The Guardian hoped its week would get better after its Bush blunder. That didn’t happen. [TWEETS]

The Guardian Head In Sand
Tracy Keeling

The Guardian‘s week has gone from bad to worse. Its editorial praising ex-US President George W Bush met with complete condemnation. And while still reeling from that, the outlet is having to face up to yet another error in judgment.

It essentially painted an ex-Tory MP as a “well-sourced investigative journalist”. And it did so just as that ex-MP, Louise Mensch, was busy making evidence-free claims online.

The first scoop

The Guardian ran a story on Mensch on 17 February. It described how the ex-Corby MP – now an employee at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. – had published an article in Heat Street about an intelligence services investigation into Donald Trump’s team for its potential ties to Russia. The Guardian explained that Mensch had “learned the secret that eluded even the best journalists”.

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But exactly how did Mensch score a story that even the “best journalists” couldn’t? Because she is “a pro-national security partisan”. Or that’s what she told The Guardian, at least. The spies trusted her, she alleged, because of her attacks on anyone who dares to challenge their authority or the legality of their actions. Like, for example, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The second scoop

On 24 February, Mensch took to Twitter to share more of her insight:

Alongside actual investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald’s mocking response, Mensch’s evidence-free theory faced further ridicule:

The poop scoop

Further intrigue then arrived as the ‘founder of RT‘ waded into the debate:

The person who said “I’m kinda still alive” is Margarita Simonyan. And she has been RT‘s Editor-in-Chief since its creation in 2005. Mensch was possibly referring to Mikhail Lesin, though, who is said to have come up with the idea of RT. Lesin died in a Washington hotel room, as a result of “blunt force injuries”, in 2015.

Andrew Breitbart, meanwhile, is said to have died of heart failure. He was founder of the Breitbart News Network.

Whether there was any Russian state, or other state, involvement in these deaths is as yet unknown. So no investigative journalist should publicly make such claims, like Mensch did, without evidence to back them up.

In short, Mensch isn’t as “well-sourced” as The Guardian thought. So its appraisal of the ex-Tory MP was somewhat misguided, to say the least. But that seems to be a bit of a thing of late.

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