Join our group PCC submission

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 in Old Media | Comments Off

I’m building an igloo, me! (OK, so the kids are helping.)

Inspired by this effort, I’ve started building an igloo in the backyard with the kids. What we’ve managed so far used only the snow in the yard, so with more heavy snow expected tonight, we should have our supply of brick-building material refreshed by morning. If not, we can raid a nearby property (with permission, of course):

Igloo in Progress, 7pm 06 Jan

As you can see, there is no doorway. Yet. We plan to cut that out later.

Also, once every circuit, I’ve gone along with a simple wood saw to ensure that the angle taking our walls inward is maintained.

We’re basically taking loose snow from the ground and packing it into a small plastic storage crate to make bricks that interlock quite nicely, thank you. We have this method perfected now; compressed at the bottom, tight in the middle, loose at the top. When you invert the tub and produce the brick, it comes with enough loose snow on what is now the bottom to act as mortar when you heft it into place.

We’re also wearing rubber gloves over our woolen gloves to keep our hands warm and dry. It’s not only practical, but the very latest in fashion; marigold is the new black, darling.

(IIRC, in Australia, “packing bricks” is slang for being very concerned about the outcome of something. It is not until any given event/panic itself that the person can be said to be “shitting bricks”. With ‘bricking it’ in mind, our thoughts go out to Gordon Brown at this difficult time, and if he needs a place to hide we should have the roof finished sometime tomorrow.)

Continue reading








Posted in Geekage | 3 Comments

Harry Cole (aka Tory Bear) crosses the line in ‘defence’ of #KerryOut

Short version: The #KerryOut/kerryout.net campaign is a nasty, baseless attack, and the person behind it – Harry Cole (Conservative blogger and protégé of Paul Staines) – has responded to this criticism with… a nasty, baseless attack.

I first want to make it clear to you that Iain Dale’s recent accusations of stalking have been the culmination of an ongoing (deeply) personal smear campaign that he saw fit to escalate when I was being smeared as a paedophile* by another man. Iain Dale lied about specifics and hid relevant details from his readers while publishing claims I was “clearly psychotic”. Plenty of his mates** were happy to chip in, both on and off the site. Iain’s behaviour was completely out of order, lower than low, and he even sought to use the plight of a genuinely unbalanced and (then) suicidal individual*** to his advantage.

At no stage did I contact Iain (or anyone else) without good reason, or without genuine urgency, or outside of any legal boundary. And while he refuses to admit fault publicly, Iain Dale has since deleted the post in which he made his false accusations.

Similarly, while Tory MP Patrick Mercer relies on the ‘stalker’ lie to avoid questions about the same people who smeared me (!) he has not repeated it.

The only people still pushing any of these outright lies about my being a paedophile or a stalker are:

1. The ‘Cheerleaders’, some anti-social associates of Dominic Wightman who recently have begun posing as me, claiming I’m a bank manager of a small regional branch, and sending my home address to Nigerian scammers. Yes, really. It’s my third complaint to police inside of a year, and all of them have resulted from the same bloody story.

2. Joseph Obi, a medical visionary liar, scoundrel and conman with an all-too-familiar habit of smearing anyone who dares take a stance against any of his dishonest/unsavoury antics (and when I say ‘anyone’, I mean bloggers, journalists, the entire General Medical Council… anyone). Obi is based in Ireland and lives behind a moat of rented mailboxes. Currently, using the US-based Blogger.com, he none-too-subtly implies that I was forced to flee my home because I was on the run from paedo-bashing mobs.

3. Harry Cole (aka Tory Bear), the ‘pioneering’ campaigner behind #KerryOut.

My safety and the safety of my family have been put at risk by these dangerous smears, the issue is ongoing (not everything gets blogged), and early this morning Harry Cole showed that he was willing to throw these smears about in order to do nothing more than ‘win’ an online argument… in an effort to defend his attack on Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, no less!

While this clearly establishes what a malicious, unscrupulous and dishonest person he is, I will go to the effort of outlining my main criticism of his latest attack campaign, #KerryOut, regardless:

Harry Cole and his backers have been repeatedly challenged (not just by me) to justify their attack on Kerry McCarthy and use of terms like “disgraced MP”. They’ve come up lacking every time they’ve bothered to try (i.e. when they haven’t responded with simple insults or smears/whataboutery directed at their critics). All they have to offer is a minor complaint on expenses, a personal objection to a voting pattern/record, and the fact that this MP once blocked Iain Dale on twitter. Certainly nothing that justifies singling out this MP or describing them as “disgraced” or “corrupt”.

There is no substance to the #KerryOut attack. There’s a lot wrong with it, but the main issue is that the driving force appears to be little more than personal malice, and what it amounts to at the end of the day is a smear.

Confronted with this, and unable to respond with anything of substance/relevance, Harry Cole cried ‘stalker’.

It was foolish to expect anything more from Harry Cole, I suppose, but I honestly thought he would at least put on the pretence of civility and reason when defending himself against charges of being nothing but a rowdy little mudslinger with no sense of decency, fair play or proportion.

[*Iain Dale was knowingly libelling Tom Watson at this time…. i.e. while seeking to aid the existing smears against me with pretend calls to MPs and his ‘stalker’ crap. These too are circumstances that Iain Dale has told many lies about, both during and after; but he feels safe because the newspapers got sued and he didn’t.]

[**It was in April/May 2009 during one of two peaks in this smear campaign that Harry Cole decided to take his shot and unfairly associate me with Derek Draper at the height of ‘smeargate’ (just as his mate Staines did on his site). Cole had no basis for doing so, and no justification; he was just kicking me while I was down and trying to smear me as a smear-merchant… while I was busy being smeared elsewhere. Nice. He now complains that #KerryOut is being unfairly compared to the Draper/McBride smear action. Diddums.]

[***No names, sorry folks… but I can prove it without revealing names if Iain wants to call me on it. Iain knowingly exploited a person who was a suicide risk at the time, repeatedly refused to remove claims that he knew to be untrue from his site that were being used to agitate this person, and then implied that my concern for this person’s welfare could be interpreted as a threat against him personally. It is one of the clearer indications that Dale was not under the false impression that he was being harassed/stalked, but rather knowingly lying about it for political gain.]








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 2 Comments

All hail the Big Giant Head

Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. The age of the Big Giant Head (as envisaged in Backing Blair) is with us at last:

The Big Giant Head dares to invade the dreadful void.

The Big Giant Head eases my fears with vague assertions.

The Big Giant Head is smooooother than a botoxed baby’s bottom.

All hail the Big Giant Head!

UPDATE – Beau Bo D’Or worships the Big Giant Head here and here.








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

I am happy that you are alive and well

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 in Old Media | 1 Comment

Nadine Dorries’ Christmas Message

Blessings to you and all the other peasants of Mid-Narnia!

[*blesses*]

And now, here is your annual message of hope. Chew it slowly.

Princess Nadine’s Christmas Message 2009








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 1 Comment

Meet Dougal Blimey

Conservative Change Channel – Rupert Murdoch and other great Australians

There’s a new character on Conservative Change Channel by the name of Dougal Blimey. I hope you enjoy meeting him as much as I enjoyed creating him.

Incidentally, I was working on Dougal’s back story last night and was delighted to learn that there is already a firm using the name ‘Godwins Law’.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!, Video | 1 Comment

Trafigura takes steaming dump, gags Auntie (SFW)

This scandal of dumped toxic waste brought down a government, but the Swiss-based multinational Trafigura struggles on in the hope of burying the truth along with the bodies. What a bunch of shameless bastards.

You can help beat Trafigura’s gag on the BBC by embedding this Youtube video (1, 2) on your website and linking to this PDF.

Here’s why.

If you have a blog, please take the time to do this today with a post of your own. They can’t gag us all.








Posted in Consume! | 1 Comment

Patrick Mercer and what may or may not be evidence of something

If you’ve been following the Jenvey/Mercer/Wightman saga, you’re probably aware of Glen Jenvey’s habit of releasing emails, PDFs, Word DOCs and the like in group emails or via comments on other people’s websites (or both) as evidence of this or that.

This weekend, it was both, so the following data has already been in the public domain for a couple of days, and it appears here couched in the following disclaimer: the source is Glen Jenvey, and I have yet to verify authenticity.

Previous to this, I established that Patrick Mercer, Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism, had continued to endorse and work with Glen Jenvey (more), for quite some time after I published evidence that Jenvey had been fabricating evidence of extremism in online forums.

A vague yet comforting notion had been put forward that Mercer only relied on Jenvey for hard-to-fake intelligence such as voice recordings during this period, but if either of the following emails are genuine and from Mercer, then what we’re looking at is that MP (or someone from his office) taking evidence of extremism in online forums supplied by Jenvey* (almost a month after I published evidence that he had been fabricating evidence of extremism in online forums) and having an immediate full-on terror alert boner over it**, which some might regard to be a bit of a risky thing to do, if not en error in judgement:

Rt Hon Michael Martin MP
Mr Speaker
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA 3 February 2009

Al-Firdaws English Forum Website (www.alfirdaws.net)

One of my security sources has approached me with information relating to possible terrorist attacks targeted at train carriages carrying Members of Parliament. It is my view that discussions of this nature on website forums are clearly contrary to Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (on encouragement of terrorism and glorification of terrorism).

I would be very grateful if you could ensure that this matter is investigated expeditiously by the relevant authorities as I am concerned for the safety of Members of Parliament when they travel to and from their constituencies each week.

I have enclosed a copy of the relevant discussions and look forward to hearing from you.

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
Home Secretary
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF 3 February 2009

Al-Firdaws English Forum Website (www.alfirdaws.net)

One of my security sources has approached me with information relating to possible terrorist attacks targeted at train carriages carrying Members of Parliament. Discussions of this nature on website forums are clearly contrary to Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (on encouragement of terrorism and glorification of terrorism).

First, I would be very grateful if you could provide me with some reassurance that this matter will be investigated expeditiously by the relevant authorities as I am concerned for the safety of Members of Parliament when they travel to and from their constituencies each week.

Second, I would like to know when the individual responsible for posting these entries under the alias of ‘Resistance’ will be arrested or charged under the encouragement and glorification provisions found in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

I have enclosed a copy of the relevant discussions and look forward to hearing from you.

(*Jenvey is not named as the source, but is presumed to be the source on the basis that he was privy to the subsequent calls to action.)

(**If the correspondence is genuine and from Mercer or his staff as has been implied by Jenvey, we can only hope that Mercer also saw fit to inform the police.)

Normally I’d contact the alleged sender and seek to verify authenticity of something like this, but Patrick Mercer has sought to portray such efforts as a form of electronic stalking.

Therefore, he leaves me with little choice but to contact the recipients (and/or the relevant staff/offices) and be as transparent as possible about the whole process (i.e. so my questions to these people aren’t addressed with a further private accusation of stalking).

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Obviously, if the letters are genuine and from Mercer, he’ll have some serious questions to answer about what effort (if any) went into authentication of the evidence before he issued such a strong call to action to the Speaker and the Home Secretary; we can’t have a Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism who echoes cries of ‘wolf’, now can we?








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

Private Eye / Adam Macqueen : “we don’t credit blogs” (you nutter)

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.








Posted in Old Media | 3 Comments