OPINION: Why ‘media accountability’ has become an oxymoron

by John Ward

The mainstream media can’t help betraying their agendas….and their readers


A widely used term these days is ‘Cognitive Dissonance’. I’ve always seen it as something of a gift for The Slog, because eighteen months ago it inspired me to brand myself ‘A cognitive dissident’ – which is probably the best descriptor of what The Slog is about.

But when it comes to The Times, while the paper’s cognition appears to be all over the place, it has nothing to do with dissonance. Murdoch’s flagship title is simply employing what I would call Cognitive Convenience.

These days, the Thunderer’s raison d’etre is exactly the same as Sir Mark Sedwill’s: it exists to use any and all faked events, lies and false accusations to accelerate the speed at which the Johnson Administration (and its chief adviser Dominic Cummings) fall flat on their faces.

Little else can explain how the Times managed to insist on lockdown, brand Cummings as ‘the architect’ of lockdown, ignore all the evidence against lockdown, lie about why Dom breached the ‘rules’ on lockdown, demand he be fired for being “a hypocrite” about lockdown….and then today, run a piece suggesting what idiots the BojoCums were for installing lockdown without thinking about the economic consequences.

But such is where we are.

‘Alok Sharma and Rishi Sunak filed into the cabinet room with Boris Johnson on Tuesday. For 45 minutes the business secretary and chancellor took the prime minister through the economic outlook. It was not a pretty picture’ The Times began. Gloat gloat.

‘“I wouldn’t quite say there is going to be a tsunami of job losses,” one official familiar with the forecasts said. “But it’s a pretty enormous wave”’ the piece continued. Gloat gloat.

As a result, tunnel-vision has gripped those at the tiller, it seems: ‘A senior minister said: “They are absolutely obsessed with unemployment in No 10 – that’s the latest priority. Everything is being framed in terms of what it can do for jobs. Infrastructure, the green agenda — it’s all being seen through the prism of job creation.”’ Gloat gloat.

Ever-keen to be in on the act, Times Bitch-in-Chief Matthew Parris penned a column headed ‘Johnson has been tested and found wanting’ – this about a Prime Minister who only got himself elected five months ago:

“You and I are looking at a right Horlicks of a government,” he opened objectively, “and the rot starts at the top. If we’re really at “level four” of the epidemic, why are we even coming out of lockdown?’ If your fellow hacks are complaining about the economic consequences Matthew sweetie, why are you still on the lockdown page?

On and on it goes:

‘How is this ludicrous travel quarantine ever going to work? Will our “world-beating” phone app ever be ready? Should we wear facemasks? Why does the virus appear to have fled London when only about 20 per cent have been infected? Where might it be headed next? What plans have we for localised lockdowns? Is the two-metre rule here to stay? What about schools when other year groups return? What about public transport as we return to work?’

He makes a point of directing all these questions (to which, by the way, nobody has the answers) at Boris himself – who was at death’s door when many of them were being formulated. But they are better directed at the incompetent mandarins and contradictory “scientists” who have recommended them….yet sot often failed abysmally to follow through at ground level. Had the Government stuck with the Herd immunity approach preferred by BoJo and Cummings (and ignored the real hypocrite, Neil Ferguson) we wouldn’t be in this mess now. But Parris heads on towards the jugular:

‘But leave it off: we’ve reached a point when firing questions is just embarrassing. Why bother unless we can address them to a presiding and commanding human intelligence? Which brings us to Boris Johnson, apparently still the prime minister…..Johnson may recover fully from the coronavirus but he is not going to get better, and a horrible national crisis has put that truth on show…..As Britain wakes up to the fact that we’ve messed up, the country faces a summer when our citizens, like children not allowed out to play, will watch with noses pressed to the window as continental Europe suns itself on beaches….’

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Again with the cognitive convenience, already: we messed up because a left-wing medical tartan paint salesman recommended by the Civil Service said without lockdown there would be mass slaughter…..and your employer, little chutchy-face Mattie dear, backed them to the hilt, accusing Boris of adopting ‘a cavalier attitude in favour of herd immunity’.

Bigger things than Matthew Parris do, however, give themselves away in what is, all up, a disgracefully get-Boris edition. Predictably, the Murdoch-Sedwill pathway candidates – Starmer, Hunt and Gove – all get a mention. The description of Tuesday’s meeting was supplied by a notable Treasury Remainer, who remains anonymous although everyone in the business knows who it is. And the ‘senior Minister’ has always been close to the cultural virus Murdoch20.

But such is the Times these days: a laughing stock.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when one’s past lack of foresight is airbrushed out. It is not, however, what we should expect from our mainstream media. Regular Sloggers will know that I backed Herd Immunity from Day One: I called Ferguson out as a charlatan with a terrible track-record, and I was among the first to predict that Covid19 would fade in the summer months. I also argued vociferously that the cost of lockdown to the economy vastly outweighed any health considerations, and the desire of the political class to engage with it would end in tears.

Those looking back to Slogposts of earlier this year will look in vain for ‘secretly updated’ bits added later to try and prove myself right à la Cummings. The key posts they might wish to examine in detail are as follows:

February 9th

February 22nd

March 23rd

March 29th 

April 14th

April 17th *

April 22nd 

…..*But for those short on time, this is the one that nails it.

From the Telegraph to the Daily Mail via the Guardian, hacks are busily assigning C19/economic blame to those they don’t like. This is not the fast lane to Truth. I don’t like BoJo much either; but I despise the anti-Brexit media > Whitehall > Diehard Tory > Internationalist Left axis that will plumb every depth in a bid to be rid of the People’s will to be independent.




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