I really wanted to have a better logo ready for today, but hopefully you can see where I’m going with this, and I won’t need a long paragraph explaining exactly what this change in priorities means for ‘Murdoch Watch’:
The Sun: Tabloid Lies needs a tidy up and some focus, but I’m very happy with the ‘document the lies’ strategy so far, and plan to expand on it very shortly with a similar project targeting The Daily Mail.
The latter project will finally stagger into a soft-launch following a post from me within the next week.
I found the time cataloguing the dishonesty of amateur hacks like Iain Dale and Paul Staines to be very useful on this front, because with up-and comers and amateurs it’s not only easier to see the strings, it’s also easier to jiggle them about a bit and watch where/how the puppet show falls apart (and, crucially, where/how it manages to keep the illusion going).
If you can picture the skills/experience/resource gap that exists between Derek Draper and Paul Staines, you can easily appreciate the skills/experience/resource gap that exists between Paul Staines and Rebekah Wade. All that really separates them is practice in (or access to) any given format; the techniques they use are almost identical.
[Psst! Those watching Paul closely these past few years will have noticed where Paul’s character has, for example, evolved from showing casual indifference to torture, to having a more tabloid-like position; selective outrage (depending on who is doing the torturing, natch). Baby P was a watershed moment in this ‘growth’.]
Some of the blow-back from the Glen Jenvey affair (that I’m not at liberty to share with you just yet, but it will blow your effing mind) follows the same attack pattern and plugs in neatly with my wider experience with tabloids especially.
The short version is this:
If you remain calm, and simply document outright lies, they will have very little to throw back at you.
It won’t stop them trying, mind, but they’ll be operating without a scrap of evidence (i.e. they will be forced to make shit up) and anybody who takes 30 seconds to look at your site will see…. evidence, evidence and more evidence.
What also helps is a united front. A group is harder to classify as being a bit mental, which is the usual charge thrown about by someone not wanting people to read clear evidence that they’ve been lying, cheating, stealing etc. (“He’s delusional! And it’s *catching*! Stay away, children!”).
[Note – ‘Boring’ is the other one; it’s ‘mental’-lite. But, I’m working with a variety of writers, each with their own engagement/communication skills. We should be resilient enough, and it’s not a damaging tactic, so there’s room for improvement on the fly.]
The only time this ‘mental’ tag is ever likely to become a problem with a group? When that group strays from the ‘lies only’ mission and editors begin to lose their independence.
Putting what I personally think of them to one side, the fact is that the position of ‘Biased BBC’ is easily undermined because they as a group operate on a single almighty assumption and build every case from this perspective.
‘Bias’ is a perilous area to go into, as many of us will have learned in the past.
It is a slippery slope, and you even need to watch your step near things like hypocrisy, omission and obfuscation. It’s going to be painful to stick with at times, but it is my opinion that you’re better off sticking with cataloguing outright lies, because if you have a worthy target, there will be plenty.
Even if you stick to this, there will be people that won’t believe you.
But that’s OK. I’ve grown beyond unrealistic expectations of stopping this or crushing that, and now work towards speaking to the ‘softs’ in any given audience.
Paul Staines will never admit it, but I’m one of the key reasons why he mainly has “window lickers” on the loose in his comments. His page views may have gone up, but the quality of his (public) feedback has plummeted. Reasonable people started abandoning him in droves once they realised what he’d been up to and Staines reacted by giving his shouty anonymongrels more and more room to play.
MORE SHOUTING! THAT’S THE TICKET!!! ZANU LABOUR! RAH RAH RARRRGH!
(Hell, I was one of those people once; I bought into Paul Staines’ bullshit, and it took me far too long to snap out of his spell, because I was so focused on the poor souls having their genitals slashed in the name of T.W.A.T. – the turning point came with Oaten and Paul’s attempt to put the whammy on me at a later facetime event. He’s a lying, manipulative scoundrel who will say pretty much anything to get you to do what he wants you to do, and Alex Hilton is a damn fool to trust him.)
So, starting with The Sun and The Daily Mail, I’ll be documenting lies in tabloid newspapers with the help of other talented writers and bloggers.
New projects will emerge as opportunities present themselves and/or priorities make themselves clear, but the prime directive will remain the same; show readers of any given title/broadcaster if/when they are being lied to.
Every day, millions of people in this country needlessly worry, rant and rave about stuff that Just. Isn’t. Real.
Perhaps I can ease their minds on one or two specific matters.
Maybe, just maybe, I can teach some people how to recognise (or identify!) habitual liars; the heartless fuckers who play on your fears to profit monetarily and/or politically.
I’ll probably do no more than dent, deter, or isolate people like Wade and Staines… but I’ll salt great swathes of earth for those who wish to follow them.
Hopefully, especially because it brings other bloggers along on projects, it will also set a better pattern of blogging development than the often shouty, spin-heavy not-at-all-credible strategy folks have been following behind Iain Dale, the grand ambassador of political blogging
(FFS, the sponsor of the UK guide to political blogging for three years running has been APCO. They *astroturf* for a bloody living! We need to step away from such influences if we want blogging to be any different or more democratic than other channels.)
So, just before I get started, does anyone see any downsides to the ‘lies only’ plan? Does anyone think I’m being a wee bit unfair to certain tabloid editors (or bloggers)?
Now’s the time to speak up, because this is where I want to take Bloggerheads for the next year or two at least… and this is not a strictly ‘my site, my rules’ issue.
I’ll be sharing power with a lot of other people, but everything will be built on this framework, and I trust you appreciate that this deliberate landscaping will have an impact on the layout of at least one corner of the playing field.