Sunday, July 30, 2017


Forget Phil "Bruiser" Hammond v David "Brexit Bulldog" Davis; here's a renewed slugfest between old BBC hands Martin Bell and John Simpson.

Mr Bell, now 78, ruminates on the qualities of the BBC's part-time World Affairs Editor in an interview for the Mail on Sunday. On coverage of the Balkan conflict, he says of John "I admired his courage and his way with words. But he was so far from being at odds with the Foreign Office that he might just as well have been an ambassador as a journalist."

There's more - 'cos it turns out that Martin has a new book to sell. Martin's Panorama on the Balkans in 1993 ended with "a peroration about the case for intervention". The man in the white suit said he had stumbled across "journalism of attachment, a journalism that cares as well as knows, and will not stand neutrally between the victim and the aggressor". Shortly afterwards Simpson said "Bell is talking nonsense and he knows it". "Save us from reporters who pass judgement" was his line in a piece for the Sunday Times.

Martin now writes "I believe that over the years my theory has gained traction among journalists and John Simpson's objections have come to look a bit elderly and dilapidated". Simpson is 72.

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