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Is Sunny Hundal the best person to lecture on journalism?

25 October 2013

5:02 PM

25 October 2013

5:02 PM

Farewell then Sunny Hundal. The libellous blogger and tweeter has announced that he is no longer going to keep up his self-published website ‘Liberal Conspiracy’. One reason – far beyond satire – is that he is going to go to the University of Kingston to lecture on journalism.

Sunny is perhaps not best placed to inform them on basic journalistic standards. As I have written here before, some years ago Sunny had to pay out and publish a wholesale apology to me after libelling me on his website. On that occasion he published outright falsehoods, though his more typical style has been to settle for selective quotation, misquotation and misrepresentation.

In what must have been a highly embarrassing process for Sunny, as I remember it he then had to declare current and future earnings to me in order to reach some reasonable financial settlement. During that process it became entirely clear that Sunny did not have a career. His main organ of distribution was a pointless self-published website which earned him no money. He occasionally earned small fees for intermittent blogs for the Guardian. But in no way did this add up either to a salary or a funded career. If one needed further proof of this it could be guessed from the fact that the proudest moments from his career that he lists as he winds down his blog include the claim that he ‘helped stop Rod Liddle becoming editor of the Independent’. What an achievement to have on a CV. Almost worth putting on a gravestone in due course.

Of course none of this would matter if it weren’t for the wider lesson that comes from it. I have always thought that there is something not just ludicrous but wicked in colleges and universities holding themselves out as providing ‘degrees’ in things like ‘media studies’. Generally run by hopeless individuals, they rarely help students to get into those professions they ostensibly study, and in reality do little more than mislead hopeful young people into running up large debts to get onto a ladder their ‘degree’ will not help them with. Sunny Hundal’s move to Kingston might serve as the apex of this trend: someone lecturing students on how to be employed in a profession he himself was never properly employed in. Student rebellions are commonly discussed. Perhaps cases like this also deserve a parental one.

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