Arriving late at this party I know, but better late than never. Having not paid any attention to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (origin of the false Newsnight claims against Lord McAlpine) before today it was interesting to glance through the Who’s Who of that organisation.
The Daily Mail is giving the impression its hacks also haven’t paid any attention to it before today, citing information dating back to 2009 lifted almost verbatim from Roy Greenslade’s blog. But that’s another story.
What is interesting is that some people taking a first glance see a spider’s web of connections enjoyed by the Bureau’s staff, which appear to transcend the supposed left-right media divide. But then the left-right divide only exists in the battle of the columnists. The hacks themselves are, by a huge majority, the usual bunch of socialist ‘intelligensia’ craving advancement to the lavishly paid ranks of the self regarding media elite. Their track record is one of going after Tories and people on the centre-right of politics. In fact it’s hard to find anyone the Bureau’s team have gone after where the attack hasn’t come from the left.
This blog has previously highlighted an initially inexplicable Daily Mail decision in August last year to publish a story about David Leigh’s own phone hacking exploits and the news he was facing questioning by police, then completely remove it and attempt to erase it from the public record without explanation or retraction. The suspicion was that someone at the Mail or with strong influence at the Mail who was close to Leigh had got the story removed.
Now we see that one of the Mail on Sunday’s favourite daughters, Rachel Oldroyd, who spent 13 years at the MoS rubbing shoulders with fellow media travellers, is the Deputy Editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Jumping back to Greenslade’s blog we note that another luminary of the Bureau is none other than David Leigh, who was kept company there by his Guardian sidekicks Nick Davies and Mark Hollingsworth. In fact, having worked on Julian Assange for days to get him to hand over the Wikileaks files, Leigh saw to it the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was given access to them – something that Oldroyd then wrote about.
In the newly recognised best tradition of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, we do not need any actual, you know, evidence in order to give the impression that Oldroyd may have influenced the Daily Mail on behalf of Leigh to get the story taken down.
But it does raise a question. Is the Bureau of Investigative Journalism really an entity devoted to exposing the truth? Or is it just a network of old hacks who cover each other’s backs to stop stories reaching the public domain? We will leave it there and let readers decide for themselves.
Update: The Mail has now updated its story after we pointed out the Greenslade blog post dates back to 2009 they have now put in that caveat (you’re welcome) – but interestingly the revised piece adds that David Leigh, Nick Davies and Heather Brooke all deny any involvement with the Bureau. This is all the more intriguing because as avid Guardianistas who rub shoulders with Greenslade, are we to believe he never mentioned their alleged involvement to them? If Greenslade was wrong, why did they not correct Greenslade’s assertion in 2009? Something doesn’t add up. Perhaps they should now investigate themselves?