Hankies at the ready, men!


World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo (link via)

[Geeks only: After watching this, I looked up an old friend ; Overdrawn at the Memory Bank. Joy of joys, I discovered treasure! The movie they made about it was so very special that it was MST3Ked. Have a little taster here, if you fancy; I’m saving the whole thing for later.]








Posted in Video | 3 Comments

It’s all on Lambie

I now have chatted via email with Peter Hill (editor of the Daily Express) and Martin Townsend (editor of the Sunday Express) and Derek Lambie (editor of the Scottish Sunday Express).

Here’s what we’re looking at:

While Martin Townsend may be Derek Lambie’s boss and while all three titles may share a single website (where the article also featured), each title is distinct in a way, and – to cut a long story short – it’s all on Lambie.

The official position is that the Dunblane front-pager ran only in the Scottish Sunday Express, which makes it Derek Lambie’s problem*.

(*Until Derek decides to be unprofessional about his response in any way, or there are other conflicts or difficulties that warrant kicking it upstairs, obviously.)

So here’s what I’m going to do:

On Sunday, I am going to sit down with a copy of the Sunday Express and the Scottish Sunday Express.

I may or may not have cause to compare advertisements and produce a more focused list of advertisers… a lot depends on what kind of apology I see in the Scottish edition (if I see one at all) and if that apology appears buried in the ‘teens or on the front page where it belongs.

If an acceptable apology appears in the Scottish Sunday Express, I will be pushing for a copy of that same apology on the Express website, ideally hosted at http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/88113 (where the online version of the article was hosted before its removal).

Have a good weekend, folks.








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

Elizabeth Smith MSP wishes to sit this one out

For the benefit of newcomers, I’ve timelined this one… watch as Elizabeth Smith is seen to attack survivors of the Dunblane massacre, before standing up for them… and then sitting down again:

Sunday 8 March

Elizabeth Smith MSP is quoted in an article by Paula Murray about survivors of the Dunblane massacre:

MSP Elizabeth Smith, Scottish Tory spokeswoman for children, schools and skills, said: “I have to say personally I’m not happy. Some of the things that go up on these websites are very unfortunate and I don’t think they give a very good picture about the youngsters. Some of them are in great bad taste and I am quite worried about that. I feel embarrassed about it and I’m sure other people do too. In some cases the people are still really young and you can’t really expect them to have a sense of responsibility. I’m sure that when they look back at what they have done in 10 years time they will be cringing with embarrassment.” (archive of source)

Monday 9 March

In response to widespread outcry from “mass bloggers”, Smith issues the following statement to ‘Catkins’, a comment-contributor to Anton Vowl’s weblog:

“My comments were not made in the context of Dunblane. The journalist did not ask me anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual involved. It would be quite wrong for me to do so. I have made comments recently to several newspapers about the issues related to young people using internet sites and the inappropriate use of that material. It is in relation to these views that I was approached and I can assure you there were no references to Dunblane. What the Sunday Express chooses to print as the context is a matter for the relevant editor.” – Elizabeth Smith (source)

Wednesday 11 March

Your humble author (and notorious “mass blogger”) chases Elizabeth Smith with a polite email, and asks specifically if she is claiming that her interview was conducted with no mention of Dunblane or any of the survivors. She replies:

“May I give you a categorical assurance that, in her press enquiry to me, Ms Murray did not mention any names of the individuals involved in Dunblane and may I also repeat the fact that the journalist did not ask me anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual involved.” – Elizabeth Smith (via email)

Various writers and editors at Express Newspapers are notified of this, and asked for a response. A number of ‘read’ receipts arrive, but the only reply that day comes from Daily Express editor Peter Hill, who dismisses it as somebody else’s problem, especially now that the article has been removed from the (shared) website at express.co.uk

Thursday 12 March

A report about Smith’s claim is published on Bloggerheads in the wee small hours. Later that morning, a response from Express Newspapers finally arrives via Derek Lambie, editor of the Scottish Sunday Express, who claims to have a transcript and recording of the Smith/Murray interview, and (eventually, when prompted) disputes Smith’s claim:

“Liz is on tape speaking about this. We have full transcript. I hope the personal attacks on paula murray will cease or further action will be taken.” – Derek Lambie (more)

[“I note that in your email you don’t dispute Elizabeth Smith’s claim… Do you dispute Elizabeth Smith’s claim?” – Tim Ireland (more)

“Dispute that and as I say it is on record. This should be the end of the matter.” – Derek Lambie (more)

A request for an extract from the transcript is ignored. Twice. Needless to say, no recording is produced or offered, either.

[Psst! Lambie rather hopefully (and a bit snippily) declaring the entire issue to be closed on the basis of what he claims about a single aspect is quite possibly my favourite thing ever. Include the ‘no comment’ card, the ‘abuse’/victim card and the non-specific-threat wild-card, and it’s identical to the hand Paul Staines has played for everything from his 1986 adventure with the BNP to his mysterious encounter with bankruptcy. See? I keep telling you he’s got Teh Skillz.]

Meanwhile, the PCC are in touch and wanting to know if Elizabeth Smith wishes to proceed with a complaint about this aspect of Paula Murray’s Dunblane article. I relay the question to Smith.

Friday 13 March

Elizabeth Smith contacts me via email with the following message:

“Thank you for your enquiry yesterday. A satisfactory resolution has now been reached between myself and the [Scottish] Sunday Express and, as a result of that, I have no further comment to make.” Elizabeth Smith (via email)

Your humble author (and notorious “mass blogger”) responds and asks quite specifically if she will be withdrawing her earlier claim. She responds:

“I have made it clear that I am not prepared to make any further comment on this matter. I am very satisfied with what has been agreed with the Editor of the [Scottish] Sunday Express.” Elizabeth Smith (via email)

1. The editor of the Scottish Sunday Express is Derek Lambie, who appears to enjoy conducting the bulk of his public-facing affairs in a most secret fashion. I sense, at the very least, the sweet tang of hypocrisy from this tabloid editor that could lead to some conflict between us.

2. The following is the official current position of Elizabeth Smith, Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament for Mid Scotland and Fife on the subject of a petty and needless media attack on survivors of the Dunblane massacre in which she appeared to take part:

“______________________________________________________________________.” – Elizabeth Smith, MSP

Elizabeth is the education spokesperson for the Scottish Conservative Party, and was once a teacher. Her experience in dealing with vulnerable young people speaks volumes… but I guess it has to when she won’t say anything herself.

(Note – So far, no-one from Express Newspapers has been in touch to demand that I remove/quantify Smith’s claims. Email correspondence with advertisers will continue shortly.)

UPDATE (6pm) – Entry corrected. Derek Lambie is editor of the Scottish Sunday Express, and the man Smith is referring to. My bad. Typing in waiting room. Muzak numbs mind.








Posted in Old Media, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 4 Comments

Some recent advertisers with Express Newspapers

[UPDATE (19 Mar) – I’m going with the consensus on this one, withdrawing from the boycott, and advising against action of this kind until further notice. There is a clear groundswell here, and Derek Lambie’s position looks increasingly untenable. This post remains only as an archive, and is not a call to action. If you wish to take action, start here then here. Thank you.]

The following companies, all represented by their main domain name, advertised in the front half of the Daily Express today. I will be writing to all of them this afternoon about the Dunblane matter, with the following two exceptions:

– I am not including Comic Relief, partially on the assumption that their ad placement was free of charge.

– I am not including mybreast.org, as I have no present or future plans to invest in breast enhancement (with or without the homeopathic care these kind people offer).

BT’s the tough one. I get broadband from them, and moving providers is a pain. Plus, the list gets bigger from tomorrow if the Express peeps continue to be snippy about it. I hope my oxygen provider isn’t advertising with them at some stage, or I’ll find myself in difficulty.

Anyway, here’s the list:

alliance-leicester.co.uk (contact)
specsavers.co.uk (contact)
austinkaye.co.uk (contact)
bmw.co.uk (contact)
asda.co.uk (contact)
bathstore.com (contact)
seat.co.uk (contact)
lv.com (contact)
dfs.co.uk (contact)
dell.co.uk
postoffice.co.uk (contact)
marksandspencer.com (contact)
bt.com (contact)
halifax.co.uk
nationwideautocentres.co.uk (contact)
tesco.com
morrisons.co.uk
dreams.co.uk
greenflag.com
rac.co.uk
norwichunion.com
totesport.com
williamhill.com
ladbrokes.com
coral.co.uk

I’ll enrich this post with contact links/details for anyone who would care to join me in the exercise with a letter of their own.

A template for my letter appears below:

Dear Sirs,

It is with regret that I must refuse to do any further/future business with your company (a) for as long as you continue to pump advertising money into Express Newspapers, while (b) they refuse to apologise for the March 8th 2009 Sunday Express attack on innocent survivors of the Dunblane massacre (see attached PDF).

If you choose to withdraw your advertising from Express Newspapers and/or hear of an apology from Derek Lambie, Martin Townsend and/or Paula Murray, then please do let me know.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

I don’t appreciate being fobbed off with aggressive bluffs. I get enough of that from populist cheats like Dale and Staines.

[Note – The role of MSP Elizabeth Smith in the offending article is a side-issue (albeit it a potentially shocking one), but so far it does not paint the staff of the Express in a particularly good light. Smith claims Dunblane was not mentioned by Paula Murray in any way during the relevant interview, and Derek Lambie from the Scottish Sunday Express now claims otherwise. So let the Express start producing tapes or issuing writs or something, because Smith’s accusation stands until they do, and I’ll keep repeating it for as long as she’s willing/able to stand by it.]

UPDATES – She’s a busy old afternoon, but if there’s a ‘contact’ link next to a company, then I’ve emailed them.

UPDATE (6pm) – Position on the post office is mail only and no extras (not so much as an envelope). I’d like to do something similar with BT and t’internet, but it’s a cop-out when broadband alternatives exist.

UPDATE (13 Mar) – Busy day today follows a busy afternoon yesterday. I haven’t heard a peep from anyone at Express Newspapers since this email exchange. I’ll be adding to my list and writing more letters this afternoon, time permitting. Cheers all.

[UPDATE (19 Mar) – I’m going with the consensus on this one, withdrawing from the boycott, and advising against action of this kind until further notice. There is a clear groundswell here, and Derek Lambie’s position looks increasingly untenable. This post remains only as an archive, and is not a call to action. If you wish to take action, start here then here. Thank you.]








Posted in Old Media | 2 Comments

What Derek Lambie has to say for himself

Well, this post finally earned me a reply from the good people at Express Newspapers; I’ve just recently enjoyed an email conversation with Derek Lambie, editor of the Scottish Sunday Express.

Happily, almost everything was said ‘on the record’, so I can bring you 99.8% of the conversation verbatim and let it speak for itself.

Here ’tis:

-

—– Original Message —–
From: Derek Lambie
To: Tim Ireland
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:51 AM
Subject: Dunblane

Tim,
Liz is on tape speaking about this. We have full transcript. I hope the personal attacks on paula murray will cease or further action will be taken.
Derek
Editor, scottish sunday express

—– Original Message —–
From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Lambie
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:10 AM
Subject: Re: Dunblane

Hi Derek. Thanks for finally getting in touch.

I note that in your email you don’t dispute Elizabeth Smith’s claim, so I’d
like to address that first.

1. Do you dispute Elizabeth Smith’s claim? She claims: “in her press enquiry
to me, Ms Murray did not mention any names of the individuals involved in
Dunblane and may I also repeat the fact that the journalist did not ask me
anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual
involved”

2. May we see the transcript or at least a passage or two from it that
contradicts her claim?

3. Could you specify a personal attack on my website, rather than making
vague accusations?

4. Why no reply from Martin Townsend yesterday? I have a ‘read’ receipt
that’s almost 24 hours old now.

5. *Further* action? What action have you taken?

6. This is all on the record, yes?

Cheers

Tim

—– Original Message —–
From: Derek Lambie
To: Tim Ireland
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:12 AM
Subject: Re: Dunblane

Dispute that and as I say it is on record. This should be the end of the matter

—– Original Message —–
From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Lambie
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: Dunblane

Hi Derek.

There are other aspects of the story that are a genuine cause for concern.
This would not be anywhere near the end of it, even if you took a successful
stand with what amounts to your word against that of an MSP (until the
recording emerges).

But getting back to my unanswered questions… if you had a moment to
address these, I’d be most grateful:

2. May we see the transcript or at least a passage or two from it that
contradicts (Smith’s) claim?

3. Could you specify a personal attack on my website, rather than making
vague accusations?

4. Why no reply from Martin Townsend yesterday? I have a ‘read’ receipt
that’s almost 24 hours old now.

5. *Further* action? What action have you taken?

Armed with some or all of this information, I can then make a suitable
update to my article.

Cheers

Tim

-

An off-the-record question immediately followed the 11:12 AM email from Derek that appears here.

I offered to answer that question on the record, but it’s been some 40+ minutes now and no-one’s taken me up on that offer.

Derek Lambie’s last word on the record was “this should be the end of the matter”… so I guess I have to start making a list of advertisers.








Posted in Old Media | 2 Comments

What have Martin Townsend and Paula Murray got to say for themselves?

Adam Bienkov has kindly published a scan of the Sunday Express feature, and I strongly urge you to at least take a look at this thumbnail if you don’t have the time to fully appreciate the readable PDFs hosted by Justin and featured at the tail of this post.

The scan makes it clear that this was The. Front. Page. Story. for the [Scottish] Sunday Express on March 8, 2009

Nothing that happened the day or week before was more important than this incredible scoop.

Got that? Good. Onward!

The headline screamed; “ANNIVERSARY SHAME OF DUNBLANE SURVIVORS”

Actually, it was a little bit bigger than that. It screamed;

“ANNIVERSARY SHAME OF DUNBLANE SURVIVORS”

Even if an editor/sub-editor/rogue-typesetter were to blame for that headline, there’s no mistaking Paula Murray’s focus and intention in her article…

Extract from the lowest point in the 90-year history of the Sunday Express:

ANNIVERSARY SHAME OF DUNBLANE SURVIVORS
Sunday March 8,2009
By PAULA MURRAY

DUNBLANE survivors have “shamed” the memory of their dead peers with foul-mouthed boasts about sex, brawls and drink-fuelled antics as they reach adulthood.

A number of the youngsters, now 18, have posted shocking blogs and photographs of themselves on the Internet, 13 years after being sheltered from public view in the aftermath.

Sixteen pupils and their teacher died when gunman Thomas Hamilton burst into the gym at Dunblane Primary School and opened fire on March 13, 1996.

In the days and months that followed the survivors, then aged just five and six, were the subject of overwhelming worldwide sympathy.

But now the Sunday Express can reveal how, on their web-based social networking sites, some of them have boasted about alcoholic binges and fights.

(Psst! For a rundown of these and other crimes of Dunblane survivors, see this excellent post.)

So after they’ve enjoyed more than a decade of protection from the press, Paula Murray dives in at the first chance she gets and attacks these people with… well, nothing really… she just wants to be first.

To add to her excitement, this is a Sunday exclusive that’s she’s worked all week on, fearful that someone might beat her to it.

Can you imagine the elation and pride she must have felt when she saw that big beautiful front page, then scanned the other papers just to make sure that, yes, she was first. For reasons that had yet to sink in, Paula Murray was the only reporter with this ‘story’, and hers was the only newspaper hitting Dunblane survivors with a stick.

But let’s turn away from Paula’s impending epiphany for a moment, as a minor detail in this article is screaming for your attention…

MSP Elizabeth Smith is one of the two critical voices used in the published article. I have gone a little wider than usual on this extract, as it’s important that you see how Smith’s comments were bracketed by a grandmother talking specifically of those touched or taken by the Dunblane tragedy, and the reporter reinforcing how very lucky we are that this vital information can reach us now that childhood survivors of Dunblane have finally come of age…

Extract from the lowest point in the 90-year history of the Sunday Express:

Nancy McLaren, whose granddaughter, Megan Turner, died in the tragedy said the behaviour “brought shame” to the community.

She said: “It is insulting. They were damn lucky to come out of it and they should be making the most of it. Maybe that’s what they think they are doing, but it is in bad taste.

“We go to the cemetery every Sunday and we nearly always meet some people who are visitors, and they come and have a wee look. I think that is lovely and I always say to them that it is nice they remember.

“So the behaviour of these children is a real contrast to all those caring people. It’s shameful.”

MSP Elizabeth Smith, Scottish Tory spokeswoman for children, schools and skills, said: “I have to say personally I’m not happy. Some of the things that go up on these websites are very unfortunate and I don’t think they give a very good picture about the youngsters.

“Some of them are in great bad taste and I am quite worried about that.

“I feel embarrassed about it and I’m sure other people do too. In some cases the people are still really young and you can’t really expect them to have a sense of responsibility.

“I’m sure that when they look back at what they have done in 10 years time they will be cringing with embarrassment.”

The Dunblane survivors were kept away from the spotlight in the aftermath of the tragedy to allow them to cope. Indeed, no photographs of any of the children have been seen in more than a decade, and the social network sites give the first insight into how their lives have progressed.

You may have noticed that I’ve made the passage relating to MSP Elizabeth Smith bright red. I have done this because these words do not belong in this article, and you really need to take a very close look at how her words were presented, *plus* the statement Smith issued to me via email after I chased her about an earlier comment at Anton Vowl’s weblog:

“May I give you a categorical assurance that, in her press enquiry to me, Ms Murray did not mention any names of the individuals involved in Dunblane and may I also repeat the fact that the journalist did not ask me anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual involved.” – MSP Elizabeth Smith

Now read how this MSPs words were used in this article; in fact, read all the bits in red again, just to get your jolly up.

All done? Jolly up? Bally good.

If what Smith claims is true, then this amounts to an extraordinary betrayal of this MSP and every reader of the Sunday Express; the level of suffering differs vastly from one end to the other, but the number of victims in this affair just went through the roof.

But I’ve contacted both reporter Paula Murray and Sunday Express editor Martin Townsend, and neither cared to comment on Elizabeth Smith’s assertion that her input was obtained without any mention of the Dunblane massacre and its survivors.

All the Express editor Peter Hill had to offer was that it wasn’t his problem and the article had been removed from their shared website (making it even less his problem).

And that’s it. They haven’t responded with a correction or a retraction or an apology or anything. For any of it!

Do remember that last part if circumstances force a grudging or even grovelling apology from these people… for days, all they offered the public were their backs.

I know it may seem inadequate or futile to once again pit the PCC against Express Newspapers and their rogue proprietor, but for those who would care to finally spend a few minutes making a short complaint to the PCC after years of thinking better of it, I offer the following link:

Press Complaints Commission >> Making a Complaint >> How to make a complaint

(Considering it? How about doing it? Oh, of course I’ll wait. How could I not after making all that fuss?)

(waits)

(waits)

(waits)

OK, all done? Top banana.

Now we finally return to Paula Murray and her impending epiphany:

If Paula will forgive the creepy intrusion into her personal life on spurious grounds, I ask you to imagine her standing there on a chilly Sunday morning in front of the rack of newspapers at the local garage, nipples erect and gusset mois*….

Oh, I’m so sorry; it’s late and I got my Desmond-owned properties all mixed up.

Let’s start again:

If Paula will forgive the creepy intrusion into her personal life on spurious grounds, I ask you to imagine her standing there on a chilly Sunday morning in front of the rack of newspapers at the local garage, gleefully lifting the clouded and scratched Perspex lids to reveal that she and she alone had thought to set upon these unsaintly victims of shocking violence at the first available opportunity.

She takes two copies home; one for her to read with her partner (or cat) over breakfast, the other to keep for her scrapbook. Not that she’s precious; she’s written quite a lot that she’s proud of – that feature lecturing Lord Tebbit for his failure to understand Dunblane parents, for example – but only front pages go into the scrapbook. Front page on a Sunday scoop is the big-time, baby.

So of course she’s going to show family (if she has some) and friends (if she has any) how clever she is… does she really make it all the way to checking her email or getting a call from her editor before she realises (or is told) that maybe this wasn’t the brightest move in the world?

And how long after that do you think it took her (or will take her) to realise that she’s clearly in the wrong on this one?

And how long after *that*, do you think, would any respectable human being in that position last before admitting the error, apologising for it and addressing the harm done… regardless of any order from the boss to keep schtum?

Given the circumstances, I don’t think I’m wrong in judging Paula Murray and finding her wanting.

Martin Townsend should be equally ashamed for his complicity in this act and his role in the response to date; his silence even in the face of Smith’s statement screams contempt.

Derek Lambie (editor of the Scottish Sunday Express) has issued the only known response so far, and in it he has the audacity to play the victim:

“Many thanks for your letter. As you are no doubt aware – thanks to mass bloggers on the Internet – we have been inundated with letters and comments. Many of them have been extremely personal.
I can assure you each and every one of the Comments from readers and residents in Dunblane is being read and discussed.” – Derek Lambie (source)

Tch. Well, I hope they finish with their internal chat soon. Some of mass bloggers on the Internets have a few concerns, and we’d like to see them addressed.

Oh, and the Express peeps will want to worry less about the occasional slagging off, and more about the polite letters to advertisers that I plan to kick off with if I’ve not heard of an adequate response by midday today.

[To Paula Murray, on a note that is quite personal: Picture someone having to deal with a cruel world where for no reason that makes sense to anyone, a soulless creature appears out of nowhere and attacks them. It does not make for a happy childhood, but they emerge into adulthood, hopeful for the future and – oh, for Christ’s sake – for no reason that makes sense to anyone, a soulless creature appears out of nowhere and attacks them! What the hell were you thinking, and why is it taking you so long to do the decent thing and apologise? You silly old moo.]

UPDATE (12:25) – Derek Lambie chose to speak in place of Martin Townsend and/or Paula Murray. He denies Elizabeth Smith’s claim. Read all about it here.








Posted in Old Media | 4 Comments

An enormous penis

Guardian – Padding the truth: But the truth is that circulation – at least in the short term – has little to do with a newspaper’s quality or the editor’s skills. Marketing campaigns, price cuts (or rises), free offers and even, as we have seen, unusual activity by a rival have more influence on sales than anything journalists do. Rebekah Wade may be editing the Sun brilliantly but, since the paper sells for 15p less than its main rival, the Mirror, it is hard to tell. Even the figures themselves are not all they seem. At some time in its history, every newspaper has had its circulation improved by “bulks” – copies that go for a nominal price, mainly to airlines and hotels as freebies for customers…. Such figures may be extracted from the 11 columns of the ABC’s monthly table. But they rarely get quoted and newspapers and magazines, always spinning the figures, discount bulks only when it suits them. At the New Statesman, my successor as editor, John Kampfner, achieved circulation of 30,000 and understandably shouted it from the media rooftops. But it was based largely on giving away 5,000 copies, until the proprietor, Geoffrey Robinson, decided bulks were a waste of money.

Of course, people don’t lie about their circulation figures just to diddle advertisers*… as the above article acknowledges, the “more money = better than” equation is also at work:

[*FINE PRINT: According to an official statement from MessageSpace, Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) “is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.” Overt and implied claims made by Paul Staines about his profits and those of MessageSpace are seemingly contradicted by claims made by Alex Hilton (aka ‘Recess Monkey’), but Alex may merely be confused… as he clearly must have been when he was under the impression that he had sold all but a small remainder of shares to Paul Staines, who “is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.”]








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

Paula Murray: certified depth

Everyone from 4chan to Fark knows that it takes a special kind of person to enjoy the challenge of being the very first to comment, especially if one has nothing to say (other than “First!”, obviously).

If there were a real-life league of such people, Paula Murray would top the main table.

Why? Because after over a decade of freedom from press intrusion, the child survivors of the Dunblane massacre are now over 18, and therefore fair game… and Paula Murray has covered herself in glory by going after them first on the flimsiest of pretexts.

We interrupt this endorsement for a public service announcement:

New citizens of Teh Internets should be aware that keeping a Facebook profile is not unlike collating your trash in a presentation folder for the benefit of passing tabloid scum. Some weblogs also fit this description, but at least a blog provides you with the means to fight back; all Facebook lets you do is moan to your mates.

Sunday Express – Paula Murray: Anniversay shame of Dunblane survivors: Dunblane survivors have “shamed” the memory of their dead peers with foul-mouthed boasts about sex, brawls and drink-fuelled antics as they reach adulthood. A number of the youngsters, now 18, have posted shocking blogs and photographs of themselves on the Internet, 13 years after being sheltered from public view in the aftermath.

Anton Vowl – A new low for the Express: Regular reader Keith sent me the tipoff to this latest disgrace from the front page of the Scottish Sunday Express and called it ‘a new low’. At first I was a little sceptical, given that I wondered just how much lower it was possible for the Express to sink into its midden of unpleasantness, but he’s right: it really is an atrocity.

Justin McKeating – Paula Murray is an idiot: So, the survivors of an atrocity try to live their lives in as normal a way as possible only to find judgement at the hands of a gutter journalist trying to stir the pot of moral outrage.

As I was creating this post the original article appeared to be clumsily withdrawn from the Express website.

There’s no apology or admission of guilt, naturally, but the article has been quietly withdrawn with little-to-no public condemnation/consequence outside of the blogosphere, and the reporter appears to have emerged safely from this new depth.

So, once the band stops playing and the medals have been handed out, I would like to make a mark at *this* level, and propose that it be considered as the lowest certified safe depth for reporter Paula Murray.

Please be advised that this is an extreme depth, not to be attempted lightly, and that Murray is not certified to sink any lower.

UPDATE – Via Carl Eve, a somewhat related link:

BBC – Chris Summers: How crime has lost out to showbiz: Believe it or not, once upon a time, newspapers and television news bulletins were full of actual news involving actual people, much of it generated by reporters on the crime beat. The demise of the crime reporter, and the decline of investigative journalism in general, has coincided almost perfectly during the past 20 years with the rise of celebrity news.

(Quite. Rummaging through Facebook and feigning outrage is now the pinnacle of investigative journalism in some quarters. No wonder Staines thinks he can make a good fist of it. Not that he needs to, what with his website being worth a million dollars and everything.)

UPDATE (11 Mar) – A minor update here and some fine bloggage here…. and via Septicle’s post, I hear reports of popping rivets. This depth may not be as safe as it first seemed.

Oh, and BenSix’s post and Justin’s update both remind me of an idea I had for an ‘Express Watch’ weblog; its working title is ‘The Express Newspaper: Rebuttals’ and the plan involves a single editor whose only job is to report when the Express is outraged about anything sexual, ‘dirty’ or similarly ‘unseemly’ and counter it with the simple but true observation that Richard Desmond is a pornographer.

This simple action would be then be repeated (constantly, and hopefully to comic effect). The only departure from this pattern would be the occasional attempt to reach readers of OK! magazine with a similar message.








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

Eclectic link dump #25

Mr Jenvey is busy elsewhere early today, but he has promised to share a statement with us later.

I’m happy waiting for that, but here are a few extras for those of you who have looked through the old magazines and fiddled with the empty play-table and are now getting fidgety:

Teh Man somehow saw to it that I missed this epic thread.

Save the ‘ I Love Horses’ website!

Julian Petley cups John Beyer’s logical fallacies. (link via another great weekend link-fest from Septisicle)

Ignore the link if you like, and just love the headline; Arrest in Mandelson custard probe

Mail on Sunday – How MI5 colluded in my torture: Binyam Mohamed claims British agents fed Moroccan torturers their questions

Telegraph – Binyam Mohamed torture claims: Calls for judicial inquiry

And finally, as if some strange hand of fate were at work, I arrived at (pfft!) the Jack Straw weblog this morning to discover that is was updated yesterday with the following message:

With regret blog comment moderation has been turned on. Political argument is welcome (see posts below), but name-calling and general abuse is not and won’t be published.

So good luck bringing up any of that torture nonsense there and seeing anything substantial published; even thinking for a moment that the sainted Jack Straw would allow torture on his watch constitutes ‘abuse’. How very dare you.

UPDATE – You’re *still* bored? Tch. OK, I’ll have the nurse put some cartoons on:

Saturday Morning Watchmen (more) (via)

UPDATE – Tut. Me and my memory. Sir Paul Judge would like a quiet word with you about the party system.








Posted in Christ..., Geekage, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, Updates, Video | 2 Comments

But let’s not make a fuss

PA – [Rebekah ‘red mist’ Wade and] Ross Kemp given ‘quickie’ divorce: In a written question-and-answer style divorce document before the court Ms Wade, 40, is asked: “State briefly your reasons for saying that the respondent has committed the adultery alleged.” She answers: “I found certain evidence indicating adultery. The respondent then admitted the adultery.” Asked on what date it first became known to her that he had committed the adultery alleged, Ms Wade said it was in October 2006. In another question she was asked: “Do you find it intolerable to live with the respondent?” She answered: “Yes.”

Another quiet mention here.

Meanwhile, Jade Goody gets front-paged for an outburst with a neighbour FFS, and we’re all to watch.

I must say; it’s turned out nice for some.








Posted in Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 2 Comments