Baby P: angry mobs and tabloid scum

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 17, 2008

Category: Humanity, Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

This entry was posted on
Monday, November 17th, 2008
at
1:55 pm and is filed
under Humanity, Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!.

1.

Independent – Facebook vigilantes identify mother of Baby P: The identity of the 27-year-old mother of Baby P was last night being circulated on the internet with the names of her boyfriend and the third man convicted of causing the child’s death, after online vigilantes began a campaign calling for violent retribution against them. An order issued by the judge who oversaw the trial of the woman and her boyfriend forbids details about them, including their names, photographs and addresses, from being made public. But yesterday the information was listed on unofficial news websites and social networking sites… Another social networking site, Bebo, removed the mother’s profile page after abusive messages were posted, while her Friends Reunited profile was also being circulated. The difficulties of policing the internet were highlighted when the mother’s name briefly appeared in a discussion thread about Baby P hosted by The Sun. The information was removed.

Some slack reporting from the Independent here; they’re not to blame for accepting Bebo’s version of events (it was an outside complaint that prompted the removal of this profile, not an internal decision based on detection of abusive comments, as this paragraph suggests) but someone somewhere really should have pointed out that this information was initially spoon-fed to the public by the Times and the Sun, who carried near-to-identical paragraphs that mikkimoose fairly describes here as “the information that screams ‘google me'”.

(I can’t show you that information yet without doing the same thing, sorry.)

That Bebo profile was the first step on the easiest path to all names, and both of these Murdoch-owned newspapers pointed the way in flashing neon letters.

Someone should be called to account for that act, be it an accident or defiance of the law…. and both newspapers will want to be especially careful not to give the impression that it was the latter:

“We are still barred from identifying the defenceless tot further – or naming the mother and her sadistic lover who killed him.” – The Sun

2.

Speaking of possible defiance of the law, the frequently-refreshed ‘libertarian’ Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) claims to stick to the letter of the law (when sober, at least), and also has a well-earned reputation for switching on Blogger’s comment-vetting function whenever he finds himself in personal difficulty… but in this case, he refused to switch it on until very recently, despite his keyword-rich emotionally-charged posts being a prime target for anonymous dickheads wishing to name names in clear violation of a court order.

When confronted about this last week, Staines claimed that he was too busy to check every link/comment – (so switch on registration or switch off comments if you can’t handle the volume, you dipstick!) – and actually had the temerity to blame the BBC at one stage for an article they had not been ordered to remove from their archives, that really only serves to do damage when someone links the present state of affairs to that archived article (i.e. the kind of crap that Staines has allowed under his comments many times in the past few days).

Quick-changing to ‘law-abiding citizen’ mode just long enough to hit the BBC with a stick, Staines then claimed that he had been in touch with the BBC, and that they refused to remove the article. He then invited me to pursue the matter myself, as if I wouldn’t do this. Just for laughs, I asked Staines to pass on the details of the person he had spoken to so I could, as he put it, take it from where he had left off. This request was ignored, most probably because Staines was making shit up again and didn’t have a damn thing to offer me.

When alerted to the repeated use of this archived article by online vigilantes, the BBC did finally remove it late on Friday.

By contrast, the thread under this post by Staines hosted at least three ‘outings’, and the most overt of these was live on Staines’ site for 16+ hours yesterday… but comment moderation was not switched on until late yesterday or early this morning.

[Staines also inadvertently revealed during our exchange that he does indeed make comments defending himself while pretending to be somebody else, but now is not the time.]

3.

Paul Staines often doublespeaks himself out of difficulty and distances himself from material on his own website by claiming that ‘Guido Fawkes’ is a character, and his blog tabloid is written in the voice of that character.

Therefore, one must wonder if the outrage expressed here, here and here is based on genuine human emotion, or is instead of a bit of colour thrown in to enrich the character and land a few blows on Labour/Brown.

4.

While touching (briefly) on the issue of people possibly playing party-politics (a charge that notorious ambulance-chaser Iain Dale denies), dare I ask if it’s entirely in keeping with a Conservative view to suggest that the state should decide who does and does not deserve to have children?

(And, while we’re here, how would such a ruling be enforced? Photo-ID cards? Bedside scanners? Genital cuffs? Sterilisation?)

Ellee Seymour hangs her half-baked case on a quote from this article from Jon Gaunt, where that stopped clock actually opens his article by saying; “…it must never happen again that we allow an elected and unelected metropolitan elite impose their warped views and social engineering on our country.”

Tim Montgomerie read that article and branded it as; “Another reason why more needs to be done to promote the two parent family and the marriage bond.”

Ellee read that article and Montgomerie’s post and concluded that perhaps it was time for us to allow an elected and unelected metropolitan elite to impose warped sensible views and social engineering.

May Dog preserve us from lightweight ‘bloggers’ with heavyweight demands.

5.

For ‘bloggers’ and newspaper wage-slaves who may not be aware of what the word ‘moderation’ means, here is a definition:

Moderation (noun) – Avoidance of extremes of opinion, feeling, or personal conduct

Comment moderation most commonly involves the avoidance of extremes via deletion of extreme content and/or a quiet word off the record, or publication with a quiet word within the public conversation (that also serves as a warning to others). Very little of that is going on in newspaper websites, and none of it happened here, on the website of ‘leading blogger’ Paul Staines:

John Trenchard said…

bring back hanging… for the council fuckers who allowed this to happen.

as for the scumbags who actually did it – drawing, quartering and heads stuck on spikes would suffice for me.

of course , our political class will do none of this – and thus these baby murderers will get out , on good behaviour in about 7 years. (14 years “life” divided by the parole system)

November 11, 2008 11:01 PM

Of course, this particular ‘blogger’ is going to be blind to some extremes if he himself is expressing a desire for vigilante justice in the hands of “ordinary decent criminals”, but not even the left-loathing Staines would go so far as to suggest that this case justifies the death penalty for council/social workers… or would he?

(Sadly, there’s no telling; any action taken over this comment at this late stage could be a simple act of self-preservation, and there’s little that Staines says that can be trusted.)

6.

The Sun, meanwhile, is hosting a petition that demands “ALL the social workers involved in the case of Baby P” be sacked and “never allowed to work with vulnerable children again”.

a) This may look a tad extreme on the face of things, until you consider that Wade is probably calling for a high body count in order to avoid a further calls for a genuine body count. Think of it as a form of methadone for the mob.

b) Not that this gets Wade off the hook for her ongoing failure to recognise how stupid some people can be, especially when crazed with child-preserving blood-thirst; 1, 2

c) A quick look at the petition shows that it’s not of the credible variety, in that it only asks for a name and location. Testing this morning showed that the petition accepted two submissions from ‘Mr Made-Up Name’ from the same IP address, even after it was closed.

[MINI-UPDATE – The Sun’s web petition is now back online. There is no indication/notice why or when it was taken offline and later returned to service (without visible changes).]

d) George Pascoe-Watson (political editor of the Sun newspaper), was interviewed on Radio 4 late yesterday, and was asked by the host if their coverage was as helpful as it could be. You might want to put that coffee down before you read his response:

“Now, let’s not get carried away with an anti-tabloid campaign!” – George Pascoe-Watson

e) The Sun claims that “over 225,000 caring Sun readers have signed our petition to bring the people responsible for the tragic death of Baby P to justice”. Far be it from me to repeat myself, but this does not take into account the Sun’s readership (3 million or so), which puts apparent support for their (easily diddled) petition at around 6% among their readers.

f) And for those who doubt that some Sun readers may have other views/concerns, I offer this….

7.

After listening to George Pascoe-Watson enthuse on the subject of Sun readers, what they want, and how very important it is that they get it (now!), I popped by their website and noticed something under their ‘petition’ article.

Perhaps you can spot it, too…

Yep, according to the Sun’s own ‘most read stories’ data, this is what Sun-readers care most about, in order of reader-determined priority:

1. X Factor
2. Tits
3. Baby P
4. Sport
5. Tits

And today’s ‘most read stories’ table tells a similar story:

1. Funny pictures
2. Tits
3. Baby P
4. Sport
5. Tits

Oh dear… a consistent third place?

Somebody’s not thinking of the children.

Related bloggage:
Septicisle> – War on personal freedom, Baby P and weekend links
Liberal Conspiracy – Right wing confusion & bile over Baby P








6 Comments

  1. Wolf Solent says

    Incidentally, Facebook seems curiously unconcerned that one of their groups is cheerily naming individuals whose identity is subject to a court order and calling for their murder…

  2. Manic says

    Justice, WS… they're calling for *justice*./sarcasmYou would think that Facebook – first stop for web publishers without a clue – would have some form of name/title-triggered alert set up by now.

  3. bigdaddymerk says

    I've just been invited to join the group;SLAUGHTER THE BASTARDS WHO TORTURED BABY P!I despair.

  4. septicisle says

    The Sun seems to have shut down the comments on all the Baby P stories, possibly because the name was getting passed around in them, possibly because of how they were telling the poor social worker involved to kill herself. It also seems to have narrowed down who it wants to go: previously all should have resigned or sack, now it just wants the head of social services to go. Possibly because it's quickly become apparent that one of those it was naming and shaming had in fact wanted Baby P taken into care, possibly because the suicidal one was also apparently overloaded with cases, possibly just to narrow it down and hopefully then claim it was the Sun wot did it. Either way, a truly revolting past few days.

  5. bigdaddymerk says

    Sky News reports that apart from an unofficial British Army Website it's mostly the fault of Facebook – at no point does it mention the Sun. Funny that!http://tinyurl.com/5h82xb

  6. Justin says

    Don't beat up on poor Guido – he's the scorpion on the fox's back. He's claimed a political scalp and now he's after a literal one. It's much the same approach really – he wants the media and politics to be run by the likes of him and his troglodyte acolytes, so why not the criminal justice system as well? It'd be the crowning turd in the toilet of his so-called career.

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