“Our legal advice is that Paul Staines is not a sex offender.”

I just popped into Google on my way to scan Paul Staines’ Wikipedia entry (it’s often educational* to watch who is changing, vandalising or fixing it, just in case you’re wondering) but made a bit of a typo.

This was the result:

Oops!

(A little link for those who came in late.)

[*Psst! Here’s a freebie for you, Paul: one of your most persistent trolls, who appears to have been sock-puppeting on your site and many others, has left fingerprints all over the Wikipedia history for your entry. All you have to do is cross-check a few comment-specific IP addresses. Not that your kiddy-blogging platform will let you do this, but maybe you know someone who uses better technology who has also been trolled by this person. Oh, and I’d go after this twit myself, but I need to settle the Sunlight COPs matter before I do. Latest update on that is here, just in case you missed it. While I have your attention, can you please have a word with these recipients of your hard-earned money and ask when they might get around to processing my membership application? I want to crack on with promoting transparency in politics. Ta.]








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

David Singleton’s circle of invention

*sigh*

Another ‘journalist’ gives his brain a holiday…

On the matter of Tom Watson Vs. David Singleton, I have the following to say:

Just for starters, it’s not a case of Tom being upset that he didn’t have “input in to this diagram”, as if a sea of reliable data accidentally spat out a result that Tom didn’t like… and I sincerely doubt that Tom is miffed that he missed his chance to take part in the creative process.

It is instead a case of David Singleton airing a rumour and presenting it as a fact in the same breath.

Take a look at the diagram produced by Singleton (reproduced here by Sam Coates).

Tom Watson is clearly illustrated as being part of “a formidable network of political strategists and communications professionals working behind the scenes to smooth (David Miliband’s) path to power”, while his call-out box merely states that Tom is “now said to have switched allegiance from Brown to Miliband”.

At a stretch, Singleton might be able to get away with a bit of hearsay (around here he is said to have switched allegiance to the Camden goat-blowing set), but only if the illustration places Tom in a separate ‘maybe’ or ‘unknown’ position outside the network. And it doesn’t. A picture can tell a thousand lies, and all that.

Here, take an even closer look at the diagram. Can you spot any unbroken lines between Tom Watson and David Miliband?

And to those who may *still* be uncertain about what the problem is, I offer this alternative diagram:

David Singleton does not blow goats in Camden or anywhere else as far as I know

David Singleton – who claims to be a journalist and news editor and is therefore subject to the same rules guidelines most journalists and news editors claim to follow – did this thing without consulting Tom Watson. At all.

And yet if you read the article that introduces the ‘circle’ nonsense, you will see that he found the time to extend that courtesy to others *and* note publicly where he tried and failed to make contact (highlights are mine)…

[Psst! Here’s a quick note for people who may not be aware of one very good reason why doing the latter is often important.]

PR Week – Miliband eyes up comms chief for leadership drive

When approached by PRWeek, Collins refused to be drawn on how often he talked to Miliband, saying only: ‘I speak to a lot of people.’ Collins also declined to say whether he would accept a job as Miliband’s communications advisor.

Kestenbaum is a former chief of staff to private equity pioneer and Labour donor Ronald Cohen, and is also close to former Labour Party chief fundraiser Lord Levy.

Miliband is said to have approached Kestenbaum this summer, asking him to forge links with business in return for a key role in his entourage. A source close to Kestenbaum said: ‘He sees himself as Miliband’s chief of staff – a Jonathan Powell-type figure.’

Kestenbaum was on holiday and unavailable for comment as PRWeek went to press.

Donnelly is an MEP-turned-lobbyist who is well connected in Labour’s ‘North East mafia’. Labour sources said Donnelly had spoken to Milband about helping to run his leadership campaign in a private capacity. One said: ‘Alan Donnelly is the campaign manager.’

Donnelly was unavailable for comment but issued a statement saying: ‘I am the chair of the South Shields Labour party – nothing more and I don’t believe there is a leadership campaign. The speculation is nothing more than summer mischief.’

And yet none of the above courtesies were extended to Tom when – and I hear this kind of thing is taken quite seriously by most politicians – it was being claimed that his political allegiances had changed dramatically.

I am informed by Tom that this claim resulted in a disruptive and needless barrage of phone calls from lobby journalists wanting to know what the score was.

I think David Singleton needs to start with an apology involving far more honesty and sincerity than his first effort.

Perhaps he would even care to explain why he appears to have sought a response from some MPs and not others.








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

The Wrong Door: awesome

I wish I’d mentioned this sooner so more of you could’ve experienced the half-hour I just enjoyed:

The Wrong Door on BBC3 is like hanging around the b3ta.com/board, but on telly. I chuckled and gasped and guffawed all the way through tonight’s episode.

It’s. Awesome.

Ben Wheatley has produced something that I would rank up there with The League of Gentlemen, and I don’t say that lightly.

(“Hey! Hey! hey! Look! … No, loooook! Look there! There! … It’s my finger! Ahahahahahahaha!”)








Posted in Consume! | 4 Comments

Gordon Brown wearing a nappy on a rocking horse

If you’ve arrived at this page via Google, you are most probably searching for an image that does not exist.

If so, then you are wasting time chasing a vicious rumour that has been peddled and published endlessly by a drink-driving (hopefully former) bankrupt by the name of Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’).

Sorry to disappoint.

Here, instead, is a picture of a fat nappy-wearing bastard who is so drunk that he has fallen off his rocking horse and sh*t himself:

Guido Fawkes: drunk again

In other news, the question that every insider in Westminster is asking is; “Does Margaret Thatcher have syphilis? “

(I kid, I kid… the question that every insider in Westminster is really asking is; “Is it true that Paul’s drinking problem has become worse since he’s been locked up at home and unable to drive anywhere?”)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 9 Comments

When will this right-wing publisher start acting like a grown-up?

Recently, Iain Dale has begun to claim that he refuses to answer questions from me because I blog about him so much, when the truth is that a great deal of the bloggage about Iain on this site results from his earlier refusal to answer questions (and if just reading that sentence gives you a headache, try living through the experience sometime).

For example, when Iain Dale tagged me as a nihilist on 18DoughtyStreet, he denied doing so (and even denied even knowing the meaning of the word ‘nihilist’), then frustrated every effort to confront him over my recording of him doing so. He then complained about the ‘ill-tempered’ manner in which I responded to his evasiveness, claiming that I insulted him by calling him a liar… after he lied about insulting me. The whole thing took over a month to sort out and involved many posts that were published at this weblog purely because Iain was censoring any mention of it under comments on his so-called ‘weblog’.

And he does this sort of thing All. The. Time.

He’s doing it now, in fact.

Recently (example), Iain has claimed that his latest poll of blogs is the result of votes from; “the readers of more than 60 UK political blogs and the readers of TOTAL POLITICS Magazine”.

Leaving aside that the number of voters originating from his magazine warrants an ‘et al’ position, I would like to know which 60+ UK political blogs Iain is talking about here, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask, especially if his guide ranks or even excludes Bloggerheads from its listings.

If Iain knows there are 60+ weblogs sending him voters, then surely he knows which 60+ weblogs are sending him voters… unless he’s playing games with numbers again.

I emailed Iain and asked if he would provide a list of participating weblogs. Politely.

He ignored me.

I left a comment under a relevant post and asked again if he would provide a list of participating weblogs. Even more politely.

He deleted that, and both follow-ups.

So… and I really can’t believe he’s forcing me to play this childish game, but… *sigh*….

Can someone please ask your mother Iain Dale to provide a list of the “more than 60 UK political blogs” whose readers participated in that blog poll? Because she’s not talking to me.

(Please be warned that if you do so, Iain may refuse to answer on the grounds that you are my ‘bitch’. No, seriously.)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 15 Comments

Some crazy times ahead

A new post from Justin. I invite you to admire it.

My brand new Prize Shelf. Ditto.

Yay, prizes!








Posted in Consume!, The Political Weblog Movement, Updates | 3 Comments

Supporting Harry’s Place

Like Justin, I’m no fan of Harry’s Place, but bloggers should and must stand together whenever anyone tries the stunt of bypassing the author of any blog and instead censoring their content via bullshit legal threats to a service provider…

Mr Eugenedies – Harry’s Place taken down

… and I think this applies even if the offending content wasn’t a typo, but instead a deliberate misrepresentation.

Your first step – always – is to confront and challenge the author directly. Even if they’re people like Iain Dale, Paul Staines and their little hanger-on Phil Hendren (i.e. determined to avoid or complicate that challenge) you should at least try.

PS – Mr E mentions the cuddly Mr Alisher Usmanov in his post. It might amuse you to recall all of the time and effort Usmanov put into being referred to as a ‘Russian billionaire’ instead of an ‘Uzbek billionaire’ in order to make his money more palatable to Westerners.








Posted in UK Libel Law | Comments Off

Julie Moult is an idiot

[UPDATE (03 Sep) – Exciting new link! –> The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names! <-- Check it out for my reponse to the Daily Mail's response to this article. Cheers all.]

[UPDATE (06 Sep) – Exciting NEWER link! –> The Daily Mail (actually, genuinely) responds at last! <-- Even more thrilling than the last link.]

What have I got against Julie Moult?

Well, looking into some of the hateful and (ahem) inventive crap she’s produced for The Sun and The Daily Mail over the years, quite a lot… but really, I’m here today to deliver to Julie a well-earned lesson on the mysterious inner workings of Google:

Part One

Let’s begin with how ‘journalist’ Julie thinks Google works:

Julie Moult – Blears falls prey to ‘Google Bomb’ Attack Of The 50-inch Woman:

She would prefer to be known for her trailblazing policies on eco-friendly housing and community cohesion.

But if the billions of people using Google decide to look for Labour MP Hazel Blears by typing her name into the search engine, a more unlikely image appears.

The first site you reach features a mock-up 1950s movie poster of the politician in a skimpy outfit.

Last night, the prank raised the possibility that she was the victim of ‘Google Bombing’, when internet enthusiasts manipulate rankings on search engines….

Paul Richards, special adviser to Mrs Blears, shrugged off the stunt.

He said: ‘Hazel is supremely relaxed about this. This is just part of the fun of the internet.’

Google yesterday denied the politicians had been subjected to Google Bombing, saying the picture’s ranking was due to several factors including popularity.

Google Bombing, when cyber pranksters create dozens, or even hundreds, of ‘fake’ sites linked to the targeted webpage to make it seem more popular, is something politicians around the world are all too familiar with.

Hello, John1. Hazel Blears’ office isn’t bothered about the ‘stunt’ (which isn’t a stunt), but Julie must have her summer story, so she marches on regardless.

2. Google informs her that it’s not a Google bomb (I prefer ‘Googlebomb’ myself, but nevermind) but in Julie’s eyes this is merely a ‘denial’… and so she marches on again. Without pausing for breath.

3. Even if this were Google bombing (it isn’t), and even if high profile Google bombs still worked (they don’t), the most effective Google bombs involved genuine web users expressing genuine opinions on genuine websites; they would each stake a fraction of the reputation they had earned online on their opinion that George W. Bush is a miserable failure, Tony Blair is a liar, and/or John Prescott is a f**kwit. They would do this by linking to a target website with the required word(s), thereby as a group making it a top search result for a word or words that (usually) did not even appear on the target page.

4. Speaking of that f**kwit John Prescott, I’m a photoshopper and I created an image that is one of the top Google Image search results for his name. It became a top search result because it is an amusing and relevant* image with a relevant filename, hosted on a well-regarded and relevant website (backingblair.co.uk) and it has remained there through many image database updates because people think it is funny (and relevant) and keep linking to it.

5. Beau Bo d’Or, who created the image that Julie Moult is fussing about (and the Daily Mail is using without permission), is – I am not ashamed to say – a better and cleverer photoshopper than I am. He is highly regarded, and his work featured at the online art community site b3ta.com or his own website at bbdo.co.uk (+ heady.co.uk) is highly regarded and regularly linked to.

6. It is the combination of this reputation (based on general interest in past efforts plus specific interest in this single relevant* effort) and a simple, relevant filename that has Beau Bo d’Or in control of not one but two top Google Image search results for the query ‘hazel blears’.

It. Has. Nothing. To. Do. With. Google. Bombing.

What Julie Moult is describing is – for the most part – sock-puppeting and astroturfing, but that doesn’t have anything to do with Beau Bo d’Or’s image being the top search result for ‘hazel blears’, either.

She’s an idiot.

(*John Prescott is a very sexy man in much the same way that Hazel Blears is a very tall woman. Both images are relevant to their respective queries… and in a very similar way.)

Part Two

To help Julie understand how Google works, I have used her name in the title of my article, and in the article itself.

I confidently predict that – because of the relevance of the entry and the reputation that Bloggerheads has earned over the years, that my single article about her will become one of the top search results in Google UK for her name (if not *the* top search result) within a couple of hours.

Getting a result in Google Images will take a little longer (as in weeks longer) because the Images database isn’t updated quite as often as the main one, but I’m confident that I can get at least one image into the top row, simply by giving it a suitable name and including it here:

Julie Moult is an idiot

In fact, I think with a quiet word to my readers and a few other web users, I could easily have the entire front page for ‘julie moult’ in Google Images filled with images telling the world that Julie Moult is an idiot… and if she thinks really, really hard about it, she might just begin to understand that what enables/powers the eventual result isn’t magic or trickery, but instead Google detecting a genuine public response to my appeal and her own damn articles:

Part Three

It is my considered opinion that Julie Moult is an idiot.

She doesn’t know or care how Google works, even when the people from Google explain it to her, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Julie Moult was also behind a dangerous claim of “Muslim yobs” attacking soldiers returning from Afghanistan that turned out to be totally without foundation (see follow-ups here and here).

I could go on (and on and on), but I’m confident that the above and her article about “Nazi racoons” will be enough for most people.

You may wish to read more before forming an opinion of your own, and I totally respect that. Feel free to browse through Julie Moult’s many articles in The Sun and The Daily Mail for any redeeming acts/articles (such as her selfless service in search of little Maddie McCann).

Once you’re done and you have arrived at your opinion, I’d like you to take the following steps:

=========== THE JULIE MOULT IMAGE CHALLENGE ==============

Step One – Create an image featuring the words “Julie Moult is an idiot” (or “Julie Moult is not an idiot, but instead a much-misunderstood campaigner for truth and a very nice person once you get to know her”).

Step Two – Include the words ‘julie’ and ‘moult’ in the filename for your image.

Step Three – Publish it on your website or weblog in a post explaining what it is and why it’s there (including, if you like, these steps and a link back to this article).

Step Four (optional) – If you really mean business, put her name in your article title and maybe even drop in some ‘ALT’ or ‘Title’ goodness for your image.

:: Please keep in mind that Julie Moult might be willing and able to sue you if she can prove that she isn’t an idiot (though I’m quietly confident that this won’t be a problem).

:: You may also wish to include a picture/glimpse of yourself in your image, as I have (above), so Julie is certain that real people, not invisible Google pixies, lurk behind the eventual results.

Notable search results will be posted below as soon as they start appearing, and a prize will be awarded for the best relevant performance in Google Images (not including mine).

Good luck to you all. I hope to see you in the top row soon.

========================================================

[Note to participants: Stay tuned for an upcoming post about The Prize Shelf. It’s chock full of goodies for young and old.]

[Note to Julie Moult and the Daily Mail: Just so you’re aware that your notoriously self-serving comment moderation policy does have its hidden costs; normally you lot wouldn’t be worth the time and effort, but your ignoring/deleting my quite reasonable comment response to your article annoyed me just long enough for this idea to take shape. There, now aren’t you glad that you censored a polite comment pointing out an obvious flaw?]

UPDATE (1:33pm) – It’s less than an hour later, and I’m already 4th. Link posted to b3ta. Onwards and upwards!

UPDATE (2:10pm) – Just over an hour later, and I’m settled in at No. 1… no Googlebombing required:

Ta-dahh!

[UPDATE (03 Sep) – Exciting new link! –> The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names! <-- Check it out for my reponse to the Daily Mail's response to this article. Cheers all.]

Related:
CurryNet – More on the Daily Mail and my comments about their ‘suicidal five year olds’ article
Online Journlaism Blog – Reasons not to ignore comments #2: The Daily Mail and Julie Moult
Writing Hurts – Don’t forget, comments work both ways
Stewart Kirkpatrick – The ‘Julie Moult is an idiot’ campaign: a modern journalistic fable
The Register – ‘Googlebomb’ blows up in Daily Mail hack’s face

[UPDATE (06 Sep) – Exciting NEWER link! –> The Daily Mail (actually, genuinely) responds at last! <-- Even more thrilling than the last link.]








Posted in Old Media, Photoshopping, The War on Stupid | 30 Comments

Ten greetings from beyond the grave

Grave: cause of concern-

1. I stumbled through a few graveyards during my holiday break (a very long story) and happened across this final resting place. If you’re wondering what the solar panel is for, it’s powering the fairy lights. Seriously.

2. On my return I was disappointed (but not at all surprised) to find that the government had published a totally inadequate response to the Iraqi-employees petition (more).

3. I was equally disappointed (and again not at all surprised) that right wing pseudo-bloggers instead wasted their anger on this surprisingly adequate response to the ‘Jeremy Clarkson for PM’ petition (more).

The Scum are either struggling with the concept of sarcasm or trying to diddle their readers when they declare that; (the video) even admits (the petitioners) made a “compelling case”… and later this week I need to do some chasing and find out who specifically issued the pathetic, desperate and hopelessly humourless statement that appeared in the Telegraph:

A Conservative party spokesman said: “While the British public is having to tighten its belts the Government is spending taxpayers’ money on a completely frivolous project. This shows how detached the Labour party has become from the concerns of the British people.”

4. Iain Dale is publishing results from his inherently-biased blog poll with the following claim:

“These blogs were voted for by the readers of more than 60 UK political blogs and the readers of TOTAL POLITICS Magazine.”

60+ weblogs, eh? Perhaps Iain would care to list them. That’s not asking too much, is it?

5. Wait… before you answer that question, consider that the (allegedly) pro-transparency outfit that turned out to be secretly funded by Iain’s fellow pseudo-blogger Paul Staines ceased all activity on their website on 22 July… the day I applied to join them as a member. They had no grounds to reject me as a member, and they couldn’t publish or process anything while I patiently waited in the wings for my application to be processed. However, in the middle of my holiday break, they cleverly published 4 blog items and then promptly shut up shop again… without doing anything about my pending membership application. No doubt this is all part of the beta-testing process.

6. Speaking of beta-testing processes, I would love to comment on the new Downing Street website and what may or may not have nicked, but I can’t possibly do so without mentioning a certain thief and all the right-wing dipsticks who backed him over his drunken legal threats by laying into me personally instead of addressing the issue, and that gang of thugs has already enjoyed enough free airtime today. Besides, Downing Street and/or their contractors lifting stuff for the No 10 website without payment or acknowledgement isn’t news.

7. Meet some people who clearly don’t believe in freedom of speech. (via)

8. Beau Bo d’Or reports that the Daily Mail peeps are guilty of theft and complete ignorance.

9. The Scum are crying “Wolf!” “Shark!” again.

10. Thanks to Charlie Brooker, everything I wanted to say about this Olympics (and the next) has already been said. (via)








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Photoshopping, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement, Updates | 1 Comment

Holiday

See you in 10 days or so, with the rest of the gang, right here.

Cheers all.








Posted in Updates | 2 Comments