To be fair, I started it when I tweeted the following:
If you were starting to feel sorry for tabloid journos, listen to ex NOTW hack Jules Stenson on Media Show Pod. What a turd #journalism
Stenson took great exception to this and replied. I have to say I am impressed by his dedication to Twitter – he does not follow me, my tweet was not retweeted and I didn’t tag him directly. One can only assume he regularly searches Twitter – and perhaps the internet at large – to see what people are writing and saying about him.
@MBradbrook Your students must be proud to have such an articulate man as a lecturer.
First off I have to say. It’s a fair cop. I was not at my most eloquent when I described Stenson as a ‘turd’ – but then, in my defence, neither was I at my most inaccurate.
I should add that I don’t personally know him so perhaps I should amend my description to ‘professional turd’, because for all I know he might be lovely to kittens and a perfect delight in his home life.
What was it about his interview that irked me so? Well, it was his lack of honesty. By that I don’t mean that he outright lied but, like many tabloid journalists, he failed to tell the whole truth.
1) Hugh Grant was a legitimate target for press intrusion because he supported greater regulation of the press.
2) Steve Coogan was a legitimate target for press intrusion as he gave Piers Morgan a ‘laddish interview’ in which he talked about his private life.
What is the dishonesty here? Well how about:
1) Hugh Grant has had his private life ‘investigated’ by the tabloids for far longer than he has supported press regulation. It’s not a chicken and egg situation here people – he has been a topic of fascination for 15 years plus.
2) Likewise, Coogan has also been on the receiving end so often before the interview with Piers Morgan that it renders Stenson’s argument disingenuous in the extreme.
To be honest I was a little embarrassed at being caught descending to the level of name-calling but replied to Stenson as follows:
@julesstenson sometimes it's just best to tell it as it is. There are worse crimes in #journalism than a lack of articulation
He was on no mood to debate journalistic crimes however and went on the offensive:
@MBradbrook Staggered they let you teach journalism.
Presuming ‘they’ to be the University of Gloucestershire (my employer) it seems an incredible statement to make on the basis of a 140 character tweet. But then again, doesn’t that just sum up the issues with tabloid journalism? No research, no analysis just a snap judgement.
But no problem , I thought. I’m better than this so I invited Stenson to debate the issue at the University of Gloucestershire – I’m sure that while he was here he could probably even find a couple of students willing to describe me ‘a turd’ just to add balance.
But no. Debate was not high on Stenson’s agenda:
@MBradbrook You just carry on filling young minds at the University of Gloucs with poison and feel very proud of yourself.
Poison! Many of my students will be willing to testify that I fill their minds with boredom but poison seems a bit strong. Perhaps he thinks that Grant, Coogan and myself are to form a lunatic fringe of the Leveson Inquiry and start firebombing the temples of St Rupert?
Not a bad idea. Perhaps then we’ll get the journalism we deserve rather than the patronising, celebrity-filled, dishonest tat that gets served up right now.
What’s Stenson up to now? Well he’s tweeting about Christopher Jefferies of course. He’s tweeting about the most undeserving victim of press intrusion and monstering in history.
What a nice man.
Mind you. I am smiling because I have written the name Stenson so often now that all I can think of is Fenton, the deer-herding labrador.