The Spectator magazine, which is now ranked lower than Breitbart London for UK traffic, according to Alexa.com, has lashed out at the list compiled by broadcaster and independent analyst Iain Dale, and published by Breitbart London.
Despite the establishment magazine not making any claims of editorial influence over the list last year, when 2014’s publisher, The Times, saw its associate editor Daniel Finkelstein come in at number 31, the magazine has published an anonymous blog entitled: “Raheem Kassam [Breitbart London Editor in Chief] is more influential than ever (according to website he edits)”.
The ‘Steerpike’ persona on the Spectator was first set up to allow then-blogger-now-Sun-journo Harry Cole to file diary pieces for the mag. Now it is written by the increasingly UKIP-hostile Sebastian ‘I Hate The Right‘ Payne and some unknown entity called Katy Balls, who has locked her Twitter account, and oddly uses her bio to claim she is “not Peter Hitchens” (who also made his way onto the list this year).
Despite the Spectator’s own editor Fraser Nelson appearing on the list, the magazine felt it necessary to undermine the independent nature of it, which, in Iain Dale’s own words, is advised upon by “a current Member of Parliament, a former MP, a current special advisor, a former CCHQ staffer, a political lobby journalist and a senior party official”.
And oddly, the magazine also seems to imply that Mr Kassam featured on the list last year, and was more influential, as a result of working for UKIP leader Nigel Farage – ignoring the fact that Breitbart London‘s audience is bigger than ever, and bigger than the Spectator’s. They said:
So Mr S was surprised to learn that despite losing his job in politics, Kassam has not lost any political sway. In fact according to Iain Dale’s new list of the ‘Top 100 most influential people on the right’ he is more influential than ever, climbing up 14 places from No.96 last year to No.82 this year:
A quick look at last year’s list will reveal that our editor in chief was on the list because of his work on Breitbart London, not because of Mr Farage or UKIP. From The Times:
Earlier this year Kassam and James Delingpole launched the UK version of the influential US blog Breitbart, which rallied the Tea Party. Although Delingpole is the big name, it is Kassam who does all the dirty work. Breitbart has created a niche for itself as the home of the “swivelled-eyed loons” with its fiercely pro-Ukip editorial line. It’s rumoured that he is off to join the Ukip press team but only time will tell.
We look forward to the Spectator correcting its story…