Last week, a large part of the mainstream media (MSM) journalist corps seemed to suffer some kind of collective hysteria.
It began with a number of minor MSM’ers acting shocked to their echo chamber after the SKWAWKBOX published an analysis of how ‘fake news’ can stem from sloppy or lazy journalism, based on the misuse of one of their tweets by other journalists. The article wasn’t even really critical of that journalist, but there was a bit of melodrama:
The most striking thing about the thread is the sense of self-entitlement that runs through it – apparently holding them to account for their words in any way is a source of low-level astonishment.
But that sense of entitlement was writ large in the reaction a few hours later of Paul Waugh, the Executive Editor of Politics for the Huffington Post, when a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s staff dared to give a story, which Waugh thought he had a right to, to another journalist.
The rant, or hissy-fit, depending on your viewpoint, encompassed a remarkable nineteen tweets fired off in quick succession. Putting them all here would make this article unwieldy, but here are a few examples and the whole thread has been archived for posterity, just in case Mr Waugh decides to delete them later:
Safe to say that Waugh was 1) upset, 2) thinks he merits a lot of respect given his ’19 yrs’ in the Commons 3) thinks he should get preference for his ‘friendly’ stance, even though there appears to be no particular shortage of negative publicity about Corbyn and Labour under him associated with Paul Waugh.
So it might not be unreasonable to see as simple payback today’s HuffPost article in which he claims that
The article talks of the blow this is to the Labour leader, but is based on an anonymous “one party source”.
The SKWAWKBOX can confirm, courtesy of several senior Labour sources that Gaving Sibthorpe is not leaving Corbyn’s team. He was on jury duty for two weeks and then off ill – but remains as committed a team member as ever.
Mischief-making on the part of a journalist seeking payback? By a right-wing Labour trouble-making MP? Both?
But on the principle that ‘turnabout is fair play’, the SKWAWKBOX can bring you some real news that Mr Waugh might prefer to keep out of the limelight and which may shed some light on his frame of mind at the moment.
This blog has received a ‘DM’ (Twitter direct message) exchange between Mr Waugh and an aspiring, currently freelance journalist, who needn’t be named for the purposes of this article.
Rather than any comradely sense of support and mutual understanding, the exchange does not reflect well on Waugh:
Waugh’s messages drip with sarcasm and a barbed, unpleasant sense of superiority. “I’m a 19yr Westminster veteran and “I really appreciate it’s hard for you to” even get a foothold” “From your tweets I really can’t understand why”.
Strike you as petty? Yes, me too. Perhaps he was just having an off-day.
But Mr Waugh’s ego is well and truly on show – along with a tendency to strike out if it feels threatened.
So it might be wise not to set too much store by a ‘story’ about a supposed ‘blow’ to Jeremy Corbyn on the next business day after Waugh had a meltdown over a perceived slight by Corbyn’s media team. And to expect something ‘charming’ about the SKWAWKBOX now, possibly.
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