Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sick with corruption and criminality from top to bottom

We[1] are most amused by this.

Ridiculous exaggeration RT @AndrewSparrow Tom Watson says Murdoch empire is "sick with corruption and criminality from top to bottom"

And this.

@JohnRentoul @tom_watson Well Tom, what's the answer to John's question? What act of criminality can you ascribe to The Times? Name one.

Pedantic note: I understand Tom Watson's phrase to mean that some employees and directors of the Murdoch empire, that is, from lowly reporters to the Murdoch family themselves are corrupt and/or criminal. This is perfectly consonant with the case of Clive Goodman (at the bottom) and the allegations of perjury by James Murdoch when he gave evidence to the HoC Select Committee (at the top).

This has (as journalists like to say when being dismissive) predictably upset David Aaronovitch and, less predictably, given that he's employed by a rival publication, Blair loyalist John Rentoul. In short, I think it's a perfectly sensible thing to say, just as one can say certain banks are sick without meaning that every trader is performing fraudulent transactions.

God, I love it when they're angry. Peter Oborne has stirred them up too. I see John Rentoul's getting upset at that Dispatches too. But were Oborne's allegations based on envy as Rentoul suggests they were? You can work that one out by yourselves, and if you have, you can ask if Kuwait (which partly finances the Blair empire) is a state fit to enter this "League of Democratic Nations" opponents of the UN are always banging on about.

[1] I am, anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rentoul acknowledges that he gets some of his ideas these days from Kamm, so it's not a great surprise that he's defending the Murdoch press.


9/27/2011 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

aaro says:

No, my hope, as yours should be, is to stop this fucking name-calling that implicates really good journos in 'corruption'.

a lot of realy good journos surely are implicated in corruption aren't they? I mean Nick Davies did have a source for his Dowler material who was giving away met secrets.

isn't this prissiness a bit like being upset with that report for finding the met institutionally racist - because there are some good, non-racist policemen? Strikes me there's a large amount of wilful misinterpretation going on - as you say there's a clear meaning to watson's phrase which you spell out, if it needed spelling out - rentoul and aaro are pretty much intentionally misinterpreting it.

9/27/2011 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

In general the Decent Left have seemed very agitated in the last few weeks, I'm not sure why. Aaro was going about Jason Cowley trying a 'demolition job' on Hitchens in a piece which had large passages saying how good he was.

9/27/2011 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Labour conference? First of the true post-Blair era. Hence Aaro: "Not a fan of dissing the only Labour leader in last 37 years to actually win an election." Rentoul: "I see Neil Kinnock's got his party back. The one that despised and boycotted the Murdoch media. That'll work."

9/27/2011 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...


9/27/2011 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Reading Rentoul, you realise that for some people "Blairite" isn't shorthand for a set of political beliefs - it is what they believe in.

9/28/2011 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@FlyingRodent: 'groupies' is too generous - it's not as if they're getting the occasional pity-fuck from Blair, let alone any connection to his current earning via lickspittle interviews. I need a word that's rather more forceful than 'hangers-on'.

@Phil - yes, that was always the case: Mr Tony occupies the space where either independent thought or something resembling a political philosophy ought to be.


wordver: 'glorier' - somehow apt re. Rentoul/DA vis a vis Blair

9/28/2011 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger AndyB said...

'Rentoul: "I see Neil Kinnock's got his party back. The one that despised and boycotted the Murdoch media. That'll work."'

Hang on. So Rentoul defends the Murdoch empire even though he is certain that it has the power to determine the course of our democracy. I thought he was all for projecting, at hundreds of miles per hour, bits of hot metal into the flesh of the anti-democractic.

9/28/2011 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/28/2011 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous RJM said...

"gimps": very good!

But surely even 'Pulp Fiction'-type gimps are occasionally taken out of the cellar and given direct contact with the Master, perhaps a beating or two.

I doubt that Aaronovitch, Rentoul, et al, get even that degree of satisfaction from Master T.

How about Wannabe Gimps?

9/28/2011 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Rentoul is quoting Finkelstein.


9/28/2011 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Asteri said...

I think Rentoul is best described as being part of a personality cult. Unfortunately for him, it seems that Blair wont be elevated to the Apotheosis that he thinks he so deserves.

9/28/2011 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Red Pesto, well see this old post where Andrew Sparrow kindly posted a couple of Aaro's paras on the riots.

And second, that a remarkably small number of people, if they are mobile and use surprise, can cause mayhem out of all proportion to their numbers. I was told this by Tony Blair once, in the context of terrorism, and it's true.

As I said at the time, Dave has a history degree; he's likely to know far more about this than a lawyer like TB. But Tony said it to him, and thus was born an anecdote.

I find this weird, especially as Tony Blair so blatantly says to people what they want to hear when he's talking one-to-one.

If Blair was as interested in money as Peter Oborne says he is, he should have tried to sell our Dave a bridge while he was at it. Maybe the lawyerly instinct cut in, and he was prevented by the realisation that even a PM can't sell a bridge he doesn't own.

9/29/2011 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Cohen on the Riots - in his 'TV column' which doesn't really discuss anything on TV at all - is, ahem, a riot...


If [a young journo] wanted a career on a left-wing title, he would develop an aversion to all businessmen except pop stars, Jews (or "Zionists" as he would soon learn to call them), the police, and all members of the upper and upper-middle class apart from the great and the good of the public sector.

I really think it's a signal of cohen's intellectual laziness that he thinks all anti-Zionists are Jew-haters. it's an embarrassment.

To whit:

If a right-winger fails to play to stereotype by saying he believes the evidence for global warming is overwhelming or the left-winger says she has her doubts about the euro

the latter - eh? wtf is he on about?

Saying that, compared to Edmund Standing's wretched recent HP Sauce (kerching) piece on 'the far left' this reads like an evidence-based Orwell-inspired dream.

9/30/2011 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

As Sarah AB says on that Standing thread, you must possibly maybe perhaps have been taken in by the media's anti-Israel bias:

except in the indirect sense that antisemitism at some level is perhaps *one* driver of media focus on Israel

I might wish to take issue with the idea that possession of a history degree is in any way a step on the road to wisdom, but life's too short. I found a copy of a Christopher Priest novel I didn't know I had last night.And Norman Geras' Literature of revolution,o lucky me.

9/30/2011 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

Which media are anti-Israel? It would be charitable to assume that Sarah thinks Press TV is *the* media but she probably means Ha'aretz and The Guardian website.

Re HP, I thought this worked well as a feelgood post at SU:

Re Norman Geras, Louis Proyect has a very good post on Atzmon here:
where Norm gets a mention in an article recycled from 1997.

9/30/2011 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Oborne's not only been upsetting Aaro et al by upshafting TB in a TV programme, but now he's presumably further infuriating them by praising "Red" Eds conference speech:


God, I wish the left had a journalist like Oborne.


9/30/2011 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

God, I wish the left had a journalist like Oborne.

But he is rather odd though isn't he?

Some of the documentaries he has made have been very good but he can be amazingly one eyed. Much his writing isn't intellectually coherent. In this article he lambasts Labour for going 'a long way towards undoing the bonds that ought to tie together every society.', yet he embraces Thatcher's economic liberalism.

10/01/2011 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

I think its a sign of Cohen's intellectual laziness that he thinks pop stars are businessmen. Its just contentless ranting.

10/01/2011 05:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mainly like Oborne because he's actually thinking about the future, what its going to be like. He's welcoming debate.

Most of the Right are still stuck in Tebbit's hole, and the Left are either in permanent opposition or Decent-like shuddering with the memories of Tony.

Oborne likes Cameron to an extent (because he's shedding the Tebbit-ites as irrelevant) and Miliband to an extent (because he's starting to turn away from Blairism).

Oborne wants to us to discuss what should be done about bankers and The City and how they must be reformed. Why are we always invading Muslim countries? He sees spaces opening up in British politics because of the Fall of Murdoch. He wants debate. And Ed is opening up that possibility.

Yes he's a bit incoherent but he's a Tory and he's emotional. But for a long time on things like Iraq and Afghanistan he's been right. And for a long time now he's been telling Telegraph readers things they don't like to hear.


10/01/2011 06:24:00 PM  

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