Sorrell comes off the fence about Romney

Gotcha! Newspaper diarists should be wary about who they snipe at. One, Simon English, currently curating the Independent’s Outlook section, had the temerity to cast aspersions on the Sage of Farm Street’s prognostications last week. And has just paid a humiliating price for his unsubstantiated cheek, in the form of a prominent online retraction.

Here’s what he wrote last Friday, shortly after Sorrell’s gloomy observations on the post-Q3 global economic outlook:

“It is tempting to think that Sir Martin Sorrell gets taken way too seriously; that his position as chief (M)Ad Man makes journalists hang on his every word rather more than a dispassionate analysis of his predictive record merits.

That said, he is in possession of a huge amount of economic data before anyone else – perhaps only behind George Osborne – and Sir Martin is cleverer than Gideon and has more experience of interpreting the data.

What he said yesterday (I paraphrase) – that the advertising market just fell off a cliff, that he’s worried about the future like almost never before, that there are at least four potential disaster zones, that he wants that loony Mitt Romney to be the best President of the United States – is all very concerning.

That last bit’s concerning for reasons other than our immediate financial future, of course.”

And here’s what Simon had to write this week, with Sorrell’s lawyers breathing down his neck:

Simon English: Sorrell’s not really rooting for Romney

Outlook Sir Martin Sorrell, the head honcho at advertising giant WPP, has asked me to point out that, contrary to a flippant piece here last week, he didn’t express a personal preference for Mitt Romney to win the US presidential election, only noting that US business wants him to win.

So there you go.”

Private Eye’s parodistic “In previous articles, we may have given the impression…. We now realise that nothing could be further from the truth” could not have done it better.

That’s what’s called a coded message, Simon. There was more to Gideon’s cleverness than smiting the Midianites. But note this: Sorrell said nothing about Romney being a “loony”. Surely it’s time to come off the fence about that, too?

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