Journalists go on the attack

As I commented last night the morally bankrupt newspaper industry wouldn’t spend long aiming their bile at the News of the World and would instead find new people to blame for the NOTW’s demise. No Sleep ‘Til Brooklands looks at Telegraph journalist Brendan O’Neill who blames Twitter and a few liberals for closing the NOTW, as No Sleep comments:

Let’s get this out of the way right at the start; regular people didn’t close down the News Of The World. The owners of the News Of The World made that decision. Few even among the Twittersphere demanded its closure, fewer still actually expected it. There was a groundswell of outrage at the paper’s conduct which led to a campaign for advertisers to boycott, but the decision to not even attempt to ride out the storm and shut the paper down almost immediately the moment the story hit the front pages was not ours.

Meanwhile Tabloid Watch posted a screengrab of the Sun Politics Twitter feed in which they posted: ‘NotW – RIP. A loss to 1st class journalism. Ed Miliband, Guardian and BBC; how proud you must be of your work this week’. An hour later – after much criticism they posted an excuse and deleted the original tweet, claiming that the Tweet was unauthorised.

Funnily enough, Tabloid Watch has today pointed out that Trevor Kavanagh – former political editor and current associate editor of the paper – writing in the Sun seems to entirely agree with the Sun Politics tweet. It seems that laying unreasonable blame on others is such standard practice for journalists that they just can’t stop – even when the blame clearly lies on their own doorstep.

The Daily Mail has got a few more of its valued team to write about how the horrible liberals are to blame and that it’s all a big lentil-eating ruse to shackle the press so that MPs can claim more expenses or let in more immigrants or something. Melanie Phillips is shocked that men who have got up to ‘naughty’ stuff in the past (Hugh Grant, Max Mosley and Steve Coogan) could possibly dare to be outraged by the behaviour of the NOTW. It is a classic Phillips piece in which she misses every single point by a country mile but the smugness and certainty of it is still strong enough to make your eyes bleed.

Amanda Platell has been told to weigh in with her usual sharp insight, being tasked with taking down Hugh Grant. She decides to title her piece: ‘How come handsome Hugh’s so full of hate?’. Answer: he’s not, he was simply guilty of giving a sterling performance on Newsnight – he was critical, humorous and very much Hugh Grant. It is actually pretty amusing how Amanda can write that he:

came across as someone who is utterly embittered and jaundiced with life.

It is this kind of fictionalised personal attack that kind of proves the point that so many people have been making lately: the press constantly rely on aggressive smearing to shout down opponents rather that actually trying to engage them with any kind of reasonable debate. It is little wonder that our political process is broken when our amazing free press actually work as a psychotically violent censor, attacking anybody who dares raise a contrary opinion irrespective of how reasonable (or indeed factual) that opinion is. It is laughable that the Daily Mail is screaming about the dangers of censorship when they are so consistently guilty of censoring debate and misleading their own readers as to the state of the world.

The Mail also found the time to attack Steve Coogan, basically digging over his past as if his past behaviour somehow disqualifies him from commenting on the behaviour of the press. The problem with this line of argument is this: Steve Coogan has never claimed to be the moral arbiter for our culture and thus he does not have to conform to soceity’s notions of acceptable behaviour. The press on the other hand do keep claiming to be our moral guardian and the guardian of truth – which does mean that they actually need to show some respect for those two notions.

They do not, hence why they are now receiving so much stick.

I do look forward to Richard Littlejohn’s take on the matter tomorrow. No doubt he will be telling us all about how the Guardian makes a loss, how the NOTW was destroyed by a bunch of hypocritical luvvies and how the BBC is secretly stuffed full of Communists or something.

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