Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence 1213

Why Rupert Murdoch considers it worth his while to pay David Aaronovitch a large six figure sum for such puerile antics as tweeting that I am insane, is a conjecture I find difficult to resolve. Today this exchange occurred on twitter:

David Aaronovitch: This suggestion that if elected Corbyn could be quickly ousted is utter bollocks. Democracy allows Labour to commit Hara Kiri.

Mark Doran: @DAaronovitch I hope everyone is watching how these servants of the micro-elite try to paint “attracting popular support” as “committing suicide.”

Mark Doran: @DAaronovitch Craig finds the elite-serving contortions every bit as funny as I do

David Aaronovitch: @MarkJDoran I tend to find Craig Murray unpersuasive on the grounds of him being unhinged. I can see why you like him, though.

Mark Doran: Says the man who managed to find Bush and Blair credible. I can see why you liked them, though.

It is remarkably ironic that on being referred to an article which argues that views outside a very narrow neoliberal establishment narrative are marginalised and ridiculed by the media, the Murdoch hack’s response is that the author is unhinged. Aaronovitch could not have more neatly proved my point.

But something else struck me about the twitter record. Aaronovitch’ twitter account claims to have 78,000 followers. Yet of the 78,000 people who allegedly received his tweet about my insanity, only 1 retweeted and 2 favourited. That is an astonishingly low proportion – 1 in 26,000 reacted. To give context, Mark Doran has only 582 followers and yet had more retweets and favourites for his riposte. 1 in 146 to be precise, a 200 times greater response rate.

Please keep reading, I promise you this gets a great deal less boring.

Eighteen months ago I wrote an article about Aaronovitch’s confession that he solicits fake reviews of his books to boost their score on Amazon. In response a reader emailed me with an analysis of Aaronovitch’s twitter followers. He argued with the aid of graphs that the way they accrued indicated that they were not arising naturally, but being purchased in blocks. He claimed this was common practice in the Murdoch organisation to promote their hacks through false apparent popularity.

I studied his graphs at some length, and engaged in email correspondence on them. I concluded that the evidence was not absolutely conclusive, and in fairness to Aaronovitch I declined to publish, to the annoyance of my correspondent.

Naturally this came to mind again today when I noted that Aaronovitch’ tweets to his alleged legion of followers in fact tumble into a well of silence. I do not even tweet. The entire limit of my tweeting is that this blog automatically tweets the titles of articles I write. They are not aphorisms so not geared to retweet. Yet even the simple tweet “Going Mainstream” which marked the article Aaronovitch derided, obtained 20 times the reactions of Aaronovitch’s snappy denunciation of my mental health. This despite the fact he has apparently 10 times more followers than me. An initial survey seems to show this is not atypical.

In logic, I can only see two possible explanations. The first is that my correspondent was right and Aaronovitch fakes twitter followers like he does book reviews. The second is that he has a vast army of followers, nearly all of whom find him dull and uninspiring, and who heartily disapproved en masse of his slur on my sanity. I opt for the second explanation, that he is just extremely dull, on the grounds that Mr Aaronovitch’s honesty and probity were never questioned, m’Lud.

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1,213 thoughts on “Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence

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  • lysias

    I quite agree that it is most unlikely that Heath would have been convalescing for six months on Jersey while he was PM. I was thinking that, if it happened during the early 1970’s, it would have had to have happened after Heath left office, in 1974 or 1975. Which would take us to the time when the two yachts were lost, one of them off Jersey.

  • lysias

    If Heath had a lung embolism in 2003, he could well have had one earlier. These things can recur, in particular as a result of atrial fibrillation.

  • lysias

    A Jersey nursing home doesn’t sound like the hotel penthouse that the Daily Mirror has him staying at in the early 1970’s.

  • Giyane

    Un-Edifying as all this talk about dinosaur pre-neo-con Edward Heath may be, it does serve to busy the minds of the chattering classes with pre-neo-con memorabilia, the buggering of boys on boats and uptight irascible males. Things that no self-respecting neo-con would ever be caught doing.

    The real agenda is that neo-con Chavy Dave is about to bomb Damascus in conjunction with Al Qaida thugs, as he did in the early days of the last parliament with Libya.

    So come on boys and girls, leave the fossil-hunts about Jeremy Corbyn and Ted Heath, the old politics of yesteryear, wipe away your tears for a forgotten age and put your razor-keen minds to what squits-face David Cameron is preparing for Syria from his new US air-base in Erdogan’s Southern Turkey.

    Ted Heath and Jeremy Corbyn are byegone trivia. If anyone could have steered the Labour Party to the Left it would have been Ed Miliband. You are being taken down memory lane so that you forget what fully paid up neo-con and convicted war criminal David Cameron is capable of in terms of illegal and permanently destructive war.

  • Mary

    They are putting the skids under Jeremy. Any reason will suffice.

    ‘Infiltration’ triggers call to cancel election

    Top donors to pull out if Corbyn wins

    Etc etc in the Sunday ‘papers’.

  • Briar

    All this talk of “infiltration” of anti Labour forces, and nobody in the media talks about the deliberate exclusion of Labour supporters who want to register so as to vote for Mr Corbyn but can’t because they don’t have the internet. A friend of mine, a Labour Party member who left because of the Party’s repositioning at the so-called centre (always really the right), reacted with more persistence than most and tried several phone calls. When she rang the local constituency office a functionary brusquely informed her she would have to become a full member to vote and denied any knowledge of registering. So that is a vote for Mr Corbyn denied by outright Labour bad faith.

  • Mary

    This latest terrrr alert will bring the pocket pols back from their hols.

    They just love their anniversary celebrations. Earlier victory over Germany has been marked and now that over Japan. Coinciding with the dreadful attack on Nagasaki which will not be mentioned by Mr Weilby wearing his magnificent golden cope and mitre.

    VJ Day Terror Threat Sparks Security Review
    Security plans for the event which will gather the Queen and other members of the Royal Family are under review, sources say.

  • Mary

    Japan remembers Nagasaki atomic bomb, 70 years on

    A woman cries as she offers prayers at the Peace Park before the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing – 9 August 2015 Photo

    Survivors of the devastating attack spoke at the memorial service in Nagasaki

    An emotional memorial service has been held in the Japanese city of Nagasaki where US forces dropped an atomic bomb exactly 70 years ago.

    Speeches at the ceremony criticised the attending Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his plans to loosen the restrictions on what Japan’s military can do.

    At least 70,000 people died in the attack, which came three days after another bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

    Nagasaki was only chosen after a cloud obscured the original target, Kokura.


    Plutonium for Nagasaki.
    Uranium for Hiroshima.

    Unbelievable headline in the Torygraph today. Christoper Brooker.

    ‘The human cost of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was worth paying’

  • Anon1

    Quite an interesting read from Christopher Booker (not Brooker), there, Mary. Could you explain, using your own thoughts if possible, what is “unbelievable” about the headline? Can you entertain possibly conflicting ideas to reach a conclusion, in this case that the horrific bombings saved countless more lives? Or do you just fire off rather than reason?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    “The stories about Heath do seem to have struck a nerve, don’t they?”


    The standard thoughtful reeponse from the Transatlantic Sage.

    The play runs something like this:

    1/. The Transatlantic Sage links to the Daily Mail and/or picks up the latest dirt from one of his sites on the net and posts it here. Original input is usually represented by the words “I wonder…” or “Odd that…”.

    2/. Habbabkuk posts something pointing to the foolishness and ding-bat nature of what the Transatlantic Sage is hinting at.

    3/. The Transatlantic Sage responds by talking about a nerve having been touched.

    A class act!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    “The silence was largely a protest against the shoot to kill policy alleged to have been carried out against Republican targets by British troops…….”


    So unlike the shot and bomb to kill policy of the IRA terrrrrrists, eh….

  • John Spencer-Davis

    09/08/2015 10:41am

    “The human cost of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was worth paying”

    If you weren’t standing at ground zero at the time, presumably. Easy to say then, isn’t it. I think that is pretty glib.

    This resource may contribute to thinking about this matter. I recognise that we are looking back through a long corridor of hindsight, and that we are not making the decisions which might mean the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives no matter what decisions are reached. But this resource does underline that the matter is not exactly clear-cut, and there are very different perspectives to “oh, it ended the war and saved hundreds of thousands if not millions more lives”. Maybe. And maybe not.


    In any case, I have something of a problem with “celebrating” Victory over Japan Day, even if we accept uncritically that the bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo, among others, were military necessities. The deaths of (at a minimum) 220,000 people, almost all civilians, is not something I regard as a “victory” in any sense. Commemorating the end of a war is another matter.

    Here’s another perspective.


    Kind regards,


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