Cummings and goings

As much as I dislike the man (and I must surely be in the majority there), there’s a disturbing sense of “gotcha” glee about how the media is reacting to the news that the prime minister’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings broke lockdown regulations at the height of the outbreak to travel over 250 miles to his family home in County Durham while showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Incredibly, on Saturday, Sky News even tried to speculate that he could actually be responsible for the spread of COVID-19 to the north east!

Of course he flouted the rules, but we all know he’s not going to resign because he has no respect for anything or anyone and it’s even less likely that Boris will sack him because he knows too much – it would be like telling Emu to sack Rod Hull.

National newspapers have always been partisan, but every news report now, be it in print or broadcast, seems to have an agenda behind it.

I’ve been a journalist for 35 years and over that time I’ve seen the impartiality of national journalism almost disappear completely.

I don’t see how authority can be held to account with any credibility if the reporter concerned is not focused purely on the facts and whatever hidden truths are there to be exposed without their own prejudices governing how it’s presented to the public.

I could very easily name names here, but who am I to do that? These people are national names appearing on TV daily, even the print guys, and it gets more shocking and outrageous with every report. Some of them seem more concerned with being performing seals than journalists.

The attempt to influence the masses may have always been there, but now it’s so explicit national media across all platforms has become as shameless as Dominic Cummings so descending like a pack of rabid wolves on him (themselves completely ignoring social distancing rules in the melee outside his house), no matter how he may have set a very poor example (not that he dives a damn), smacks of hypocrisy.

Lesson one to every journalist that has ever worked under me – and they include award winners and people who went on to work at national newspapers and beyond – has always been that we report the news, we don’t make the news.

There are two ways to interpret that and both apply.

Beach bums

When I think about the brave health workers who have died from contracting COVID-19 while helping the sick and then see photos of a crowded Southend seafront last Wednesday, I’m afraid the first thing that comes to mind is that if natural selection exists it isn’t working.

It would be horrible to actually wish this illness on anyone (apart from Trump, of course) but with so many selfish idiots (the kindest epithet I could come up with while fighting the urge to use another word ending in ts) showing a complete disregard for not only their own safety, but the safety of others and disrespecting the grief families of those who have died are having to endure, it’s very difficult not to wish for some sort of payback or consequence.

I saw this coming last week, but there’s absolutely no point in saying I told you so because it doesn’t change anything.

But the chances of a second spike just got higher.

Imbecillin

Are the side effects of hydroxychloroquine that your skin turns orange and you become an insane megalomaniac?

In the most extreme cases it can result in kidney or liver failure so for goodness sake, let Trump carry on taking his imbecillin all he likes.

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week

The Chase:

Q: Which ‘E’ is given during labour to numb the lower half of the body?

A: Enema

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Edward Case

Columnist