Archive for the ‘Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at 27 January 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 13 December 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 27 April 2010

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Page 3: Election 2010

It’s comforting to know that every white van man who enjoys a quiet moment with Page 3 today will be sufficiently alert to the dangers of a hung parliament and proportional representation.

The Sun exploiting young women and treating people like morons shock.

(In other news, they’re also worried about young women in porn. Positively outraged, in fact.)

If you haven’t done so yet, pop the tag #disobeymurdoch into Twitter. The alternative is submitting to this bullshit and eating out of the trough like everybody else:

Page 3 :: Girls + Words from Tim Ireland on Vimeo.

Related links:
“At the Sun, we deliberately ignored the Lib Dems,” admits David Yelland, their former editor
“It is my job to see that Cameron fucking well gets into Downing Street,” says Tom Newton Dunn, present political editor of the Sun








Posted by Tim Ireland at 17 November 2009

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

The following is the full, unedited and uncensored text of a letter from Graham Dudman (Managing Editor of The Sun) to the PCC, written in relation to the ‘Alan Sugar terror target’ story that was first revealed here at Bloggerheads to be based on fabricated evidence, a fact that was later confirmed by Jenvey himself in September 2009, after a hell of a lot of needless fuss.

I’m publishing the letter here after repeated appeals to Graham Dudman for an apology have met with nothing but silence, so the public might have a shot at (again) dealing with something the PCC refuse to address.

The short version is that Dudman turned a blind eye to evidence and instead attacked those presenting it (a tactic that regular readers of this blog will be quite familiar with given past adventures with various tabloid wannabes).

– | –

The Sun
1 Virginia Street
London
E98 1SN
Telephone: 020 7782 4117
Fax: 020 7782 4029
Email: graham.dudman@the-sun.co.uk

FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR

January 27 2009

Will Gore Esq
Press Complaints Commission
Halton House
20/23 High Holborn
London
EC1N 2JD

Dear Mr Gore

Thank you for you letter of 13 January addressed to the Editor regarding an online complaint from the administrator of a website (www.ummah.com) (“the Website”) concerning an article published by The Sun on 7 January. We have investigated the complaint and are now in a position to respond.

Accuracy

In his complaint, the complainant makes a number of claims suggesting that the article published in The Sun on January 7 is inaccurate. Most notably, he claims that the Website was accused by The Sun “of compiling a list of well known Jewish people to be targeted with a campaign of violence”. In fact, what the article actually said was that:

“… Sir Alan Sugar is among the top British Jews feared [our emphasis] targeted by Islamic extremists …”. Additionally, the article also made clear as early as the second paragraph that the list does not exist but that “fanatics called for a list… to be drawn up”.

We believe that this inaccuracy suggests a mis-reading of what was published and the basis for it. The facts of the matter are that a posting was made on the Website by someone using the avatar ‘Saladin 1970’ asking fellow users to help in order compile a list of individuals who support Israel. In response to a posting asking for a list of “top Jews we can target”, ‘Saladin1970’ provided a link to another website (www.thejc.com) which referred to a number of prominent British Jews including Sir Alan Sugar, Foreign Secretary David Milliband and the musician Mark Ronson, amongst many others. ‘Saladin1970’ is not an avatar for either a journalist or an agent for The Sun, nor is he connected in some way to Glen Jenvey (the terrorism expert quoted in the article).

The complaint suggests that “the intent of the thread was to start a polite letter writing campaign to persuade the influential Jewish people that what Israel is doing in Gaza is wrong”. With respect, we do not agree that the intent of the thread was simply to start a “polite letter writing campaign”. It is clear from even just a cursory review that the Website carries numerous extreme views and is widely used by Islamic extremists to discuss radical and/or extremist subjects. We have reviewed both the thread which prompted the article and other threads on the Website and we have no doubt that it was reasonable for The Sun to describe the Website as a “fanatics website”. For example, the Website contains one message board entitled “Does anyone here recognise Israel’s right to exist” which contains threads that include quotes such as “Muslims are a patient people. Jews are a greedy people. Who will win in the end?” (posted by ‘AbuMusaab’ at 7:56am on 4 January 2009); “you are a fool if you think that the Muslims will let you live in peace” (posted by ‘SunniHammer’ at 8:39am on 4 January 2009); and “you won’t find any peace until all of you thieves were kicked out from the Palestine inshallah” (posted by ‘Ammarcool’ at 9:56am on 4 January 2009). These are just three examples.

In light of this, in our view, to regard Islamic extremists as being in the business of sending “polite letters” is naive and extreme. This is based on the expert opinion of Glen Jenvey, an expert in radical Islam. In any event, as a matter of common knowledge, we are unaware of a single incident of Islamic extremists writing polite letters. It is quite obviously a euphemism which almost does not require expert opinion to establish.

Public Interest

The matters raised in the article are plainly matters of public interest. Exposing, even at the earliest of stages, a proposed conspiracy to cause harm to prominent British Jews is a matter that The Sun is and should be free to report. It is not the case that public interest is and can only be served by reporting such matters to the police.

Glen Jenvey

Central to the complaint is the suggestion that Glen Jenvey, the terrorism expert quoted by The Sun in the article is connected to (or in fact may possibly be) a freelance journalist called ‘Richard Tims’. Additionally the complaint suggests that it was ‘Richard Tims’ who posted the thread on the Website using the avatar ‘Abuislam’ which is referred to in the article. We have spoken to Mr Jenvey regarding the complaint, particularly in relation to the allegation that he is in some way connected to ‘Richard Tims’. Mr Jenvey has categorically denied that he is, or that he uses the name, ‘Richard Tims’ or, indeed, that he ever met anyone by that name. Mr Jenvey also denies that he ever posted any threads on the Website.

I can also confirm that The Sun has no association with any person called ‘Richard Tims’ and that this person (if he indeed exists) was in no way connected with the publication of the article on 7 January.

We should add that Mr Jenvey is an extremely well respected expert on terrorism who has contributed to various radio and television programmes in this country. In this respect, we make the following points:

1. As recently as November 2008 Mr Jenvey was interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s File on Four programme on the subject of “Violent Extremism”. Mr Jenvey was introduced on air during that programme as “an investigator who has been monitoring extremist websites for years”. Mr Jenvey has also contributed to articles for The Sunday Times and CNN amongst others.

2. The Sun has used Mr Jenvey as an expert on terror-related matters previously and has had no reason to doubt the veracity of his views.

3. John Coles (the journalist responsible for the article) was also assured by the South West News Service (“SWNS”), the news organisation which originally supplied the story to The Sun , that Mr Jenvey was a reliable expert. SWNS had dealt with Mr Jenvey on an earlier terror-related story and, in this respect, SWNS had been reassured by Conservative MP Patrick Mercer (Chairman of the House of Commons Counter-Terrorism sub-committee) that “Glen Jenvey is an extremely capable and knowledgeable analyst of fundamentalist matters and ought to be listened to. If he says that this is a risk worth looking at, then we must take it seriously. He and I have done quite a lot of work together, and he is a source of reference for me”.

4. After speaking to Mr Jenvey, John Coles contacted the Community Sceurity Trust, the charity which oversees security for Britain’s Jewish community, and was given the contact number for its security spokesman, Mark Gardiner (who is also quoted in the article). M Coles subsequently briefed Mr Gardiner about the story and specifically mentioned Mr Jenvey by name. At no point during this conversation, did Mr Gardiner suggest that Mr Jenvey was someone not to be trusted.

5. To confirm, Mr Jenvey was not paid for his contribution to the article.

The complainant would also be trying to discredit Mr Jenvey (and by implication the article published in The Sun on 7 January) without any foundation. In this respect, the complaint includes a link to a website (http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/01/glen_jenvey_has.asp) which contains a number of extremely serious allegations against Mr Jenvey. As well as the allegation that Mr Jenvey, ‘Richard Tims’ and ‘Abuislam’ are all one and the same, which I deal with above, the website also makes a number of personal attacks on Mr Jenvey. Those attacks include allegations, amongst many others, regarding Mr Jenvey’s sexuality as well as claims that he is a paedophile (eg “or is it that he likes young muslin boys around?”). Mr Jenvey categorically denies that he is a paedophile. In this respect, we understand that Mr Jenvey has been in a stable relationship for the past 16 years. The website also contains a purported interview with an individual claiming to be Mr Jenvey’s daughter. This interview is manifestly false. Mr Jenvey does not have a daughter.

Mr Jenvey informs us that when he has been critical of the Website in the past, he has been subjected to similar personal attacks. The allegations concerning Mr Jenvey on www.bloggerheads.com is again a tactic we understand that the Website has chosen to use before and, as before, they are based on false claims.

Summary

It is our view, from what I set out above, that the complainant has not been full and frank with the PCC, both as to the nature of the information discussed on the Website and the implication that Mr Jenvey was in some way responsible for posting one of the threads referred to in the article. This is a further matter which should be taken into consideration.

Without withdrawing any what I have set out above, I have arranged for the article to be removed from The Suns’ website and I trust that this is now the end of the matter.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Indeed, if there are specific issues that you want me to address, then plea\se let me know.

Yours sincerely

[signed]

GRAHAM DUDMAN

– | –

If others wish to reproduce and/or fisk this letter, then feel free (but please ensure than you link back to this post, just in case there are any updates or corrections).

I offer the following observations in no particular order:

– Dudman can take that potential ‘mis-reading’ and “feared targeted” dodge and stick it right up his fundamental orifice.

– Note how it is taken as a given that Ummah.com is a hotbed of extremism, thereby rendering “polite letters” an “obvious euphemism” for something more sinister. This rampant bigotry alone blows apart any notion The Sun may wish to put about they were innocents duped by Jenvey. While The Sun may have apologised for ‘inaccuracy’ (while blaming Jenvey) they have failed/refused to withdraw or correct their description of Ummah.com as a “fanatics website”, even though the only evidence produced to back this up was also provided by Jenvey and is extraordinarily thin, even if taken at face value.

(I recognise the anti-Semitic aspects of some of the quoted comments, but have seen worse hosted on YouTube, Twitter, Blogger, etc. – I haven’t seen any of these described as a “fanatics website” in The Sun and I doubt I ever will… unless of course it’s a result of this Murdoch-owned paper having another go at Facebook or any other social media provider it regards to be a direct threat to the Murdoch-owned MySpace.)

– In the paragraph citing what he sees as evidence justifying the description of Ummah.com as a “fanatics website” Dudman misuses the term ‘avatar’ and clearly confuses a ‘message board’ with a post/thread and describes responses within a thread as new ‘threads’, suggesting that he doesn’t even have the basic understanding of a forum one might require to make a valid judgement of any online community of this type (that, or he’s deliberately giving a false impression that this type of content is far more widespread on Ummah.com than the evidence suggests). Further, none of this evidence proves it is warranted to suggest that a “letter writing campaign” is anything but a threat of further lip-flapping, if it is to be regarded as a threat at all.

The Sun claim that Jenvey was not paid for the story, but this is contradicted by the claim published on the SWNS website that they had sold this specific story of Jenvey’s to The Sun. Perhaps what Dudman meant to say is that they paid SWNS, who then paid Mr Jenvey.

– Unlike other ‘leading’ bloggers, I take responsibility for the comments that appear on my website, but it cannot be stressed enough that the ‘daughter’ content did not originate on my site, and was instead repeated under comments as part of a background information dump by a well-meaning comment contributor. It was irrelevant to the body of the post, and was publicly dismissed as irrelevant the time. In this letter, Dudman only makes passing mention of the body of the post (i.e. the part containing key evidence showing their expert to be a fraud) and instead focuses on the comments underneath, greatly misrepresenting their content and context in many ways, not the least of which being:

– The ‘paedophile’ text (as with the other text about Jenvey’s daughter) was mirrored information from another website posted to my website as a comment, and allowed as background only. It did not originate from me, nor was it highlighted, encouraged or expanded upon in any way. The Sun imply otherwise. Further, the text The Sun claim was published by me ‘to discredit Glen Jenvey’ does not accuse Glen Jenvey of being a paedophile, as a wider quote from that passage reveals (“‘is bin laden a gay? or is it that he just likes young muslin boys around? is jihad a form of child sex?”). The comment is about Osama Bin Laden, and was originally posted to ummah.com under the name ‘saddam01’, which according to Ummah.com is yet another alias of… Glen Jenvey! Yes, the ‘paedophile’ text wasn’t *about* Glen Jenvey, and it was most likely written *by* Glen Jenvey!

(As many of you are aware, Glen Jenvey later went on to falsely accuse me of being a paedophile. Repeatedly. On hundreds of websites. What role this letter/accusation played in that decision and if Jenvey was confused enough to believe that I had done anything like that to him is unknown at this time.)

– It has been put to me by the PCC that the accusation that I called Jenvey a paedophile may have been an honest mistake resulting from an unfortunately-placed line-break in a print-out/fax, but my response to this is that – if this is the case – then The Sun appear to have taken no care before making this very serious accusation. Further to this, if it were an error in reading a print-out/fax, then it is clear that they did not look at the website itself. Therefore, they did not even look at the evidence I presented on my website in any depth before banking so much on their ‘expert’ and rejecting any notion he may have used the alias ‘Richard Tims’ (which he did) or posed as ‘Abuislam’ (which he also did).

The Sun, who had a go at Gordon Brown for misspelling a name, cannot spell ‘Muslim’.

– Note the sleight of hand (or unfortunate error) in the use of “the Website” in the final paragraph under ‘Glen Jenvey’; the majority of people I’ve shown this to take to be a reference to Bloggerheads.com and not Ummah.com

– That they then go on to complain that “the complainant has not been full and frank with the PCC” is the height of chutzpah. If Graham Dudman suddenly drops dead from audacity, I recommend that he be immediately replaced by Iain Dale, who shares with him an equal if not greater capacity for (a) playing the man while playing the victim, and (b) taking bullshit to new and dizzying levels.

– The removal of the article from their website was far from the end of the matter. The Sun did not admit error or publish any form of correction until months afterwards, and even then it was nothing to write home about.

Graham Dudman has, since writing this letter, repeatedly refused to withdraw the false allegations he made about me in a clear attempt to draw attention away from his publication’s failure(s) to act reasonably and responsibly. (Surprisingly, I find myself in a very similar dispute with Private Eye, and I look forward to addressing that properly soon after giving them more than ample time to reply.)

The PCC – the body currently speaking of the potential to ‘regulate’ blogs (more) – has at every stage refused to investigate or even publicly acknowledge the attempt by the Managing Editor of the The Sun to attack me instead of addressing the evidence I presented.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 13 November 2009

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

Not a lot of people know, understand or appreciate what’s been happening on Page 3 since 2003, so I made a video that explains it and includes all the evidence anyone could want that The Sun have been royally taking the piss and brainwashing their readers with boobage for well over 6 years now. Enjoy:

[MINI-UPDATE: Video now re-hosted at Vimeo. Please read this new post about YouTube’s odd priorities if you have a mo… but check out the video first.]

Page 3 :: Girls + Words from Tim Ireland on Vimeo.

Apologies that it took so long to collect and collate this evidence (in between unconscionable attacks by right-wing thugs), but I would hope this video has been well worth the wait, and is successful in showing both the individual outrage and the cumulative impact of the propaganda on Page 3.

The video is, of course, an ART and is therefore designed to speak for itself, but it will also be playing part of a wider campaign to address this issue, just in time for 40th anniversary of the reinvention of The Sun, and the introduction of Page 3.

[A Page 3 girl first appeared on Nov 17, 1969. A Page 3 girl first appeared topless on that tabloid’s first ‘birthday'(Nov 17, 1970) wearing her…. hold on to your sides… birthday suit. They got away with that, so repeated the stunt the next year with a run of four topless models over four days (Nov 17-20, 1971), but it wasn’t until later (1972-1973) that almost every Page 3 girl was topless. The Sun probably celebrate their Page 3 anniversary a year after their main anniversary so they get two hits from each major milestone, but in truth Page 3 has been with us since Nov 17, 1969. Pardon my pedantry.]

What follows is a draft of a long-overdue A4 insert for the media watch site The Sun: Tabloid Lies. It is designed to be left inside copies of The Sun, and its call to action is the core of the campaign that starts here:

FREE TITS

Since 2003, the Page 3 feature in The Sun has carried an item called ‘News in Briefs’ instead of the usual pun-filled caption of days of yore.

Even the title itself is a lie; this ‘news’ item rarely carries news, and instead carries an editorial/opinion (an important distinction to make, especially when dealing with media owner Rupert Murdoch, the father of FOX News).

We are not saying that a young woman with her tits out is not allowed to have an opinion; far from it. We are instead asking, if Page 3 is as ’empowering’ as some people claim, then why aren’t these women allowed to choose which issue(s) they discuss and/or express their own opinion about that when appearing on Page 3?

At present, they are clearly often (if not always) compelled to echo/repeat the opinions of Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Wade, Dominic Mohan, Graham Dudman, or whoever else is calling the shots that day. This is not empowerment; rather, it is exploitation.

We challenge The Sun to allow Page 3 girls to use their paid appearance(s) in that tabloid as a personal/political platform, just as they do for columnists such as Jeremy Clarkson, Jon Gaunt, Lorraine Kelly and Jane Moore.

If there is to be editorial content on Page 3, then it should be clearly labelled as opinion (not news) and it should always be the heartfelt, unprompted opinion of the woman whose name, face and tits are being used to sell the idea. End of.

Any standard less than this exploits these women and cheats the readers.

If you agree with that, simply talk to someone about it, or even better write/blog/email/tweet something about it… and then leave this insert inside another copy of The Sun for someone else to find.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
13 November, 2009

PS – I do realise that my headline is potentially misleading, but if you read The Sun, then you should be well used to that by now.

More information (and downloadable copies of this pamphlet) available via:
http://bit.ly/page3 | http://www.bloggerheads.com | http://the-sun-lies.blogspot.com

NOTE – Even if I reach a million people with this message, The Sun will reach more people on a single day (with a single pair of tits) so please share a link to the video and this page with as many people as possible.

I’ll be back shortly with more bloggage on this issue. Bring tissues.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 25 September 2009

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

Thank you to Hugh Muir from the Guardian for winkling out this reply from “sources close to the MP [Patrick Mercer]” (below).

The Guardian Hugh Muir: The word is out. Cut all links with the Great Fabricator. If only they’d done it earlier

Last week we raised the question of Patrick Mercer, who chairs the parliamentary counterterrorism subcommittee, and had endorsed Jenvey as a man “who needs to be listened to”. The MP strongly condemned Jenvey’s deception, which occurred in January. “My office certainly received information from him but never worked with him,” he said. And that’s fine with us. But not with Mr Ireland’s site, Bloggerheads, for now it publishes an email sent by a Mercer aide to the People newspaper. “I have been in touch with Mr Jenvey about a number of things, but most of all the following, which in my view would combine well to make a very good Sunday story,” it says. All quite collegiate then, but it comes down to the definition of “working” together, say sources close to the MP. Mercer himself had no further dealings with Jenvey, though his officials occasionally received information from him. Sometimes it checked out. Sometimes not. Two months after doubts were raised about Jenvey’s dodgy activities, the link between the fabricator and Mercer’s aides had yet to be broken. A shadowy world, this counterterrorism.

Now which sources would they be, I wonder… The same staff who worked with Jenvey? A fellow Conservative/MP? A wannabe spin doctor? Some blogger? As for the response itself, even though Mercer’s office was clearly working with Jenvey to further that MP’s agenda, apparently it all hinges on what your definition of what “working” means… and what that means is that (a) Patrick Mercer is running for cover, not hiding from stalkers, and (b) no-one associated with this sorry affair has the cheek or balls to come out and say; “At least Jenvey wasn’t on the payroll!”

We must also take into consideration that Mercer initially responded by calling himself a liar.

Here, take a look at those quotes from Patrick Mercer and “sources close to the MP” in the order in which they were published:

“Glen Jenvey is an extremely capable and knowledgeable analyst of fundamentalist matters and ought to be listened to. If he says that this is a risk worth looking at, then we must take it seriously. He and I have done quite a lot of work together, and he is a source of reference for me”

Patrick Mercer quoted in a letter from the Managing Editor of The Sun, to the Press Complaints Commission, 27 January 2009
(source)

“My office certainly received information from him but never worked with him. This was a damaging lie. I have had nothing more to do with Glen Jenvey.”

Patrick Mercer quoted in the Guardian after The Sun admitted that Glen Jenvey had faked the relevant story, 16 September 2009
(source)

“I have been in touch with Mr Jenvey about a number of things but most of all the following, which in my view would combine well to make a very good Sunday story”

An email from Patrick Mercer’s staff/office to The People newspaper dated 2 March 2009 (revealed here at Bloggerheads 23 September 2009)
(source)

…it comes down to the definition of “working” together, say sources close to the MP. Mercer himself had no further dealings with Jenvey, though his officials occasionally received information from him. Sometimes it checked out. Sometimes not.

From today’s follow-up by the Guardian‘s political diarist, Hugh Muir
(source)

This is unacceptable. In fact, when you look at the detail, it’s downright scandalous.

Patrick Mercer not only knows that his office (at the very least) fumbled the ball on the Sugar matter, he also knows that I have as a direct result of my attempts to bring this to light been the subject of three attacks by two of his former associates…. and he still hasn’t stepped in to take charge.

Worse than that; he’s hiding behind un-named sources!

He is doing this even though he knows that the attacks have now escalated to a stage where (oh, you’ll love this) my home address has been repeatedly published online by an unknown number of anonymous attackers, and deliberately broadcast to supporters of Alisher Usmanov, Paul Staines, Iain Dale and now Nadine Dorries.

Meanwhile, Mercer is telling people who are asking questions about this that I am an “electronic stalker”. Iain Dale (a contemporary of Mercer’s and also a very close friend of Nadine Dorries), is confirmed as the source of this claim. It is a claim he has deleted from his website, but not withdrawn. Dorries stubbornly refuses to delete her subsequent comments about my being mentally “unwell” if not “sick”. Mercer, after telling people that I’m an electronic stalker” is now speaking through “sources close to the MP” and isn’t even visibly breaking ties with the person/people attacking me.

So they’re telling their supporters/readers that I’m some mad stalker while knowing that some real bastards using genuine forms of harassment are on my case. Dale and Dorries do this while being fully aware that these same bastards are deliberately taking advantage of the hostile audiences their false claims generate!

You’d think they’d at least pull their fucking heads in, but no.

That’s a nasty bloody mob that Patrick Mercer is hiding behind, and he’s hiding from me (and you) in to avoid fair and long-overdue questions about his conduct, and the conduct of the people he works with and employs.

In fact, here a fresh round of questions for Patrick Mercer’s consideration (if he thinks any of them are in any way unfair, I’ll try to re-word appropriately):

1. Sometimes Jenvey information checked out, and sometimes it didn’t. Did you ‘check out’ the SUGAR IS TERROR REVENGE TARGET story of 7 January 2009 by looking at the evidence before The Sun published?

2. Did you ‘check out’ the SUGAR IS TERROR REVENGE TARGET story of 7 January 2009 by looking at the evidence published at Bloggerheads.com (after The Sun had published)?

3. Regardless of the perceived reliability of that evidence, did you then and do you now hold the view expressed by The Sun to the PCC that “sending polite letters” is “obviously a euphemism” for something far more sinister if/when published on Ummah.com (on the basis that it is a “fanatics website”)?

4. At what stage (and on which date) did you first realise that Jenvey had indeed fabricated the evidence used by The Sun to allege the presence of extremism at Ummah.com, and the active targeting of named celebrities?

5. What was it that finally caused your office to part company with Jenvey? Was it the above discovery, you becoming personally aware of Glen Jenvey’s false claim that his accuser was a convicted paedophile, or something else?

6. Was there ever any stage after you regarded your professional relationship to be over that your office continued working with Glen Jenvey (i.e. in a manner akin to the recently-released email to The People newspaper), but without your knowledge?

7. What disciplinary action (if any) was taken against the staff members who (maybe) worked with Jenvey against your wishes, (perhaps) did not show you relevant ‘Sugar’ evidence or (definitely) did not alert you to Jenvey’s false accusations of paedophilia? What corrective measures (if any) were made to your procedures to avoid a similar compromising breakdown of communication?

8. You appear to be claiming that the quote used by The Sun in their letter to the PCC is now at least two years old. How old was it when The Sun used it (on 27 January 2009)?

9. Did The Sun check with you before using that quote in their letter to the PCC?

10. While they do conflict, you have released public statements about the severing of your relationship with Glen Jenvey. However, there is no statement on record about you severing links with another former associate and amateur ‘terror expert’ Dominic Wightman, and he appears to be suggesting that still support him. If you no longer have a professional/working relationship with Dominic Wightman, on what date did you sever links with him, and why was this decision taken?

If Patrick Mercer’s only answer to all of these questions is “Tim Ireland is an electronic stalker”, then I stand ready to publish every available record of electronic communication between myself, that MP and his office. This evidence would include 80% of phone calls, which I have recorded.

The catch is that this is an ‘all or nothing’ deal*. Mercer either agrees to opening the (available) entirety of my communication with his office to public scrutiny (minus any personal/sensitive data, obviously) or he withdraws his accusation of electronic stalking.

If he’s interested in having the evidence taken into consideration, that is; he may prefer instead to base his judgement and bank his reputation on the word of one man; Iain Dale (a man with a track record of quietly withdrawing claims he knows not to be true rather than immediately correcting them like any responsible publisher should).

Hey, what could possiblie go wrong?

Over to Patrick Mercer for action (or perhaps more hiding under a rock).

Meanwhile, your challenge, dear reader, is to reach out to your local MP and find out what they think about this. No mobs, just a few quiet, well-informed questions to a few MPs.

A “polite letter-writing campaign,” if you will.

It doesn’t matter which party your MP is from, but you probably needn’t bother telling CCHQ or any relevant/senior members of David Cameron’s cabinet about this; they were informed days ago that all this was going on, and they haven’t said or done a damn thing about it.

Finally, I’d like to ask any blogger who’s taken all of this into consideration to write a short article about whether or not the conduct of these Conservatives is entirely wise, fair or proper in light of current attacks against me. After all, unlike Nadine Dorries, I only have one home, and can’t really nip off to a back-up should this matter get out of hand.

[*Iain Dale’s welcome to a similar offer, but only if he agrees to discussing the evidence on neutral territory, where he cannot exploit various comment cheats as he has in the past.]

UPDATE (30 Sep) – Incredibly, Mercer is still trying to mislead the press about this. His latest statement contradicts his earlier claim never to have worked with Jenvey, and gives a false impression about when this working relationship ended:

“I haven’t spoken to Jenvey for over two-and-a-half years. There has been no working relationship between us for some time, and there won’t be one in the future.”

Patrick Mercer quoted in the Nottingham Evening Post, 30 September 2009
(source)

This is the behaviour of a lying, deceitful scoundrel, and I don’t use the words lightly.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 13 July 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

I don’t want to name names, but back in my youth we had a problem with one of my fellow Scouts stealing/sneaking food. Of course, there was no way to prove that the Snickers wrapper under his bedroll used to be wrapped around somebody’s else’s property and there was no evidence that he had actually ingested the contents, but – despite his earnest denials – he took a mild rebuke without complaint and Scouts & leaders alike considered that to be the end of the matter… until somebody heard rustling in the night and we found another dozen empty wrappers at the bottom of his sleeping bag. He was sent home the next morning.

The ‘rustling sleeping bag’ moment is, more or less, the juncture that Andy Coulson finds himself at this week, though his supporters and apologists would have you believe that this is a leftist plot and a recycled fuss over a single spent wrapper (that, to this day, little Andy swears he knows nothing about).

However, late on Friday afternoon Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade) of News International confirmed the out-of-court settlement with Gordon Taylor that effectively sealed as-yet-unseen evidence relating to the illegal interception of his phone/messages and kept it out of the public eye. The Guardian contends that a similar settlement was reached with another employee at the Professional Footballers Association, Jo Armstrong.

This unseen evidence is quite distinct from that relating to the conviction of NOTW royal editor, Clive Goodman and the resignation of then-editor, Andy Coulson.

It is here I will remind you that evidence revealed by a single case during ICO’s Operation Motorman revealed widespread blagging (of a legal, borderline and criminal nature) involving dozens of newspapers and magazines; is it any wonder that News International aren’t the only media group keen to draw a line under this (again)? No-one really knows what will fall out of this sleeping bag and/or who the trail of discarded wrappers will lead to… though I expect the guilty have their suspicions.

Sure, there are people who are out to ‘get’ Coulson (and even Murdoch), but this is not the entirety of the matter… and the single Snickers wrapper Coulson’s supporters are waving about is far from the end of it.

Watch out for anyone who claims otherwise; they’re having you on, and they’ve probably got their eyes on your chocolate stash if they haven’t eaten it already.

Psst! #1 – Iain Dale in 2006 describing the Goodman case as; “just the tip of a very sleazy iceberg”. Not so much now, obviously – but then the the task was to praise Ashcroft, when now, the task is to protect Coulson/Conservatives. Iain also seemed far less bothered about privacy when he was secretly BCCing his mate Phil Hendren on our private email conversations (something he initially denied)… and when Hendren blagged my ex-directory number just so he could publish it as a way of intimidating me. This ‘leading’ blogger has yet to outline his current stance on blagging and/or if it swings from ‘for’ to ‘against’ and back again depending on personal/political self-interest.

[MINI-UPDATE (14 Jun) – Iain Dale finally blogs about blagging but – typically – says nothing about his mate Phil Hendren doing it. Meanwhile, Hendren denies blagging but refuses to be drawn on whether the source of my private data knew how he was going to use it (which is the guts of it). He also, absurdly, maintains that his publishing the number in two parts (in the same thread) equates to his not publishing the number in full.]

Psst! #2 – Paul Staines earns most of his money/reputation/audience slagging off the establishment and ‘old media’ as a whole, but he seems awfully quiet of late. He did, however, find time this weekend to link to the NOTW rebuttal and this Wikileaks article saying they didn’t go far enough in invading the privacy of the “social and political elite”. If Paul Staines sincerely believes in the merits of blagging, perhaps he’ll also have the courage/conviction to put his case to his readers.

[MINI-UPDATE – Paul ‘C-man’ Staines in a fresh post seems (ahem) very relaxed about blagging, but short of implying that those concerned about it have some kind of mental problem, hasn’t really defended the practice. So does he think it is a good thing or a bad thing when people go poking around private data without so much as a public interest defence?]

UPDATE – Related articles/ bloggage:
Guardian – The biggest media story in years – so why the silence?
Sarah Ditum – Stephen Glover on NOTW phone hacking: lay off, we’re dying








Posted by Tim Ireland at 11 July 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

The ICO reports that re-emerged this week – What Price Privacy? and What Price Privacy Now? (source) – make for fascinating reading; they outline the widespread use of blagging and/or blaggers by many newspapers and magazines.

Influential, independent online media channels (and alliances of same) have started to form recently, so I think the question is worth asking of leading bloggers; where do we each stand on the matter of blagging?

To blag is to obtain something by trick or deception; in the ICO reports (and in this post) it is mainly used to describe the practice of obtaining personal data (current address, details of car ownership, an ex-directory telephone number, records of calls made, bank account details, etc.) by deceiving the source(s) of that data about your identity and/or your intentions for that data.

There are circumstances in which it is possible to blag some data within the law (just), but this does not mean that all blagging is legal (and/or just a little bit of cheeky PI work). We have as yet seen no ‘public interest’ defence for any examples of blaggers breaking the law, and even their bending it for personal gain (rather than for anything that might be in the public interest) raises major questions about ethics, especially for the following newspapers/magazines, presented here in order of their indicated fondness for blagging services (according to the ICO’s findings during Operation Motorman):

Daily Mail [952, 58] – Sunday People [802, 50]] – Daily Mirror [681, 45] – Mail on Sunday [266, 33] – News of the World [228, 23] – Sunday Mirror [143, 25] – Best Magazine [134, 20] – Evening Standard [130, 1] – The Observer [103, 4] – Daily Sport [62, 4] – The People [37, 19] – Daily Express [36, 7] – Weekend Magazine (Daily Mail) [30, 4] – Sunday Express [29, 8] – The Sun [24, 4] – Closer Magazine [22, 5] – Sunday Sport [15, 1] – Night and Day (Mail on Sunday) [9, 2] – Sunday Business News [8, 1] – Daily Record [7, 2] – Saturday (Express) [7, 1] – Sunday Mirror Magazine [6, 1] – Real Magazine [4, 1] – Woman’s Own [4, 2] – The Sunday Times [4, 1] – Daily Mirror Magazine [3, 2] – Mail in Ireland [3, 1] – Daily Star [2, 4] – The Times [2, 1] – Marie Claire [2, 1] – Personal Magazine [1, 1] – Sunday World [1, 1]

[Publication name is followed by the number of blagging transactions positively identified during Operation Motorman, and the number of journalists/clients from that publication using those blagging services. I must stress that this chart is based on limited evidence, and if the full picture came to light, it could change some if not all rankings considerably. To be as fair as possible to all concerned, it is probably best to consider this a list rather than a chart, which is why I’ve presented it in this way. Yes, this list includes the Observer, a sister title to the Guardian, as News International were keen to point out.]

This list – resulting from some tip-of-the-iceberg evidence – is your first hint why the McBride/Draper scheme was all over the papers but this News of The World matter involving widespread blagging is/was not.

There are also some bloggers who are paid for their contributions to one or more of these publications and, regardless of any political alignment to Andy Coulson, they just may not want to chomp down too hard on the hands that feed them.

But bloggers need to take a clear stand against blagging, or one day there’ll be a list just like this one made up of weblogs.

Especially in absence of a public interest defence, if you have no right to private data, you’ve got no business poking around for it by deceiving those who hold it.

We can all agree on that, yes?

Or, for all that talk, are we no better than the worst of ‘dead tree’ press?

(I’d be particularly interested in the current position of Phil Hendren, who once blagged my ex-directory number before publishing it on his site, and/or any blogger currently aligned with MessageSpace, who were today asked how they obtained my personal data and responded with a firm “no comment”)








Posted by Tim Ireland at 10 July 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

As a prelude to ‘smeargate’, Paul Staines went on live television and claimed that there was a Downing Street briefing document titled ‘how to get [Iain] Dale’. He even promised to publish it that very afternoon.

He didn’t.

But from that moment on Paul Staines and Iain Dale repeatedly spoke as if it existed.

Iain Dale was certain that there was a Downing St conspiracy to ‘get’ him specifically. Later, still hanging on this yet-to-be-seen document, this appeared to evolve into a claim of a Downing Street conspiracy against both of them (specifically if less exclusively).

Iain Dale was also certain that Tom Watson was involved, and said so repeatedly in a number of ways… to the extent of smearing Tom Watson, it turns out.

(Psst! Nadine Dorries was certain Gordon Brown was involved, and said so on live television. Notice how none of these ‘bloggers’ risked these claims on their own damn weblogs.)

Iain Dale’s position was (and presumably still is) that Tom Watson must have known about emails being exchanged on another person’s computer, because he was in the same office.

It would appear that Iain Dale and I have differing views on privacy, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First, you need to compare Iain Dale’s position on Tom Watson to his position on Andy Coulson:

On SKY News last night, Iain Dale insisted quite strongly that one must acknowledge the possibility that Andy Coulson while acting as editor of NOTW was unaware of the activities of one of the journalists in his office.

Iain certainly wasn’t certain that Andy Coulson must have known about this or should have known about that; he even went so far as to imply that Coulson could not even be expected to be aware of relevant payments for questionable/illegal activity because he himself did not sign the cheques.

Iain Dale said this while knowing that it was now rather a matter of Andy Coulson claiming to be unaware of the activities of not just one but as many as 20 or 30 journalists in his office, and blind to the kind of money that is certain to come to the attention of most if not all editors regardless of who actually signs the cheques.

Iain Dale said this while knowing that it is an editor’s duty to maintain the integrity, legality and profitability of any given publication.

Iain Dale said this while speaking as the editor publisher* of Total Politics magazine.

It is not just the specific acts of ‘tapping’ that are a concern, either, but the entire practice of ‘blagging’ on stories with little-to-no merit (see: ICO PDFs). Here is where Iain and I differ on privacy, and this is the reason why I think he will have very little to say about the practice of ‘blagging’:

Phil Hendren, a close ally of Iain Dale’s, once blagged my private details and published my ex-directory home phone number on his website to intimidate me into silence. Not as part of a story or toward any noble end, just to shut me up.

The way he puts it, Phil just called someone on the off chance they would have it and – gosh, what a stroke of luck – they did. So, to keep Hendren happy, let’s call it ‘casual blagging’ as opposed to creepy or downright illegal blagging. But blagging all the same. And he clearly used the data maliciously, without any hope of a ‘public interest’ defence even if he did want to play ‘Citizen Journalist’.

But Iain Dale did not publicly condemn the blagging and malicious publication; he was too busy denying being the source of the data at the time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are few things we can be certain of, but I certainly won’t be trusting Iain Dale on this issue, even after it swallows Coulson or passes him by; when Iain’s not siding with the Tories, he’ll be siding with the tabloids. Each to their own.

[Incidentally, the reason why Phil Hendren published my number is worth a look; I pointed out that there was one person who couldn’t possibly be behind certain comments on Phil Hendren’s website, and Phil didn’t like that because… he was certain that Tom Watson was behind them (screengrab). Is it still paranoia if you think they’re out to get someone else?]

UPDATE – *Quick fix there. My bad. Iain is, of course, the publisher of Total Politics, not the editor. Which, if anything, makes it worse IMO.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 1 April 2009

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

You may recall the recent fuss about Dunblane survivors being attacked in the Scottish Sunday Express (that Martin Townsend has yet to get back to me about, despite past assurances that he is not trying to be in any way evasive about any of this).

Well, it looks like the regional versions of tabloids are seeing an sudden upsurge of lazy bastardness and web-nickery with the downturn in the economy. Someone should write a paper on that, but in the meantime, it’s time to kick arse all over again…

The Scottish edition of The Sun has been caught stealing from a cancer sufferer and using material from his online journal out of context and without his permission:

Jamie Ross – Here Comes The Sun: They edited it to within an inch of its life, as if they were hell-bent on whittling it down to the twenty least entertaining and most disjointed words of each blog. It makes me look like an utterly abysmal writer who got in the paper thanks to a dying wish foundation scheme. They put words such as “MOCKED”, “FORCE” and “SILENCE” in huge emboldened letters outwith the main text, presumably for the benefit of the vast majority of Sun readers who can’t read full sentences. They’ve specifically chosen words which make it sound like I’ve been living in a Nazi concentration camp for the past seven months. I may have used these words at some point but, if they really had to summarise seven months of weekly entries in three words, I’d have suggested “TESTICLE”, “BALLS” and “COCK”. They inexplicably used a picture I had never seen in which my eyes are closed. They used a family photograph which I only allowed to be used in The Independent. They made me inadvertently write in the fucking Sun, effectively destroying all the good work that’s gone into my writing CV recently. All of this, need I repeat, without asking me, notifying me, paying me or consulting me.

At one stage the author (and rightful owner of this material), comedian Jamie Ross, submitted a comment under his own story on The Sun’s website – and they deleted it!

(This not only adds insult to injury, it also shows that The Scottish Sun are determined to stand by their unique version of reality, despite what they may claim about wanting to set this right. Like Iain Dale, they are far too precious to let readers know when they’ve made a grievous error.)

Even worse, when Jamie got in touch via email, they offered him the pittance of £300 as payment.

Time will only tell if they have the audacity to declare in their defence that a vulnerable young writer initially accepted these terms; stealing is stealing, damage is damage, and a pittance is a pittance.

(Perhaps someone at News International will cry ‘poor’ after throwing all their money at Jade Goody… who, we can only assume, had a rare form of cancer that stops tabloids from stealing from you. Either that, or we’ve finally arrived at the stage where tabloids can take what they like from you and do what they want with it if you’re not willing to give Max Clifford 15% of the take.)

Jamie advises me that The Scottish Sun have also issued a private apology, but they’ve laid in heavily with the mitigation and tried a few cons in the process (such as claiming that a similar feature being in The Independent gives them the right to steal his content and hack it to bits because it’s “in the public domain”), so I for one doubt their sincerity; people who are sincere typically don’t lie to you during an apology.

Besides, any apology for a public deed should be conducted in public (and given equal if not greater prominence than the stunt that calls for an apology).

Jamie may yet decide to keep/bank the payment that may cover use of the material to some small extenet, but this does nothing to address the harm done to this man and to his reputation by their reordering and repurposing his material in a way that makes him out to be a tabloid hack who is desperate for victim status*.

(*Ironically, judging by the repeated/shameless tabloid thievery I’ve seen over the years, his status as a cancer victim may be the only thing that earns him a proper apology.)

The offer of payment also fails to address the personal photos that they used – without permission – when presenting Jamie’s material out of context.

This is not only a copyright issue, but also one of reputation and harm.

But even The Scottish Sun deserve a chance to set things right a second chance to set things right.

As we’ve learned in recent weeks, there’s a way of doing these things, and the first order of business is to contact the editor involved so they can initially ignore us, and then issue a few pathetic legal threats.

The details you need appear below, along with a copy of my letter… Round Two to follow:

David Dinsmore
Editor
The Scottish Sun
124 Portman Street
Kinning Park
Glasgow G41 1EJ

E-mail: david.dinsmore@the-sun.co.uk

Dear David,

I am writing to you to demand a public apology (in print) for your disgraceful treatment of Jamie Ross.

That apology should make clear that Jamie’s material was used in your newspaper without permission, edited* without his permission and presented next to personal photos that you did not have permission to use.

(*’Hacked to bits and wanked to the max’ is a better description, but I’ll leave that up to you. You may also wish to apologise for refusing Jamie a right of reply by deleting feedback that he submitted to your website in good faith.)

If I have to explain why this apology is called for, then there really is no hope for you, and we may as well cut straight to the legal threats, because in this open letter (and therefore on my website) I describe you as a shockingly careless editor, if not a manipulative money-grubbing cad, and this – along with the headline ‘David Dinsmore steals from cancer patient’ – will be a top search result for your name in less than an hour.

Make this right. Now.

(Or come and have a go at me because you’re far too precious to apologise. Your call.)

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com








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