PART 1: The Royal Reporters and Dan Wootton
These individuals’ job is to source the stories, gather the facts and present them to the public.
On his twitter profile, Russell describes himself as royal editor and chief investigative reporter for the Daily Mirror. He is relatively new to the Royal reporting scene but has seamlessly adopted the ways of royal reporting.
For an investigative reporter he does not seem to be capable of investigating even the simplest of stories as illustrated by this exchange with former Queen’s press secretary Dickie Arbiter.
Now I don’t know if the Mirror is inadequately resourced to support their reporters to do real journalism, but what we have here is an example of how the stories and narratives spread. In this instance a story with no facts was run by the Daily Mirror and rather than do what his job title calls for; which is investigate the story, Russell repeats the story without fact checking it and contributes to the cycle of abuse.
And it does not end there, Russell is content to take commentary from others, strip it of its context and then run the story without bothering to check with its author; to the extent that it would warrant a complaint. Rather than admit that he may have got it wrong, he instead accuses the person of looking for clicks and asserts that simply because the article is not derogatory or nasty, it passes the truthfulness test.
Russell has also come under scrutiny for his derogatory remarks towards twitter users. He makes fun of their tweets and calls people names. While that is his prerogative to do so, it speaks to a lack of professionalism on his part. What I find mind boggling about people like Russell and several other royal reporters is how thin-skinned they are, in that, they can dish out but can never take it. What we should never lose sight of is this tweet that he put out when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the name of their son.
Make of this Tweet what you will and I make no attempt to try and defend this because it speaks for itself but this is a stark reminder that the British press does not have the depth that is needed to report on any member of the Royal family, let alone a woman of colour. What they lack in depth they should make up for in humility by listening to people when they point out the problem with a tweet like this, rather than accuse followers of playing the race card.
Her claim to fame is that she broke the story of Prince Harry dating then actress Meghan Markle while working as the royal correspondent for the Daily Express. Since then she has moved on to the Telegraph with a Twitter bio that reads “Award-winning journalist and broadcaster. Associate Editor covering politics and royals”.
She is one who will fiercely defend the British press as being free and fair. She often argues that there is no bias in any way shape or form, as far as the reporting on the Duchess of Sussex is concerned. Very frequently she attempts to distance the mainstream media from online media claiming that online media publishes with impunity since the mainstream media is regulated by IPSO (International Press Standards Organisation).
Now I don’t want to go into the details of IPSO, which you can read here, but it is worth noting that each time Camilla is challenged on the standard of reporting she uses the illusion of regulation by IPSO which has been found to be a problematic organisation.
But perhaps one of the areas where Camilla failed herself and journalism in general was in the articles that she published where she linked the Duchess of Sussex’s first project – Together Community Cookbook to terrorism.
With no regard for the impact such an article would have on the victims of the Grenfell Tower who had been supported by this initiative and are simply trying to get by, Camilla went into full blown hyperbole with this story with only one intent which was to undermine the project and stir up hate towards the Duchess of Sussex among her predominantly right-wing readers. There is no justifiable reason why Camilla would make this kind of association at a time when Islamophobia runs high following the Brexit campaign which has been dogged with distasteful narratives against immigrants and Muslims. The author of the so-called report she refenced, a member of a white supremacy group, later thanked her on twitter for taking their story.
If this hate-driven narrative was not enough to demonstrate bias and ill intentions, the Vogue September issue Forces for change, showed the lengths to which Camilla was willing to go to undermine the Duchess of Sussex’s work. Earlier in the week of its release, she appeared on an Australian TV show in which she argued that by choosing to work with an elitist magazine, Meghan was turning her back on the ordinary British public and she should have instead worked with grassroots organisations. This was an indication that at the time of giving her critique, Camilla had not read the magazine because she would have noted a feature on Luminary Bakery – a grassroot organisation providing skills and other social services to victims of gender violence. Note the irony in this characterization from a woman who associated the Duchess of Sussex’s first project with a grassroots organisation with terrorism. She went ahead to call it misguided and patronising, demonstrated her lack of understanding of unconscious bias when she deliberately misrepresented the Duke of Sussex’s comments on this topic and finally complained that the cover was not white enough with only 5 out of the 15 women featured being white.
Like Piers Morgan, a full commentary on Camilla Tominey requires an article of its own but thankfully you can find more details at this link. For all her writing or commentary Camilla has never written or reported on the Duchess of Sussex’s successful initiative. At the very least she could acknowledge that saying that most British people could not afford a £2 magazine was misplaced (to put it mildly) because the issue sold out within 2 weeks.
When people question where the online hate for Meghan comes from, they only have to look to triggers such as this. It is worth noting that Camilla has never offered a retraction and there has been no public acknowledgement of IPSO looking into this hate-ridden kind of reporting so it is safe to assume that both Camilla and IPSO stand by and uphold this quality and standard of work.