With her 'journalism' deemed untrue and her libel trial unravelling, will ‘award-winning’ Carole Cadwalladr get to keep her gongs?
The headline said it all above the prize-winning journalist’s latest piece, ‘A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum.’
Wow! As a tale, it was a liberal journalist’s jackpot. Scheming Russians meddling in British democracy from the heart of Westminster, nefarious foreign agents pulling the strings of populist political puppets to influence the outcome of the most important referendum in a generation.
The shocking details of wrongdoing certainly would have been award-worthy journalism, had any of it been true.
The wild allegations have been slowly unravelling in the Le Carré-style intrigue woven by Carole Cadwalladr, a features hack on The Observer newspaper (circulation a humble 140K), who claims one of the key actors, Leave.EU backer Arron Banks had called her “a crazy conspiratorial woman who lives alone with their cats.” While she was offended by the misogyny of that insult, it’s nothing to the shame she now faces.
With her credibility shot to pieces, surely crusading Cadwalladr should hand back her coveted Orwell Prize and the Reporters Without Borders ‘L’esprit de RSF’ gong she won for her series of articles on alleged foreign interference in British politics.
Because her world of carefully crafted conspiracy has finally crumbled, she was expected to appear in court this morning for the latest round of Banks’ libel case against her – she accused him of telling lies about his relationship with Russia in a TED Talk. Online reports claimed the journalist had pulled the plug at the eleventh hour on two of the three defences she was relying on – truth and limitation – clinging to the lone defence that her claims against Banks were all in the public interest.
But, surely, by admitting that you have no evidence to prove something is true, it cannot logically be argued that publishing said thing is in the public interest? Or am I missing something?
Banks, who has clearly got under Cadwalladr’s skin, expects a finale, tweeting today: “It’s hugely disappointing that she couldn’t just apologise months ago and draw a line under this whole episode.”
It’s hugely disappointing that she couldn’t just apologise months ago and draw a line under this whole episode: This was never about press freedom but the truth .. https://t.co/hciw785f8e— Arron Banks (@Arron_banks) November 26, 2020
What should really sting Cadwalladr is the bill for a £62,000 (almost $83,000) down-payment towards Banks’ legal costs – likely to be much higher later – that she has been ordered to make. But that financial pain has been massively eased by the vast stockpile of cash her gullible supporters have donated, thanks to her crowdfunding efforts. So far her fantasies have raised more than half a million pounds – £364,000 ($486,000) on gofundme, £168,000 ($224,000) on crowdjustice and almost £10,000 on crowdfunder. Who needs to worry about legal costs when the money is so easy to come by?
No doubt Banks will have his eye on that crowdfunded war chest.
With the National Crime Agency finding no evidence of wrongdoing, the Information Commissioner (ICO) clearing Cambridge Analytica of any wrongdoing whatsoever and Cadwalladr herself admitting she had wrongly accused Banks of having broken the law, this shameful put-up job may finally have run its course.
And what about the allegedly suspect £8 million in loans Banks lent to Leave.EU probed by the NCA? It’s final report read, “The NCA has found no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed... It will therefore take no further action against Mr Banks.”Also on rt.com Brexit campaign donor Banks gloats after report journalist Carole Cadwalladr 'admits having no evidence’ of his Russia dealings
And all that dodgy data manipulation by Cambridge Analytica? Just last month, the ICO, Elizabeth Denham, completed a three-year inquiry only to announce there was “no further evidence to change my earlier view that CA (Cambridge Analytica) was not involved in the EU referendum campaign in the UK.”
These findings make a mockery of all those self-congratulatory awards handed out among the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic for exposing… absolutely nothing.
No Russian funding. No Cambridge Analytica interference. No criminality. Nothing.
This humiliation wasn’t the end. Last month Cadwalladr couldn’t bear to leave well-enough alone and took to Twitter once more to attack her nemesis, in a move that hilariously backfired.
The result? Well, it wasn’t pretty. The journalist, no doubt through gritted teeth, announced on Twitter on November 6 that, “On 22 Oct 2020, I tweeted that Arron had been found to have broken the law. I accept he has not. I regret making this false statement, which I have deleted. I undertake not to repeat it. I apologise to Arron for the upset and distress caused.”
ARRON BANKS – APOLOGYOn 22 Oct 2020, I tweeted that Arron had been found to have broken the law. I accept he has not. I regret making this false statement, which I have deleted. I undertake not to repeat it. I apologise to Arron for the upset and distress caused— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) November 6, 2020
Still, the libel case hung over Cadwalladr’s head but the slim thread holding it looks about ready to snap, thanks to the lack of any viable defence, and that should finally close the book on this fairy tale, as soon as a few remaining wrongs are righted.
Because if justice really is to be done then Cadwalladr should hand back those prizes wrongly awarded to her on the basis of disinformation, accompanied by a grovelling apology and that self-righteous TED Talk should be taken down immediately. Yet somehow I don’t think any of this will happen because we all know that the liberal media is never wrong, even when it clearly is.
Depressingly, it appears yet again that there is more than a shred of truth to the cynical maxim in journalism, to NEVER let the facts stand in the way of a good story.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.