Archive for the ‘Old Media’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 1, 2011

Category: Consume!, Marketing, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

[MINI-UPDATE (03 Jun) – THE object to my use of the word ‘dishonest’ in this headline. I stand by my use of the word, but as a courtesy, I have placed this prominent and immediate link to the relevant correspondence so readers might better judge for themselves.]

Regulars of Bloggerheads will be aware that my family and I been through some difficult times recently. During the rolling crisis, several two-bit operations have sought to hijack the ‘bloggerheads’ name that I created, but my priority has been those attempting to associate this unique name (and mine) with paedophilia, stalking and what have you.

Recently, I complained to staff at the magazine Times Higher Education about their use of ‘bloggerheads’ – a unique name that I created to title my blog about blogs – to title a web round-up feature (i.e. their blog about blogs). I repeatedly made it clear that I wanted them to come up with their own name, especially when they clearly planned to use it to blog about other weblogs. They pretended there was no room for confusion, offered to put ‘the’ in front of it as a “concession” and left it at that. Almost immediately references to their magazine started turning up in Twitter and Google in searches for my unique name.

I complained again. They gave me the very clear impression that, were the name protected as a trade mark, they would immediately comply with my wishes.

Several times I pointed out to them that I had a significant and demonstrable moral claim to the name dating back many years, but they dismissed this notion in the most patronising way possible. I also pointed out that if they seek to market themselves on the via web/blogs, then there are far better ways of going about it than hijacking an existing name, which is one good reason why the expense of a trade mark has never been necessary before now in the decade I have been using the name ‘bloggerheads’.

I also pointed out that I was busy battling an ongoing campaign of harassment, and their position compelled me to spend money we could ill-afford at the moment, but they stood firm on their position (along with the ridiculous implication that they had searched the trade mark database but not Google when they decided on using this name as their own).

Ultimately, Times Higher Education Editor Ann Mroz left me with no choice but to trade mark the name so I might call their bluff and take further steps to protect it from recent misuse and/or appropriation by their organisation and others.

But now I have begun the trade mark registration process, they have changed their position, and plan to continue using the name as they have before!

That’s a class act, all the way. After compelling me to trade mark the name, now they’re going to compel me to await the completion of the registration process (and then, presumably, take them to court) before they will be in any way reasonable about this.

Their Deputy Editor can’t even name the sub-editor they claim ‘invented’ the word, but Times Higher Education staff are unwilling to admit that they made a mistake by using this unique name without first researching it. They even have the audacity to minimise the significance of its use from their point of view (e.g. it’s ‘only’ on page 24 of their magazine), but surely if it’s no big deal to them and a bloody big deal to me, then that’s even more reason for them to back off and do what they should have done in the first place; come up with a unique name of their own invention.

[Other, smaller, organisations who have recently sought to appropriate this name have also been contacted about this matter today. I am hoping that they will be more reasonable. I certainly can’t see how they can top this response from Times Higher Education. I realise THE are in the education sector, but surely they’ve grown out of playground games by now.]

UPDATE – Check the comments for a contribution by ‘Malcolm Kent’. It was submitted using false details, and is an obvious sock-puppet.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 23, 2011

Category: Old Media, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Video

#Lolitics is a project by Chris Coltrane inviting comedians and campaigner/activists to step out of their comfort zones for a little chat about politics. Stand-ups are invited to engage with more political material, and people like me are invited to bring what they know to a stand-up audience.

It is a nurturing environment. There is cake. I’d been to an earlier event and was blown away by an entire set about Nadine Dorries from Nadia Kamil.

Encouraged by Chris, I brought these good people what I knew about Page 3. The following is an audio recording of the exchange, along with the relevant slides (old-skooled onto cardboard for this event, but pixelled in glorious web colour here for you).

If you would like to share this video with others in Twitter, please use the http://bit.ly/page-3 link (because it will send sweet, sweet link-love to the main project page, where this video will headline from today).

Page 3: Propaganda [sfw] from Tim Ireland on Vimeo.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 18, 2011

Category: Old Media, Tories! Tories! Tories!

You may have noticed some minor damage control going on this past week as the Conservatives took some limited measures to bring Nadine Dorries to heel while ignoring the wider problem of the smear campaign she has involved herself in.

The main problem with Nadine Dorries as far as Tories are concerned is that she is woefully indiscreet; a mean-spirited clot who is far too certain of her ability in the Machiavellian arts.

Last week, her primary indiscretion was her announcement that she had a one-to-one meeting with the PM, and the stunted Machiavellian component was her repeated assurance that it must have gone very well indeed, because it is widely-understood (she says) that the absence of coffee is bad news, and (she claims) coffee was present:

Dorries blog/tweet 8-9 Feb 2011

Days after this one-to-one and really-quite-good-because-it-had-coffee meeting with David Cameron, Dorries had closed her Twitter account without a word of explanation, and her best friend Lynn Elson had resigned from the very same highly-paid and vaguely-defined position that was recently examined on this blog:

Bloggerheads – Nadine Dorries: Go Compare
Bloggerheads – Nadine Dorries and Marketing Management Midlands Ltd

However, it is as obvious as a wet turd on a windshield that the Tories are perfectly comfortable with the wider smear campaign and have no wish to bring that to an end, because Dorries was left free to excuse/explain the resignation (and to a lesser extent the closure of the Twitter account) by again resorting to the same damn ‘stalker’ smear that the Conservatives continue to pretend is none of their business.

It is on this note that we turn our attention to Bedfordshire on Sunday, a local newspaper distributed within Nadine’s constituency, and their take on these matters:

Bedfordshire on Sunday, Page 5, Feb 13 2011

Chris Gill, editor of Bedfordshire on Sunday, has for near to a month avoided printing any mention of the matter of Nadine Dorries’ expenses that has not only been investigated by police, but subsequently referred to the CPS. The referral was rumoured/reported by one national newspaper then confirmed by another, and even the fact that this was leaked at all is a potential story, but Gill dismisses the matter as ‘unsubstantiated’ and thereby avoids any mention of it (or any reason to look too closely at it, lest he accidentally confirm it to himself).

Meanwhile, he and his staff brag that they present the facts to their readers and allow them to decide…

Bedfordshire on Sunday staff tweets

… but that is not what is going on here at all. In reality, relevant, pertinent facts being kept from the readers of this newspaper, while other facts are being presented selectively and distorted willingly.

Meanwhile, they help to smear me as a stalker to draw attention away from what I have uncovered, instead of doing their damn job… which is to properly examine this same material and raise the obvious questions raised by an extraordinary level of expenditure on a poorly-defined role filled by a close, personal friend of an MP. What they assert to be intrusion is the bare minimum that their readers should expect from them!

Lynn Elson called Bedfordshire police to complain about my conduct (which amounts to analysis of facts and figures in the public domain… how very dare I), was rightly advised that she should instead take the matter up with her local police force, and subsequently called Gloucestershire police, to no discernable effect. Gill could barely confirm the initial call to Bedfordshire, and yet rested his newspaper’s assertion of “intrusion” on the mere fact that maybe a phone call had been made.

My calling police to accuse Chris Gill of rape does not make him a rapist. Chris Gill understands this, and any person in his position should understand the significance of Elson being referred by one force to another in these circumstances, but Gill somehow thought it appropriate to pretend that this was some form of ‘dual’ report (i.e. a matter so serious that it involves two police forces). The article he subsequently granted a quarter page to (above) also implied that the web-published material prompting Lynn Elson’s complaint/resignation was somehow personal in nature, and fabricated to boot.

Even though I am hilariously castigated in Gill’s paper for not attempting contact with a person who appears to be accusing me of stalking her (!), Chris Gill did not contact me prior to publication of this article. Even after publication, when challenged to identify the “fabricated” material or support his assertion of “intrusion”, Chris Gill has repeatedly refused to respond.

I suspect he will go on pretend that I should have informed him before publishing all of these points that I have already put to him, but even if he did have a valid complaint of this type (he doesn’t) his defence is no better than ‘tit for tat’, and in any case he is bound by PCC guidelines and I am not.

Currently, Chris Gill moans that I am being unfair to him personally, and uses further unsubstantiated accusations of ‘mud slinging’ to support his position (of making claims he cannot substantiate) before declining any further response:

from: Chris Gill
to: Tim Ireland
date: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Tim
Can I email you privately , not for publication
chris

from: Tim Ireland
to: Chris Gill
date: Tue, Feb 15, 2001 at 10:03AM

You should know my answer to that. I don’t negotiate privately with the unprincipled any more.

By your recent actions, you mean to shield Dorries from scrutiny and smear me as a stalker. I’ll not stand for it, and I intend to not only challenge you on it, but to bring your poor conduct to the attention of the readers whose trust you betray so readily.

Tim

from: Chris Gill
to: Tim Ireland
date: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Tim
I wasn’t planning to negotiate, just wanted some info.

I notice you are good at mud slinging but first to cry when there is something you do not like.
Some of your assumptions are very, very wide of the mark and offensive.
I am not guilty of any ‘poor conduct’ in any walk of life and your assessment that I betray readers is a stain on my character. You do not know me, have not met me and you cast slurs which are unsubstantiated.
I should also point out one thing I ain’t mate, is soft in the head. Believe me
Chris

from: Tim Ireland
to: Chris Gill
date: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Oh, spare me.

Identify this ‘mud’ you speak of, and tell me how it justifies your publishing material that you know to be a gross distortion (at best).

While you’re at it, show me the fabricated evidence your article refers to and the deeply personal component you imply I published, and produce evidence of the intrusion your headline declares to be a certainty.

Tim

Chris Gill was unable to offer anything in his defence other than what one hopes is a pretence that he is offended. (He doesn’t have to answer any questions I raise about his apparent corruption because I have dared to raise questions about his apparent corruption! Brilliant!)

Speaking of pretence; having an open thread at all under an article of this type is unacceptable to begin with, but Gill took it a step further and pretended to be offline and unavailable when comments carrying damaging and entirely false allegations about me were published on his site using the free-for-all comments facility. Meanwhile, he and/or his staff busied themselves deleting comments that contradicted their position or dared to mention the matter of the CPS referral.

For those who are left wondering how Dorries has got away with being a corrupt liar for so long, this is part of the answer.

As Dorries’ attempts to involve the police in her lies have become more pathetic and transparent, the editor of this local newspaper has shared and indulged her indiscretions to a degree that is now undeniable, and easily demonstrable:

Chris Gill will not report the matter about the local MP and an expenses investigation being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, but he will target a lesser-known figure, a critic of that MP, using nothing but a half-confirmed claim that someone made some phone calls to police that may or may not have got past the switchboard.

Prior to this, Gill was so indiscreet about his treatment of Dorries’ belated ‘stalker’ complaint to police that he allowed Dorries to a ‘no comment’ on a story when it should have been clear to him or anyone else in his position that she was the only possible* source.

(*If we are to assume Gill is not implying that the police are the source of this leak. I’m sure he is not.)

It is now so obvious it is embarrassing; Chris Gill is the kind of person who will pretend that he serves the interests of the local people, when in fact he will willingly enter into collusion with the local MP and her supporters (including those on his staff) instead of holding her to account as he should.

That is a disgrace, and it is something that every reader of Bedfordshire on Sunday should care about.

And, should the point escape some of the more dogmatic supporters of Dorries; I say this because of adherence to a principle, not fixation on a person.

We each should have a right to hold those in power to account, and we should have the right to challenge such people when we suspect them of dishonesty.

This applies to politicians, and it applies to publishers, and it is especially important that this principle is adhered to when the latter only pretends to hold the former to account.

If Chris Gill is going to abuse power in this way, I make no apologies for my attempts to bring it to the attention of the people who grant him that power.

If he has any objection to that, it should begin with a clear explanation about his recent editorial choices.

(Psst! Gill’s staff have begun a bit of a PR push in Twitter, while pretending they do so in a purely personal capacity. In their rush to build a following, one of them has repeatedly linked to the account of a person who has previously published my homes address online in what they part-defend as a revenge attack on behalf of Nadine Dorries. This does not look good when Beds on Sunday staff are being painfully indiscreet in their cheery exchanges with other supporters of Dorries while accusing me of intrusion.)

Back soon with the next round of evidence about widespread collusion in Tory smear campaigns, folks. Have a nice weekend!

UPDATE (19 Feb) – There are moans from within the Dorries camp that Lynn Elson resigned on the 7th of February, i.e. before the coffee-means-good meeting. Assuming this claim to be true/well-informed, there is no published record of this anywhere (Bedfordshire on Sunday do not mention it), and the news came near to a full week after that date, so there was no way I could have known/expected this without communicating with Dorries or her staff, and it is clear from Dorries’ past conduct that attempting this was futile and likely to lead to a damaging and dangerous outburst. And it changes little, as pressure/expectations from the party are likely to have compelled Dorries to take action prior to her appointment with Cameron, and Elson herself contends that she resigned as a result of web articles about her, which is the core of what I dare to suggest here. Elson may claim she resigned due to “intrusion”, but the only visible articles about Lynn Elson immediately preceding her resignation concern themselves specifically with her professional conduct, not her personal life as she implies. If she seriously claims any of that material is fabricated, she has yet to specify it and her moaners have yet to bitch about it. And if we must play this game of Chinese whispers, perhaps one* of them can get back to me with the answer to a simple question: does Lynn Elson claim to have resigned before or after the ‘Go Compare’ article was published?

(*But send a different thug or maybe a cuddly carrier pigeon this time please, Dorries peeps. The person you keep using is everything Dorries accuses me of being, and he’s been warned very clearly and politely that I do not want to hear from him any further.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 27, 2011

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories!

[See also: Andy Coulson and Andy Hayman: Friends]

Lately, we have been treated to the ‘earnest’ opinion of one Tory cloaca after another reminding us that Andy Coulson is innocent until proven guilty… as if there is no cause for concern about the way London’s Metropolitan Police Service repeatedly turned a blind eye to available evidence and re-opened their investigation into phone-hacking only hours after Tom Watson demanded it be handed to another police force. You couldn’t shut these fuckers up about the stench of corruption they insisted they could smell everywhere before the Tories took over. In fact, one of Coulson’s loudest cheerleaders even repeatedly assured us of the guilt of Tom Watson during ‘smeargate’, based on evidence he knew to be false at the time. Iain Dale later part-justified this deliberate libel on his assumption that Tom Watson must have known something because he worked in the same office as Damian McBride of Satan*.

However, in this instance, Iain Dale tells us that “Coulson’s accusers can go to hell”, even though Coulson ran the relevant office, and it was and is standard protocol for him and every other editor in the land to check the source of every major story. For Dale to pretend not to know this when he big-notes himself as a responsible publisher goes beyond the absurd; it is an insult.

Dale, like other tabloid scum of his type, is entirely flexible on the matter of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, and his position appears to depend entirely on whose side the accused is on.

(*Psst! Iain’s still rewriting history on this one, too. His latest self-serving interview with Watson is enough to make you sick and, strangely, during this same interview, the subject of Coulson and Watson’s ongoing attempt to hold him to account never comes up. Yet Dale still claims his junk-mail magazine Total Politics couldn’t possibly be biased, when it couldn’t be otherwise with old tilt-head at the helm. Dale is a proven liar, and even his categorical denials about this have turned out to be outright lies. Strangely, even though he has all that Ashcroft money lining his pockets and claims Bloggerheads.com is chock to the brim with libel about him, he has yet to sue. In fact, the only time a claim of libel was ever raised formally, his lawyer quietly dropped the matter after he was challenged to identify a single instance of libel on this site. I guess that’s what you get for signing off on a client’s letter instead of doing your own homework.)

Oh, I do apologise. I’ve inadvertently strayed into an area where the stakes are merely a minor smear about my stalking people that’s been put about by Iain Dale and his dirtbag mates, and how that feeds the accusations/delusions of the man who’s been watching my house (see: irony), when what I really want to do today is show you how flexible Andy Coulson is on the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ when someone gets shot in the head.

Here we turn the clock back to the opening days of June 2005.

Following the rejection of a third inquest into the shooting of Harry Stanley by London Metropolitan Police, the two officers involved in the shooting had just been arrested and interviewed, following an investigation by Surrey Police involving new forensic evidence.

Andy Coulson was at this time the editor of News of the World, and he came out hard in defence of London police in several subsequent editions of this ‘news’ paper. After some research at the British Library Newspaper Reading Room in Colindale (soon to be closed, er, I mean ‘improved’) I have to hand some full-page scans from two of those editions, and I invite you to inspect them.

The first of these scans is dated June 12, 2005, and it presents to readers what the article describes as “dramatic new evidence that could clear two police firearms officers,” stating that “these amazing pictures, uncovered by News of the World, show the policeman could not know he wasn’t holding a gun”:

Andy Coulson, News of the World, June 12 2005

Click for hi-res if you wish to read the full article.

1. They show that, do they? Looks a tad contrived to me.

2. I’d rather police only killed someone when they were left with no choice because they were certain that person was carrying a gun. (Or maybe wearing a bomb vest. Or perhaps taking part in a peaceful protest.)

3. Gosh, I wonder how News of the World uncovered these amazing pictures.

Note also the reader ‘jury’ survey, conducted on the back of an earlier opinion piece by Michael ‘Deathwish’ Winner, that clears police. Oh, and also take a look at the enormous picture caption under their ‘evidence’ that echoes a letters-page call to “end this witch hunt”.

Public pressure was a major factor in the subsequent investigation/inquiry process (Coulson’s paper even makes a big deal about the expenditure to date), and this clearly prejudiced stance by the News of the World was a major push to influence public thinking in favour of the police.

The next week, Coulson even had the audacity to run the dead man’s police record past readers as if this somehow excused the decision by officers to shoot him. Without a lick of shame, News of the World describe it as the ‘rap sheet from hell’ (i.e. this is where he must have ended up after police shot him) and even imply that Stanley may have intended suicide (i.e. he deliberately goaded police into shooting him):

Andy Coulson, News of the World, June 19 2005

Click for hi-res if you wish to read the full article.

See? The blood they shot him in wasn’t cold at all. Why, if you stir it fast and furious enough, the friction alone generates just enough heat to justify a bullet. (Or maybe two, just to be sure. There’s no margin for error in this job.) That, or it was Harry Stanley’s idea to get shot in the first place, perhaps even to make police look bad. Surely no dastardly act was beneath him; one need only look at his record.

Again, one can only guess at the possible source of this amazing scoop.

(ahem)

It should be obvious from his stance on this issue that Andy Coulson contended that the police were innocent until proven guilty (and so incredibly innocent that an external investigation into their conduct must stop), but the bloke they shot in the head must have earned it, because he totally looked guilty… judging by what the police a unnamed source told him.

Less than a month after the latter article, Andy Coulson was busy making excuses for some other London police who shot another innocent man; Jean Charles De Menezes. The same man in charge of that botched operation was also in charge of the later lackadaisical investigation into the conduct of staff at News of the World.

I put it to you that the London Met may have deliberately held back on their investigation into News of the World and the conduct of Andy Coulson and his staff as a favour to a mate (and/or a source of auxilary income), if not a special allowance for a tabloid scumbag who knows where the bodies are buried. Literally.

Inquiries to date by the London Met should be subject to an external/independent inquiry, regardless of any new evidence they and their News of the World cronies claim to have found behind a cupboard. If it turns out that any hint of corruption is evident, the London Met should be taken off the case immediately.

Hell, I’ll go even further than that; what should happen here is exactly what Andy Coulson was trying to halt/prevent after Harry Stanley was shot by police; there should be a full investigation by Surrey Police that looks into any new evidence of alleged phone-hacking.

Anything less risks corruption if not loss/destruction of evidence and a dramatic downturn in public confidence in London’s Metropolitan Police Service and the criminal justice system generally; not something police need in the capital, especially when they are tasked with policing major demonstrations against the Conservative machete-without-a-mandate that Andy Coulson worked for at the highest level until just last week.








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 13, 2010

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories!

[UPDATE (27 Jan 2010) NEW POST –Andy Coulson: innocent until proven guilty]

To follow this recent post about John Lennon, and in response to the perfectly formed announcement of Andy Coulson’s complete and total innocence, I thought I would blog something about true friendship, because I’ve seen evidence that it can exist between tabloid scum and (some) public figures…

FT.com – Coulson knew officer in phone hacking affair

Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, said on Friday he was on friendly terms with the senior police officer who oversaw a criminal investigation that sent one of his reporters to prison for hacking into the mobile phones of the royal household.

Giving evidence to a Scottish criminal court, Mr Coulson said he remembered having tea with former assistant commissioner Andy Hayman and “may well have had lunch with him” as well.

But he denied that he had been in possession of personal information about the officer that the News of the World could have used to prevent Mr Hayman mounting a thorough investigation of the scandal.

Of course he didn’t have dirt on the man; that’s not how friends behave.

Let me show you how friends behave:

In 2005, Andy Coulson was editor of News of the World, and Andy Hayman was head of Specialist Operations, leading the investigation into the London bombings of July 2005.

An innocent man by the name of Jean Charles de Menezes was shot on Hayman’s watch. Here’s how Andy Coulson shaped the response:

Andy Coulson: friends

Click for hi-res if you wish to read the full article.

As you can see, the headline doesn’t read ‘police kill innocent man’; instead, it offers readers a decidedly (ahem) loaded question. The article also seeks to lead the public with a series of mitigating circumstances that would go some way to excusing what police had done… if any of it were true:

– The article states as fact that Jean Charles de Menezes was wearing “a bulky winter coat despite the warm weather” (i.e. something conspicuous that might have hidden a bomb belt). He wasn’t.

– The article states as fact that the police shouted a challenge to Jean Charles de Menezes “screaming for him to stop”. They hadn’t.

– The article states as fact that Jean Charles de Menezes then “made the decision that cost him his life” and “vaulted over the ticket barrier and ran down the escalator”. He didn’t.

As you can see, when police shot an innocent man and Andy Hayman’s arse was on the line, Andy Coulson acted like a true friend; rather than rely on any of the investigative journalism that News of the World is supposed to be famous for, Coulson chose instead to take a friend at his word and not bother looking at or into any of the pesky detail.

Later, in 2006, Andy Coulson was editor of News of the World, and Andy Hayman was the officer in charge of the inquiry into the News of the World phone hacking affair

When it was suspected that News of the World had targeted hundreds if not thousands of innocent people and Andy Coulson’s arse was on the line, Andy Hayman acted like a true friend; rather than rely on any of the investigative skills the police are supposed to be famous for, Hayman chose instead to take a friend at his word and not bother looking at or into any of the pesky detail:

Guardian – Police ‘ignored News of the World phone hacking evidence’

Police who investigated the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World obtained previously undisclosed telephone records which showed a vast number of public figures had had their voicemail accessed – and then decided not to pursue the evidence…

Guardian – Phone-hacking inquiry left a mountain of evidence unexplored

Here’s the riddle. If the Guardian, the New York Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches can all find numerous journalists who worked at the News of the World who without exception insist that the newspaper routinely used private investigators to gather information by illegal means, why can’t Scotland Yard find a single one who will tell them the story?

In their original inquiry into the phone-hacking affair, in 2006, detectives arrested the paper’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and charged him with listening to messages on the royal household’s mobile phones. Goodman refused to answer questions.

Scotland Yard then interviewed not one single other journalist, editor or manager from the paper. Detectives took this decision despite holding evidence that – we now know – clearly identified other News of the World journalists who were involved in handling illegally intercepted voicemail.

In their recent inquiry, which ended fruitlessly last week, they attempted to interview only three journalists, all of whom were identified for them by news organisations.

They approached those three not as witnesses but as suspects, warning them that anything they said could be used to prosecute them: two gave interviews in which they declined to answer questions; the third challenged them to arrest him in handcuffs, and so they never even spoke to him.

There are some who might describe this as something dangerously close to corruption, but obviously such people are reactionary leftist scum with an anti-Murdoch agenda…. the same type of people who would dare to raise an eyebrow at Hayman later leaving the police to work for News International as a columnist.

Clearly, what we are looking at here is nothing more than innocent goodwill shared between two men who know and trust that their good friend is on the level. Surely this is a quality to be applauded in these deeply cynical times.

*See also: Bloggerheads – News of the World vs. Big Society: snakes in the grass

Related blogagge: Septicisle – Coulson in knowing nothing shocker

UPDATE (27 Jan 2010) NEW POST –Andy Coulson: innocent until proven guilty








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 8, 2010

Category: Humanity, Old Media

Please join me as I mark the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death by observing the tabloid scum of the day feeding off his corpse:

The

The Sun – Thursday, December 11, 1980

Front Page: Red-hot bride-of-the-monster action.

Inside: A super Sun exclusive about the superstar, by Don Short “the man who knew his secrets” because he “travelled with John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles” in the 60s. It is not specifically mentioned that he did so as a Daily Mirror journalist, but a clearer picture of Short’s true relationship with Lennon does reveal itself in the caption of this awkward image that is posed if not composed, plus Short’s tale of an attempt to be nearer to his ‘friend’ by climbing the back wall of the Beatles’ castle accommodation and “into an upper suite with lattice windows”:

John

For those in any doubt, here are some revealing mentions of Short by the Beatles themselves, as they clearly describe their attempts/intentions to keep their secrets away from this person:

We still didn’t know anything about doing it [LSD] in a nice place and cool it and all that, we just took it. And all of a sudden we saw the reporter and we’re thinking, ‘How do we act normal?’ Because we imagined we were acting extraordinary, which we weren’t. We thought, ‘Surely somebody can see.’ We were terrified waiting for him to go, and he wondered why he couldn’t come over, and Neil [Aspinall], who had never had it either, had taken it, and he still had to play road manager. We said, ‘Go and get rid of Don Short’… – John Lennon (source)

I felt this bad vibe and I turned around and it was Don Short from the Daily Mirror. He’d been hounding us all through the tour, pretending in his phoney-baloney way to be friendly but, really, trying to nail us. – George Harrison (source)

These accounts make it very clear that Short was allowed to play the friend, but was never trusted as one.

Sunday

Sunday Mirror – Sunday, December 14, 1980

Front Page: Grieving May Pang finds comfort with her pet cat and a front page exclusive interview about her 18 month affair with Lennon (from 1973 to 1975).

Inside: I’ll spare you the details. (Summary: there aren’t many.)

The

The Sun – Monday, December 15, 1980

Front Page: A celebration of a moment of silent dignity in memory of John Lennon, interrupted only by OMG, THE FACE OF HIS KILLER! EXCLUSIVE!

Inside: Don Short tells the story of John Lennon’s divorce from wife Cynthia and his great love affair with Yoko Ono, but runs out of what he can pass off as first-hand material (statements made/passed to himself or press generally) about halfway through. Perhaps as an attempt to make up for this, he also offers us sidebar news of a ‘secret sex pact’ between the Beatles (which amounts to an alleged agreement not to sleep with each other’s partners).

That scraping sound reminds me that we’ve been at the bottom of the barrel for longer than is healthy, so (for now) I bid you farewell and good tidings:

Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

A Merry Winterval to all!








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 8, 2010

Category: Old Media, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Watching Channel 4’s excellent documentary Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking I was struck by the bravery of the victim of sexual assault who spoke out, especially in comparison to the majority of ‘journalists’ who worked under Andy Coulson and/or alongside Clive Goodman at News of the World (i.e. people who claim their life’s mission is to root out and report corruption).

I was also greatly amused to watch the footage of Coulson being confronted by the Culture Select Committee with a hard copy of the Goodman article that did him in (the bottom item in the scan below); this was a news gossip item that alerted the royals to the phone hacking that led to a police investigation, a conviction, and Coulson’s resignation (link), but Coulson looked at it as if he’d only just then laid eyes on it.

As you can see from the scan, Goodman drapes himself in the name of a familiar fictional character and casts himself as an anti-establishment warrior fighting for the rights of the common man. Moving quickly on from the shtick of this corrupt liar and how familiar it seems, I would like you to note that Andy Coulson portrays this man as a rotten apple in barrel, while Goodman seems/seemed to think of himself as more of a snake in the grass.

(There’s a clever sentence about apples and snakes that eludes me here; perhaps the accomplished writer and biblical scholar Nadine Dorries would care to tackle it.)

Yesterday, I did some research in the British Newspaper Library in Colindale, in an effort to (at least) familiarise myself with Goodman’s NOtW contemporaries from the period preceding/surrounding the act that led to his downfall.

What appears below is a list of ‘journalists’ who rated a byline mention in News of the World in 2005. I’ll refrain from highlighting any names that already stand out for me (it wouldn’t be at all fair in a post like this), but I will tell you that this list may contain the name of the individual who had an actor portray them in Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking, and it may also contain the names of several people who are busy avoiding any mention of the matter at all, possibly because they still work for News International and/or fear having their lives ruined by the type of people who smear those who dare to expose their corruption.

Rather than waiting for newspapers, TV or (Dog forbid) the police to do something about this, I propose that we ‘Big Society’ this project and beat the grass with sticks ourselves, to see how (m)any remaining snakes react.

The way I picture it, any blogger with an interest in truth in media can pick a name (at random, if you want to try to be as fair as possible), find out what that person has been up to lately (starting with Wikipedia, Journalisted, etc.), source the relevant contact details in the process, approach that person for comment, then blog the details.

At the very least, we should end up with a pretty comprehensive list of people who would rather stay hidden in the grass for one reason or another.

Clive Goodman Blackadder Nov 13 2005 - Partial scan

List of News of the World ‘journalists’ granted a byline in 2005

(NOTE – People known to be still working for NOTW at the time of writing are highlighted in bold. Names preceded by an [e] have been emailed – or in some cases tweeted – with a request that they comment on this matter. Obviously those still working for NOTW or another News International newspaper are unlikely to comment, but there are Is to be dotted and Ts to be crossed.)

[e] Phil Taylor – ‘associate editor’
[e] Neville Thurlbeck – ‘chief reporter’ [response: no comment]
[e] Ian Kirby – ‘political editor’ [response: no comment]
[e] Keith Gladdis – ‘deputy politicial editor’/’whitehall editor’ [response: no comment]
[e] Mark Bolland – (former editor of ‘Blackadder’… and former director of the PCC) [response: no comment]
Clive Goodman – ‘royal editor’ [done]
[e] Ryan Sabey – ‘royal reporter’ (Now working for The Sun) [response: no comment]
Mahzer Mahmood – ‘investigations editor’
[e] Martin Samuel – ‘chief sports writer’
[e] Rachel Richardson – ‘tv editor’ [response: no comment]

Alice Walker
[e] Amanda Evans [response: no comment]
[e] Andrea Vance [response: no comment]
Carl Fellstrom [Has blogged about it here. And good on him.]
Carole Aye Maung
[e] Chris Buckland (Now working for The Sun) [response: no comment]
Chris Tate
[e] Dan Evans (currently “suspended from reporting duties” following a complaint by a female television personality that her voicemail was intercepted this year- source)
[e] Danny Buckland
David Martyn
David McGee
David O’Dornan
[e] Dominic Herbert [response: no comment]
Edward Trevor*
Frank Thorne (Sydney-based correspondent)
Gemma Calvert
Gemma Pearse
Georgina Dickinson
Gerard Couzens
Haili McHugh
Hayley Barlow
Holly Jarvis
James Desborough
James Hill
James Millbank
James Orr
Jane Atkinson
Jon Higginson
Lester Middlehurst
Lewis Panther
Lucy Laing
Lucy Panton
Mark Christy
Martin Breen
Matt Slater
Matthew Acton
Mike Hamilton
Mike Merrit
Nadia Cohen
Neil McLeod
Neil Syson
Paul Kennedy
Phil Cardy
Polly Graham
Primrose Skelton
Rachel Spencer
Rav Singh
Rob Beasley
Robbie Collin
Robert Kellaway
Ross Hindley
Ruth Skelton
Sara Nuwar
Sarah Arnold
Sharon Feinstein
Simon Freeman
Sonny Soper
Stella White
Stian Alexander
Stuart Kuttner
Sue McGibbon
Tim Wood
Tom Worden
Vanessa Altin
Vaz Sayed
Wayne Francis
Will Stewart
Zak Newland

MINI-UPDATE – I have added here the names of two three News of the World executives who were active at the time:

Ross Hall
Alex Marunchak (this article from 2002 will raise an eyebrow)
Greg Miskew (Miskew left in July 2005, but it is alleged he signed a contract with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire)

(Those with certain prominence and/or billed with a title in print in 2005 head the list, but other than that, the order is strictly alphabetical by first name. This is not a complete list, and it may grow; samples were taken from the main part of the paper in early, mid and later months of 2005. Some pseudonyms and/or nameless drones may be involved. Other people were afforded bylines at the time, but they are not in this list because they wrote opinion pieces and/or were unlikely to be based in the main office; e.g. Lord Stevens, William Hague, Tony Blair, Al Murray, the lovely Ulrika, and Mystic Meg… who we can only assume failed to see this coming.)

So, there’s your list. Many of these people worked alongside Clive Goodman in the months leading up to the event that led to his arrest, and may or may not have something to say about their recollection of events and/or the culture in the newsroom under Andy Coulson.

If you plan on starting on a name or two, do drop me a line privately, leave a comment, or ping me on Twitter (hashtag is #snakelist); I’ll probably start marking names as ‘taken’ and/or ‘done’ once we get rolling, or I may choose to leave the list unmarked to keep the drones guessing. Let’s see how we get on.

* UPDATE (29 August, 2011) – ‘Edward Trevor’ appears to be a fake name. The following has been reported by the Wall Street Journal:

Former News of the World staffers say it wasn’t unusual for the News of the World’s editors to put a reporter’s byline on a story not written by that person. In fact, one reporter whose name appeared on hundreds of News of the World stories over the years—Edward Trevor—doesn’t actually exist, former staffers say.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 6, 2010

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

Greetings! The post you are reading at this moment is appearing simultaneously on four websites:

Bloggerheads (post permalink) – my personal site
The Sun: Tabloid Lies (post permalink) – a media watch site targeting The Sun
Daily Mail Watch (post permalink) – a media watch site targeting the Daily Mail
Express Watch (post permalink) – a brand new media watch site targeting Express newspapers

I’m not the gaffer for all of these sites, but I have had a word with the relevant writers and webmasters about what I’m about to share with you, the reader, so you know what to expect from these media watch sites targeting The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express:

All three sites will now operate as open clubhouses for the following writers and bloggers, all of whom have a solid track record* and ongoing interest in blogging and media watchery:

5cc :: @
bigdaddymerk :: @
Adam Bienkov :: @
Chris Coltrane :: @
D-Notice :: @
Daily Quail :: @
Dave Cross :: @
Kate Griffin :: @
Daniel Hoffmann-Gill :: @
Tim Ireland :: @
MacGuffin :: @
Hannah Mudge :: @
Carl P :: @
Nadia Saint :: @
septicisle ::
Sim-O :: @
Uponnothing :: @
Anton Vowl :: @

(*I could be more effusive if I weren’t in the list myself. Damn my modesty.)

From today, these writers will be free to submit original content and/or reference or mirror articles from their own sites about The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express newspapers.

Don’t expect everyone to come rushing in at once; the whole idea is that we can all drop in as and when we please; i.e. whenever we have time to report/share clear examples/evidence of these newspapers deceiving their readers.

(I’ve started by popping a couple of backdated mirrors about the Dunblane incident and a recent dash of homophobia and hypocrisy in Express Watch, BTW, and you will probably see more like these appearing over the coming days/weeks as we go about the process of populating the newer site with a little historical data on a writer-by-writer basis.)

There are bound to be varying degrees of tolerance between writers and over time, but we will continue to avoid ‘hating’ on tabloid readers generally (this being existing policy on the two older media watch sites), as we recognise that even the worst elements are victims to a degree if they base their fears/prejudices on misleading information fed to them by these newspapers – and we are ultimately out to bring some of them on board with the whole ‘honesty in media’ policy (at least to the extent that they cease reading, funding and otherwise enabling these media outlets that play so wilfully on the fears of others).

To put it bluntly, we as a group (a) seek to remind the readers of these tabloids that they are being lied to on a regular basis, (b) will attempt to call their owners and editors to account where possible/appropriate, and (c) aim to chip away at their circulation in the process by the devilish means of repeatedly exposing their fraud… when we each have a few minutes.

This ‘clubhouse’ approach should be enough, one hopes, to keep all three media watch interests ticking over a steady rate, and keep the documentation of the worst of these tabloids’ deceits relatively central and readily accessible.

With that newly-centralised relevance in mind, from an SEO (search engine optimisation) perspective, I also have designs on all three sites eventually earning very high placement for the name of each newspaper title; Daily Mail Watch is at present 7th for ‘daily mail’ in Google UK and prone to go higher, and The Sun: Tabloid Lies has just recently entered the top ten for ‘the sun’ (i.e. it is now 9th in Google UK).

Keep an eye out for our clubhouse members as they begin to appear over the coming week. Oh, and do add the following to your sidebars, readers and bookmarks, because these sites are about to become your first stop for any news involving any of the following tabloid newspapers:

The Sun: Tabloid Lies
Daily Mail Watch
Express Watch

Cheers all.








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 16, 2010

Category: Old Media, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Before early 2009, the Conservative MP Patrick Mercer enjoyed a partnership with Glen Jenvey (aka Richard Tims) and Dominic Wightman (aka Dominic Whiteman, aka Richard Walker) that appeared to make a positive contribution in the struggle against extremism/terrorism, and earned him/them considerable media coverage in the process.

Exactly when (or if) his relationship with these men ended is still unknown, but in 2009, Patrick Mercer made some extraordinary moves to shield (and continue to work with) Glen Jenvey, though he must have known or at least suspected at the time that Jenvey was fabricating the evidence of extremism that earned him tabloid coverage.

I also have evidence to hand that shows Mercer shielding conman Dominic Wightman in a similar fashion even earlier than this, and he continued to shield this man he knew to be a liar throughout the period Wightman was manipulating me into attacking one of his former VIGIL partners while manipulating Jenvey into accusing me of being a paedophile (and onward throughout the period when Wightman was manipulating others into publishing my home address alongside further false accusations ranging from involvement with extremists to stalking; Mercer even had the audacity to repeat the latter claim behind closed doors as a cover story that also helped him to avoid awkward questions).

At any stage during 2009, Patrick Mercer could have severely limited Wightman’s capacity to harass his former partners and/or perceived enemies, simply by speaking up. He chose not to.

Of course, standing up and admitting his past/present association with Jenvey and/or Wightman may well have cost him his position as Chair of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism, and it certainly would have destroyed his credibility in media circles, as by this late stage, he had shielded both men even after it became apparent they were not to be trusted; during their association/partnership with him, both men were involved in stunts designed to gain media coverage while stirring up religious hatred.

Now take a look at all the lovely money Patrick Mercer earned writing articles for the media (as revealed in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests);

MERCER, Patrick (Newark)

2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc
Fees for articles in:
Independent on Sunday. Address: 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5HF. (Up to £5,000)
12 September 2009, received payment of £500. Hours: 1.5 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
The Independent. Address: 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5HF.
12 September 2009, received payment of £160. Hours: 1 hr. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Sunday Telegraph (Up to £5,000)
Yorkshire Post (Up to £5,000)
Daily Mirror. Address: MGN Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP. (Up to £5,000)
3 September 2009, received payment of £500. Hours: 1.75 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
3 September 2009, received payment of £350. Hours: 1.25 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Mail on Sunday. Address: Associated Newspapers Limited, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT.
3 July 2009 received payment of £1,200 for article. Hours: 1.5hrs. (Registered 3 August 2009)
16 August 2009, received payment of £750. Hours: 2.5 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
18 August 2009, received payment of £1200. Hours: 3 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
6 September 2009, received payment of £800. Hours: 1.25 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Received £1000 for a 1000 word article that took 2.5 hours to write. (Registered 11 January 2010)
The Times. Address: News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY.
13 July 2009 received payment of £500 for article. Hours: 1hr 45mins. (Registered 3 August 2009)
Sunday Times. Address: News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY.
7 September 2009, received payment of £750. Hours: 1 hr. (Registered 28 October 2009)
News of the World. Address: News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY.
16 August 2009, received payment of £400. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
The Scotsman. Address: The Scotsman Publications Ltd, Barclay House, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS.
26 August 2009, received £100. Hours: 30 mins. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT.
26 November 2009, £200 received for article. Hours: 45 mins. (Registered 30 November 2009)
Appearances on Newsnight. Address: BBC, PO Box 1922, Glasgow, G2 3WT.
4 September 2009, received payment of £70. Hours: 40 mins. (Registered 28 October 2009)
7 September 2009, received payment of £70. Hours: 40 mins. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Security consultant to Olive Group (from April 2008). Address: 6 Eighth Floor, 6 New Street Square, New Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 3AQ.
18 August 2009, received payment of £1500. Hours: 24 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Security consultant to Red Amber.
HarperCollins Publishers, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB.
I received publishing advance for novel from Harper Collins in 2008/09. (Registered 17 June 2009)
I received publishing advance and continuing royalties for novel from Harper Collins in 2009/10 (Registered 17 June 2009)
£4300 received on 20 October 2009 for the synopsis of volume 3 of my novels. Hours: 18 hrs. (30 November 2009)
Received £3,585 for delivery of novel. Hours: 240 hrs. (Registered 11 January 2010)
Received £930 from AP Watt for talking book deal. Address: AP Watt Ltd, 20 John Street, London WC1N 2DR Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Received payment of €25 for completing a telephone interview/questionnaire for Ipsos Mori, 79-81 Borough Road, London, SE1 1FY. Hours: 7mins. Fee donated to charity. (Registered 3 August 2009)

That’s not to say that Patrick Mercer conducted himself in this disgraceful manner only for money; he may have done it for personal/political reasons that we can only guess at for as long as he refuses to discuss the matter.

UPDATE (9:30am) – I called Patrick Mercer to ask if money played a role in his decisions as outlined above. His response; ‘no comment’.

He also had no comment to make about when he ended his relationship with Dominic Wightman, if he is still claiming privately that I ‘stalk’ him (even though he has not filed a police complaint or taken any measures to proceed with civil action), or if he still maintains that my ex-directory home address never passed through his office.

Patrick Mercer did, however, ask a very revealing question during the call; “Are you broadcasting this?”

I answered very clearly/politely that I wasn’t, and asked why he would think I would do something like that. He responded by insisting that I move on to the next question.

I think it’s fair to say that Patrick Mercer is either in contact with Nadine Dorries or at least well aware of her treating his privately-shared accusations as if they were statements of fact.








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 8, 2010

Category: Old Media

Front pages reach an audience beyond a newspaper’s readership, and every editor knows this.

Therefore, the impact of this stunning bigotry and ignorance should not be underestimated and certainly shouldn’t be ignored:

bigotry

Daily Express – NOW ASYLUM IF YOU’RE GAY: Asylum claims could soar after judges upheld appeals by two gay men who were to be deported. The men, from Iran and Cameroon, had been refused asylum by the Appeal Court under Labour on the grounds that they could avoid ill-treatment by hiding their sexuality or behaving discreetly. But the Supreme Court overturned their deportation yesterday. The cases will now be reconsidered. Campaigners last night warned it could mean millions might try to claim they are gay to qualify for asylum in Britain. Supreme Court judge Lord Rodger said gay people’s right to live freely must be protected. He said: “Just as male heterosexuals are free to enjoy themselves playing rugby, drinking beer and talking about girls with their mates, so male homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically-coloured cocktails and talking about boys with their straight female mates.”

Acknowledging that the ‘Kylie and cocktails’ text paraphrases a judge who appears to have educated himself by watching witless sitcoms, questions should be asked about the suitability of this front page, and how it portrays both homosexuals and asylum seekers.

There’s also a wealth of what-the-fuckery to be had in exploring the comments of Conservative MP Philip Davies and MigrationFearUK chairman Sir Andrew Green, but for now let’s stick to this front page and see what it tells us about Richard Desmond, the hands-on owner of this newspaper, who also happens to be a pornographer.

While repeatedly using male homosexuals to stir up feelings of fear and outrage that sell the Daily Expresstabloid rag to an audience of bigots, Richard Desmond also sells pornography aimed specifically at… male homosexuals.

Richard Desmond owns a number of pornographic TV channels. In fact, in what many suspect was a back-room deal aided by Tony Blair, Desmond was the first pornographer to cash in on the ‘Freeview’ market.

Among those pornographic channels owned by Desmond is GayTV, a channel dedicated (one assumes) to watching Kylie’s music videos and catching up on the latest COCKtail* recipes:

hypocrisy

(*Did you see what I did there? Who’s a clever boy?)

And just so the ladies don’t feel left out… I’d like to point out that lesbians are well-represented on Desmond’s series of TelevisionX (and RedHot) channels:

pornography

Just kidding. The red hot lesbian action you’re likely to see on a Desmond porn channel is probably faked for a male audience… which brings us back to the comments of Conservative MP Philip Davies:

Daily Express – NOW ASYLUM IF YOU’RE GAY :Conservative MP Philip Davies said: “It’s a dangerous game to play to go down this line because it’s quite feasible that this could offer an ideal line of defence for someone who wants to try to avoid being kicked out of the country, whether it is true or not that they are gay. By its very nature, it’s very difficult to prove one way or another. My concern would be that this may well be exploited by some people as a way of avoiding deportation.”

What does Philip Davies think about the dangers of people who fake being a lesbian for the benefit of a cash-paying audience? Isn’t he outraged or maybe even just a little bit concerned about this obvious fraud?

(Here Philip Davies may point out that faking lesbianism on a hardcore sex channel isn’t quite as easy/straightforward as cutting your hair short and wearing comfortable shoes, and I look forward to that debate.)

Finally, bringing us back to the central point, what does Philip Davies think about the way Desmond exploits two distinct audiences in pursuit of profit, lying to at least one of them about his core beliefs re: homosexuality in the process? Admittedly (ahem) by its very nature, it’s very difficult to prove one way or another… but Desmond can’t have it both ways**.

(**Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

[Psst! It is widely reported by many unhappy consumers that RHF Productions Ltd, house of porn and part of Desmond’s Northern and Shell empire, dances right on the edges of consumer protection laws, if not all over and back and forth across them. So even if you’re stupid enough to buy gay porn from a man like Desmond, you may want to think twice about what it could cost you in cash terms.]








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