Sunday 29 October 2017

Only connect

A Dead Ringers joke about Libby Purves's Midweek on Radio 4 was that the sainted Libby would always manage to find some extremely convoluted way to connect all of her random guests (say an astronaut, a novelist, a stamp collector and a homicidal maniac) and thereby create a happy web of interconnectedness between them. 

Dead Ringers's Libby would doubtless have been delighted by a prominent feature on the BBC News website this weekend by the far-left Greek journalist Maria Margaronis entitled Savitri Devi: The mystical fascist being resurrected by the alt-right. It brilliantly manages to connect a Nazi (Savitri Devi) to Golden Dawn and Richard Spencer (no great stretch), and then to Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, linking them all in one wide web of mystical fascist evil.

Now, Maria is quite careful in her wording about Mr Bannon in particular (and, having Googled around, I can find nothing that directly connects him to the Nazi Savitri Devi. Can you?) but certain BBC journalists  - like the BBC's White House reporter Tara McKelvey - are being less cautious in response:

No, Tara, Maria didn't say that. She only very strongly implied it. (And that's not the same thing - at least legally-speaking).

Anyhow, Maria and Tara aren't the only ones busily connecting things at the moment. There's a piece at the Guardian by Carole Cadwalladr today which almost as brilliantly manages to connect "Trump, Assange, Bannon, Farage" in "an unholy alliance". 

Reading it, I believe the headline writers seriously undersold the piece. The headline should have read, "Cambridge Analytica, Trump, LBJ, Assange, Bannon, Bigfoot, Farage, aliens, Putin, Leave.EU, the Loch Ness Monster...bound together in an unholy alliance". 

An invite to the Newsnight studio is surely winging its way to Maria and Carole as we speak, and it's surely safe to say that the late, lamented Libby Purves (still thankfully very much alive at The Times) wouldn't have had to work too hard to harmoniously connect them.


  1. I commented on this hatchet job over at Biased BBC, yesterday evening, having read the BBC's 'Magazine' article. I haven't listened to the programme yet, but I have recorded it in case I ever develop the patience and fortitude to withstand its desperate attempts to portray the entire US alt-right as a branch of the Nazi party.

    On the strength of the article, my impression was that Margaronis had sailed pretty close to the wind in her linking of Bannon with Savitri Davi but, as you suggst, possibly not quite close enough - which, inter alia, makes me wonder whether m'leaned friends have sliced and diced her little polemic prior to its release.

    Either way it was a nasty piece of work and no broadcaster with a shred of integrity would have published it.

    By the way, I wasn't aware of this blog previously. I found you when I was looking for information on the story. Congratulations - I wondered where some of the old Biased BBC hands hand gone and now I know!

    1. I stopped contributing to Biased BBC some time ago, as I felt that if the general bias of the BBC was to the right most of the people posting replies would have been quite happy, and would have seen nothing to complain about. I find this Blog much more thoughtful and considered.


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