[Note – Yes, I still have what ‘blog poll’ data I could gather at the time saved, and I plan to crunch it when I have the time. Of course, Iain Dale himself could sort the whole matter out in maybe two minutes with some simple referral stats for his polling page(s) for the month of the poll, but that’s not going to happen, is it? I would also like it noted for the record that Iain Dale has clear views on the need for outside auditing. For others. Not for himself. Iain is far too perfect for that. Now let’s crack on…]
Following some childish shenanigans where Iain Dale used his ‘professional’ magazine to settle a personal score (more), I made several futile attempts to contact that publisher via email.
Instead of responding to that email, Iain thought it would be fun to play a little game…
Because the whole fuss began with Iain failing to receive an email (or merely claiming that he had failed to receive it) I went looking for acknowledgement of receipt of a relevant email that was directed and addressed to him as Publisher of Total Politics. Iain then replied via personal email only to confirm receipt of almost every email bar the one that counted. Repeated and quite explicit requests to confirm receipt of the original email led only to confirmation of receipt of the emails requesting confirmation. And so on and so forth.
Cute. And a pretty good indication of bad faith, I would venture.
When I tried to contact Total Politics Editor Sarah MacKinlay through the contact details provided on their website, I was at first ignored, and then blindsided during a polite phone call with some bizarre histrionics (I was accused of being “aggressive” and not going through ‘formal’ channels, then cut off).
So much for discussing the matter sensibly with the Editor.
The only senior contact option left to me at Total Politics was…
The Executive Editor
Shane Greer is the Executive Editor of Total Politics. During a particularly unpleasant exchange with Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines this year when every right-wing blogger and his dog was having a go at me, Greer chose to ignore the central issue and take sides in a very personal way by declaring me to be “obviously unbalanced”, grouping me with a convicted stalker, and refusing/deleting any meaningful response to this.
I did not see any point in attempting to contact Shane Greer about this matter, and I’m sure any reasonable person can understand why.
The PCC (Press Complaints Commission)
So… raising my hands and admitting (*gasp*) that there might even be fault on both sides here, what we’re left with is two parties in dispute, communications in a state of total breakdown from the off, and a need for mediation.
And in the UK magazine industry, that is normally where the Press Complaints Commission comes into the picture.
Because I found out while making my initial enquiries that the political magazine Total Politics is not answerable to the Press Complaints Commission!
In fact the PCC had never even heard of the magazine until I called them. At all.
I don’t need a long paragraph here explaining that politics is a particularly sensitive, volatile, and high stakes media field, do I?
No? Good. Let’s move on, then…
Here is the later confirmation of this disgraceful state of affairs from the PCC:
I can confirm that the current position is that Total Politics does not formally subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC.
Over 98% of titles do subscribe to the PCC and the Code. We also handle complaints informally against titles that do not subscribe.
But, really, what’s the point when Iain Dale has already placed his magazine outside of its influence and refused to conform to a standard of quality and responsibility accepted by 98% of magazines?
Oh, do excuse me; I just assumed bad faith. Perhaps Iain Dale has merely overlooked this ‘minor’ matter… for about six months.
Perhaps this is something I should discuss with the editorial board dedicated to “keeping Total Politics on track”… but not before offering Iain Dale something he refuses me on his website and now, apparently, in his magazine; a right of reply.
Over to you, Iain.
[Psst! This follows Iain Dale playing a major role in a political television station not subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code and his repeated refusal to address or correct minor ‘errors’ (like this push for an apology from Sunny Hundal) on his ‘blog’. A pattern emerges, and it doesn’t take a genius to spot it; Iain Dale is a man who seeks power without accountability. He’s also a man who’s willing to be the sole counter and auditor of votes in a political poll where he himself is in the running but, as I’ve said; that’s for another time.]
UPDATE (11am 17 Oct) – Iain Dale actually confirmed receipt for the relevant email this time around (in a personal not professional capacity, I noticed), but he has not responded beyond this, or issued any statement about his failure/refusal to subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC. You would think this would be an issue for the publisher of a political magazine, but it appears not. I have just emailed all of the members of the Total Politics editorial board that I could find contact details for. Perhaps this will lead to progress. Let’s see.
Oh, and Sim-O notes here that Iain Dale’s policy on his magazine appears to be the same as that for his blog; if he publishes something about you that you’re unhappy with, he’ll kindly think about changing it, but if he refuses, you’re welcome to… erm… walk away and leave him to it. Oh well. At least that beats being called a “bitch” and told to “piss off”.