This entry was posted on
Monday, July 19th, 2010 at
12:42 am and is filed
under Tories! Tories! Tories!.
Last Friday, on July 16, Zac Goldsmith appeared on Channel 4 news in a spectacular car-crash of an interview with Jon Snow. If you’ve not watched it yet, I highly recommend that you do, not least because watching this and then reading through some of the reactions from the right will help you to better understand what it means when certain Conservatives assure you that so-and-so ‘destroyed’ or ‘exposed’ an opponent, or that such-and-such a blogger/journalist is ‘vile’ and/or a ‘liar':
Here’s the accusation Zac Goldsmith chose to lead with (and focus on in one way or another for damn near the whole interview);
“At the end of your report last night, you stood and faced the cameras and lamented the fact that I had spoken to SKY TV, not Channel 4, and you said of course we’d be delighted to have Channel 4, I mean have him appear on Channel 4, at any time. You then repeated, I think twice on Twitter last night to your followers, at 11 o’clock, and later, you said, I’m going to quote ‘He decided to go SKY instead. We’d been asking for a response for a number of days, but until today refused to comment.’ Now, you know that’s not true.”
– Zac Goldsmith to Jon Snow (source/watch)
1. Even if we are to accept Zac Goldsmith’s last minute offer to appear on July 15 as reasonable and sincere (it is my understanding that he would only appear live in a ‘head to head’ confrontation with a relatively junior reporter, and that he made this offer very late in the day), what Jon Snow tweeted was still absolutely true; Channel 4 had indeed asked Zac Goldsmith for a response about this for a number of days (up to a week, in fact) and until the 15th – the day of Jon Snow’s tweet – Goldsmith had refused to comment.
2. The way Zac Goldsmith phrases it makes it appear as if Jon Snow was deliberately and repeatedly taunting/maligning him (late at night, no less) purely for the benefit of his Twitter followers, and this is simply not the case. Jon Snow tweeted what he did in response to a question from Jemima Khan… Zac Goldsmith’s sister. Snow then repeated it the next day in response to a false accusation from one of Jemima Khan’s keener followers that he was dodging that question. The small percentage of people likely to have checked this out for themselves are unlikely to have noticed or fully appreciated what really happened, because Jemima Khan had by then… deleted the questions/accusations she put to Jon Snow!
3. The text from Jemima Khan’s since-deleted tweets to Jon Snow appears below. I’ve reversed the archive order so they read sequentially (i.e. from the top down) and included Jon Snow’s tweets and the tweet from one of Jemima Khan’s followers (Zahid0708) for the full and proper context. The date change (from Jul 15 to Jul 16) most likely results from Jemima responding past midnight… not that there’s anything wrong with that (eh, Zac?).
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 Why didn’t Ch 4 allow Zac on tonight to respond live to your programme as he requested? Why only a written statement?
[~11PM Jul 15, 2010]
JonSnowC4: @JemKhan he decided to go to Sky instead..we had been asking him for a response for a number of days but until today refused comment
[11:17 PM Jul 15th]
Zahid0708: @jonsnowC4 I’m waiting for your reply to, @JemKhan. Not like a journalist to be lost for words.
[11:53 PM Jul 15th]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 Not true. At 5.30pm Zac asked Ch 4 to allow him to give a live response. They refused saying he could only give a written one
[Jul 16, 2010]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 So Zac wrote -“I offered at 5.30 to do a live interview addressing the issues raised but was told by Ch 4 that this was not poss”
[Jul 16, 2010]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 Unsurprisingly that written response was not read out.
[Jul 16, 2010]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 I’ve seen the email exchange with Antony Barnett who presented the programme in which he acknowledges that this is true
[Jul 16, 2010]
JonSnowC4: @Zahid0708 I did reply fifteen minutes after her posting. he refused our request for response over a number of days. chose Sky instead
[8:49 AM Jul 16th]
[You may note that Jon Snow did not respond to Jemima Khan’s further tweets… most likely because she deleted them before he had a chance to read them.]
4. Jemima Khan’s since-deleted tweets also reveal the true nature of Zac Goldsmith’s statement that he complains was not included in the 15 July broadcast. Apparently it did no more than dodge the issue of his election expenses and make the same accusations he was allowed to air repeatedly the very next night (July 16).
5. On July 16 Zac Goldsmith appeared on Channel 4, repeatedly and falsely accusing his hosts of misleading their viewers… when he was doing exactly this with his accusations, aided in no small part by his sister.
6. I confronted Jemima Khan about the deleted tweets on Twitter, and here is the resulting exchange:
JemKhan: @bloggerheads Because I delete all correspondence after a few days from timeline. Plus Zac clearly doesn’t need me to fight his battles.
[12:42 AM Jul 18]
Bloggerheads: @JemKhan Interesting policy, deleting correspondence as you go. So if Zac doesn’t need you fighting his battles for him why hound Jon Snow?
[12:53 AM Jul 18]
7. Clearly, Zac Goldsmith does need his sister to fight his battles, as he could not have led his now-infamous C4 interview with those false accusations of his without her since-deleted tweets. However, rather than stand by her position or challenge mine, Jemima Khan chose to delete her answer within minutes of my reply…
8. … but not before signing off with an RT that’s fast becoming a textbook move for people who get caught playing silly buggers on Twitter; belittling the entire exercise of tweeting as inconsequential. Class.