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.

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

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  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    “Iran has repeatedly called for a nuclear-free Middle East, in the UN and elsewhere. Surely that would be the best solution with respect to nuclear weapons in the Middle East. So why don’t we take up that call from Iran?”

    The Transatlantic Sage is being disingenuous – it is easy for Iran to make such repeated calls because it – and every one else – knows that Israel, for what it considers entirely justifiable reasons, will not give up its nuclear weapons.

    Knowing that allows Iran to make such calls while at the same time providing it with the excuse to pursue such nuclear ambitions of its own as it might have.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Thank you. I shall continue to think there is no connection between Israel achieving nuclear breakthrough and the JFK assassination whereas others obviously believe that there is (for otherwise they would not bother to bring up the chronology with only a nudge nudge wink wink missing).


    And I’ll now let the Transatlantic Sage have his usual last word, I have better things to do this fine evening. 🙂 Byeee!

  • Becky Cohen

    I’m disappointed at David Aaronovitch’s ad Hominem attack on you, Craig. I emphasize, ‘ad Hominem’, because calling you “un-hinged” without providing any reason why he thinks you are so, is little more than immature, meaningless name-calling. I would be tempted to engage with him, pointing this out, and furthermore asking why he seems to feel that it’s okay to dismiss people, such as yourself, just because they have struggled with mental health issues in the past. If he disagrees with what you have to say, then why doesn’t he state just why he disagrees with you instead of going down the road of taking the position that if someone doesn’t share the same opinions with him then they must be somehow mentally deranged. Unfortunately, there is a history of punitive psychology tending to be employed by the Reds to the extent that back in the day many of those who dissented from the official soviet view were hospitalised (really imprisoned) as mentally ill.

  • Gerd

    Never fear about nuclear proliferation in the middle east. Lockheed Martin conned Israel into buying 75 of those shite flying coffins the F-35. Soon all their illegally-proliferated neutron bombs will be harmless, mounted on ruinously expensive white elephants that crater or bob around and promptly get shot out of the sky. The F-35 is the best thing to happen in disarmament in decades.

    This wonder plane will do even more to cripple the UK, America’s arse-licking ‘Level 1 Partner.’

  • Becky Cohen

    Aaronovitch seems to labour under a macho left-winger attitude towards mental health and emotions. I actually think you were deeply upset and hurt by his belittling dismissal of you, Craig. You come across as a much more emotional, feminine type of man and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Even though the Aaronovitch’s of this world may mistake that for weakness, it is actually a strength to be passionate about things. There’s a specific type of masculine hard logic running through politics and even in philosophy that tends to reign dominant and be overrated as the default version of reality, if that makes sense…almost as if that hard intellectualism is *real* politics as opposed to thoughts and ideas motivated by emotions.

  • fred

    “Never fear about nuclear proliferation in the middle east. Lockheed Martin conned Israel into buying 75 of those shite flying coffins the F-35. Soon all their illegally-proliferated neutron bombs will be harmless, mounted on ruinously expensive white elephants that crater or bob around and promptly get shot out of the sky.”

    Israel didn’t buy the F-35s, The American government gives Israel large amounts of foreign aid on condition they spend it on American hardware. The American tax payer paid for those planes.

    The nuclear bombs are strapped to Israeli made Jerico III missiles.

  • Republicofscotland

    “If you observe it carefully it is more common that Marxist will heat you in the face during heated debate than any other person.”

    Uzbek in the UK.

    Marxists are civil compared to the Orange Order, and unionist thugs, these moronic neanderthals attack anyone from pensioners to gay people, who don’t agree with them.



    They are the lumpenproletariat, of the unionist propaganda machine.

  • lysias

    If Pollard is lionized when he gets to Israel (as he undoubtedly will be if he gets there,) that will further sink Israel’s reputation with the American public.

    Israel’s leaders are too stupid to see that.

  • lysias

    And having gotten the American-donated money from Israel for those planes, Lockheed will proceed to donate a substantial portion of it to U.S. politicians.

    It’s all a racket in which U.S. politicians are very much involved.

  • Mary

    The Zionist Israel project is going down.

    July 28, 2015
    Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
    by Peter Makhlouf

    ‘This July, Palestinians around the world and those standing in solidarity remembered two poignant anniversaries. The first was the one-year anniversary of the brutal Israeli incursion into Gaza termed, in proper Orwellian fashion, “Operation Protective Edge.” This slaughter, claiming the lives of 2,300 civilians was not the first of its kind and certainly will not be the last. At the same time, the BDS National Committee (BNC) celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the call from Palestinian civil society to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

    And these past few months have shown that the tactics are working.
    Direct foreign investments in Israel dropped by an astonishing 50% last year, much to the chagrin of the Israeli government who has recently referred to BDS as an existential threat far greater than the one supposedly posed by Iran. And just this June, the RAND Corporation published a report stating that if BDS could maintain an aggressive campaign as it is now, Israel’s economy could suffer losses anywhere from 5 to 15 billion dollars each year, for the next ten years.’


  • Mary

    Coming up on Radio 4 at 8pm

    HSBC, Muslims and Me – Peter Oborne

    In the summer of 2014 HSBC dispatched a batch of identical letters to several prominent Muslims telling them that their accounts would be closed. The bank said that it no longer had the “risk appetite” to handle their money. But it failed to explain why or to offer a right of appeal. So what happened?

    Pursuing this story led journalist Peter Oborne to resign his job as Chief Political commentator of the Daily Telegraph: the paper had refused to publish an article he had written which was critical of HSBC’s decision.

    Footloose and temporarily freelance, Oborne embarked on an intriguing journey to discover the cause of the bank’s decision. Were the Muslims targeted by mistake or were they targeted because they are Muslims? Was Peter naive to think the accounts would be closed without good reason? And, given the fact that many of those cut off by the bank had links to the Muslim Brotherhood, could the HSBC’s actions have anything to do with David Cameron’s announcement of a government review of this Islamist network?

  • Republicofscotland

    “And having gotten the American-donated money from Israel for those planes, Lockheed will proceed to donate a substantial portion of it to U.S. politicians.

    It’s all a racket in which U.S. politicians are very much involved.”

    Lysais, quite a few politicians pictured here, next to their bosses.

    Or a I being overly dramatic? You decide.


  • lysias

    Robert Burns’s words had to do with hunting birds, but they also would apply to hunting lions:

    Avaunt away! the cruel sway,
    Tyrannic man’s dominion,
    The sportsman’s joy, the murdering cry
    The fluttering gory pinion.

  • RobG

    RE: nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (or elsewhere): a nuclear warhead, enriched uranium or plutonium, degrades in 5 to 10 years, to a point where it will no longer work (ie, makes a very big explosion). So, let’s say an average of about 7 years before the psychos who have these weapons have to replace their warheads with fresh uranium or plutonium. That’s an awful lot of nuclear material over the years, whatever the size of your arsenal. For a country like the USA, which officially now has about five thousand warheads, but in reality you can double that, this means it has to produce vast amounts of ‘bomb fissionable’ material. That’s why the USA has more than one hundred nuclear power plants, the vast majority of which are ageing and falling to bits; and when it comes to another major nuclear ‘accident’ it’s not a case of if, but when.

    The old fuel removed from these warheads is still lethal in radiological terms and has to be stored securely for vast time spans. Attempts to recycle these old warheads for use in nuclear power plants has proved prohibitively expensive, and just results in even more lethal spent fuel (that’s what went sky high at Fukushima Daichi unit 3 on 14th March 2011 – we’ve all been breathing it in for the last four years).

    Governments and corporations deliberately keep the public ignorant of all things nuclear, because they know that if the public were aware, those in power would be facing the noose.

  • Anon1

    A Cornish teenager was bitten by an adder after falling 100ft off a cliff.

    You’ve got to admire some people’s misfortune.

  • Mary

    Lysias Thanks for that.

    Palmer is good at drilling and expert at killing. A psychopath.

    ‘The lion was killed after being lured out of the park with food, shot with an arrow, then tracked for 40 hours and finished off with a gun. The 13-year-old animal was then beheaded and skinned for trophies.’

    ‘Palmer paid to be a member of the hunting party and is pictured on hunting blogs showing off previous kills, including a 175Ib leopard killed killed in Zimbabwe in 2010, an elk and a Nevada Bighorn sheep.

    On his dental practice’s website he is described as a father of two “who enjoys all outdoor activities. Anything allowing him to stay active and observe and photograph wildlife is where you will find Dr. Palmer when he not in the office.”

    He allegedly featured in a New York Times profile of US big game hunters, in which he is described as “capable of skewering a playing card from 100 yards with his compound bow”, and served a year on probation after lying to officials about the exact location he shot dead a black bear during a guided hunt in Wisconsin.’


    The poor lion suffered for almost 2 days before being killed.

  • Anon1

    “One another characteristic of classic Marxist is that they lack sentiments. Idea(s) is more important than convenience of people. I have seen many classic Marxists in my life and despite turning 180 degree away from basic (economic) principals they have remained heartless and merciless when it came to other peoples’ feelings.

    If you observe it carefully it is more common that Marxist will heat you in the face during heated debate than any other person.”


    A most excellent observation, Uzbek, and one made from experience. I recall from my student days disagreeing in the most polite terms with the general direction of a Marxist-dominated debate in the SU, after which I was surrounded by scowling, humourless leftists and ordered to leave the building for being “unhelpful”. The hatred etched on their faces could have turned violent at any moment. I’m often reminded of that episode when I see Jon use his favourite word, “unhelpful”. It also reminds me of the SNP and its supporters.

  • RobG

    At the time of posting, these two stories are top of the Guardian’s front page, side by side:

    Channel gridlock caused by about 2,000 migrants storming Calais terminal

    Jeremy Corbyn backs British membership of EU

    And by the way, the US and British wars in the Middle East have caused the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. About 300,000 cross the Med every year, and about 3000 of them end-up in Calais, trying to get to Britain.

    In Otherwords, 1% try to get into Britain, which obviously belies the crap that the Daily Mail & Co come out with.

    Germany takes the largest percentage of them, and Germany didn’t even start these wars.

    And don’t get me onto the American and British use of depleted uranium munitions in the Middle East.

    Why the feck do you think it’s strange that they’re all queuing up to kill us!

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    ““Habbabkuk, the important thing is that Israel has nuclear weapons in contravention of international law.””


    a “contravention of international law”.



    Goodnight, all – keep agreeing! 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    I agree with you about the lion and that its killer is a bastard (although I don’t know if the Zimbabwe govt sets an annual quota for lions which may be legally shot for so-called sport).

    But – with great respect – aren’t you guilty of diverting?

    I see little connection between your information and the subject of Craig’s thread. Unless Mr Aaronovitch practises big game hunting, of course.

  • N_

    I hold no brief for the fascist entity that Jonathan Pollard spied for, but he has been in prison for 30 years and he should be released.

    He should have been released years ago. Let’s not forget our humanitarian principles here.

    As I understand it, the main reason he hasn’t been released is because of fears of a fall in the CIA’s effectiveness once even the most idiotic of its officers and known assets realise who the organisation belongs to.

    Presumably the US didn’t have any spies against Zionist interests who got captured and for whom Pollard could have been swapped?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    ““Habbabkuk, the important thing is that Israel has nuclear weapons in contravention of international law.””


    a “contravention of international law”.

    RobG ?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “@Habbabkuk – You are mistaken. I am in favour of nuclear disarmament of all states which have nuclear weapons.”


    So I would imagine that, pending such welcome disarmament by the current nuclear states, you would be against further states acquiring the ability to produce nuclear weapons?

  • lysias

    The one time nuclear weapons have actually been used was when the country that used them (my own country, the U.S.) had a monopoly of nuclear weapons.

  • Clark

    RobG, 7:59 pm,m can you please clean your act up? Somehow you’ve managed both to get nearly every fact wrong, and yet fail to convey just how bad the nuclear situation really is. Please brush up on the facts to save me having to pull apart and rewrite your comments.

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