5 Year-Old Vintage Hennessy


The Sunday Telegraph’s Patrick Hennessy has gone big today on his mate Damian McBride’s confirmation two weeks ago of the truth of a Guido story about a secret email system dating back from 2007.

Hennessy’s rival John Rentoul over at the Sunday Indy mocks the vintage of the story:

Truth will out. Eventually.

Lebedev Hit By Huge Indy Losses

Evgeny Lebedev has suffered a huge hit to his pocket after his company announced losses of £24 million for the Independent, i and Evening Standard newspapers over the last financial year. Things were particularly bad for the Indy, which made a pre-tax loss of £18 million. Owen Jones may not get that pay rise he is lobbying after…

Total losses for Lebedev Holdings rose by 22.5% while an unnamed Indy director took home over half a million quid in his pay package – the same amount of money being haemorrhaged by Lebedev’s rags each week.

What a way to run a business…

Indy Sketch-writer Misses Paper's Splash

The Indy’s Simon Carr used his sketch today to slam the idea that the Tories have reverted to their “nasty party” image. Carr rubbished the suggestion, arguing:

“If that’s the return of the Nasty Party, there’ll be an awful lot of nice people nodding along with it. It’s the Gordon Brown school of sketch writing to call David Cameron nasty, with his nice hair, nice manner, nice wife, nice – I don’t know – internet history, and perfectly nice way of presenting the facts of life to a recalcitrant nation of benefit dependants.”

Guido imagines Carr would be feeling brave if, say, his newspaper had run the headline “Return of the nasty party” the day before. Oh wait…

The Penny is Dropping

Guido understands that Johann Hari’s close friend, protégé and replacement at the Indy “Laurie Penny” could be about to get caught up in a similar quote fabrication scandal. With the Indy’s terrible handling of one star’s demise, Guido does not imagine that their new £25,000 per annum columnist could, or would, receive the same leniency afforded to Hari.

Hari slayer Brian Whelan is up to something, but many have long suspected that the “voice of a generation” was actually listening to voices in her head. Take this correction to her infamous Guardian article about her alleged time spent taking her clothes off on a stage:

“This article was amended on 8 July 2009. Changes were made to the second paragraph to make clear that the author was not persuaded by the managers of a local burlesque troupe to get into stripping, but did so voluntarily. The Burlesque troupe, with which the author performed, created a new format for the show after the Edinburgh 2005 run, not before, as the article originally suggested. The sentence beginning “Peeling off my fluffy underwear…” was moved from the end of the relevant paragraph to the beginning to correct this impression.” The words “after I left” were added before “as my troupe became more successful” to make clear that Laurie Penny did not perform in the new show.”

If you read the article without the words “after I left”, it is a riveting personal read and once added it becomes clear that the second half is almost totally embellished. Guido is confident that the Indy would have done a full and thorough check up of their recent hire in the wake of the Hari scandal. Once was bad enough, but twice…

UPDATE:

Dirty Hari Returning to Indy in “Four or Five Weeks”

Despite Chris Blackhurst admitting that the paper’s reputation had suffered great damage at the hands of Johann Hari, the Indy editor also confirmed to Leveson, taking a sip of water and looking directly into the camera,  that the disgraced fraudster will be “returning as a columnist” in the next four or five weeks. He’s banned from conducting interviews though…

Apparently the fact Hari produced a doctor’s note saying he was mental was enough to satisfy the internal investigation, and subsequently the fearless inquiry into press ethics. No mention of late night racist, incest fantasy stories though..

Steve’s Pitch

They say that history is written by the victors, but that hasn’t stopped the Indy’s Steve Richards trying to buck the trend. Upon reading his “Gordon is still great and should come back and teach us all how to save the world” piece, you could be forgiven for thinking his copy was filed after the festive sherry was passed around the Indy office, but something else piqued Guido’s interest. There are mentions to previous Prime Ministers, as well as their biographies. The whole thing reads like one long job application…

Is Steve lining himself up to write the book?

The Evening Independent

The Indy and the Standard have begun a slow merger. Despite talk of “separate identities” the Lebedev’s pet Pravda projects have merged their sports and business desks. Guido got thinking, why has no newspaperever tried to go national in the evenings? Only a few more years left to give it a go…

Indy's Independence Whacked

Have you noticed anything different about the Indy in the last couple of days?

Well it seems that the paper has finally conceded that it is politically biased and susceptible to proprietorial influence. Given Evgeny Lebedev “speaks regularly” to the editor Chris Blackhurst, it was only a matter of time before the paper would have to quietly drop their lofty pretensions…

UPDATE: Co-conspirators point out that the change coincided with the arrival of Chris Blackhurst in the editor’s chair.

Blackhurst Off the Irony Scale

As ironic statements go, Indy editor Chris Blackhurst’s yesterday is surely worthy of a prize. Discussing regulation on Radio 4’s Media Show he came out in support of Ivan Lewiski’s state register of journalist.

With a straight face he said the public saw:

“journalists behaving badly and nothing happening to them… frankly, maybe we should look at striking off errant journalists.”

Applicable to anyone not called Johann…

Another Russian Mafia Hit at the Indy

Adam Leigh, the assistant news editor at the Indy, has been given the bullet. He was appointed by the old editor, Simon Kelner. His uncle.

Chris Bryant Replaces Richard Ingrams at the Indy

Guido has a sense that the Indy has, post-Hari, improved under the new editor Chris Blackhurst, the news values seem to have sharpened up a bit. It is somewhat questionable however that it is really as free from proprietorial interference as it claims on the masthead. Chris Bryant seems to have replaced Richard Ingrams as an Indy columnist, sadly his column isn’t quite as good as Ros Taylor’s parody of him, over which he threatened to sue the Guardian. Coincidentally Chris is a friend of Lebedev’s son Evgeny and was at a recent dinner party with the oligarch’s offspring. Evgeny “speaks regularly” to Chris Blackhurst, no doubt about the weather…

It is also said that the new editor is looking at the cost of the strip cartoon by Sally Ann Lasson. The current editor doesn’t find her as funny as the old editor Simon Kelner did, but then he is married to Sally…

Elsewhere the Telegraph is said to be contemplating hiring the Guardian’s feminist writer Tanya Gold for their political team. It would never have happened in Heffer’s day…

Lebedev in TV Punch-Up Owner of the Indy and Evening Standard Lashes Out

Will we be reading about this in his papers?

Indy Exposes Very Little

This morning’s Indy front page looked better than the usual polar-bear-on-a-melting-ice-cap stories, it promised exposure of 8 years of dirty work for Fleet Street by a blagging private eye, Stephen Whittamore. We actually learn nothing really new from the article. Despite having access to the Information Commissioner’s Operation Motorman files, Ian Burrell and Mark Olden don’t name a single journalist shown to have commissioned a “blagging” – the procuring of information illegally.

Journalists face two years jail time for each offence. Some 389 journalists were identified by Operation Motorman. None are named by this lamest of lame investigations to ever make a front page. Chris Bryant MP says they are not being named for legal reasons. You will note how he never mentions Andy Coulson. This is absolutely ridiculous, The Telegraph published the evidence of MPs wrong doing which led to arrests and jailings of MPs. Why won’t the Indy publish the evidence of journalists wrong doing? Be in no doubt, when Guido gets the files, he’ll publish them all, naming and shaming…

See also: The Met Widens Net

Indy Investigation Imminently Fini for Hari

The Guardian are reporting that Johann Hari is expected to be treated leniently by the investigation into his intellectual fraud led by former Indy editor Andreas Whittam Smith. Guido doesn’t think this will go down very well, but what do you reckon?

Hari is almost certain to lose the Orwell Prize, leaving the Indy on very thin ice…

Indy Shuts Down Jody McIntyre's Indy Blog for Inciting Riot

The looney left-wing Jody McIntyre became less funny when he started inciting riots on the platform offered to him by the Indy. Blogger Mark Wallace reported him to the Met, who may be a little busy, nevertheless m’learned friends advise that he could have put the Indy into trouble. Meanwhile the New Statesman’s Laurie Penny is too unwell to riot today. Ahhh…

See also: Wheels Come Off Protester’s Complaint

Indy Newsroom's Hari Missing Poster

One of Guido’s co-conspirators at the Indy sent this in. They are clearly worried about Johann Hari and have put this thoughtful missing poster at strategic points around the Indy’s newsroom floor at Northcliffe House.

The Council of the Orwell Prize met yesterday to consider and review Johann Hari’s cut ‘n pasting as well as evidence of plagiarism and passing off helpfully submitted by the public and readers of this blog. We await their judgement. 

+ + + Johann Hari Suspended Pending Investigation + + +

Ed Howker broke the news that Hari will be suspended for two months while he is investigated by former Indy editor Andreas Whittam-Smith. Polly, Kelner, Helena, Laurie, Sunny: your boy took a helluva beating.

Hari's "Scoops"

The sun isn’t going down on the Johann Hari scandal. The careless whisper that he was tidying up what the subjects of his “interviews” were saying, doesn’t cover all of his artistic prose. What about when the interviewee isn’t a writer, yet still gets a spruce up? How are we meant to find a little faith then? 

Anna Raccoon and The Debrief have been pondering Hari’s “exclusive” interview with George Michael in the Indy back in 2005. The same interview exclusively appeared on Hari’s personal site the same day. Amazingly Hari seems to have blagged another interview with the troubled singer in 2009, this time for the Huffington Post. Except it’s not a new “exclusive” interview, it’s the same one – he simply changed the ages in the piece to reflect the time passed. A simple google from the HuffPo team would have proved that. Oh and of course there were bits of the original stolen from elsewhere. Wham!

Elsewhere around the web Archbishop Cranmer has his take, the Staggers’ notes Hari’s great affection for the Daily Mail. The HuffPo covers the scandal of the Indy journalist (Hari) who is a terrible fraud, neglecting to mention that Hari has written (or rather cut and pasted) for them, for years. Fancy that…

UPDATE: Guido understands that this week’s edition of Private Eye is going to be Hari-tastic.

When Hari Met Reality: The First Time Hari Got Sacked for Making Things Up

Johann Hari has made a living out adding a little first person je ne sais quoi to his articles, also known as bullshit. Day after day new evidence emerges of his Matilda-ish tendency towards fakery and deception, and it appears to be a trick that he picked up early in his career. In October 1999 he was sacked as News Editor of Cambridge University’s Varsity student newspaper. He told friends at the time it was because the editor was “jealous of my intellect”. Another pure fabrication.

Hari was sacked after his sexed up copy, printed in the October 29, 1999 edition, included the made up fact that 1,500 students had taken part in a protest against tuition fees. It turned out to be a ridiculous exaggeration and when the editor discovered that the figure was way out, it was the final straw amidst a growing suspicion that Hari had an unfortunate tendency make up things to spice up his copy.

At least his then editor had some spine…

The Orwell Prize Council revealed yesterday that:

“Prior to presenting the award, as part of our due diligence, one of the judges contacted Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, who expressed his full confidence in the Hari articles”

Other former winners have confirmed to Guido that this was a one off and did not happen regarding their submissions, as far as Guido is aware no other editors have been contacted in this way to vouch for their hacks. What was suspicious about Hari’s work? His reputation for embellishment was known well enough in newsrooms to make the judges nervous.

The Orwell Prize Council pointedly claimed this week that they had, since awarding Hari the Orwell Prize in 2008, tightened up the rules regarding attribution of quotes. Did they have anyone in mind when they made that rule change?

On discovering yesterday that Hari entered work this year for the 2011 Orwell Prize, Guido asked the director of the prize to list the articles Hari had entered, he declined. They are it seems to go down the Orwellian memory hole. Jenni Russell won the prize this year, Hari’s continuing claim to be a former prize winner tarnishes the name of the prize. Guido knows for a fact that other prize winners feel genuine anger that Hari is among their prestigious number.

Hari defended himself in his mea culpa article using his own unique definition of plagiarism. To the charge of plagiarism we can add passing off, fraud, deception, profiting from the work of others and lying. He should be asked by the Orwell Prize Council to return the £3,000 prize money and to refrain from describing himself as a former Orwell Prize winner. As for Hari, he should note what happened to Matilda:

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,

For every time she shouted ‘Fire!’
They only answered ‘Little Liar!’
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Chris Blackhurst was announced as the new editor of The Indy today…

Kelner Up and Out at Indy

Simon Kelner has been promoted out of editing the Indy. He will take the title of Editor-in-Chief, but have no day-to-day control over the paper. Chris Blackhurst, currently the business editor of the Standard, will take over after thirteen years of Kelner.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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