Cadwalladr Paid Out for Fabricated Story Sold to Mail

Carole Cadwalladr is currently cranking up her usual output of eye-swiveling conspiracy theories to the maximum. In quarantine Guido has had the time to find the first recorded case of one of Carole’s tall tales getting published

According to a 30 year old Cherwell report, Carole – then a student at Hertford College – had gatecrashed a party for “the one hundred richest and most beautiful in Oxford”. Carole and her friend, according to the report in Cherwell, subsequently concocted a story and sold it to the Daily Mail’s Nigel Dempster column. It involved the nuptial union of Viscount Weymouth’s daughter and Count Lupas von Maltzahn. £200 for the two girls, no questions asked…

Carole’s clearly changed, however, as she soon reportedly became “wracked with remorse” for the tale, and ended up giving the cash back to the journalist (supposedly in the form of £200-worth of Uncle Ben’s Cookies). Carole would double-down these days…

Read the Cherwell article in full below

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mdi-timer April 3 2020 @ 17:00 3 Apr 2020 @ 17:00 mdi-comment View Comments
Standpoint’s Latest Editor Out after Six Months

Ed Lucas is out as editor of Standpoint after just six months in the role. The former Economist journalist and Paddy Ashdown bag carrier was a surprising choice to edit the conservative-leaning magazine. He was appointed after Standpoint staff announced they were jumping ship to the newly launched magazine The Critic…

Simon Green, the Chairman of the Trustees of the Social Affairs Unit which owns and funds Standpoint, has now been through three editors in fifteen months. Guido hears that after Lucas was appointed by temperamental Green, there was a falling out. Left editorless, there’s talk that the twelve year old magazine might not publish a May issue…

mdi-timer April 3 2020 @ 15:57 3 Apr 2020 @ 15:57 mdi-comment View Comments
Queen To Address Commonwealth and Nation on Sunday at 8PM

The Queen will address the UK and and the Commonwealth about the Coronavirus crisis in a television broadcast at 8pm on Sunday evening. It will be released at the same time online on the Royal Family’s social media channels. This will be the first non-Christmas broadcast from the monarch since the Queen Mother’s death in 2002…

The Prime Minister’s address two weeks ago was seen by 27 million people. This address is likely to be even more widely watched…

mdi-timer April 3 2020 @ 14:20 3 Apr 2020 @ 14:20 mdi-comment View Comments
Peston’s Testing Shortage Disinformation

On Tuesday evening, ITV Political Editor Robert Peston made extraordinary and widely shared claims that “there is no shortage of the relevant reagents” – implying that the Government was either lying or simply hadn’t bothered to ask around. His tweet has attracted over 14,000 retweets and 20,000 likes.

His single anonymous Chemical Industries Association source could be right. On the other hand, Guido has pulled together some other people who might just know what they are talking about:

  • Professional Association of Laboratory Medics, Germany: “The association is worried that the materials required for testing — sample kits, materials for extracting samples, and reagents — are becoming scarce”
  • Department of Health, Australia: “Due to global demand exceeding supply, stocks of all laboratory related testing consumables are under considerable strain. At the moment there are particular concerns around supplies of swabs and DNA extraction kits.”
  • Centre for Disease Control, United States: Important reagents are “now are in short supply,”
  • Leo Varadkar, Ireland: “The current cause of delay is a shortage of reagents. We hope to address that but then there may be a shortage of something else. We have to be honest about that – we will hit delays.”
  • Chief Public Health Officer, Province of Manitoba, Canada: “Right now the major roadblock is the reagent and that is worldwide.”
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention, South Korea: Kwon Jun-wook, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said … it was true that Roche Diagnostics’ supply of reagents for nucleic acid extraction was not stable.”
  • Health Ministry, Israel: Deputy Director General Prof. Itamar Grotto said that “Unfortunately what we just received is not exactly what we needed. The test is comprised of many components and the main problem is that we are missing swabs.”
  • National Public Health Surveillance Laboratory, Lithuania: “The reagent kits have been shipped out but have not yet arrived. Supply chains are breaking down. We are following the situation and trying to coordinate.”
  • Metropolis Health Ltd, (registered lab offering tests) India: “Since resources are limited, including protection equipment for sample collectors and reagents, we have decided to prioritise testing to those who are most at need.”
  • Virology Laboratory at Italy’s National Institute for Infectious DiseasesEuropean Commission Coronavirus Advisory Group: “major companies that provide the reagents that labs need to analyze tests are reaching “the maximum of their capacity,” said Capobianchi, noting there’s also a need for more swabs for collecting samples. “I don’t know how long they would require to scale up their capacity,” she said of reagent producers.”

Whilst he later acknowledged that there was a global problem, Peston has still not deleted the original thread. Inevitably his later correction only got a tiny bit of attention, with fraction of the interaction.

Guido understands that the predominant reason Germany has a much higher testing rate is fortunately for them the specific diagnostics facilities needed to test for Covid-19 have a large number of branches in Germany, meaning domestic production just happened to be enormous to begin with. The UK will at least be very well served if any future pandemic requires a large supply of snide punditry…

Last night Peston had to be corrected again by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam on his understanding of which tests can do what, this morning Peston tweets that he “was slightly taken aback at the ferocity of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer’s response”. Painful viewing, see for yourself…

Isn’t it about time big news outlets had their health, rather than political teams leading on Coronavirus coverage?..

mdi-timer April 2 2020 @ 10:37 2 Apr 2020 @ 10:37 mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Proposes Replacing Licence Fee with Broadband Levy

The BBC’s response to the government’s consultation on decriminalising the licence fee is out. Their £4 billion solution to funding Gary Lineker? Switching the charge onto broadband bills – portraying it as an ‘efficiency measure’. Forgive Guido for not taking the BBC seriously in its desire to make efficiency savings…

The 40-page response states:

In some countries the TV licence, or equivalent, is linked directly to an existing common household bill. For example, it is collected through electricity bills in Italy and the equivalent of council tax bills in France. Another option to consider as the UK progresses towards universal access could be broadband bills.”

Not content with charging TV users for services they don’t want, they’ve moved onto asking internet users – who may not even own a TV – to pay for the BBC. The genius part of the plan? If you wanted to watch Netflix on your mobile phone, you’d still be forced to fund the Beeb without even owning a television. 

The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s James Roberts says

“With the nation stuck at home, making use of our broadband, the Beeb’s spotted an opportunity to slap a TV tax on the internet. Not only would it be wrong to have to pay the BBC protection money to watch Netflix, a broadband tax would also be terrible for smaller providers, whack up prices and drive poorer people offline. Ministers should take this as recognition that the licence fee is simply not fit for the twenty-first century, and that a decriminalisation of the TV tax should be the first step to future reforms.”  

Here’s an idea, why doesn’t the BBC instead of wanting to tax us to watch Netflix, make programmes people will be willing to pay for, like Netflix…

Read the BBC submission in full below:

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mdi-timer April 1 2020 @ 15:54 1 Apr 2020 @ 15:54 mdi-comment View Comments
5% to 25% Pay Cuts at Buzzfeed

Struggling Buzzfeed‘s CEO, Jonah Peretti, has emailed staff a memo telling them that there will be salary cuts at BuzzFeed and blaming the corona virus. The listicle loving digital-media company’s staffers will see their pay reduced between 5% to 25% on a progresive scale, of course. “I understand this will be a real hardship for everyone, but our goal is to make it possible for all of us to get through this,” Peretti wrote in the memo telling employees he will “not be taking a salary until we are on the other side of this crisis.” Go woke, go broke…

mdi-timer March 30 2020 @ 16:48 30 Mar 2020 @ 16:48 mdi-comment View Comments
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