Archive for the ‘Old Media’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 6, 2010

Category: Old Media, Teh Interwebs

[Please note that this post contains uncensored profanity.]

Cloaca (x 2)I would like you to consider choosing (and using) the word ‘cloaca’ ahead/instead of ‘cunt’ in your written communications on the internets and in the Twitters.

I will begin by outlining the deficiencies of ‘cunt’ as a useful word in mainstream discussion, and then go on to point out the qualities of ‘cloaca’ that make it a worthy replacement. Please bear with me through a few swears:

Why/when the word ‘cunt’ is often needlessly offensive

I have an anus that follows me everywhere and there’s no question about my being attached to it, but use of the word ‘arsehole’ as abuse does not offend me as an anus-owner, as it should not offend you.

I personally don’t feel violated in any way when people use ‘prick’, ‘cock’ or ‘dick’ as a form of abuse, even though I own a penis and am quite fond of it. I can see how a woman using one of those terms to attack me purely on the basis of my gender might offend me, but it would be foolish to read this into every use.

Therefore, even though I don’t own one, I have in the past deemed it appropriate to describe another person as a ‘cunt’ (and not in a nice way).

However, I think there is an inequality at work here that unfairly places ‘cunt’ at the top of the anatomy-based abuse index:

– cunt
– arsehole
– cock, prick, dick, etc.

In this sense, ‘cunt’ is potentially offensive to all women. Not through the general use of the word, even as most forms of abuse, but through its placement at the top of the body-part chart. Should a word for female genitalia really be the most offensive thing you can call someone?

Obviously, if your intention is to abuse/offend as many people as possible, ‘cunt’ can get you halfway home without difficulty, but if your intention is to abuse only one person (or a small group) where is the justice in any potential/widespread collateral damage just by using the wrong word?

I’m sure we can better progress as a species without this kind of inequality, and I would like you to consider using the word ‘cloaca’ in place of ‘cunt’ as part of your recommended daily allowance of abuse.

If you still have trouble understanding/appreciating why you should do this, ask yourself who really wins when you call a notorious woman-hater like Richard Littlejohn a ‘cunt*’.

[*Poetry Corner: A lot of people have said it; yes, including me. But it was said well and said best when said by Stewart Lee.]

Why ‘cloaca’ is a worthy replacement

Richard Littlejohn is also your path to understanding why ‘cloaca’ is my chosen replacement:

In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species. The word comes from Latin, and means sewer. All birds, reptiles, and amphibians possess this orifice, from which they excrete both urine and faeces, unlike placental mammals, which possess two separate orifices for evacuation. (source)

See? Like Richard Littlejohn, a cloaca is a cunt, and an arsehole, and a pisshole (and sometimes even more)… all at the same time!

To my mind, there is no question about its rightful place at the top of the chart:

– cloaca
– cunt
– arsehole
– cock, prick, dick, etc.

There are other benefits, too:

a) Even if cloaca-owning critters could read, there would be no risk of offence; the decision to favour a multi-purpose orifice is entirely logical and does not unfairly single out or denigrate birds, reptiles, amphibians or monotremes. Plus, it should be pointed out that (some) humans have cloacas, too.

b) ‘Cloaca’ is not a widely-known word, and there is often a goatse-like aspect to its use that should delight the enlightened communicator. For example; if this word were directly neatly at the right target** they might never look at eggs in quite the same way again. Any bystanders to the conversation may also be educated about biology to some extent as a result – and left in no question about your meaning and/or the depth of your feeling – but, importantly, they will not be personally offended or wounded on a gender/inequality level.

[**Vegans may wish to avoid its use as abuse when confronting omnivores, as this may be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to spoil their breakfast(s).]

c) ‘Cloaca’ will sail through most swear filters and pass most ‘SFW’ tests. Unless you drag a chicken into the office and wave it in the boss’s face to make your point, in which case you’re on your own.

d) The latin origins of ‘cloaca’ couldn’t be more perfect for its intended use on the internets; we have enough shit to deal with, and every fresh outlet of pure sewage is to be discouraged.

Now, we’ve had some laughs, but I am serious about this, and to show my dedication to this proposal and further spread the gospel, I have decided to make Richard Littlejohn some if not many of the top/main search results for ‘cloaca’ in Google Images***. (I am hoping that people will instinctively pick up on my point, or eventually come to see things my way.)

[***Trivia: In Google, there are 90,000 searches/month globally for ‘cloaca’… and only 12,000 searches/month for ‘richard littlejohn’]

In summary: using ‘cloaca’ in place of ‘cunt’

It really is very simple; I would like you to buck the trend and sacrifice an extra letter [two extra letters. duh.] the next time you’re tempted to call someone a ‘cunt’, and use ‘cloaca’ instead.

Linking to this post from time to time (or using the http://bit.ly/Cloaca link or the #cloaca hashtag in Twitter) will reassure your followers that it’s a brave stand for equality, and nothing against their budgie.

Cheers all.

[Psst! If you’re a media-watch blogger and have a strong view and some relevant evidence about Richard Littlejohn that you’d like to share, you can help with the Google Images malarkey. Just drop me a line in the Twitters and I’ll clue you in.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 27, 2010

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

Excuse me, folks. I know you many of you are waiting for an update on the Nadine Dorries situation, but I want to be absolutely sure of the circumstances in which she made these false allegations before going any further, and this (open) letter is long overdue.

I will continue to update you on Twitter as and when. Cheers all.

To: Ian Hislop
CC: Adam Macqueen, Louis Barfe
From: Tim Ireland
Subject: Your baffling refusal to regret or retract a childish outburst

Ian Hislop

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Ian,

After yesterday’s discussion it’s clear that you are completely averse to a retraction of comments made under the umbrella of your organisation, despite your knowing how they have been used against me in the past and how they are being used against me to this day.

Still, knowing and understanding are two different things (which may be what G.I. Joe was banging on about in between explosions) so here’s what doesn’t fit into a two-minute conversation:

The first aspect you struggle to understand is that I am not being overly precious about my reputation, but instead merely trying to protect my family. I expose liars and get lied about often as a result, but people attacking me online are now armed with my home address thanks to a man called Dominic Wightman. This has resulted in the publication of my home address alongside claims that I’m a stalker of women who sends death threats to MPs. The same people also recruit unwitting newcomers, arming them with these false allegations and my home address (an act which has so far successfully slipped through the cracks between potential criminal and civil action).

Glen Jenvey claims to have been duped in a similar manner in the event that kicked off this major disruption in my life; he was armed (he claims by Wightman) with my home address and the false allegation that I was a convicted paedophile. The result; today, over a year after they were first posted, there are still some 50+ repeats of this dangerous smear live on websites hosted by Google, who refuse to remove them (and often take months to remove private data such as my home address when they claim to have a 48-hour response time).

The second aspect you struggle to understand is that the people most instrumental in these attacks are using Macqueen’s childish outburst and your ongoing silence to part-justify their allegations/actions.

Iain Dale actually tried to take political advantage of my being smeared as a paedophile while simulataneously libelling Tom Watson as a smear merchant. He went on to similarly exploit a man on the brink of suicide and the repeated publication of my home address. He did this primarily by lying about the context, the circumstances and the specifics of attempts to contact him about these matters, falsely giving the impression that he had made a valid complaint of harassment (which quickly evolved into an outright claim of ‘stalking’) and it was your man Adam Macqueen who popped up at the crucial moment on the website of another Private Eye writer, Louis Barfe, likening my correspondence with your magazine to the rantings of a “nutter on a bus”.

Macqueen then went on to lie about the context, the circumstances and the specifics of what he did/said, and I could prove that to you if you’d care to give the evidence some consideration, but I am fearful of how you or your staff would portray any attempt to contact you privately in the circumstances.

Adam Macqueen and Louis Barfe may know Iain Dale from way back when, but people change and nothing changes them faster than politics. Even some of Dale’s most ardent supporters have been forced to admit an even greater change in his behaviour since the Tories finally negotiated their way into government.

Recently, a young man submitted to Dale’s site a polite comment correcting him on one or two claims he made about the expanding protest in Parliament Square. Dale reacted by publicising the man’s home address and reporting him to his employer for shirking… over nothing more than a difference of opinion! He then went on to write and publish a series of comments alleging, theorising and contending all manner of sins without a scrap of evidence to back any of it.

Link:
http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/05/shouldnt-you-be-at-work-mike.html

Iain Dale is such a two-faced cockweasel that people don’t often see this side of him, but I saw it as early as 2006, when he knowingly allowed another ‘lefty’ to be smeared as a paedophile (yes, he has done this twice now), most likely because taking a public stand against it would have harmed his friend and political ally Anne Milton. At the time, political blogging was still in its infancy, but Dale had one of the most influential Tory blogs around and one or more of the people involved in the smear appear to have been regular comment contributors during and after this period.

The latter is hard to prove definitively because Iain Dale is second only to Paul Staines when it comes to running a political blog like an open sewer and allows his supporters to pose as several different people when it suits him, but what can be said for sure is that Dale went on to repeat anonymous comments submitted to his site claiming I had stalked Anne Milton as if this were a statement of fact.

Iain Dale went on to repeat this smear and variations of it, privately with other MPs, and at public events attended by MPs.

These repeated smears have also been used to good effect by his allies.

In fact, Nadine Dorries, a particularly close ally of Iain Dale’s, has followed the same dirty playbook. The only real differences arise from the lessons I have learned from Dale’s assault (don’t give them anything they can distort, and record, record, record).

Despite the urgency of some matters, I have only emailed Nadine Dorries 10 times in the space of two years, and each and every one of these emails related to her falsely accusing me of being mentally unstable and/or a stalker. She went on to misrepresent these emails anyway, portraying these attempts to address the smear of stalking as evidence of stalking (!) mainly by giving a false account of the emails’ contents and their frequency.

(Your man Macqueen pulled much the same stunt. He smeared me as a nutter, and portrayed my attempt to confront him – and you – about that as proof of what he claimed.)

Hearing of these and other lies Dorries was spreading in private and in public, during the recent election I went along to a public hustings event in Flitwick to film proceedings. Dorries reacted by declaring me to be a stalker in front of the entire gathering (twice) before storming out… and neatly avoiding having to answer her constituents on camera as a result.

When smearing me as a stalker, she described hundreds of abusive emails that were never sent and spoke of police investigations that never took place. Since this extraordinary outburst, she has even gone on to publicly liken her position to that of Stephen Timms, as if I am likely to stab the woman! This is no better than (and similar to) her ‘brink of suicide’ hysteria during the expenses scandal, but it carries the added bonus of casting me as a man with a violent, criminal character.

Links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjOr9vYg9dQ
http://adamcroft.net/2010/05/nadine-dorries-tim-ireland-and-flitwick-what-really-happened/
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/05/to-nadine-dorries.asp

I have no criminal record. I haven’t harassed anyone in the legal sense, and I certainly haven’t ever stalked anyone. I’m also of sound mind; it’s the situation that’s crazy, and you knowingly continue to be a part of it.

For that reason, I cannot trust you or your magazine on any claim where you are the only source. Given Macqueen’s extraordinary distortions over this (that you stand by), I can’t even trust the context in which you present claims where you are not the only source.

This is why, after ten years of buying, reading, trusting, endorsing and publicising your magazine, I don’t read Private Eye any more, and even advise others against trusting you or anything your staff/magazine put forward.

(Have I Got News For You, I turn off because I can’t stand seeing your smug, slap-headed face eating up the applause like a prize felcher, but I won’t pretend it’s unrelated.)

If your writers are going to distort the truth and tell outright lies and you are going to stand by them, it undermines everything you attempt to achieve with your magazine and everything you claim to stand for.

If you were a man of probity and honour, your refusal to be answerable to the PCC would be a grand gesture indeed, but without the vital ingredient of integrity, you’re just another publisher who seeks to avoid accountability… who does so under a banner of holding others to account!

And do you know what? This is exactly my beef with Iain Dale, and it always has been. This is the tabloid mentality I campaigned against long before Dale arrived to declare himself the king of bloggers (in polls he conducted himself), and it is something I will continue to fight for as long as I am able.

I honestly thought I would be fighting that fight with Private Eye at my back, not stabbing it. The way things are shaping up, the newly sober David Yelland appears more principled than you. David Yelland!

I am shocked and saddened because I genuinely thought you were better than this…. or at least smart enough not to be taken in by the likes of Iain Dale and his dirtbag mates.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – Regardless of the ill will I feel towards you, I know you have suffered broadly similar attacks in your lifetime (e.g. the closest parallel; Piers Morgan repeatedly smearing you and interfering with your personal life while playing the victim) and I sincerely hope that one day you come to better appreciate the enormity of an accusation of child rape without having to endure the smear yourself. I can also guarantee you that, unlike some ‘leading’ bloggers, if I am ever to confront you over this again, I will do so openly, honestly, and under my own name.

For those who are wondering, I ran into Ian Hislop in Westminster yesterday. He agreed with me about how unacceptable this situation was… right up until the point where I pointed out how his staff were involved and how much good a simple retraction would do. His response; “Conversation over. Not going to happen.”

Ian Hislop also stated quite clearly that he would not be covering any of Nadine Dorries’ extraordinary outbursts in his magazine.

UPDATE (28 May) – A greatly appreciated response from Louis Barfe. Incorrect/misinformed in places, but at least someone’s communicating.

That’s the most insidious thing about this ‘stalker’ smear; the people accusing me do not have to come out and have their allegations tested… because they claim to have been advised not to talk to stalkers. Iain Dale lied, Adam Macqueen lied and Nadine Dorries lied, but any attempt to address those lies is then presented as further evidence of stalking. Witness, for example, Dorries portraying somewhere between 2 and 10 polite emails into hundreds of vile and abusive messages. They are serial liars hiding behind a shared, self-reinforcing lie.

(Yes, I have tried backing off. It only made the people attacking me bolder. They are scum who put me and my family at risk, and their reasons for wanting to silence a left-leaning blogger are pretty easy to guess at.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 25, 2010

Category: Old Media

Quite inexplicably, the good people from ipetitions.com refuse to hand over the data we collected via their site prior to the sudden disappearance of our petition. I take this as a pretty good sign that they have somehow (for unknown reasons) deleted this data and are afraid to admit it, but that’s a matter for later.

This week, and today especially, we need to focus our efforts on submitting the following five suggestions (and anything you would care to add) to the following email addresses. YOU WILL NEED TO DO THIS EVEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY VOICED YOUR SUPPORT VIA THE PETITION.

Vivien Hepworth, Chairman, (PCC) Independent Governance Review:
governancereview@pcc.org.uk

[Deadline: 25 January, i.e. today]
[deadline has passed for these submissions]

Ian Beales, Code Committee Secretary, Editor’s Code of Practive Committee:
ianbeales@mac.com

[Deadline: 31 January]
[deadline has passed for these submissions]

Please note that Independent Governance Review requires you to notify them if you do not wish your submission to be made public.

Here are the suggestions we are asking you to endorse (and add to, if you wish):

SUGGESTION ONE: Like-for-like placement of retractions, corrections and apologies in print and online (as standard).

Retractions, corrections, and apologies should normally be at least equally prominent to the original article, in both print and online editions. Any departure from this rule should only be in exceptional circumstances, and the onus on showing such circumstances should be on the publication.

SUGGESTION TWO: Original or redirected URLs for retractions, corrections & apologies online (as standard).

Retractions, corrections, and apologies in respect of online articles should always be displayed either at the original URL or at a URL to which the reader is redirected.

SUGGESTION THREE: The current Code contains no reference to headlines, and this loophole should be closed immediately.

Headlines should be covered by the same rules as the rest of a story. Further, headlines and titles for links should never be misleading in what they imply or offer and should always be substantiated by the article/contents.

SUGGESTION FOUR: Sources to be credited unless they do not wish to be credited or require anonymity/protection.

Sources should normally be credited. Any departure from this rule should only be when the source does not wish to be credited or if the source requires anonymity/protection.

SUGGESTION FIVE: A longer and more interactive consultation period for open discussion of more fundamental issues.

I submit all of the above without implying support for the PCC, the remainder of Code as it stands, or even the concept of self-regulation, and request that the 20th year of the PCC be marked with an open debate about its progress to date, and its future direction.

Sincere apologies for the inconvenience, and for the late notice. Good luck with your submission.

If you’d like to encourage/inspire others by going public with your submission immediately, a similar post will be going live at Liberal Conspiracy shortly (and making a quick/anonymous comment there is a LOT easier). Cheers all.

UPDATE – Liberal Conspiracy post is here.








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 22, 2010

Category: Old Media

Just to let you know; ipetitions.com are really dragging their heels on fixing whatever glitch resulted in the removal of the PCC petition, and they have so far ignored my request for the data collected so far (i.e. so I might at least deliver this ahead of the first deadline, which is now only a few days away).

An interim measure will be with you shortly. Updates to follow.

UPDATE – PCC PETITION; PLEASE ACT IMMEDIATELY








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 20, 2010

Category: Old Media

Julie

(ahem)

Anyway, back to life and back to reality…

Morning all. Sorry about the sudden outage of the PCC petition. It appears to have disappeared late last night GMT, and it was after hometime (EST) for the ipetitions.com team when I contacted them. My account is still live, as is the test petition I created after signing up, but the PCC petition has mysteriously disappeared (and, before you ask, there is no ‘delete’ button for me to accidentally lean against).

In a few hours, it’ll be 9am EST and (hopefully) something can be done about the situation. Cheers.








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 19, 2010

Category: Old Media

NOTICE – The petition appears to have been removed because of some action/error by the US-based provider (and at the worst possible time; just after everybody went home yesterday). It’s 9am GMT on 20/01/2010 and it’s still going to be a few hours before I can hope to reach anyone at ipetitions.com. Please bear with us and come back to see what’s happening later today. Cheers all.

Below are some graphics you may wish to use for talking points on your blog. They’re screen captures from the animation I’ve made to promote the PCC (Press Complaints Commission) Submission/Petition, which launches… well, now:

A letter to the PCC (space invaders edition)

The music is Media Messiahs by Eddie & the Hot Rods and, as usual, I encourage you to buy it if you enjoy it.

Cheers to longtime comment contributer Scotch for introducing me to this song, BTW; the first time I heard it I knew I wanted to use it to comment on the current state of media, either new or old. It’s a great song, and as relevant today as the year it was first released.

That year was 1979, which also happened to be the year that Space Invaders were turning up everywhere you looked. I doubt I’ll need to explain the concept further. Enjoy the video, and don’t forget to plug the petition when you do. Cheers all.

A letter to the PCC - screen capture 1

A letter to the PCC - screen capture 2








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 19, 2010

Category: Old Media

First of all, I want to make it clear that I’m making no judgements here about what Rod Liddle said as ‘monkeymfc’, and would even point out that some (but not all) ‘monkeymfc’ comments have been taken out of context (especially in those neighbourhoods – *cough*DailyMail*cough* – where people do not link to evidence and have a track record of using material out of context, especially when it comes to identifying proof that they themselves are not the real racists/liars/etc).

Second, I think it needs to be said that there is no evidence that Rod Liddle was sock-puppeting as ‘monkeymfc’.

(For examples of sock-puppeting see Steve “leave my family out of it” Grover, Phil “I only did it that one time I got caught” Hendren, Andrew “my ‘partner’ did it” Gilligan, and Grant “someone guessed my password” Shapps.)

I’ve looked at the posts made by ‘monkeymfc’ on the relevant forum, and it is clear that Liddle’s identity is no big secret within that community… but, while counting in his favour on one front, this presents Liddle with his main problem on another…

Liddle has been making vague/one-off comments about his account being compromised. These accusations began as a claim that his account was ‘hacked’. I’ve checked with the site administrators and there’s no evidence of this, but to be fair we can put this down to the poor wording of a layman; later, Liddle made it clear that what he was claiming was that his account was accessed without his permission when someone guessed his password; this is not ‘hacking*’ but ‘password cracking’.

Sadly for Liddle, the administrators do not appear to recall any complaint/discussion about this, which casts doubt on his earlier claim that a site admin told him his account was accessed by “a different computer to his”.

In short, Liddle has been left looking like a liar on a crucial specific, and it looks no better when you step back for an overview:

Liddle claims that an unknown party with an agenda used his account to pose as him and make untoward comments in an effort to make him look bad.

We are expected to believe that a community broadly aware of Liddle’s identity did nothing to alert him about comments designed to compromise his credibility; comments that, by their very design, one would expect to be out of character.

We are expected to believe that Liddle didn’t notice these himself in the months that followed, and that he did nothing to delete/moderate them, even though he still had complete control over his account (regardless of any unauthorised access that may or may not have taken place).

We are expected to believe that Liddle complained to site administrators about this (even though they cannot recall any such conversation taking place) and that comments falsely made in his name were still left untouched after this.

All of these circumstances raise serious questions, but I want to show you where Liddle lost the benefit of the doubt from me.

Regular readers of Bloggerheads will find this comment depressingly familiar; here’s Liddle responding to much of the above under Roy Greenslade’s Guardian piece, and (tellingly, I think) refusing to use the opportunity to prove what he claims/implies is ‘provably so’ in a very dishonest fashion:

I’m glad you accept I’m not racist or any of those other things, Mr Greenslade. I did publicly refute one of the posts quoted in the Mail on Sunday, and which was certainly not me and provably so. But if you think I am going to waste my life tracking down every single thing you claim I’ve said, try to remember if I;ve said them, ask admin to check urls etc etc, just so you can pursue this odd little vendetta, you have to be kidding, mate. And why should I insist the site take down everything in my name, just to make you happy? Who do you think you are? And who the hell am I, for that matter? (link)

‘Vendetta’ is textbook, as are the false thresholds; no-one is asking Liddle to account for (or delete) everything he’s said. This looks like the last refuge of a lying scoundrel to me.

And it’s on that basis that I judge Rod Liddle and find him wanting; I expect more of anyone who edits any publication/programme that’s specifically designed to hold others to account.

See also: Liberal Conspiracy – Exclusive: EDM against Rod Liddle; admits to nasty comments; more emerges

*UPDATE (05 Sep 2010) – I will happily update this post with a note about my passing mention of hacking/cracking; as far as public perception goes, the majority of people will hear the word ‘hacking’ when used clearly in relation to a specific electronic account and will understand its intended meaning and I could have let this go, but in this instance Liddle was making very vague claims (for reasons that are easy to guess at). Specifics were required in this case because Rod Liddle’s vague accusations could be read as the site’s general security being compromised, not just his own account, and this was unfair on the webmasters. However, in this case a pointless semantic deceit is being used to muddy the waters in defence of Andy Coulson.








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 18, 2010

Category: Old Media

NOTICE – The petition appears to have been removed because of some action/error by the US-based provider (and at the worst possible time; just after everybody went home yesterday). It’s 9am GMT on 20/01/2010 and it’s still going to be a few hours before I can hope to reach anyone at ipetitions.com. Please bear with us and come back to see what’s happening later today. Cheers all.

[NOTE – It’s probably something to do with the sudden popularity of our petition, but ipetitions.com have now started displaying a donation page (instead of a ‘thank you’ page) after you submit your details. I understand why ipetitions.com have done this – and Dog knows they deserve a donation or two for providing a superior petition service – but I’m less-than-impressed by the way they’ve gone about it. At this stage, I can only apologise for this unexpected feature and provide new people with advance warning; you do not have to make a donation for your signature to register.]

– | –

I am about to spend the next couple of weeks calling the PCC to account and I invite you to join me.

This is the main URL to remember (and plug, plug, plug until you can plug no more):
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pcc/
UPDATED LINK: http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/01/pcc_petition.asp

Petition+

This is more than just a petition; it is a group submission to the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee for their annual review of the PCC’s Editors’ Code of Practice, and it allows anyone who endorses it to add a suggestion of their own (or more, if you wish):
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pcc/
UPDATED LINK: http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/01/pcc_petition.asp

[MINI-UPDATE – We will also be submitting our suggestions to the Independent Governance Review in time for the 25 Jan 2010 deadline. We have slightly longer for our submission to the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee, which has a 31 January 2010 deadline.]

In other words, it is a petition that (a) is pretty much guaranteed a group response, and (b) warrants/enables individual responses, too.

Here are the suggestions I am asking you to endorse (and add to, if you wish):

SUGGESTION ONE: Like-for-like placement of retractions, corrections and apologies in print and online (as standard).

SUGGESTION TWO: Original or redirected URLs for retractions, corrections & apologies online (as standard).

SUGGESTION THREE: The current Code contains no reference to headlines, and this loophole should be closed immediately.

SUGGESTION FOUR: Sources to be credited unless they do not wish to be credited or require anonymity/protection.

SUGGESTION FIVE: A longer and more interactive consultation period for open discussion of more fundamental issues.

These suggestions were drafted in conjunction with Kevin Arscott, Adam Bienkov, Dave Cross, Sunny Hundal, Jack of Kent, Justin McKeating, MacGuffin, Mark Pack, septicisle, Sim-O, Jamie Sport, Clive Summerfield, Unity_ and Anton Vowl, who will all be promoting this submission/petition and contributing to the debate in their own ways in the coming days/weeks.

Personalisation

I chose ipetitions.com because it will allow us to download all names/nicknames, email addresses plus their corresponding comments and deliver them in a format (CSV) that allows these bodies to answer not only the group submission, but also any individual suggestions made under it.

So, please, if you decide to join us and sign the petition, consider carefully what you might like to add under ‘comments’ because a well-thought-out submission/suggestion warrants a response and ‘OMG! GFU PCC! LOL!’ does not:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pcc/
UPDATED LINK: http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/01/pcc_petition.asp

It doesn’t mean you have to add a suggestion of your own, of course; you may instead voice an opinion about the existing suggestion(s) or which you regard to be the highest priority. Or, you may simply leave a generic comment of support for others to read. The choice is yours:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pcc/
UPDATED LINK: http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/01/pcc_petition.asp

Privacy

And now, I have a little surprise for the people who normally shy away from petitions (that, typically, require full names and addresses if they’re of any merit)…

Because the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee invited submissions by email and we will be providing them with email addresses as the point of contact, you can support this petition and expect a general and/or individual response without having to reveal your name to the general public or surrender your address* to anyone!

:o)

You can use your real name and untick ‘Show my name in the online signature list’ (so only myself and the relevant committee bods will see this data), or even use your usual online name/nickname if you feel like it, and your submission will still warrant a response:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pcc/

So long as your submission is sincere and your email address is genuine, these bodies will have no good reason to reject your submission, and you should expect a response, even if you use a nickname.

I imagine that nicknames will be a popular option (many bloggers are widely known by nicknames, and will want to be seen to endorse this/their submission), but I do encourage you to use your real name if you can, even if you mark it not-for-display.

Please also be aware that I’ll be grateful for the inch this gives us instead of running a mile or two with it; I will delete signatures/nicknames that involve pointless profanity, and I will be using the ipetitions.com controls to restrict any attempts at astro-turfing and/or sock-puppetry.

(*I have included an OPTIONAL ‘postcode’ field for those who wish to contribute this level of data, although at this stage I have no plans to use it for anything other than a rough indicator of campaign coverage.)

Promotion

I’ve made a little video to help kick things along (and it’ll be with you shortly), but I’d like you to do your part, too.

:: Twitter ::

Here’s the link to use: http://bit.ly/P-C-C http://bit.ly/53tjmb

Here’s the tag to use: #pcc

You can work out the rest. Go to it.

:: Blogs ::

A link would be greatly appreciated, but perhaps you could also write a post endorsing the main suggestions, or outlining the thinking behind your own suggestion(s). Maybe you could even take a look back at some of the fun we’ve had in the past year (or decade or more) and point out to your readers how the PCC might benefit from a firm kick up the arse.

:: Forums ::

I would greatly appreciate it if any active forum members saw fit to introduce the petition to their community and put it into context; better press standards will benefit us all. That URL again:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pcc/
UPDATED LINK: http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/01/pcc_petition.asp

:: YouTube ::

I don’t know. Film a dog eating its own vomit or something. Then segue into Richard Desmond.

Back soon with more. Cheers all.

UPDATE – This post and the petition have both been updated to better reflect the independence of the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee, which is a separate body that operates independently of the PCC.








Posted by Tim Ireland at January 1, 2010

Category: Old Media

Hello to you all, and Happy New Year.

It has now been a year to the day since this dire warning was issued by The Sun, based on the word of Glen Jenvey:

the sun screen capture

the sun screen capture

Happily, this “massive atrocity” didn’t take place in early, mid or late 2009.

Days after this report, The Sun went to print with the ‘Alan Sugar: terror target’ article that led to the end of Jenvey’s career as an amateur terror expert. And now, we have confirmation of what was first reported here at Bloggerheads in November:

The Guardian – Glen Jenvey, man behind Sun’s Sugar splash, arrested over religious hatred: A self-styled terrorism expert who was behind a fabricated Sun front-page story about Lord Sugar and other Jewish figures being on an Islamic extremist hitlist has been arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred against Jews.

There’s some fresh mitigation on a couple of fronts, and Richard Bartholomew addresses it in this, yet another great summary of events to date.

There’s a lot of detail to take in, so for those in a hurry, I should point out that it is not fair or constructive to monster Jenvey, or make him out to be monstrous (as The Sun did so readily in a pathetic effort to cover their blushes).

This story is bigger than Jenvey, and he is not the only person with a case to answer.

Speaking of such people, Conservative MP Patrick Mercer is still expecting to be taken seriously as Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism and presenting himself as a credible spokesperson on terror matters (example: scroll to bottom), despite a series of shocking misjudgements and shameless lies relating to his work with Glen Jenvey and another former associate Dominic Wightman (more).

For those who are wondering; yes, I contacted Mercer yesterday, and yes, his response to public confirmation of Jenvey’s arrest was exactly what you might expect:

“I’m afraid I have no comment.” – Patrick Mercer (30 Dec, and most of the rest of 2009)

It’s no secret that Mercer’s been out of the shadow cabinet for a while, but it is not known at this time if David Cameron rates Patrick Mercer as a credible spokesperson on the subject of extremism and terrorism. Perhaps someone should ask.








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 14, 2009

Category: Old Media

This year, I’ve been subjected to a series of personal attacks as a result of one story:

Bloggerheads – Glen Jenvey has some explaining to do

One of the most surprising/disappointing attacks came from Private Eye, a magazine I’d previously trusted to be fair, if not always accurate.

The attack followed Private Eye reading that story on my site, emailing me for more information about it, and then publishing it as if it were their own discovery.

A writer called Adam Macqueen admitted that it was he who had scrubbed any mention of my contribution, then (eventually) threw £50 my way and expected that to be the end of the matter… and it probably would have been if he hadn’t gone on to describe my correspondence about this as the rantings of a “nutter on a bus” on the website of another Private Eye writer.

Macqueen went on to misrepresent my being upset about this as justification for his outburst and gave several misleading responses to queries about it. A typical deceit can be seen by comparing an earlier private message from Macqueen to a later public comment:

There’s obviously been a failure of communication here, and it’s my fault: I was tipped off to look into this story by a contact of mine, I handed it on to [name snipped] to check out. I didn’t know she’d been in contact with you, so didn’t realize there was any need to credit your blog (I think she intended to, and I swiped through it in red pen). – [Adam Macqueen, Feb 2009, via email]

I didn’t write the Private Eye article that Tim Ireland is so upset about. I did, however, email him as soon as I found out he’d been involved in it, apologising for any confusion and telling him the Eye would be sending him a standard freelance payment, which I assume is why he’s attached my name to it. – [Adam Macqueen, May 2009 (source)]

Here’s another example, just to show you the first one wasn’t an accident. Macqueen can only be referring to our private/professional email correspondence in the earlier comment, but he later sought to place his remarks in an entirely different context by claiming he was talking about something entirely different and not-at-all-connected-to-his-employer:

Oh my god! You made eye contact with the nutter on the bus! You should never, ever do this. I found this out the hard way a few months back… – [Adam Macqueen, May 2009 (source)]

I compared Tim Ireland’s behaviour on someone else’s blog to that of a “nutter on the bus”… [Adam Macqueen, June/July 2009 (source)]

On the subject of context, the circumstances in which Macqueen’s remarks were made is also important; I am not so thin-skinned that I can’t take an insult or a bit of banter; rather, I have been the victim of an ongoing campaign of smears and harassment orchestrated by two distinct camps of Conservatives (each with something to hide) and Macqueen’s outburst contributed to that.

[DETAIL: At the time Macqueen accused me of being a nutter, Glen Jenvey had just falsely distributed hundreds of false claims that I was convicted paedophile, Iain Dale (a former colleague of Macqueen’s) was making matters worse with his political game play and a false accusation of stalking, and Dominic Wightman (a former colleague of Jenvey’s) was anonymously jumbling the results, with a claim that I was such a nutter that I may have faked the Jenvey attacks, if not the entire story. While making it clear that there’s NO connection between the worlds of Jenvey/Wightman and Dale/Macqueen, there’s little doubt that Wightman was then (and is now) knowingly using the smears from Dale’s corner to his advantage. Wittingly, willingly or otherwise, Macqueen made himself part of this smear storm, and could have backed out at any time with a simple apology. Regrettably, he chose to stand by his remarks and/or lie his way around them, and sees no cause to withdraw his remarks today, even though I still have to deal with the fallout, months later.]

Seeking an explanation or apology for his outburst, I emailed Macqueen, who used the fact that I objected to being called a nutter as proof of his claims that I was a nutter. In light of Maqueen’s now repeated attempts to misrepresent private communication I felt I had no choice but to write an open letter to his editor. He later used this as proof of his claims that I was a nutter, and even misrepresented my attempts to put this into context as evidence of a bizarre conspiracy theory.

Tellingly, he felt unable to back up his claim by simply referring to our earlier correspondence. This was the main issue for me, and what made it a matter for the editor;

I maintained that Private Eye had stolen my scoop, and their only public response to this, through the main writer involved, was that I my objection to this amounted to nothing more than the rantings of a nutter on a bus. Further, I was being smeared as a direct result of the same story that they had taken credit for, and their writer sought to join the pile-on (which was the height of rudeness if nothing else).

I was somewhat taken aback when editor Ian Hislop then sought to dodge this issue, but I was even more surprised when our email conversation was brought to an abrupt end by someone at Private Eye setting the email system to classify any further email from me as ‘spam’.

Yes, you read that right and, yes, I double-checked. I tried from both accounts I had previously successfully used to communicate with Private Eye, and both returned the same error message, rejecting it as spam.

That’s where I had to leave it for months while I dealt with the extraordinary attack by Dominic Wightman that caused so much disruption, but when I recently got back to Private Eye (seeking credit for my story and an apology from Macqueen), they would not shift from a vague claim that they had actually sourced the story from somewhere else.

The main problem with this contention is that anyone doing the necessary web-based research would have found my research, conclusions and story as a top search result for any of the names involved, even if they’d cottoned onto the ‘Alan Sugar terror target’ con immediately.

After I pointed this out, Private Eye sought to clarify their position by pointing out that I was “just a blogger”.

Yes, you read that right and, yes, I double-checked. While they were careful to stress that this was not a formal policy (just a prejudice), Private Eye did make it clear that they are not in the habit of crediting websites “with only a few hundred hits*” and that’s the end of it, as far as they’re concerned.

(This, after years of mocking/castigating other print titles for lifting material from websites without permission or credit; the hypocrisy is breathtaking.)

So when I publish something and stake my reputation (if not my house) on it, that counts for nothing; it’s not until a professional journalist reads it and then passes it on that it becomes real. I’m welcome to think otherwise, but they stand by their writer who maintains that I am a nutter. That’s the current position of Private Eye, and they see no reason to discuss the matter any further.

I’ve tangled with some vindictive tabloid scum in my time, but I can honestly say that Private Eye is the only print title to have responded with a personal attack like this. My faith in this magazine and the people behind it is a little shaken, to say the least. Obviously in the past I allowed for the occasional inaccuracy and even the odd agenda, but I always regarded the Private Eye team to be fair-minded as a whole. Not any more. If anything, I see their refusal to sign up to the PCC in an entirely new light.

FFS, at one stage they even tried to defend their writer Adam Macqueen on the basis that at least he didn’t call me paedophile. Now there’s some upstanding standards for you.

*UPDATE – I would maintain that the number of ‘hits’ anyone gets is irrelevant in this argument (I did the work and made the key discovery, which they passed off as their own, end of) but I think it’s worth comparing our current performance in Twitter as a little sign off:

Twitter screen capture

Private Eye (left) and Bloggerheads (right)

It’s also worth noting that Adam Macqueen has a personal (recently-retired) blog, and also runs a blog for Private Eye. Both of these blogs are, we can assume, cut from a different cloth than most blogs and are therefore of some significance.

UPDATE (9pm) – In the Twitter chatter this afternoon were a few references to An Evening with Private Eye at the National Theatre. The event promised a Q&A session that was open to all comers, so I went along at the last minute (standing room ticket) and managed to get this out of Ian Hislop during that session:

Me: Why does Private Eye take stories from weblogs and pass them off as their own work?

Hislop: We don’t.

[he quickly moves on to the next question.]
[later…]

Me: Why does Private Eye not credit weblogs?

Hislop: That’s a really good point… that I’m going to ignore.

Lady: What criteria do you have before you publish a story?

Hislop (deeply sarcastic): Well, it depends if it’s been published on a weblog first.

Though Ian Hislop appears to have lied (or perhaps misremembered) in response to the first question and dodged the second, his arrogance is clear from the jest that followed; the editor of Private Eye regards bloggers to be unworthy of credit or acknowledgement.

Perhaps that’s why he regards his response so far to be adequate; Hislop maintains that “I do not accept that my contributors wilfully stole your material as you allege” and that’s fine so long as he continues to ignore the detail of the matter, especially the smear and behaviour from Macqueen that followed (a clear sign of bad faith in itself).

I won’t consider the matter closed until credit is acknowledged in print and Adam Macqueen apologises for his outburst.

MINI-UPDATE – Tut. Where are my manners? I forgot to express my gratitude that Ian Hislop didn’t respond by calling me a paedophile.








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