When Tortoise published ‘Lebedev: Lord of Siberia’ – Paul Caruana Galizia’s investigation into how Evgeny Lebedev got a seat in the House of Lords – we pointed out that Boris Johnson had been advised by the parliamentary appointments committee not to appoint him – and rejected that advice. We called for the Lords and the government to publish it.
Over the weekend, Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, called for an investigation; Dominic Raab, the justice secretary, insisted there was “no impropriety”; the Sunday Times pursued the story on the front page. A week on, Tortoise-like, we keep on: the Lords and the government should publish the advice that was given to the prime minister, after the appointments committee was briefed by the intelligence agencies.
When we started Tortoise, we wondered what a slow newsroom could do in the face of a fast-moving story. Our hope was that we could show that by taking the time to stick with a story, we’d make sense of it. Paul had been reporting for months on Lord Lebedev – and for years on Russian money. In ‘Lording it’, which we ran in 2019, Paul investigated how Greg Barker, a former climate change envoy for David Cameron, had become Lord Barker and the chair of one of Russia’s biggest aluminium and energy companies. You can find further reporting of Russian money and the Londongrad problem here.
Likewise, we have tried to keep after the business of lies: the Battle for Truth as a lens on technology platforms and the culture wars; the Infodemic as Covid swept the world and now the information war around the invasion of Ukraine. In this week’s Slow Newscast, Alexi Mostrous, who investigated the anti-vaccine conspiracy networks, examines the fight for minds in ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself’ – the information war in Ukraine.
This week’s ThinkIns:
- Sunset? Do huge losses, the pandemic and the decline of mass market print media spell the end for the Sun and the tabloids generally? This evening at 6.30pm London time.
- Understanding the invasion of Ukraine: the military hardware – is this a return to conventional warfare? 6.30pm.
- On Wednesday at 6.30pm, Open News meeting.
- On Thursday at 6.30pm – what is the Metaverse with David Chalmers, author of Reality+.
And, of course, the Sensemaker is trying to understand a world that is fundamentally changing, every day. Have a good week.
Have a good week.
Editor & co-founder