The Scruton scandal goes deeper than a single shady hit job
Shady journalism combined with Twitter outrage have claimed yet another victim—but this one is fighting back.
Sir Roger Scruton was recently denounced after an article published in the New Statesman which painted him as a homophobic, anti-Semitic Islamophobe. That’s a mountain and mouthful of social justice trigger words. Sir Roger was quickly sacked.
The source material for the interview was analyzed by Douglas Murray in The National Review after Murray obtained the audio recording. Not only were Scruton’s comments misrepresented by the interviewer and writer of the hit piece, George Eaton, he was clearly baiting Scruton with inflammatory questions—hoping to get that out of context sound bite.
The attack on conservative voices is a specialty of Twitter mobs. A current Pew survey on Twitter users recently determined that the platform does not represent an accurate demographic of society. But that hasn’t stopped Twitter from having instant real world effects—in this case, the firing of Scruton from a government committee.
Eaton celebrated his successful smear of Sir Roger with a quickly deleted Instagram post in which he was chugging a bottle of champagne in front of the New Statesman logo. And the errors didn’t stop there.
In response to Douglas Murray releasing the audio of the interview to correct the errors, New Statesman released a transcript which they also had to correct.
When Scruton commented on the Today program that “thought crimes are being manufactured” against right wing thinkers, Zoe Williams was quick to defend the “leftwing witch-hunt” in The Guardian. Williams claims that Scruton is missing “the bigger picture” even though she acknowledges that the comments were taken out of context.
What is the “bigger picture” value of an individual being targeted and smeared by a journalist?
Williams says it’s “nothing personal” but fails to explain why it’s acceptable to misquote and attack someone personally for the greater good. In an era where members of the media are struggling for respect and not wanting to learn how to code, Williams will have to come up with a better defence of shoddy journalism.
Journalists are not only competing with bloggers on the internet now, they can be fact checked and more easily exposed if they violate ethics.
The ends do not always justify the means. If left wing journalists feel that sacrificing a human being for the collective good is acceptable then they should say that plainly.