When it comes to Africa, the media look away

Kenya We were flown around the country, hovering low over mobs using machetes to hack each other up Each time I sit in St Bride’s on Fleet Street during the memorial of another friend, I look around at the crowds they’ve been able to pull in and feel terribly envious. Riffling through the order of service and then the church’s book of correspondents to find the faces of old comrades, I’m like a man wondering if any guests will bother turning up to one’s own hastily arranged bring-a-bottle party. Our 1990s generation of Nairobi hacks has been severely depleted. While we survivors are not a distillation of complete bastards, it’s

Tala Halawa and the progressive media’s anti-Semitism blindspot

The tale of Tala Halawa has an ever-mounting horror to it: each sentence is more disturbing than the last. First we learn that this BBC journalist proclaimed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war that ‘Israel is more Nazi than Hitler’ and that ‘Hitler was right’. Then we encounter her assertion that ‘ur media is controlled by ur zionist government’ and her sharing on Facebook the same image that saw MP Naz Shah suspended from the Labour Party in 2016, an image that advocates the ‘transportation’ of Israel to the United States to end ‘foreign interference’ in the Middle East. Next up is a graphic Halawa tweeted showing a child being burned

Will Alan Rusbridger apologise for the Guardian’s Republican cell?

Subscribers will know that I wrote in my column for the magazine this week about the revelations by former journalist Roy Greenslade that he was an active supporter of the IRA throughout the Troubles. But there are a number of people who we should still hear from on this, and have not. One is Greenslade’s long-term editor and defender at the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, now the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. As I mentioned in my column, in 2000 The Spectator ran a piece by Stephen Glover identifying a Republican cell within the Guardian. Rusbridger responded furiously to this, denouncing the piece, The Spectator, the magazine’s then-editor Boris Johnson, and

Why did Roy Greenslade demonise me when I accused an IRA member of rape?

Does it really matter if someone who was a newspaper editor, columnist and journalism professor has now admitted to being an unapologetic supporter for the ‘physical force’ carried out by the IRA? In short, yes it does, very much. You might not have heard of Roy Greenslade until the story this weekend that the former Daily Mirror editor, and Sun executive outed himself as an ardent IRA supporter. But we now know that, while Greenslade had platformed himself in some very powerful publications as commentator and champion of media ethics, he was, arguably, a master of cognitive dissonance when it came to his own profession. As one of the targets of

Ian Acheson

What Roy Greenslade doesn’t understand about the Troubles

Belleek is the most westerly point in the United Kingdom. It’s a small village, right on Northern Ireland’s frontier where Country Fermanagh reaches out towards the Atlantic. The final destination for many motorists driving across a now invisible border are the beaches of County Donegal. It is the place we learned this weekend where journalist Roy Greenslade was persuaded to support the violent extremism of the provisional IRA in the 1970s and 80s. Greenslade’s views on republican terrorism were, of course, an open secret for many years, as he rose to senior positions at the Sunday Times, the Daily Mirror and, latterly, became a professor of journalism at City, University

Tom Goodenough

Why did I pay £9,000 for Roy Greenslade to lecture me on media ethics?

What qualifies Roy Greenslade to lecture students on media ethics? It certainly doesn’t appear to be his own attitude towards telling the truth. When he taught me at City, Greenslade liked to hold forth on the vices of the tabloid press. He was quieter on his own red top past, neglecting to often mention his rise to the top of the ranks at the Sun and the Daily Mirror. Nor, too, did he talk much about allegedly having a hand in faking a spot the ball competition. It is now clear there was something else Greenslade was eager not to talk about during his long career in journalism: his secret support of

The Guardian apologises for David Cameron editorial

What is going on at The Guardian? They don’t like David Cameron, fair enough, but an editorial published earlier on this evening attacked him for only experiencing “privileged pain” following the death of Ivan, his six-year-old, severely-disabled son. Its leading article, published at 8.40pm – and presumably in the print issue tomorrow – had this to say:- Mr Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain. The miseries of boarding school at seven are entirely real and for some people emotionally crippling but they come with an assurance that only important people can suffer that way. Even his experience of the NHS,

The Observer’s unfortunate mix-up

Someone at No. 10 must have had the shock of their lives over the weekend. The new chancellor Sajid Javid had written in the Observer calling for a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson before offering his ‘full support’ to a government of national unity to extend Article 50. Perhaps the former Remain campaigner turned Leave backer had been reconverted to his former cause by the infamous doom-mongers at the Treasury? In fact, the offending article – ‘It’s no time to play parliamentary poker. Let the people decide on Brexit’ – had been written by Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, rather than Sajid Javid. Oh dear…

Your problems solved | 25 July 2019

Q. It was 10 p.m. by the time the canapés appeared and by then it was already too late. The well-oiled guests, including many old friends, were not drawn from the widest gene pool; many of the men had been to ‘school’ and there was a large Oxbridge contingent, of which I was one. I was doing my best to amuse an attractive woman while my wife’s back was turned when the spouse of a well-known Guardian journalist cut me off mid-flow. ‘You’ve come up!’ she declared, apropos of absolutely nothing. ‘You’ve come up a long way, haven’t you?’ It is true that I grew up in an unfashionable part

Is the Guardian practising what it preaches on climate change?

The Guardian has an advertisement today from Sainsbury’s. Nothing wrong with that; respectable paper, respectable retailer. It’s the nature of the ad that’s interesting: a big bubble saying Save 10p per litre of fuel, surmounted by a picture of a petrol pump nozzle. You can see were the problem lies, can’t you? This is the paper that’s sympathetic to Extinction Rebellion, to Greta Thunberg, to the anti-fossil fuel activists who campaign against the British Museum accepting funding from BP, now giving space to a company flogging petroleum cheap, thereby stimulating consumption. Indeed, on its front page, the Guardian gives coverage to the report from the Committee on Climate Change which is described as “a

Fretting over ‘land inequality’ is a waste of time

As if the nation is not already mired in enough scandal, now comes the revelation that half the land in England is owned by just 25,000 individuals and organisations (1% of the population!). How wrong and elitist that sounds when placed beneath a Guardian headline which implies it is a yet another measure of horrible inequality and deprivation. According to Labour MP John Trickett “The dramatic concentration of land ownership is an inescapable reminder that ours is a country for the few and not the many”. But it means nothing at all. We are not an agrarian society. Fewer than one per cent of the population are employed in agriculture.

George Monbiot – No Apology

A couple of days ago I wrote an article uncovering George Monbiot’s shadowy past as an agent of Satan, which was published here. Mr Monbiot took great exception to my suggestion that he kept his extremely privileged upbringing from his readers. He demanded a “correction”. However, when asked to prove that he was upfront about his background he pointed to a handful of articles, some 20 years old, including one with this following line from 2009: “Take one of its finest and most famous holdings: Stowe Landscape Gardens. I know them well, for I enjoyed the astonishing unearned privilege of attending the school that’s housed there.” Not only was it almost

Without prejudice

For months I’ve been looking forward to the Guardian’s much-heralded report on racism in Britain, which was unveiled this week. As a nation, we suffer from our fair share of divisions, with new fault lines opening up all the time, but our record when it comes to race relations is pretty good. Surely, a newspaper that prides itself on being guided by the evidence would reflect this? We’re often told by members of the identitarian left that Britain is more racist than most other countries, but I didn’t expect the Guardian to fall for that. When comparing different countries, one way of gauging the level of racism is to ask whether

The curious omission from Alan Rusbridger’s book

Alan Rusbridger’s new book, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now, is a thoughtful, if somewhat prolix, analysis of the tectonic changes that the internet is effecting on journalism. But its real message – and how insidiously it drips through the pages – is that virtually every national newspaper in Britain is scurrilous, corrupt and amoral with one iridescent exception. Yes, you’ve guessed it: the Guardian. Now Alan is a very gifted journalist with huge achievements to his name – achievements, incidentally that he’s not reluctant to dwell on. So how sad that the defining tone of this tome is sanctimony and self-justification. Unedifyingly, it manages to combine rather cloying

Letterbox-gate: who said it first – Boris or the Guardian?

In a strongly worded editorial on Tuesday, the Guardian newspaper did not hide its contempt for what it called Boris Johnson’s ‘tasteless newspaper column joke’ which compared women in burqas to letterboxes. ‘Baroness Warsi was absolutely correct to call Mr Johnson out on this on Tuesday when she called the remarks “dog-whistle Islamophobia”‘, it thundered. All of this somewhat surprised Mr Steerpike. Not because of the sanctimony, but because, as one eagle-eye reader got in touch to point out, the paper had already beaten Boris to the joke. In 2013, it published a column by Remona Aly entitled ‘Nine uses for a burqa … that don’t involve bashing them.’ In

Fewer British workers are sick, so why isn’t the Guardian celebrating?

I know the Guardian is desperate to stop Brexit and will dredge up anything to try to back its case – daily running fanciful predictions of economic Armageddon made by think-tanks as if they were fact, even though those same think tanks have been hopelessly wrong in the past. But honestly, there comes a point when even the newspaper’s editors must be beginning to realise that their demented doom-mongering is making them look ridiculous.     This week the Office of National Statistics (ONS) put out figures showing yet another decline in the number of days lost to sickness by British workers. It is now down to an average of 4.1 days

Fact check: the Observer’s ‘one million students’ back second Brexit vote report

Here we go. With David Miliband dipping his toe back into UK politics as part of the ‘stop Hard (any) Brexit’ campaign, there appears to be a new momentum to Remain efforts. In this vein, Mr S read the Observer‘s splash this weekend with particular interest. The paper reports ‘one million students join calls for vote on Brexit deal’. So, is this the start of something big? A number that could tip the scales in the facour of Remain in a future vote? THE OBSERVER: One million students join call for vote on Brexit deal #tomorrowspaperstoday — Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) May 12, 2018 Perhaps not. What the headline doesn’t

Guardian’s Saudi dilemma

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is in town today for a three-day state visit with a charm offensive from the British government and royal family. Proving that he is a very modern prince, Mohammed bin Salman has also managed a media PR blitz with pro-Saudi Arabia adverts in a host of papers and media outlets. The Guardian is one of the many papers to do so today: Conflicting messages from @guardian this morning ???? — Declan Cashin (@Tweet_Dec) March 7, 2018 Only Mr S can’t help but wonder how Grauniad columnist and Saudi critic Owen Jones will react? Jones has been heavily critical of any

Grauniad’s Dominic Raab attack falls short

The Grauniad is on a mission this week to expose the shortcomings of the government’s crackdown on unpaid internships. The paper reported that Dominic Raab, the Conservative minister, had advertised an unpaid internship to support his constituency work just hours before the government published its plan to tackle unfair working practices. Only, Mr S can’t help but wonder whether the paper ought to take heed of the old adage ‘people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’. After all, the Grauniad is the proud owner of the ‘positive action scheme’ which offers two week placements to BAME candidates… for no money. ‘The scheme is unpaid, though reasonable daily travel expenses

Guardian’s tabloid makeover

Here we go. As of Monday, the Guardian is a tabloid – in the physical sense anyway. The paper’s editor Katharine Viner has revealed the new look paper online – complete with masthead: RIP Berliner…