Telegraph defence editor savaged by Owen Jones over Saudi-links, deletes Twitter account
Coughlin’s credibility was left in tatters after a Jones Twitter thread took aim at the journalist and his wife. The thread was instigated by Coughlin’s attendance at a party hosted by the Saudi government at the Natural History Museum, amidst allegations that Saudi agents had killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Following Khashoggi’s disappearance, Coughlin echoed the line of the Saudi government, tweeting: “Was Jamal Khasogghi a liberal or a Muslim Brotherhood lackey who reviled the West?” and linking to his article on the matter.
Read through this thread, and bear this mind. Con Coughlin was Foreign Editor, and is now Defence Editor of one of Britain's main broadsheet newspapers. He is treated as a respected journalist. What does this tell us about the British media?— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
The writer also took exception with Coughlin’s reporting on Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.
Here is a fawning interview Coughlin conducted with Saudi dictator Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in March, who he describes as a "human dynamo". He concludes: "With this young royal at the helm, Saudi Arabia’s future prospects clearly know no bounds." 🤢 https://t.co/jJeEdfdHh7— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
All Coughlin does is churn out Saudi propaganda and Saudi talking points. Check this out when Saudi Arabia and its allies clashed with Qatar. Is this news reporting, or a de facto press release Saudi Arabia might as well have written? https://t.co/2uiTubxRgkpic.twitter.com/u6pmwhVAqg— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
Jones didn’t only look at Coughlin’s recent work and connections, he also went back into the veteran’s career to expose numerous instances where Coughlin was reportedly fed lines by MI6, writing: “One false story fed to him by MI6 about Saif Gaddafi led to the Sunday Telegraph apologising for libel.”
Stories published by Con Coughlin include a front page splash: 'TERRORIST BEHIND SEPTEMBER 11 STRIKE WAS TRAINED BY SADDAM'. It was based on a forged letter which had been fed to him. https://t.co/31rSY7XUJk— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
As Newsweek notes, Coughlin's "story was apparently written with a political purpose: to bolster Bush administration claims of a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam's regime." No kidding.— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
As his "story" fell apart, Coughlin said: there's "no way of verifying it. It's our job as journalists to air these things and see what happens." Errrrr.A book by Pulizter-winning journalist Ron Suskind claims the Bush administration forged the evidence. https://t.co/kLM3AEtFKX— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
The Guardian writer then exposed Coughlin for his work in the build up to the Iraq War, posting that he was involved in the pushing of ‘evidence’ of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, that “Pulizter-winning journalist Ron Suskind claims the Bush administration forged.”
Moving on to his spouse Katharine Bergen, Jones detailed how she “is a former journalist who wrote pro-Bahrain propaganda for publications ranging from The Daily Mail to Standpoint Magazine.”
Guests on the table included Philip Hammond and his wife; Tory MP Conor Burns - chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Bahrain; and Dr. Afnan Al Shuaiby, the Saudi chief executive of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce. https://t.co/Q6cAGDTakwpic.twitter.com/Pko2zdW6Ub— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2018
The Twitter thread subsequently went viral, with thousands re-tweeting and liking Jones’ posts. He was hailed by many, although one former Guardian journalist said his words would be a lot more powerful if he looked at his own employers too.
Good to see Owen Jones regularly criticising the corporate media. Now if he'll carry through his own logic to conclude that the Guardian, his employer, is also part of the corporate media – and part of the problem – we'll be making real progress https://t.co/RLuQHCJgUS— Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) October 15, 2018
It is unclear as to Coughlin’s response to the attack, other than to delete his Twitter account. The editor did, however, have a story published on Sunday, titled: “Are you smart enough to pass the GCHQ entrance exam? Test your intelligence with these extracts from the world’s toughest puzzle book.”
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