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10th October 2011
I saw this the other day and felt refreshed. Cleansed even. And by a journalist. A real, live journalist – without the ugly look-at-clever-me appendage most of the British variety drag around on their shoulder hanging putridly off the cynicism chip.
The article is by Ahmed M Kamura at Newstime Africa. It refers to this at The Telegraph by Richard Eden. Apart from the main thrust of the article – praising the work of “this wonderful statesman” it also takes on our disgraceful, self-debased media, including broadcasting media as exemplified by Peter Oborne’s [possibly libellous] junk on Channel 4 Dispatches recently.
Our printed press, mainly The Telegraph on this occasion (but there are many others, as we all know) takes most of the criticism. Well deserved, imho.
Mr Kamura’s article is cross-posted below, with my sincere thanks to him.
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper should shut up – Tony Blair is doing a fantastic job in Africa!
Not a week passes by that the British press doesn’t take a jab at the former Prime Minister Tony Blair. For one reason or another, the continuous hounding has become a standard that the press here believes will guarantee them sales. The relentless attacks have become like a cult thing where it has to be done come what may. There’s never a talk about the amazing contribution that this hardworking former Prime Minister has made to Britain and the world in general. The Iraq war has become synonymous of a man whose achievements should be the envy of most current world leaders. But sadly, the British press that is supposed to elevate his profile in the media, are the ones who are taking turns in trashing the reputation of this fine international public servant. So what – he took British forces to war in Iraq on what the media here says was based on flawed intelligence – is that reason enough to continue to bash his image in the media? British newspapers need to move on. Blair’s era as PM has ended. Apparently, it seems they wish he was still Prime Minister as his presence at Number 10 helped them sell tons of papers – reflecting how popular Blair was to the British people.
The British media is notorious for hyping unnecessary issues – and as the recent phone hacking scandal has revealed – they would go through extra-ordinary means to secure damaging material on anyone they deem could make good gossip, and then embark on destroying their reputation – with no remorse. It is indeed disgraceful that respectable journalists would engage in such rancor – when they should instigate debate on how to help make the British society better for all. But i guess that doesn’t sell newspapers – not a viable commercial effort – as morals are thrown out of the window in place of dishing garbage to sometimes unsuspecting readers.
The British press is passionate about anything Blair. Recently, a TV documentary by a former broadsheet journalist actually went out of its way to investigate the business dealings of Tony Blair – just to find any flaws in the way he manages his charity and other work – when in fact no one has complained!! No one is talking about the impact Blair’s work is having in places like Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone – where remarkable success is being made in how the people are governed. This sadly, would never make it to the front pages of British newspapers. The obsession to trash Blair’s reputation is second only to the scandal that has engulfed the corrupt British press establishment itself. I believe that the fascination with Blair stems from the fact that most in the media were hoping to see his demise after he left office – and the remarkable success he has made both with his charity and his work as Quartet Envoy has left some in shock – as most were looking forward to Blair’s downfall and use every opportunity to write vile things about this wonderful statesman – but now they have to contend with the outstanding success of a man who continues to use his world-class leadership stature in the international arena.
I have lived in Britain long enough to know how some in the press operate. Being a Journalist myself – i have seen how some credible newspapers have fallen far short of their moral obligations. I have also seen how the tenets of the profession is totally disregarded by tabloid newspaper and their journalists – just to ensure a controversial headline. On May 13th 2007 when Tony Blair was leaving office, the reputable New York Times reported “ there is no denying the political brilliance that won Blair rare longevity as prime minister. He refashioned the Labour Party after years in the political wilderness, molding a British version of Bill Clinton’s third way – a cleverly packaged balancing of Margaret Thatcher’s free-market policies with a willingness to spend revenues from a booming economy on hospitals, schools and public safety. Blair deserves the praise he has received for achieving peace in Northern Ireland, for the creation of separate legislatures in Scotland and Wales, and for overcoming his Tory predecessors’ knee-jerk hostility to the European Union. Blair sagely dispensed with British insularity when he backed the EU expansion that brought in Central European countries of the vanished Soviet bloc. And he rightly preached a policy of building a strong Europe that would not weaken the trans-Atlantic alliance”. This is indeed an excellent assessment of some of Blair’s achievements – the type that will never make it to the OP/ED’s of British newspapers!!
On the 9th October edition of the British Telegraph, it is reported: “Tony Blair’s charity set up to alleviate poverty in Africa spends more than £1.6 million on its staff” – I don’t personally see anything wrong with this. If Blair was paying his staff peanuts or below the British minimum wage. I wonder what the headlines would be! These nasty behavior from newspapers that are supposed to be respectable, exposes a daft agenda that comes into play when there is insufficient material to make it to the next edition. The deliberate cocked-up attempt to create a story out of nothing relevant could easily be identified in the flow of the story itself. The report went on: “It paid its 22 employees, seven secondees and sub-contractors a total of more than £1.6 million. This translates as more than £57,000 a year for each of Blair’s staff. The charity works in some of the world’s poorest countries, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Rwanda. The organisation, which is one of three charities the former prime minister set up since leaving office, enjoyed an income of £3.2 million in 2010, an increase of £1.25 million since 2009. Its expenditure was almost £3 million”. The article is clearly meant to cause damage to Blair’s credibility. There must be better things to write about – especially considering the current phone hacking scandal that has engulfed the British media.
Tony Blair should be left alone to help African governments deliver good governance to their people. The continued harassment Blair has endured in the hands of the press in Britain has now become tasteless in the minds of newspaper readers who have become accustomed to see a story or two about him on the front or inner pages of newspapers nearly every week. The Telegraph’s latest attempt to smear him has only ended up chipping into the credibility of this media house I once had respect and admiration for. No matter what is written, Tony Blair has left a legacy, one that would be impossible to dismantle – no matter how mighty the pen is!!
RELATED POSTS from NewsTime Africa
I commented at Mr Kamara’s article here and tweeted on it here –
MORE EXAMPLES OF THE TELEGRAPH’S CAMPAIGN OF ENVIOUS VITRIOL TOWARDS TONY BLAIR
- On the desert trail of Tony Blair’s millions
- Tony Blair’s Byzantine World of Advisers & Lucrative Deals
- Tony Blair linked to Libyan deal with Russian oligarch
Also see – Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative – AGI
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)
Tags: Africa Governance Initiative, AGI, Ahmed M Kamara, channel 4, Daily Telegraph, debunking, dispatches, Middle East Quartet, Newstime Africa, peter oborne, Richard Eden, Telegraph should shut up about Tony Blair, Tony Blair