time as Labour leader, The Great Guido ran viciously anti-Semitic attacks on him. For this, Staines and his rabble were granted a free pass. Staines then became a cheerleader for the denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn. This, too, was given a free pass. The flexible Fawkes massive was, by now, part of the media firmament.
... and her detractors: Robbie Gibb in his natural habitat ...
Many of those supposedly liberal talking heads seen on politics and news programmes, those who are characterised as “cenre-left” for the make-up of panels for BBC Question Time and The Andy Marr Show™ paper review, have acquiesced as Staines and his shock troops, along with their dubious methods, have wormed their way to the table.
All of which brings us to the increasingly desperate efforts of those out there on the right to bend the BBC to their will, and specifically the appointment of a new head of the Corporation’s news channels. As Zelo Street noted earlier this month, Robbie Gibb, ardent Brexiteer and former Tory spinner, and now a non-executive member of the BBC Board, had tried to interfere in the recruitment process and block the preferred candidate.
That candidate was, and indeed remains, Jess Brammar, formerly deputy editor of BBC Newsnight, and more recently editor of, yes, you guessed, the HuffPost UK. That Gibb should by now have been sacked for his blatant interference was obvious enough: what was also crystal clear was that the HuffPost UK was still being smeared as “left-wing”.
The BBC has maintained that the appointment process would continue as normal, and by last week, those out there on the right were once more in a state of panic, so the appallingly snooty Jacob Rees Mogg, minister for times long past when the lower orders knew their place, stood up in the Commons to denounce the HuffPost UK and at the same time advance the pretence that Guido Fawkes was a more accurate source of news.
... likewise Jacob Rees Mogg ...
Rees Mogg, whose recent form has included being caught lending his presence to the far-right Traditional Britain Group, whose Twitter feed briefly objected to Prince Harry marrying someone it denounced as a “mulatto” (the Tweet was later removed), was being severely economical with the actualité, such was the state of panic in right-wing ranks.
So what happened next should have surprised no-one: the Fawkes blog yesterday posted what it claimed to be an “exclusive”, but only because none of Staines’ press pals was willing to sink to the required depths. Under the heading “Guido Investigation”, a contradiction in terms if ever there was one, readers were told “Brammar Supports Black Lives Matter … Front Runner To Head BBC News Supports Black Lives Matter”.
The post tells “After Guido reported that Jess Brammar was in the running to become head of BBC News [after everyone else reported the Gibb saga], and that this was controversial given she’d promoted a woke agenda as editor of the Huffington Post [given my arse. And all that Woke means is that she was being anti-racist, or put another way, Oh What A Giveaway], some people who should know better claimed this was untrue [what was untrue? This doesn’t make any sense, so no change there, then]”. But do go on.
“On Brammer’s Instagram account, Guido found that on the BLM campaign’s social media 'Blackout Tuesday' last June, Brammar joined with other BLM supporters in posting a black square to signal her support for the campaign”. And as Fred Flintstone might have put it, hold it … HOLD IT! Give me those first four words again.
“On Brammar’s Instagram account”. That’s a most interesting opening. Would this have been a public account? Or would it have been a private one? But you know the answer already: it is a private account. And once again we see the vindictive and asymmetric world of Paul Staines on display. Ms Brammar is expected to suck that up: had it been a Staines family private Instagram account, lawyers would have already been instructed.
... and The Great Guido himself
And that it is Staines at work here is in no doubt: the Fawkes blog’s current inmates, Christian Calgie, Adam Cherry and Sabrina Miller, all put their names to their handiwork. The attack on Ms Brammar is claimed not by one of them, but by “order-order”. Staines even smears Ms Brammar as “anti-car”. Staines and cars, eh? Trebles all round!
Had the poring over Ms Brammar’s private Instagram account been performed by someone outside the media establishment, and without Staines’ connections, it would have surprised no-one had it resulted in a complaint to the Police and a visit from the cops to suggest that the person involved find something rather more wholesome with which to occupy their time. There might even have been accusations of stalking.
But because it is The Great Guido, whom so many in the media establishment have welcomed to break bread at their table, there is nothing more than a little pearl clutching, a brief moment of shock, soon to subside as time passes. They will fail to do anything about it, and so, like all the other bad behaviour within the media, it will happen again.
For Ms Brammar, though, and her partner Jim Waterson - who knows Staines of old - this has probably been a traumatic and unsettling experience. And as I warned more than three and a half years ago, “Solving this problem is down to the media establishment that let The Great Guido in the door. The remedy is straightforward: if you find you are overrun with vermin, you don’t suggest playing trick or treat with it. You call in pest control”.
They were warned it would get worse. They did nothing. It got worse. No surprise there.
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