Archive for the ‘Old Media’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 11, 2008

Category: Old Media


It seems like only yesterday the papers were one-upping each other with ‘proof’ that the McCanns killed little Madeleine. Now they’re all falling over each other with ‘proof’ that she’s alive.

Septicisle offers you this glimpse into the future.

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 1, 2008

Category: Old Media

Daily Mail – Pictured: The moment a man punched a girl off her feet during a Facebook water fight: This is the moment a girl was punched off her feet during a water fight in a park in which nine people were arrested.

No it’s not. This is the moment a girl had her hair pulled by the one guy in this series of pictures who isn’t carrying a container of liquid or a water pistol.

Seriously, look at the picture. Her head is most likely going backwards because he’s wrestling with her, not because he’s punching her. She certainly isn’t shown being “lifted completely off her feet” by a punch.

Also take a look at the awkward grip she has on that heavy, un-lidded bottle full of liquid… which she managed to keep a firm hold of most of the way down (if not all the way down) to the ground. I’d like to see anyone keep a grip like that during a proper clocking, I don’t care how fond they are of their bottle of red pop.

Take a look at a taller version of this picture, and the most likely scenario that presents itself is this idiot pulling her hair/head down as he swings his left leg under her feet. Take a look at the wide shot and you may notice some remarkably calm faces watching what is supposed to be the middle of an almighty swing at their friend. (Oh, and some picnickers who appear to be unaware that a ‘riot’ is in progress.)

I am not seeing a lot to suggest that this sensitive flower landed the woman with a Popeye-style punch that knocked her clear off her feet and onto her arse, causing her to see little cartoon birdies flying around her head.

But I suppose the truth doesn’t matter if you have a tabloid to shift.

Other possible embellishments include accounts of spooked horses and griglets with bones that may or may not be broken, definitions of the event as an all-out riot, and what I suspect to be the biggest whopper of all…

The Sun – Facebook party turns violent: This shocking snap of a girl getting punched in the face shows the moment a Facebook water fight party descended into chaos. The Hyde Park event got out of hand as youths ran amok, threatening the public and flashing knives, causing the cops to steam in and make nine arrests.

And yet, strangely, no-one was arrested for a knife-related crime and, so far, the police have not reported finding weapons (other than water pistols) at the scene.

I think the BBC strays closer to the truth of the matter here..

BBC – Nine held after park water fight: Reports then came into police that some people involved had been seen with knives.

Tellingly, the Daily Mail manages to work Princess Di into the second paragraph and The Sun, a News International newspaper, leans towards its usual position of laying as much blame as possible at the feet of Facebook; the main commercial rival to Murdoch-owned MySpace.

Most of this story appears to be biased and alarmist claptrap based (very) loosely on the official police version of events and the accounts of two unnamed witnesses.

If you know anyone who was actually present at this event, please do get in touch.

Maybe now that the weather has cooled some, the truth might be encouraged to put its damn pants on.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 23, 2008

Category: Old Media

Congratulations to Sky News, the Telegraph, the Mail, the Mirror and Metro, who all printed the ‘Grand Canyon leap’ photo-story as fact when it was seen and sorted by Snopes years ago.

Metro has changed its article this morning; they ask earnestly if it might be hoax and speak of “internet rumours”… because you can’t believe everything you read in newspapers on the internet, obviously.

(Psst! Watch the spoilsports over at the Guardian include that rare 5th photograph.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 23, 2008

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

Independent –’s web surge ignites row
Guardian – Publishers query Telegraph rise
Telegraph – We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!*

(*OK, so I’m paraphrasing.)

Eyebrows raised in the past by the Telegraph’s past traffic claims here and here.

The blogosphere’s version (just in case you missed it) here.

(Another day in London, today. Sorting backing and back-end for Operation Manticore. There will be a delay in the answering of comments and email. Again.)

Busy day today. I’m going to pass you over to some other bloggers/items for a bit:

1. Septicisle – Scum-watch: Harassing the evil Islamic terrorist Abdul Muneem Patel: As Sun journalists obviously don’t have anything better to do, they’ve taken to stalking one of the men released in January a whole 18 days early from his sentence for having in his possession a manual on explosives…

2. Dave Cole – The Counter-terrorism Bill and coroners: Clause 64 allows the Home Secretary to issue a certificate requiring an inquest to be held without a jury or discharging a jury mid-inquest. Clause 65 allows the Home Secretary to discharge a coroner and appoint a coroner of their own choosing. The two powers can be exercised simultaneously; that is to say, the Home Secretary would have the power, if they thought the an inquest would embarrass the government, to discharge the jury and the coroner and have the inquest started again without a jury and with a coroner of the Home Secretary’s choosing.

The possible implications of this were pointed out a month or so ago by Andrew Dismore. A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said in response that the clause was “likely to be used sparingly”.

Hey, do you remember something else the government was going to use ‘sparingly’… before Charles Clarke got a little bit carried away?

3. This bloody song has been in my head for days now. Your turn. (via)


“Take him down to Quincy, he will cut him open…”

4. Professional bullshitter required to wind up what is most likely the Daily Mail. Apply here.

5. More from Unity…

Remember Nadine Dorries and the Hand of Hope? Well, watch for the projection here… it’s very subtle:

“I’m not saying that it is 100 per cent certain the photo is genuine, as doctors can always be wrong. But what I’ve put on my website is correct beyond reasonable doubt.” – Nadine Dorries

6. And now, more from Nadine…

Oi! Iain! Have you asked Laura Moffatt, Barbara Follett or Jacqui Smith what it’s like to be stalked by this idiot?

7. If you’ve been relying on the two ‘leading’ ‘bloggers’ for your political news, you may have missed the story about Eshaq Khan and the army of real-life sock-puppets that won him an election…. for a bit. Latest news here. BTW, he’s a Tory, in case you haven’t guessed.

8. The photo is this article *may* have been doctored. Can you spot the changes? (via)

9. Was Paul Staines actually fooled by a fool, or was merely propping up Dale’s pissweak joke that was 5 hours too late… 9 hours too late? Meanwhile, the man who constantly acts like he’s in a school playground now claims not to know what every schoolboy knows. Oh well. He is rubber and we are glue…

10. Iain Dale and Paul Staines – the two ‘leading’ ‘bloggers’ who rarely fail to post their stat porn on the first day of the month – both failed to wave their cocks around yesterday. You’re welcome.

11. Let’s take the dial up to ’11’ with a link-annotated version of Tom Watson’s power of information taskforce speech.

Cheers all.

12. Oh, go on then… one more for the road.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 29, 2008

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

By now you’re all aware that Prince Harry has been fighting in Afghanistan (gunning down other human beings in much the same way that most normal people do) and that there was an agreement for it not be reported by the media. You are probably also aware that the carrot that was dangled to ensure the integrity of the embargo was an appeal to media owners and editors not to complicate military operations by needlessly endangering Harry’s life and those of his fellow soldiers a steady feed of photos and interviews that they would be allowed to use at a later date.

This morning, there is an undignified rush to use that material in almost every newspaper. Classy.

The Independent, by contrast, uses a single image on page 3 alongside this article:

Independent – Prince’s cover in Afghanistan blown by Drudge Report: An American website, the Drudge Report, broke a news blackout yesterday by revealing that Prince Harry has been serving in Afghanistan for more than two months. To the fury of the Ministry of Defence and condemnation from the head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the website announced a “world exclusive” and proclaimed: “They’re calling him ‘Harry the Hero!”… It is thought the source for the Drudge Report article was a story printed last month in an Australian women’s magazine, New Idea.

Back-pats to the Indy for this, and for not falsely describing Drudge as a ‘blogger’.

Brick-bats to New Idea and Matt Drudge… oh, and well-known Drudge-wannabe Paul Staines*.

What Drudge did was take something that had been previously reported by regional ragsters who claimed to be unaware of the embargo, and used that to knowingly break the embargo… while screaming ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

And now the eyes of the world are upon him, Matt Drudge is getting greedy. Below is the article published by Drudge yesterday. The text in bold is the paragraph that he has since deleted:

Thu Feb 28 2008 11:37:52 ET

They’re calling him “Harry the Hero!”

British Royal Prince Harry has been fighting in Afghanistan since late December–and has been directly involved in battle.

Australian magazine NEW IDEA and the German daily BILD have broken world embargoes on the development. CNN has debated internally on the merits of reporting Harry at war.

The prince, a junior officer in the Blues and Royals, and third in line to the throne, has been a “magnificent soldier” and an “inspiration to all of Briton.”

Prince Harry is talking part in a new offensive against the Taliban.

Ministry of Defense and Clarence House refuse all comment. Army chiefs have managed to keep the prince away from media and have encourage fellow soldiers in his squadron to stay quiet.


Not that the people at New Idea have any complaints; they themselves are busy rewriting history today…. and here’s why:

The Australian – New Idea, no idea of Harry embargo: New Idea had no idea it was breaking an embargo when it revealed on its website that Prince Harry was fighting in Afghanistan. The weekly magazine has been criticised by a British army chief for leaking the news of the young royal’s frontline deployment, which was subject to a strict media blackout. A German newspaper and then US website the Drudge report picked up the story this week. With the ban broken, the story has received intensive coverage in Britain and around the world. The story was published on New Idea’s website on January 7, said editor-in-chief Robyn Foyster.

SMH – No idea: New Idea in the dark about Harry blackout: An Australian women’s magazine has denied deliberately breaching a media news blackout about Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan. New Idea is at the centre of a storm in Britain, accused of leaking the news the 23-year-old prince is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and potentially putting his life in danger. The magazine published a story about Harry’s secret tour of duty on its website in January in an apparent breach of a strict media blackout on the story. It appears few noticed the story. It was only after US website the Drudge Report picked up the story and broadcast it around the world, after a German newspaper ran a piece yesterday, that the storm blew up.

[Psst! “Woman’s magazine” is putting it kindly; New Idea (nicknamed ‘No Idea’ long before this debacle) is a trashy supermarket tabloid.]

Now, while everyone else is revelling in their ability to use material that was previously embargoed until April, New Idea has decided to ‘disappear’ the items in question. If you visit either of these URLs, the original teaser and article will not appear; instead, on both pages, you’ll get a bog-standard bio of Prince Harry (that’s been put together so hurriedly that the picture fails to load)…

So now, +++ EXCLUSIVELY +++ at Bloggerheads (via the cached pages stored by Google and Live Search), I present the two original items in full:

NEW IDEA: Prince Harry Goes to War in Afghanistan
Originally published by New Idea on Jan 07 at 04:33pm EDT at:

Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.

Not seen in public since the middle of December, New Idea can exclusively reveal that despite opposition from senior members of the British government and the royal family itself, Harry now joins his uncle Prince Andrew as a royal who has been to war.

‘At first there was a lot of resistance’ said a friend ‘but Harry threatened to resign his commission and serve as a private if he was kept from the battlefield – and that proved to be the final straw’.

Full details on this breaking story in this week’s New Idea

No idea there was an embargo? What does the word ‘covert’ mean to these people?

Here’s the article that followed that teaser a week later:

NEW IDEA: Prince Harry: War Lord
Originally published by New Idea on Jan 15 at 12:07pm EDT at:

Maverick Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.

New Idea can exclusively reveal that despite opposition from senior members of the British government and the royal family itself, Harry flew out with his regiment and joined the troops on the front line. He spent Christmas with his men at the sharp end of the action.

‘Harry found members of his unit were to be posted in Afghanistan for a four-month tour of duty over Christmas and the New Year,’ a close friend tells New Idea.

‘He had already begrudgingly accepted the decision to keep him off the front line in Iraq, but when he heard about the mission in Afghanistan he was insistent he would not stay at home eating Christmas dinner and living it up at the palace while his men were on the front line.

‘At first there was a lot of resistance, but Harry even threatened to resign his commission and serve as a private if he was kept from the battlefield – and that proved to be the final straw,’ the friend says.

‘He wants to be a real soldier who gets the same treatment as any other officer of his rank – and that means going to war just like everybody else.’

Prince Charles was said to be against the idea of Harry seeing active service, but sources say that with the support of his elder brother William, and uncle Prince Andrew, who flew helicopters during the Falklands war, Harry convinced Charles not to take action to prevent him from going.

The Queen is said to have sent Harry a card with her best wishes and a gift with sentimental value that he has kept private.

Before he left, Harry invited William and some of his close friends to a secret ‘godspeed’ party at Boujis nightclub in London.

Guests were under strict instruction that there was to be no mention of the real reason for the party and no toasts or public discussion of Harry’s imminent departure.

The British government is said to strongly oppose Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan. Their official reason is that his presence may put his fellow soldiers at risk, but defence commentators have been quick to suggest it may be more to do with their fear that Harry could be killed or injured fighting George Bush’s ‘war on terror’. This would doom Gordon Brown’s Labour government in the next election.

But Harry has always been insistent that he wanted to see active duty and he hated the idea of being wrapped in cotton wool while his men put their lives on the line.

He famously said: ‘There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my a*** back home while my boys are out fighting for their country.’

For more Royal Watch, check out the latest issue of New Idea – on sale now!

Again, reading what has been published (and since ‘disappeared’), one might get the impression that – even if New Idea didn’t know of the embargo – they certainly should have noticed the alarm bells in their own damn article!

Which might be why that article and the teaser have been removed; New Idea’s statement on the matter reads as follows:

“New Idea was not issued with a press embargo and was unaware of the existence of one… The story was published on Monday, January 7. Since then New Idea has received no comment from the British Ministry of Defence. We take these matters very seriously and would never knowingly break an embargo. We regret any issues the revelation of this story in America has caused today.”

Scroll up and read the article again. Try to work out how it was planned for at least a week, researched, penned and published without anyone involved becoming aware of the merest possibility of a hint of an embargo.

And, if you’re of the opinion that New Idea knowingly breached the embargo and find yourself wondering why, there’s a subtle hint in the closing line of each item…

Full details on this breaking story in this week’s New Idea

For more Royal Watch, check out the latest issue of New Idea – on sale now!

So now it’s New Idea with a secret they’d rather the media didn’t report.

Share at will.

[*Paul Staines happily ran with the outing and there are suggestions from anonymous readers (or from Staines himself; sometimes it’s hard to tell) that Staines knew all about it, and even dropped hints. What a guy. He inspires me to drop hints myself from time to time because, as Staines notes here, if you dish it out…]

UPDATE – Hahahahahaha! Great input from Anorak.

UPDATE – Many comments under this ABC article. New Idea gets a repeated kicking.

UPDATE – Staines nearly trips over himself trying to get in on the action.

UPDATE – PM on Radio 4 this afternoon (from 5pm); “Tonight on the programme, we’ll trace the origins of the story. “ Top stuff.

UPDATE – That programme tracked the earliest press mention back to the ever-reliable News Of The World (on June 3, 2007 IIRC). Indigo Red has documented some of the reports that followed that, and it would appear that The Observer also carried an item on that same day. I don’t have confirmation on this, but my gut is telling me that this early coverage (published long before Harry went to Afghanistan) is pre-embargo, and may even have triggered the embargo.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 17, 2007

Category: Old Media

The Great Architect – Wogan’s Woes

Your ‘compare and contrast’ link is here:
Media Watch Watch – ‘Bloody Cartoons’ shown on BBC2

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 4, 2007

Category: Old Media

A special treat for anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a “blogs can’t be trusted” cage-rattler from the MSM. Take a look and see how the big boys do it:

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair – Hooray for mainstream media

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 2, 2007

Category: Old Media, The War on Stupid

Well, I know I appear to have missed a whopper of a meeting in Washington, but you’ll get what I mean:

(Prepare yourselves, darlings; you’ll simply love what she’s wearing… but I should point out that she wore it for this event, and not the reported event.)

Daily Mail – I hate all Iranians, US aide tells MPs: British MPs visiting the Pentagon to discuss America’s stance on Iran and Iraq were shocked to be told by one of President Bush’s senior women officials (Debra Cagan): “I hate all Iranians.” And she also accused Britain of “dismantling” the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon… The Pentagon denied Ms Cagan said she “hated” Iranians. “She doesn’t speak that way,” said an official. But when The Mail on Sunday spoke to four of the six MPs, three confirmed privately that she made the remark and one declined to comment. The other two could not be contacted.

(Note – Even if this turns out to be old/non-news, it’s still fun to watch the folks at the Mail scream ‘Nazi’.)

Washington Post – An Iranian University Invites Bush to Speak: In a separate matter, a remark attributed to Debra Cagan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for coalition affairs, that she “hates” all Iranians has led to calls by Iranian Americans for her resignation… In a statement relayed by the Pentagon press office yesterday, Cagan denied making the comment. “I never said that. And I don’t speak that way in any event,” she said.

Well, this is begging to be settled; even if it’s a bullshit story, it’s worth knowing where it came from.

But even though it’s all over the place in the U.S. (Wonkette and Crooks & Liars head a long list of blogs), I’m not seeing any significant UK-based attention beyond the Mail’s piece, and looking for people who are talking about it locally takes me into new and worrying neighbourhoods.

What this needs is a little British spunk; someone to press that local advantage and clear this up (and, perhaps, to clear up the spunk afterwards).

The Mail says Stuart Graham was there, but they *may* just have been talking about Graham Stuart. Whatever his name is, he’s not talking.

So, who else was there? I count 5 missing MPs, and all of them are (allegedly) members of a cross-party group that travelled to Washington on a ten-day trip “to discuss America’s stance on Iran and Iraq”.

We need names, people.

UPDATE (03 Oct) – I’ve left a message with Graham Stuart’s office seeking more information about this mysterious cross-party group; I can’t find any mention of it beyond repeats of the Mail article above.

UPDATE – I thought that name rang a bell… some background on Simon Walters, the author of the article and political editor for the Mail on Sunday, can be found here and here.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 18, 2007

Category: Old Media

CiF: Sunny Hundal – Liberals: abandon the BBC: The bloggers and much of the press won’t be happy until the BBC reflects their worldview without accepting that the whole picture may lie somewhere in the middle, despite their continual hypocrisy. Not only are they uninterested in balance, they are completely obsessed and convinced that this vast leftwing conspiracy dominates the Beeb… Supporting the corporation or focusing on editorial balance only seems to result in the centre ground shifting further to the right, since they are the only ones complaining. The likes of Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes and Biased BBC are merely following a strategy pioneered by the American loony-right blogs. It’s time the liberal left fought back.

Heh. Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes have also been busy declaring that it’s the left who are suffering from ‘a poverty of ideas’ while they recycle this tired old shit as fresh (and original) thinking.

It’s also fun watching the people who are laying into Sunny at CiF and on his website without actually reading his article first.


Now, to business:

I agree that the BBC should not be the recipient of blind support, and I’d like to think that the I Believe in The BBC page makes that quite clear.

However, I’m not sure that a leftish incarnation of Biased BBC is called for… particularly when there are media outlets and owners that are far more deserving of this level of attention.

That said… today is as good a day as any to bring this off the back-burner for a quick look-see:

I think the BBC should produce and publish written transcripts for all (as opposed to some) key interviews and items from Newsnight and Radio 4’s Today Programme online in order to make the content of these programmes more accessible to those who wish to scrutinise/verify/reference statements and claims made during them.

Easily accessible online versions of these transcripts would allow bloggers to present this information (with a link for context, natch) on their weblogs…. without having to write a complete or partial transcript themselves (as many of us have had to do in the past).

It would also provide the BBC with a more cost-effective way of archiving this material on a long-term basis for the very simple reason that text data is far cheaper to host, and will often make the online viewing of the video version of any given interview or report surplus to requirements*.

(*Except in cases where it could be argued that the delivery of the material is as/more revealing than the material itself.)

Newsnight would make the best pilot project for this, as a passable transcript is already created upon each broadcast for the subtitles.

But I’ll leave it to you lot to see if it goes back on the back-burner; if you think it’s worth pursuing, drop me a line.

Cheers all.

UPDATE (19 Sep) – A nice comment over at Sunny’s website that pretty much nails it. Also, Iain Dale has laid into Sunny here. Persistent chap that I am, I attempted a response and discovered that Iain’s ban on my commenting on his site has been lifted just as quietly and mysteriously as it was issued.

Some emails and comments are coming in in support of the proposed call for the BBC to publish transcripts, but not enough to get me fired up about it.

UPDATE – BSSC – The King of Spin

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