The Thrasonic Journalist Files – Day One

I have already hinted at my hostility to The Daily Telegraph‘s largely hypocritical, unjournalistic and exploitative coverage of the MP’s expenses scandal – for every genuinely scandalous story about astronomical claims for dry rot in recently flipped second homes there were twenty stories about MPs accidentally claiming 36p back for fuses, which is comparable to running a dramatic exposé about how many drivers hit 80mph on a motorway. In protest at their ultimately rather boring series of ‘Expenses Files’ I deleted the Telegraph news application from my iPhone and have rather reluctantly become a Guardian reader, though nobody seems to have taken much notice.

So, in part one of this new series exposing the unpleasant fanfaronading of Telegraph journalists, I must draw attention to this piece of smug, self-satisfied shite in which Dominic Cavendish suggests that the quality of Mark Thomas’ Fringe show is entirely the achievement of his own unspeakable rag.

I quote: …if the show was a triumph, it was our MPs ire-inducing foibles, as exclusively revealed in this paper, what won it.

Aside from the continuingly dubious use of the word ‘exclusively’, Cavendish is making the disturbing assumption that Mark Thomas somehow owes his four star review to the paper in which it is printed. He might as well suggest that satirists owe the quality of their shows to the stupidity of MPs, which may be closer to the truth but is equally ungenerous; Mark Thomas, whose material is nearly always spot on, maintains a consistent level of quality by choosing targets deserving of mockery and satirising them in an informative and balanced way, which at the very least puts him in a league well above the Telegraph and its scattergun shame and blame policy.

As for this, Mr Cavendish: It might be overstating the case to say that the Daily Telegraph has changed the face of British comedy this summer…

Might? MIGHT??? Does he really think that some of us are likely to make such an overstatement, and need hauling back with a falsely modest warning that, ‘come on now, you might be overstating the case there…’? If the British comedy establishment decided en masse to burn down Dominic Cavendish’s office it would be no more than he’s asking for.

I would very much like to see Mark Thomas explore the hypocrisy of guttersnipe journalism in his next show – then, at least, Dominic Cavendish could take some credit, and Thomas might be able to explain how a paper whose journalistic quality (if not political standpoint) I admired but a year ago has so quickly sunk to the kind of sensationalism that is normally associated with The Daily Mail (and is so much worse for its continued pretence at respectibility).

If that last sentence sounds like a hypocritical piece of groundless sensationalism itself, this story demonstrates that it’s not just the Telegraph‘s theatre reviews and political coverage that are going to pot.

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