Old Media

Andrew Gilligan: Ailing Standards

Ailing StandardsAfter giving Andrew Gilligan puh-lenty of chances to either deny or defend the use of multiple false identities to praise/defend his own articles and/or undermine critics of Boris Johnson, I finally ran out of patience with the bloke and took the fight to his doorstep.

This morning I dropped by Northcliffe House, home of Associated Newspapers (publishers of the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail, as well as the freesheets Metro and London Lite) and handed out roughly 180 copies of my own A4 freesheet Ailing Standards… most of them to Mr Gilligan’s colleagues as they entered the building.

Thanks to D-Notice for handling the camera work, Matt Buck for this ‘gift to the world’, and to security at Associated Newspapers Ltd, who acted like true gentlemen (knowing, as they must have done, that I had every right to stand on the pavement and hand out free newspapers).

Until further notice, I urge all of my readers to:-

- Download their own copy of Ailing Standards, print out as many versions as they can afford, and distribute them via any legal means they regard to be fair and proper

- Link to this post, so I may hope to one day soon be a top search result for ‘andrew gilligan’

Text from the main article in Ailing Standards appears below, as does a video of my morning adventure. Apologies for the crudity of the cut and the traffic noise.

In separate instances months apart, bloggers have detected multiple visits to their sites originating from searches for ‘andrew gilligan’ and resulting in anonymous comments about Andrew Gilligan. It now appears that these comments may have come *from* Andrew Gilligan, but those seeking confirmation of their own suspicions should beware; Andrew bites!

When it emerged that suspicious comments had also appeared on the Guardian’s ‘Comment Is Free’ (some of them containing specific phrases & claims that later appeared in articles by Gilligan), the journalist responded to the accusations of using multiple false identities (or ‘sock-puppets’) to praise/defend his own work and undermine critics by launching an attack on his accusers in the Evening Standard… without mentioning the accusations! In fact, the only denials from Gilligan so far involve:

- A vague claim about a marketing arm of the newspaper conducting “automated” research. (The Evening Standard denies that any such arm of their operation exists.)

- An even hazier claim from Gilligan that one suspected account belongs to his ‘partner’. (Life partner? Business partner? Tennis partner? He won’t say.)

No-one appears to be safe from the attentions of the mystery commenter, whose visits have been reliably traced back to Associated Newspapers Ltd; so far bloggers, journalists and even a professor of journalism have enjoyed his (or her!) attention.

So here we are on your doorstep, print media people. We really don’t mind journalists leaving comments under articles by themselves, about themselves or involving themselves… we just really wish they wouldn’t do so while pretending to be somebody *other* than themselves.

Andrew Gilligan – Ailing Standards

(Psst! The latest thread on this subject, containing yet another attempt by Gilligan to pass off a distortion as a denial, can be found here.)

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UPDATE – I took some pictures of Northcliffe House while I was there.

Some anonymous Wikipedia edits by employees of Associated Newspapers Ltd

This afternoon, I used the almighty Wiki Scanner to have a quick browse through some old anonymous edits made from an Associated Newspapers IP address.

(Primarily 195.234.243.2 by the looks of things, and you can browse from the most recent edit backwards starting here if you feel like taking a slightly different path; I’m sure there’s plenty more to be found, especially among the more recent edits.)

I strayed upon someone who has read one of my favourite books.

I discovered that the personal life of Uma Thurman is fair game, but the personal life of Paul Dacre is not.

I saw some external link spamming of the borderline variety… oh, and the outright kind, too.

I spotted a dangerous leftist lurking in the bowels of their organisation.

I chanced upon distaste for “self-promoting articles in national newspapers”.

I encountered someone who disagreed with a claim relating to the evidence in the Livingstone/Finegold matter.

I met a kindred spirit who shares my love for Tony Blair (if not the ability to express it coherently).

But the highlight of my afternoon was seeing this edit in a discussion about a list of animals displaying homosexual behaviour.

Where is real proof in the tiger actually showing homosexual behaivour? Personally I believe tigers would only be prone to show anti-homosexual behaivour, is it because of this people believe they might actually be closet homosexuals? –195.234.243.2 14:47, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I can get past the spelling, but:

- Note the immediate switch from a demand for proof to a reliance on belief.

- Note the fear that the very idea that a tiger could be homosexual might be enough to ‘turn’ people (or at least make them a little bit curious).

- Note above all the deep-set affection for tigers that has been sadly absent from our newspapers since the retirement of Bill Watterson.

Tigers are nimble, and light on their toes. My RE-spect for tigers continually grows!

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UPDATE – Meanwhile… Hey, everyone! Andrew’s back!

But he’s got you, dear boy…

Boris Watch has spotted it, and it slipped under the Guardian’s radar at the time, but I’d like to highlight this for regulars at Bloggerheads as a warm-up of sorts.

This is a comment left on the Guardian’s website using the ‘kennite’ account. In other words, it is a comment made by Andrew Gilligan or his mysterious life/business/tennis partner (background).

I invite you to watch ‘kennite’ and marvel at the sheer gall of it all as he belittles Ken Livingstone (author of the article) and Brian Paddick (‘BrianforMayor’):

kennite

Mar 23 08, 10:12pm

I’ve never seen this before: an incumbent Mayor, and two of the other candidates, posting on a talkboard. On a public holiday, too. Could they, perhaps, be desperate? Interesting to see that Boris doesn’t feel the need to post.

[ link to single comment | link to entire thread ]

(rolls eyes)

Because what ‘kennite’ was doing – even if he is a ‘partner’ of Gilligan’s and not an invention of Gilligan’s – wasn’t at all pathetic or desperate, was it?

Oh, I’m going to enjoy this…

(prepares stick)

Hooray.

Iain Dale has introduced compulsory comment registration on his weblog.

It’s on a trial basis, he’s pledged to give it more of a chance than he did last time, he clearly recognises the way in which the all-comers system was open to abuse, and his stated aim is to make his comment threads “more welcoming and less intimidating.”

So hooray.

This measure will, at the very least, make it more difficult for users of sock-puppets (multiple/false identities) to switch between identities. It will also reduce the number of instances where regular users slip behind a new identity or anonymity in order to deliver a swift sucker punch here or there.

I am now much happier with Iain Dale positioning himself as an ambassador for political weblogs, as I can confidently state this issue to be 90% of my problem with that (and with him personally); I did not want MPs and Councillors watching the way Iain used to conduct himself and using that as a model. Take, for example, what Nadine Dorries regards to be acceptable on her not-a-blog.

Also, in a different but equally welcome step toward accountability, Iain Dale’s magazine Total Politics is now signed up to the PCC Code of Conduct.

That’s another ‘hooray’, right there.

I will continue to treat the issue of the use and abuse of anonymous comments and multiple/false identities as a priority, which will rate equally with developing print-watch projects.

Happily, these two issues will overlap from time to time, saving me a great deal of time.

And on that note:

Adam Bienkov – What’s wrong with Andrew Gilligan?

So far, the only defence of Gilligan has been in the form of a time-wasting troll, and the only person likely to defend the alleged actions (an unapologetic user of multiple/false identities) has turned up, but wasted their time attacking Gilligan’s accusers.

Tellingly, evasive comments and attacks on his accusers are all Gilligan himself has had to offer; there’s been no denial beyond his vague claim that one single identity suspected to be under his control is an account held by his ‘partner’.

There hasn’t been a single comment credibly calling the evidence into question or defending the alleged actions. Also, news has emerged of past evidence of sock-puppetry.

Speaking softly hasn’t produced any results; I think the time has finally come for me to start hitting Andrew Gilligan with a stick.

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Related bloggage:
Tom Watson – Being Andrew Gilligan
Matt Buck – Being Andrew Gilligan – or not
Liberal Conspiracy – Andrew Gilligan is becoming a laughing stock
Justin McKeating – Andrew Gilligan: sockpuppet and sockpuppeting
Boris Watch – That’s Enough, Gilligan
Five Chinese Crackers – A lesson in how tabloid journalism works from Andrew Gilligan

All (suitable) hands on deck, please

1. Do you already have a CiF/Guardian account*?
2. Do you think the use of sock-puppetry is pathetic, dishonest and/or damaging?

Then please, if you have a moment, read this article and then check in under comments to let Andrew Gilligan know that it’s not just “anti-Boris forces” wanting an answer to this question:

Do you deny leaving comments underneath your own articles and articles about you, whilst pretending to be a third person?

You know I don’t do this kind of call-out often, so take the time and chip in if you can, please.

Ta.

(*I ask because newcomers arriving within a conversation like this run the risk of being dismissed as a sock-puppet by a total soft-cock who is trying to divert attention away from his own sock-puppetry.)

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UPDATE – Oops… I swore! I am losing my patience. Please forgive the lapse, and try not to swear in the CiF thread; swear-words are a gift to people who wish to portray a serious allegation as mindless abuse.

Gilligan begin again

Those keeping up with the Andrew Gilligan sock-puppet saga will want to keep tabs on the discussion thread under this article.

BNP data grab bag

1. In-spired. Take a bow, Chris.

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2. And to expand on the point raised in that picture, here’s Justin:

The crowning jewel of the story is that the BNP, who only this month called the Human Rights Act ‘surely one of the most pernicious pieces of legislation ever passed by the mother of Parliaments,’ and reiterated its promise to repeal it when the party – don’t laugh – becomes a ‘British Nationalist government’, have now asked the police to investigate breaches of the Human Rights Act.

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3. I’ve highlighted this elsewhere; just a little something extra for those who don’t accept any of the main arguments for not sharing the BNP data. There are some people who will use any excuse to engage in a campaign of ‘data intimidation’:

“Redwatch justifies its content as a tit-for-tat reaction to leftist-oriented websites and magazines displaying similar content… However, Redwatch have been unable to provide details of any such websites or magazines. One of their few attempts to justify these claims has been to repeatedly cite a single press release published in August 2001… ” – (source)

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4. A picture for you (also posted to b3ta). Adolf clicks ‘send’ instead of ‘save’:

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5a. The above reminds me of the day Iain Dale accidentally CCed Phil Hendren on our private correspondence instead of BCCing him as he intended to. There’s no telling how often he does this or how long he’s been at it, but every time Iain has a question he’d rather avoid answering, Hendren will turn up to change the subject and/or have a go at me. Dale initially denied the whole BCC thing, BTW. Dale also (privately) denied providing Hendren with my unlisted home number, but he’s a shameless liar and Hendren keeps changing his vague story about where he got it, so I’m still not entirely sure if I’m buying Dale’s denial. And one day I’d like to see him deny it in public. Anyway, I mention all of this because Iain ‘ambulance chaser’ Dale has somehow managed to avoid blogging the biggest political story of the week, and I was looking forward to watching him denounce the use of personal data as a political weapon like he actually meant it.

5b. Top points to Phil Hendren for hiding this pathetic excuse in his post, though; “… if it was just a list of phone numbers (there) would be no means of identifying who the number belonged to from the number alone so it wouldn’t represent ‘personal data’”, apparently. Hendren says this because he likes to explain away his publication of my ex-directory number on his website as a scrap of harmless data blowing in the wind. That excuse may have worked on that P.O.S. ISP he manages servers and customer data for, but the fact is that Hendren threw my phone number in my face and published it on his site with the specific purpose of intimidating me into silence (just because he couldn’t admit that he was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-wrong). Even if we accept his latest pathetic deceit, I doubt he’d be equally flexible if someone threatened him with a replica pistol.

5c. Paul Staines hasn’t mentioned the BNP data matter, either. Perhaps he’s worried about offending the far-right “window lickers” that populate his comments and eagerly eat up his anti-communist rants and casual racism. After all, one has to keep the traffic numbers up, and a visit is a visitor a visit is a visit. (MessageSpace can’t survive on affiliate links and similar performance-reliant ads alone, so from time to time they need to convince naive, weak-minded and/or desperate marketing bods that their two-bit advertising network can reach zillions of right wing window lickers discerning bloggers from across the political spectrum… mostly on blogs like Staines’ where until yesterday the whole design was held together by stealing bandwidth from Flickr.)

5d. Spy Blog notes how far behind the mainstream media are on this one. Could this perhaps have anything to do with their lazy reliance on the three self-publicising sell-outs listed above? (For example: Scotch noticed that Sky News yesterday heralded the response to PMQs from “all the blogs”, and then listed the reactions from… erm… Staines, Dale and Hendren.)

[/bunch of fives]

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6. Alex Hilton, the left-leaning village gossip who happily chums it up with twats like Staines and Dale in return for scraps, turns out to be a bit of a twat himself. Who knew? Here he is attempting to goad MySociety folk into doing what he regards to be an obvious public service (via), and here is an admirably measured reply from a chap who has just essentially been called a coward because he won’t immediately rush to fill Hilton’s enormous skills gap:

“Alex – the moment you sacrifice the values and compromises that hold together liberal democracies (such as a presumption of innocence and a
right to privacy for people who’ve not actually been convicted of crimes) for the sake of humiliating your political opponents, you’re starting on a path far more likely to result in ruination for us all than a bunch of marginal wing nuts.” – Tom Steinberg

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7. It’s just been brought up under comments on an earlier post that someone on the list who claims not to be a member has speculated that it is a marketing database and not a membership database which “might make it more problematic both for the BNP in terms of data protection and for those on the list,” but there’s also been some noise about names being added/removed from the list by those who released it. It’s a ‘wait and see’ on that one, I think.

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8. I can mention this now that this version of the list has been removed from Google’s servers; Clive noticed that the Daily Fail blurred a name and address in their screen capture of the site that listed the BNP data, but left the URL of the site intact!!! Oh, *please* let the BNP sue the Daily Mail…..

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UPDATE – Hahahahaha! The Daily Fail actually manage to be funny. Accidentally, of course.

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UPDATE (21 Nov) – And now we have this inevitable yet precious jewel, also from Chris. The sequence starting 0:53 is bloody glorious, and I experienced a genuine ‘office LOL’ at the 3 minute mark. In fact, at times, it’s almost as if aaaalllll those ‘Downfall’ edits have been leading up to this moment. Enjoy:

(Oh, and when you’re done, do take the time to check out this little update from Bartholomew on the subject of right reverends.)

The many puppets (or ‘partners’) of Andrew Gilligan

The Tory Troll brings us more on Andrew Gilligan the spontaneous outbreaks of text commonality that occur around him.

Here’s the question that Andrew Gilligan refuses to answer:

Do you deny leaving comments underneath your own articles and articles about you, whilst pretending to be a third person?

Instead, Gilligan appears to be operating from the Iain Dale playbook:

a) rubbish your accusers while neatly sidestepping the main accusation(s)

b) if there’s a minor accusation that you can refute, refute it *vehemently* (if you do this loudly enough, most people will mistake it for a response to the primary accusation and move on)

c) if they’re not satisfied with this response and pursue the matter further, scream “Stalker!”

It’s a c**t’s game and I grow thoroughly sick of it.

Baby P: angry mobs and tabloid scum

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

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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.]

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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….

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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.

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

Andrew Gilligan comes out scratching

Boris Watch – Mr Gilligan, I Presume?

Details! Evidence! Forensic analysis!

My goodness, we are spoiled.

And what does Mr Gilligan have to offer us?

Andrew Gilligan – King Ken or Baron Boris – all mayors need a challenge: The new media could be another answer, but isn’t yet. Several anti-Boris blogs now purport to “enhance the accountability of the mayoralty”. Alas, most read more like Private Eye parodies, daily finding new evidence of sinister neo-con evil in Johnson’s choice of breakfast cereal. Even the more measured ones simply copy stories from other media outlets (they all have a particular, and flattering, obsession with the Standard). Boris’s enemies in Nerdistan won’t do much damage until they learn the difference between investigative journalism and a Google search.

Ah. I see.

Did we all get that, then? Andrew Gilligan is superior to his accusers, in that he is a better writer and detective. Therefore, he must be innocent of anything they detect and above answering any questions they write.

That’s logic, that is. I know, because I once read a book about debating and stuff.

You may also note that he doesn’t link to or even name the site(s) he is criticising.

Oh, and the ‘obsessive’ tag, now standard with this kit.

Here’s what I submitted as a comment a few hours ago… it has yet to see the light of day:

Do you deny submitting comments to some of these blogs while pretending to be someone else? Because that’s the issue that’s prompted your outburst about them, I’m sure.

(Just in case your memory is going: the issue you fail to mention in this article is the same one that you got a jolly good ribbing about from your contemporaries this past week.)

The Tory Troll has more.

(Pfft! ‘Nerdistan’. Andrew Gilligan is now officially a wanker.)

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UPDATE – Boris Watch is keeping track of comments not published by moderators under Mr Gilligan’s playground taunts. Submit your own failed submissions here.

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