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Sunday 3 December 2023

Telegraph UAE Sale Hypocrisy

After the banks effectively called time on the Barclay family’s ownership of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, both Daily and Sunday versions of the paper, together with the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, were put up for sale. But who would want to own the Tel, which had been trading on its brand for years, and become a propaganda sheet?

Ultimately, as the Tel itself reported in today’s edition, “Ownership of the Telegraph is set to pass to RedBird IMI, an investment fund led by Jeff Zucker, the former CNN boss, and backed by Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the UAE’s Royal family”. Oh no! Takeover by Scary Muslims™! Quick, get out the excuse generator! Dump on the Forrins!

And so it came to pass that Tel columnist Janet Daley, who turns 80 next year and may well be on her way out if that change of ownership goes through, pennedThe Telegraph’s proposed takeover by a foreign state must not be allowed to happen”. Do go on. “The US media company RedBird IMI, funded by the rulers of Abu Dhabi must not be permitted to take ownership of this newspaper. That statement should be obviously true”. Why not?

The only point worth considering here is that in a free society no government - including the country’s elected one - should own a news media outlet. The power wielded by a state must be, always and without qualification, separate from the presentation and analysis of information in the public domain. That principle has been one of the distinguishing differences between tyrannies and democracies in the modern world”. And there was more.

Even media outlets financed by public funding mandates like the BBC, or Channel 4 which is owned by a corporation that belongs to the government but is funded by advertising, have managerial and editorial independence”.

That’s in the “debatable” category, especially the Beeb. But do go on. “Are there really serious grown-ups who believe that social media has made newspapers - and real journalism - redundant, rather than more urgently needed than ever to hold the tidal wave of fakery and falsehood up to the light?”. For the Tel, that’s For Some Value Of “Real Journalism”. Carry on.

To those naive people, let me explain that a professional newspaper operation is not only subject to all the old legal constraints of libel and contempt, but a whole new battery of Ipso guidelines on accuracy and ethical procedure, overseen by inhouse enforcement officers, in which its trainees are rigorously instructed”. Shall we see how that plays out in the real world?

Let’s have a look at the Tel’s Wiki page. “In July 2014, the Daily Telegraph was criticised for carrying links on its website to pro-Kremlin articles supplied by a Russian state-funded publication that downplayed any Russian involvement in the downing of [MH17]”. Then there was the lack of coverage of that Swiss tax-dodging scandal to placate advertiser HSBC.

Peter Oborne had linked “the refusal to take an editorial stance on the repression of democratic demonstrations in Hong Kong to the Telegraph’s support from China”. What was that about “editorial independence”? And as to that “accuracy and ethical procedure”, ah well.

Anti-Semitism, anyone? Remember the George Soros front page splash? Two Tel pundits, Allister Heath and Sherelle Jacobs, have played the “Cultural Marxism” card. Accuracy? Covid-19 misinformation. Climate change denial. Using the Muslim-bashing Henry Jackson Society as a single source? The “Meghan cook book equals ISISstory, and the defamatory attack on scout leader Ahammed Hussain - damages, apology and costs - refer.

Foreign Governments dictating content. Agenda driven stories. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Islamophobia. And something else you never saw in the Tel while the Barclay family owned it - any mention of the Barclay family. Add to that the best the Tel can do to defend itself is an endorsement from Liz Truss, the comedy Prime Minister who was too useless even for the Tories.

If the Tel is sold to RedBird IMI, the standard of its journalism might even improve. It couldn’t get much worse. As for independence - yeah, right.

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Anonymous said...

I think you missed the Beobachter main propaganda headline with contents, Tim.......

The Starmer Quiff Quisling in full-on red tory uniform, just as ordered by his paymasters.

Can't say you weren't warned.....

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter one whit who owns that rag. It will always be an urfascist mouthpiece for far right gobeens and paranoid curtai-twitchers. Like the rest of corporate media.

Steve Woods said...

From my experience, the Telegraph titles have always engaged in unreal journalism.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, eh?

I fear that the cricket coverage will suffer.

Ben Lapointe said...

There must be one of those impossibly long German word to describe a situation where someone makes very good points but their own actions failed every single one of those point.

Mr Larrington said...

When Mirror owners Reach bought the Dily Brexpress its editorial stance changed not one iota. And unless the Torygraph drags the like of Heath and Allison bloody Pearson behind the barn for some 9-millimetre reëducation it won’t change either.

@Bertie: I fear you may be right about the cricket. And the crossword.

Gulliver said...

Laissez-faire, free market economics for thee, not not for me.