A work whose title links war to the ‘death of news’ must prove a malign relationship between the two, and this one doesn’t. News isn’t dead; neither war nor Donald Trump has killed it. Martin Bell’s lament is the cry of someone whose view of the news media is bounded by the BBC, where he spent much of his life working. For him, the BBC’s great years, to which he was a major contributor, are gone: like many of his colleagues, he represents the organisation today as slow-witted, deeply conservative and uncaring, and run by opportunist idiots. This is probably evidence of love rather than hate – and so it should be, because the BBC served him as well as he served it.
Bell did National Service in the Suffolk Regiment, rising to the rank of acting sergeant, and served in Cyprus in the late 1950s, when the EOKA insurgency against British rule was at its height – ‘the best education that I ever had’. It taught him that respect for leadership is