Thursday, November 25, 2010

A bit of a gloat

Not really on topic, though I'll rope in a few tenuous connections.

The story so far. This blog is dead, officially, since David Aaronovitch slipped behind the Romulan cloak of invisibility Times paywall, but we return to life when the World of Decency calls. Nick Cohen last posted on his Standpoint blog on the 2nd of November. He was never a frequent blogger, but that's a long enough silence to assume that he's jumped ship for the Spectator. Doubtless many of his former colleagues[1] are bereft, including Joshua Rozenberg, whom we shall come to. (I did warn you that the links would be very tenuous.)

How about that Spectator, eh? It's published an apology to Mohammad Sawalha:

We now accept that Mr Sawalha made no such anti-Semitic statement and that the article was based on a mistranslation elsewhere of an earlier report. We and Melanie Phillips apologise for the error.

Yes, it's dated the 27th. I don't understand this either.

See Islamophobia Watch for the full case.

The Spectator may have apologised, but er, hello? [SILENCE].

Quel surprise, this isn't being covered in the press, much. (A journalist wrong? What, are we supposed to report the rising of the sun now, or what?) Matthew Norman is a joyous exception:

Lovers of the unusual, rejoice! Within days Melanie Phillips will make a public apology. In July 2008, Mad Mel lifted and embellished a mistake from the neocon website, Harry's Place, regarding Mohammad Sawalha, a Palestinian-born British man whom Al Jazeera had mis-transcribed referring to "evil/ noxious" Jews at a rally. In fact, as Arabic experts later confirmed to High Court superstar Tugendhat, he referred to the "Jewish lobby". Al Jazeera corrected it instantly, and Harry's Place later, yet MM magisterially ignored requests for a simple correction until a trial was imminent, when she caved. This unwonted arrogance has presented a six-figure bill for damages and costs to The Spectator, which at the time of writing continues to host her deliciously deranged blog.

Harry's Place could rely on the legal eagle brain of David Toube. Alas for poor Mad Mel who could she call on? Oh wait, what about the afore-mentioned Joshua Rozenberg, isn't he a solicitor with a legal degree from Oxford University... and her husband? He also writes for the the Guardian.

That said, Martin Bright would do well to read his opinion on Phil Woolas.

[1] Pedants! eg Justin, how would *you* use the word colleague? I've always understood it to mean someone employed in the same organisation as oneself, more specifically someone who works directly with oneself. However, every dictionary I've looked at suggests that just being in the same line of business confers colleague status. This is certainly the way Nick Cohen uses it here: "As my colleague Julian Glover reports in the Guardian". This just seems wrong to me. Fowler's has no opinion.


Anonymous orgnaic cheeseboard said...

I see that Mad Mel has covered the quite frankly ludicrous 'just journalism' 'expose' of the LRB, following in the Wake og HP Sauce.

It's probably the single least objective, most sensationalised report I've ever had the misfortune to leaf through. Mel headlines her piece 'the london review of bigotry' but the problem is that the JJ 'report' found no instances of bigotry whatsoever.

11/25/2010 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AFAIK Just Journalism was so bonkers that Nick Cohen resigned from their board.

11/25/2010 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

AFAIK Just Journalism was so bonkers that Nick Cohen resigned from their board.

Featuring some of Britain's most distinguished (and hairless) figures...

11/25/2010 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

I sort of speed-read the JJ/LRB critique, and I have to say that at times you have to remind yourself that Just Journalism is actually meant to do pro-Israeli propaganda. If you don't pay attention, you would assume that it's a fairly boilerplate lefty blog post on the subject, just banging on and on listing Israeli human rights violations and repeatedly citing the LRB.

11/25/2010 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

Spot the missing country...

Among the lackeys of despots who said it was all right to kill queers were the representatives of Iran Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

11/25/2010 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Two missing countries: Afghanistan and Iraq.

11/25/2010 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Ah, almost immediately, as I predicted, Cohen demonstrates his sloppiness when it comes to blogwriting.

He's cut and pasted the entire HuffPost piece in order to fit his point into the general idea he has for his book, that the 'establishment left' are actually all bigoted and, really, it's the right who offer support for human rights violations.

A shame that in a book about free speech he has to at best rely on questionable anecdotes, and at worst deliberately mislead the reader, in order to make his point.

am also a bit worried about his idea about 'lackeys of despots'. Including 'Nelson Mandela' South Africa' - er, someone should probably tell Nick who actually is the democratically elected leader of that country...

11/26/2010 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Nick's obviously not too upset about Just Journalism as bensix points out. That event is trailed thus:

Tony Blair, in a recent keynote speech at the Herzliya Forum for Diplomacy in Israel, identified two forms of de-legitimisation of Israel. Traditional de-legitimisation, whereby Israel’s very right to exist is questioned or challenged, is easier to combat because its objectives are clearly stated. But the second form, which Blair termed ‘insidious’ de-legitimisation, ‘is a conscious or often unconscious resistance, sometimes bordering on refusal, to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view.’ This is expressed in subtler fashion and therefore all the more difficult to counter.

Even the phrasing here is utterly disingenous. 'Israel ha a point of view'? I don't really think that any country does so. Its Govt or rulers might have a point of view, and they might be democratically elected, but they don't speak for the country as a whole.

As usual this is special pleading from people who slavishly stick to the line that Israeli = hawkish and likudnik, and that as a result the hawkish, likudnik line cannot be challenged.

And even with that, if I were Nick and even if I shared his lunatic prejudices, I'd be pretty worried about being seen on a panel which has been picked because it agrees with Ron Prosor.

on the LRB thing - what's so weird about the 'reports' that HP Sauce et al like is just how unprofessional they are. It clearly took about a day and a half to knock together the LRB thing, and the 'concerns' they had about so many of the pieces were based on intentional misreadings, seemingly because they didn't have acces to the full LRB archive.

11/26/2010 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I actually read Mad Mel's post. [Shudders] One commenter said, very fairly IMO, that the problem with Just Journalism's approach is they only collated negative stories about Israel and didn't account for how these were balanced by pro-Israeli spin. To which one wit replies (and how do they come up with names like "Truthtriumphs"?)

It is highly probable that proportionately, more movers and shakers and opinion-formers read the LRB than read the Daily Mail.

I doubt Wagner or Gillian McKeith read either though I am quite impressed with "It is highly probable" as an argument.

Two classics:

Melanie, I know you're grown attached to the phrase "verbal pogrom", but have you ever considered that you're devaluing the phrase a little?


Talking of newspapers and verbal pogroms, I'd be interested in your views on the role of the Daily Mail in whipping up anti-Jewish sentiment in the 1930s.

Hur hur hur.

11/26/2010 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

re: colleague

As a sub, I would certainly suggest NC amend that to "former colleague" unless there is some relevant org they both still belong to, in which case -- to be pedantic and precise -- sad org should be named.

viz "My sometime colleague at Viz comics, Millie Tant, todays writes in the Dandy" is excellently nformation-rich, even if writing for the Dandy's bitter rival the Beano.

11/26/2010 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/26/2010 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Anon, if you want to make personal comments - and we don't disallow those - you have to leave some sort of name. Otherwise we have to assume you can give, but you can't take.

11/26/2010 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/26/2010 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Anon above wrote:

Is my calling him an … (which he is)and pointing out that [this] has changed his appearance (which it has) any worse that you (AW) calling him an oaf? Slightly waspish and puerile I'll admit but not that big a deal really.

It's only partly that. It's mostly your cowardice that you clearly won't substantiate what you've said, and nor will you sign any name to it.

Any while I have heard many dread and terrible things flow from that which you allege, hair loss is not among them.

11/26/2010 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought what I mentioned was a given, if not, there seems to be evidence for it

Anyway you can asume what you want about me, I can take it, and since you provide an anonymous option I think i'm free to use it if I wish, I can asure you i'm not a regular reader, so leaving a name won't provide you with anymore info.

11/26/2010 10:23:00 PM  

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