Hari off the hook?

It seems I am in danger of turning into a bullshit merchant for sounding off about Johann Hari as I did last week.

Someone who would possibly call me a friend but whom I regard as nothing more than a malevolent mischief-maker (hi Bob) drew my attention to this Daily Mash article, which variously describes high-profile Hari-haters as “witless, lunch-filled oafs”, “puffed-up monkeys” and “smug piss-artists”.

Luckily, I’m not one of those commentators who “get paid six figures to piss directly into their readers’ faces”, so I felt comfortable absolving myself of blame in the rather unseemly attacks-on-Hari game.

The article goes too far of course. But it did make me question my position a bit and I’ve now shifted it, like the slippery, inconsistent toe rag I’m sure the Daily Mash would describe me as, if they had the faintest idea I even existed.

Thinking about all the bile that’s being directed at Hari and reading the eminently sensible Roy Greenslade’s views on the issue in the Guardian, I wondered if I’d carelessly jumped on the bandwagon and stayed on board for one or two stops too many.

My reasons for coming down in the anti-Hari camp were believing that he didn’t really mean it when he said he was sorry, that he should have known better all along, that he embellished his stories to make himself seem impressive, and that he’d only shifted from defensiveness to contrition when everyone started shouting at him.

The first and third of these are clearly just opinions, based on nothing in particular and potentially completely wrong. The second I stand by – I’m still genuinely gobsmacked that he thought it was okay to embellish as he did.

And the fourth? Well, maybe he just changed his mind when he came to realise he’d written something ill judged. It happens.

On reflection, I think the real reason for my irritation had nothing to do with Hari. I think I was still cross with the paper that refused to stick up for me all those years ago. Far from being too soft on a bad apple, it’s just possible that The Independent is doing what I’d hoped my paper would do with me: issue a huge public bollocking and then move on – together.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 1:39 pm and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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