I SHOULD have known that watching the BBC News Channel would spoil a relaxing Sunday evening. My blood pressure rose when, instead of Monday’s newspapers being previewed by a commentator of honesty and integrity, the BBC welcomed George Eaton.
In case the scoundrel’s name has faded from memory, Eaton was the interviewer for the New Statesman who in April 2019 egregiously edited the words of Roger Scruton, dishonestly distorting various comments to appear racist. As TCW put it at the time, Sir Roger was ‘skewered by a disgrace to journalism’.
On the basis of Eaton’s malicious misrepresentation, the craven Conservatives immediately sacked Sir Roger from a quango (promoting better building design) to which he had only recently been appointed. For gleefully gloating George Eaton, Scruton’s scalp was mission accomplished.
The snake would have gotten away with it, too, but for Douglas Murray. Protective of his friend Sir Roger’s reputation, doughty Douglas obtained a recording of the interview and publicised Eaton’s deceitful discrediting.
If anything, Scruton was more dismayed by the cowardice of the cod-conservatives who instantly abandoned him: ‘These distressing events have awoken me to the true moral crisis of the party to which, despite everything, I still belong.’
Nonetheless, Sir Roger graciously agreed to return to the post, but sadly died of cancer in January 2020, only six months after being diagnosed and less than a year after the ‘distressing events’ engineered by callous George Eaton.
In July 2020 the New Statesman apologised for Eaton’s mess, acknowledging that ‘the views of Professor Scruton were not accurately represented’ by their deputy editor’s perfidious ‘partial quotations’.
The malign miscreant, who regretted his swaggering ‘social media conduct’ but otherwise seemed unrepentant, was punished by being demoted from deputy editor to, er, assistant editor.
This dubious downgrade prompted Douglas Murray wryly to observe: ‘Is there any meaningful distinction in this tumble from deputy to assistant? If so it is hard to see … so long as George Eaton remains in the magazine, he will embody its compromised values and a new nadir for British journalism as a whole.’
Eaton’s deplorable deception seems not to have troubled the Beeb. Call me naïve, but I hoped the self-righteous corporation would have drawn the line at re-hiring this hoodwinker.
Although Sunday was the first time Eaton had crossed my personal radar since he stitched up Sir Roger, it turns out that early last year the shamed hack was back reviewing newspapers for the Beeb, which evidently needs to reset its moral compass.
Not only did the New Statesman retain the rogue, in February 2020 it rehabilitated Eaton as its senior online editor.
The Leftist New Statesman does actually employ a few commentators who, unlike Geordie boy, are fair-minded and worth listening to when they appear as pundits, such as political editor Stephen Bush and recent recruit Rachel Cunliffe, herself a regular reviewer on the news channels of both BBC and Sky.
Cunliffe joined the New Statesman last November as deputy online editor, a role subordinate to the magazine’s malevolent senior online editor. But for besmirching the reputation of the late Roger Scruton, it is George Eaton who will forever be a number two.