Archive for the ‘Old Media’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 11, 2009

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

This one’s quite a whopper, folks. Watch out for the previously unblogged material, most notably the details about a letter from The Sun to the PCC.

This is not a letter that I write lightly, and I regret having to write it as an open letter to a man I regard to be both sensible and honourable.

If you’re a long-time reader and would like to help me get my point/case across, you could write a MUCH SHORTER email/letter to Private Eye, pointing out that I haven’t actually boiled any bunnies… that you’re aware of.

Dear Ian,

First, please excuse my writing this as an open letter; I have always regarded you to be an upstanding individual who won’t stand for bullshit or injustice, but I have been let down by quite a few people lately, and don’t feel much like taking chances today.

My name is Tim Ireland; I have been a blogger for over seven years, and a reader and supporter of your magazine for over a decade. While I disagree with your standoffish approach to Teh Internets in general, I – like you – have grave misgivings about the antics and tactics of self-proclaimed masters of new media such as Paul Staines and Iain Dale.

So much for introductions and niceties… here’s the meat of the sandwich:

I feel that I am being unfairly victimised to some degree by one of your writers, due in part to his friendship/association with Iain Dale, but also due to (or triggered by) a story that I uncovered and your magazine took the credit for.

I honestly believe that, when you are fully aware of the situation, you will be moved to take immediate and appropriate action to protect my reputation, and that of your magazine.

I realise that you’re a busy man, but I really would appreciate it if you would make the effort to at least read the following timeline, that should make clear what’s going on in a very complicated situation (and where you and your writers fit in). I have evidence to back every claim that I make in this timeline, and it’s yours for the asking if you want to look into any of this in detail before taking action:

Jan 8 – The Sun runs a story claiming that ‘top Jews’ have been targeted by Muslim extremists inhabiting forums hosted at Ummah.com. The source of the story is self-described ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey. Ummah.com responds with a complaint to the PCC, a claim that a single contributor (‘abuislam’) is responsible for the offending content, and a further claim that the ‘abuislam’ profile was created using the same computer as that used by a self-described freelance journalist using the name ‘Richard Tims’. Within a couple of hours, I have uncovered/established a firm link between ‘Richard Tims’ and Glen Jenvey, and by 9pm my findings are published on my main website at bloggerheads.com

Jan 9 – After a long night of writing and later alerting the offices/agents of certain ‘targeted’ celebrities to the reality of the situation, I send a link to my story to your office via email (on Fri Jan 9, 2009 at 2:18 AM).

Jan 12 – I enjoy the first of 16 visits to my website from a customer of Star Internet Ltd (your service provider).

Jan 14 – I am contacted via email by a freelance writer from your office by the name of Elinor. In a phone conversation I do my best to help her understand (and/or better establish) the link between Glen Jenvey and the alias ‘Richard Tims’, as this is key to any allegation/implication that you wish commit to print.

Jan 20 – Issue 1228 of Private Eye is released. On page 4 under the heading “How Extremism Works” I find that my scoop/discovery has been used without due credit.

Jan 21 – I email Elinor about this, and politely express my disappointment. Nothing happens for a very long time, but in the meantime…

Jan 28 – The Guardian reports that the PCC has (finally) announced that it is investigating the story. Glen Jenvey responds via a friendly writer and a series of Wikipedia/Blogger.com sock-puppets with absurd claims that the PCC and the Guardian are in league with extremists/terrorists and anti-Jewish “Nazi’s” (sic) guilty of hate crimes.

Feb 6 – I send a polite reminder email to Elinor about credit for the story.

Feb 9 – Susan Roccelli kindly informs me that the matter will be brought to your attention. On that same day, I am shown a letter from The Sun to the PCC that contains (a) a far stronger denial from Jenvey that he is ‘Richard Tims’ than anything that has been seen in public, and (b) a false allegation that I have falsely accused Glen Jenvey of being a paedophile. The basis of Jenvey’s allegation is a sentence that has been taken out of context, and not written about Jenvey by me, but about Osama bin Laden by… Glen Jenvey writing under yet another pseudonym (‘saddam01’). . This same letter seeks to assure the PCC of Jenvey’s credibility with a glowing endorsement from Conservative MP Patrick Mercer. Please read on to see just what the hell any of this nonsense has to do with you.

Feb 12 – At roughly 7pm, I get an email from an Adam Macqueen, who cleverly offers me a ‘freelance payment*’ while not admitting to nicking the story in any way, not even by accident. Instead, he attempts to pass off my contribution as some missing garnish and claims that he was “tipped off to look into this story by a contact of mine”… who we must assume either found the same ‘Tims’/Jenvey link within a few hours independent of my website or read about the ‘Tims’/Jenvey link on my website. Given that posts on my website are visible in Google within an hour and were an immediate top search result for ‘glen jenvey’ and ‘richard tims’ at the time, it’s most likely the latter, because anyone researching the story by that time will have found that it had already been written (if they had not instead found an earlier post that picked apart the tactics used by ‘abuislam’ and included an increasing number of signposts to the ‘Tims’/Jenvey connection under comments).

[Note – During the above exchange Macqueen also made an odd complaint that “Glen Jenvey is now trying to take us to the Press Complaints Commission.” Given that your magazine does not consider itself answerable to the PCC, I took this to be a rather pathetic attempt to assure me that you were taking as much ‘heat’ over this story as I was… perhaps so I would be just a little more grateful for the lousy £50 that was eventually sent to me almost two months later.]

Mar 13 – Adam Macqueen makes a false claim on his personal weblog that I (and/or my associates) have ‘stolen’ his stories on the weblog ‘The Sun: Tabloid Lies’ in much the same way that students steal your funny material for their newsletters/newspapers. That post is immediately brought to my attention by a gleeful Paul Staines who says “He thinks you are a cunt too.” In comments under his post, it is explained to Adam Macqueen that ‘The Sun: Tabloid Lies’ includes mostly original stories, but it also has a ‘media watch’ editor who reports on those all-too-rare instances when another media outlet calls Rebekah Wade on her bullshit. In each and every instance, we can’t help but credit the source of the story, because the whole fucking point of the feature is to report who is reporting any given story. Macqueen responds by ignoring this central point and instead expands on his earlier belittling efforts, even though it is also pointed out to him that “scanning and crediting a story spotted in another magazine as part of a ‘media watch’ feature is not the same as ripping off other people’s work and passing it off as your own”… as he himself had done in the pages of your magazine.

1ST INTERMISSION

It is here that I should point out that Paul Staines does not like me and hasn’t liked me since I dared to criticise his conduct as a blogger. He is fond of writing/publishing false and malicious claims about me that he cannot back with evidence, because he has no other response to my many criticisms of him that I can back with evidence. Well, he does have one other response; quite often he will explain away the expanding documentation of the many fascinating tactics he uses to cheat his readers and refuse accountability (when he himself gains power by demanding accountability of others in power) by claiming or implying that I am “obsessed” and a deranged stalker, guilty of harassment.

Exactly the same can be said of Iain Dale (who, I will remind you, is a friend of Adam Macqueen’s and even listed as such on his weblog).

This briefing against me goes back many years and is quite deliberate; I have no doubt that you’re familiar with the tactic. Again, I must ask you to read on in order to be fully aware of what all of this has to do with you.

Mar 16 – Through a combination of sheer luck, hard slog and a tiny dash of ingenuity, I finally authenticate an audio recording of Glen Jenvey admitting to using the alias ‘Richard Tims’ (when he had previously denied ever using it or even knowing anyone by that name). The connection between Jenvey and ‘Tims’ that Private Eye was so uncertain about is now rock-solid. I confront Jenvey with this revelation, and he responds with threats and (wait for it, wait for it)… claims I am a deranged stalker, and guilty of harassment. In that same audio, which is also firmly established as being recorded over a year earlier, Jenvey spells out an ongoing conspiracy to bypass the appropriate authorities and ensure that his terror ‘investigations’ get results by hook or crook:

“I was… I basically… I basically uncovered all the films. With…. a university professor whose cousin, Sherard, is the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, but at that stage was the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. If I don’t think the cops are taking me seriously… or not acting on information given over to them or MI5… we bypass them and I will use one of my number of diplomatic contacts… or it will go to Sherard. And if that fails, I then go to the press.” – Glen Jenvey

Mar 17 – I’ve already named a few names and rattled a few cages by now, but today I’m able to spell it all out; Glen Jenvey’s primary accomplice that he himself identifies in the audio recording is Michael Starkey, who is a university lecturer, cousin of Sherard Cowper-Coles (former ambassador to Afghanistan) and brother to Sir John Philip Starkey, who sits on the executive committee of Tory MP Patrick Mercer (source of the aforementioned glowing endorsement and many, many quotes reinforcing and/or reacting to Jenvey’s dubious claims/stories).

Mar 18 – From about midnight on this day (or possibly earlier, late on the evening of the 17th) Glen Jenvey and/or a close associate, initially on Thai Web forums/blogs, and then later in blogs in the UK and the USA, falsely accuses me of being a convicted sex criminal with “a record as long as your arm for child sex offences”. The report also falsely accuses me of being arrested for sex with a young girl abroad and says that I was rumoured to have had sex with children as young as nine in Thailand. I am further accused of hosting child porn on my website, and the messages also include what I interpret as a threat to my person and/or an effort to prompt vigilante action (if you would like to just let Tim know what you think of sex crimes in Thailand info coming soon”). Given that this action by Jenvey is almost universally condemned, even by people who hate my guts, I feel pretty safe in enlisting the help of Iain Dale in getting a message directly to Patrick Mercer (as the two have a past association, and for some inexplicable reason Mercer’s staff are not cooperating or even passing messages on).

Mar 19 – The police are called, and the long process of filing a harassment complaint begins. I am surprised that I have to chase Iain about this matter, but he later assures me that he understands the situation and that contact has been made. He then leaves me in no doubt that Mercer is now personally aware of the situation. I am left mystified that still no action is taken by his office to restrain or disown Jenvey, and a long sleepless night follows.

Mar 20 – I source a copy of Mercer’s mobile number through my own contacts and then call him directly. He answers, listens, claims it’s the first he’s heard of any of it, and immediately issues a statement disowning Jenvey.

Mar 26 – Emails are sent to James Harding (editor of The Times), Lloyd Embley (editor of The People), Dawn Neesom (editor of the Daily Star), Rebekah Wade (editor of The Sun), Paul Dacre (editor of the Daily Mail), Peter Hill (editor of the Daily Express) and Martin Townsend (editor of the Sunday Express). All of them appear to have carried Jenvey-sourced stories in the past, but none of them respond.

Mar 27 – I confront Iain Dale about his apparent inaction regarding his promised direct call to Mercer. He ignores/avoids the matter when I raise it in comments on his site, and it takes 5 emails over the space of 6 hours just to get him to respond. He implies that he was unaware of the need to contact Mercer directly and informs me that he contacted the same staff that I had already informed him were not cooperating or even passing messages on. He also informs me that “this will be the only email from me you get on this” as if it’s the end of the matter, and insists that his excuse remain a secret.

Mar 29 – Iain Dale refuses to discuss the matter on his website and continues to insist that his excuse for not contacting Mercer remain confidential. He accuses me of harassment, gives his readers the impression that he’s on the verge of making a police complaint, and ‘bans’ me from leaving comments on his weblog. (Blogger.com does not let you ban individuals, so this amounts to Iain deleting comments of mine as soon as they appear. This little game continues for some time.)

2ND INTERMISSION

It was at about this stage that ‘smeargate’ exploded and Iain Dale went on to make a number of claims (that he could not back with evidence) that it was all about him and that there was a document proving a Downing Street conspiracy against him specifically. We have yet to see this document, despite a months-old promise from Paul Staines on live television to produce it that very afternoon. Iain reportedly earned around £5,000 in media appearances peddling lies and playing the victim, and by now I was royally pissed that he would be such a brass-necked bastard about it after standing by and allowing me to be smeared with a claim that was far worse than anything he was busy feigning outrage about. During this period, Iain ignored my repeated requests that he (a) explain his inaction over the Mercer call, (b) cooperate with my soon-to-be-finalised police statement, (c) remove/address any false claims hosted on his website that I am or ever was associated with Derek Draper and/or currently in the pay of the Labour Party, Downing Street, Cabinet ministers, etc. (for some reason, these claims enjoyed a resurgence following ‘smeargate’ and my criticism of the way certain bloggers had conducted themselves over that affair).

So for well over a week Iain Dale is on TV and on the radio and in newspapers saying how awful it is that Downing Street planned to smear him personally when he has no proof to back this up, *and* while he is refusing to cooperate with my police statement about a genuine smear.

Here comes the third and final act, which explains the role played by Private Eye in this ongoing soap opera playground drama. Brace yourself…

Apr 15 – I submit a comment to the website of Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) and ask him to produce evidence to support his repeated claim of a Downing Street conspiracy against him and Iain Dale specifically. Staines ignores the question, but goes on to publish many anonymous comments claiming that am currently in the pay of the Labour Party, Downing Street, Cabinet ministers, etc. and deletes my reply denying all of that. I then put pressure on Jag Singh, CIO of MessageSpace, on the basis that weblogs in his network should conduct themselves professionally, at least with regards to outright libel.

Apr 16 – Sadly, on the same day that Paul Staines is compelled to remove every false claim about my being a paid Labour/Brown/Watson stooge (which is quite a victory), Iain Dale reacts to my constant pressure that he explain his (in)actions over what are now multiple smears (on and off his website) by misrepresenting my multiple calls and emails and (*deep sigh*)… making me out to be a deranged stalker and guilty of harassment. He presents a single private email out of context, makes false allegations declaring me to be guilty of criminal intent/activity, and then significantly changes the settings on his website that (a) allows for totally anonymous comments, (b) makes it much easier for everyone (including himself) to pretend to be more than one person, and (c) only publishes comments that he has pre-approved. It is in these circumstances that he publishes (under his false claims and implications) a total of 115 comments, the majority of which make further false claims of criminal intent/activity and pass judgement on my mental state. I am again in contact with Jag Singh who reluctantly agrees to intervene and convince yet another blogger on his network that they should conduct themselves professionally, at least with regards to outright libel.

Apr 17 – Jag Singh is yet to get back to me with any progress. He is informed that I have proof that at least one person has been directly inspired by Iain’s post to repeat Glen Jenvey’s false claims of paedophilia. There is no reply.

Apr 28 – Four emails have been sent over the space of a week, but Jag has ignored all of them. He finally responds to the fifth by laughing off his attempt to ignore the problem in the hope that it would go away (“Ha! That works with some people, but you’re the most persistent mo-fo I’ve seen in a while”). Jag relays a claim from Iain that he has already “involved the authorities”. He later attempts to draw our conversation away to a private, nondescript email address on the basis that he fears he is being bugged, and again goes quiet when I persist with using an official MessageSpace address.

May 4 – After Harry Cole (aka ‘Tory Bear’; yet another MessageSpace blogger with a close association with Paul Staines) falsely implies that I am a “shady” character somehow in league with Derek Draper, I issue Jag Singh with an ultimatum by email and attempt to reach him by phone. He fails to answer his direct line or his mobile, and when I call the switchboard for MessageSpace (in the middle of a weekday) my calls are diverted to an answering machine. I mask my number and call again. The person who (finally) answers the phone is clearly evasive and goes on to ask me what I am wearing. This query expands into a bizarre faux-homosexual come-on that I just happen to record in full. When I finally reach Jag Singh later that afternoon, he reacts with relative good humour until he finds out that I can prove what I claim. He then greatly overstates the number of times I have tried to contact him and (*even deeper sigh*)… refuses to correspond any further on the basis that I am a deranged stalker and guilty of harassment. He follows this up with a letter to my home address, even though his business has no legitimate reason to have this ex-directory address to hand. The letter implies that I was subjected to sexual harassment because the person harassing me felt harassed. Clear? Good. We’re almost there.

[Note – Harry Cole and Paul Staines and MessageSpace all share the same fax address; 070 9201 2337]

May 6 – Iain Dale inadvertently reveals that, despite his many claims and implications to the contrary, he has not actually submitted a harassment complaint to the police.

May 8 – Adam Macqueen submits the following comment to a post that (a) repeats Iain Dale’s false allegations/implications of harassment, (b) further implies that I am some way associated with Derek Draper, and (c) carries some comments by me refuting these allegations. Adam Macqueen’s comment clearly accepts all of this without contradiction, and instead refers to my input and dismisses it in the following manner:

Adam Macqueen said…

Oh my god! You made eye contact with the nutter on the bus! You should never, ever do this. I found this out the hard way a few months back…

Still, “imagine what might have happened”, eh?

hope all’s well
x
08 May 2009 23:43

May 9 – Having contributed/subscribed to the thread earlier, I am alerted to this latest contribution automatically and I email Adam at his Private Eye address, because we have only ever corresponded twice, and both times on matters to do with your magazine, as spelled out in the timeline above (i.e. when he has “made eye contact with the nutter on the bus” according to his account, which some regard to be misleading).

From: Tim Ireland
To: adam.macqueen@private-eye.co.uk
Date: Sat, May 9, 2009 at 12:29 AM
Subject: Your comment

Adam, where do you get off calling me a nutter?
http://cheeseford.blogspot.com/2009/04/when-i-was-member-of-my-universitys.html?showComment=1241822580000#c8244331877504084278

I may be the life of the party right now, but most of this shit started after a story that I took the risk on and you took the credit for, if you recall.

(Thanks for the £50, by the way. If you mean[t] ‘token payment’ you should have said ‘token payment’.)

And you moan to me that Jenvey’s taking you to the PCC. Diddums. Your magazine doesn’t even sign up to the PCC code, so I fail to see how this could bother you.

Meanwhile Jenvey’s retaliating by accusing me of paedophilia and Iain Dale – a blogger you list as a friend – tries to screw me over when I ask for his help to prevent that.

And when he refuses to even talk to me about that, or the repeated false claims he has published about me on his website, I’m not allowed to press him or chase him?
https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/04/here_are_the_ma.asp

(Sorry for all the pesky detail. It just seems to be beyond you is all.)

Tim

May 11 – I receive my reply and immediately make a decision to approach you about this matter as soon as I am able:

From: Adam Macqueen [adam.macqueen@private-eye.co.uk]
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Mon, May 11, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Subject: RE: Your comment

Because you obsessively trawl the internet responding to every single comment you dislike. As you’ve just proved.

Now go away.

Pardon my French, but I don’t think I’m le cunt here.

(I’m not sure if this should be masculine or feminine… I hope it doesn’t fuck my joke.)

But the way Adam Macqueen would have it, if I complain about him nicking my story and later falsely accusing me of taking credit for his work, then I’m a nutter.

Further, my disagreeing with that assertion proves the assertion, and if I seek to discuss this absurdity any further with Adam Macqueen, he will no doubt feel justified in claiming that I am (yes, you guessed it) a deranged stalker and guilty of harassment because he told me to go away and I refused to do so.

Additionally, I can probably enjoy a good going-over courtesy of this writer at the earliest opportunity, either on his blog or in the pages of your magazine.

Adam Macqueen admits elsewhere, for example, that he’s responsible for the single sentence of praise that opened your recent article on Paul Staines (“Well, the whole piece wasn’t my work, but that opening was, and it was entirely sincere”). I feel it is quite reasonable for me to now expect that it is only a matter of time before I am persistent enough to pursue something that warrants a mention in your magazine and he uses that opportunity to slip in the ‘obsessive’ and/or ‘stalker’ tag.

I write to you today mainly to ensure that you are aware of the situation and therefore unlikely to allow that to happen, but I think I’m also well within my rights to expect some form of disciplinary action against Adam Macqueen, who is clearly compromising his professional integrity by involving himself in a personal vendetta and playing along with this lovely smear that comes complete with its own Catch-22.

Oh and I’d also like to offer you that £50 back on the sole condition that it be stuffed up Adam Macqueen’s arse.

If you regard this account and these expectations to be reasonable, then please do give me at least a day’s notice to pop down to the bank and have that fifty changed into 2,500 two pence pieces.

Otherwise, please do get in touch and request any details that you might require to better gauge the accuracy of my claims and/or any counter-accusations that are almost sure to follow… like my having girl’s germs or smelling of wee (with an added “Jinx!” for good measure).

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

Phew! Well, I have no time to hang around and see what that shakes loose, but I will mostly likely be with you again at this same time tomorrow.

Please do take the time to write in to Private Eye if you’ve been following the blog (and/or this saga) for a while.

Cheers all.

PS – Never, ever, EVER take this kind of shit lying down, or every bugger with a beef will jump on top of you… and the next person that dares to take your place.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 9, 2009

Category: Old Media

Chris Cohen – The Daily Mail

I like this so much I’m going to throw in some bonus linky-love for the creator’s website.

While we’re pausing for some entertainment, you’ve probably already seen the fear-mongering billboard generator by now, but you may have missed the best use of it so far.

OK, all done? Right, let’s get back to it, then:

Guardian – G20 assault: how Metropolitan police tried to manage a death








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 8, 2009

Category: Old Media

The race to the bottom continues in Australasia…

Meet Stephanie Mills, who is a former Greenpeace campaign leader with some 20 years experience appearing in that link as a guest on the TVNZ ‘Breakfast’ show with hosts Alison Mau and Paul Henry (who also does his fair share of talk radio).

Stephanie had been invited on that show to discuss the French Government’s decision to compensate people made ill by its nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Now take a look at the moment where Paul Henry, with the aid of some anonymous viewers, reduces his guest and her contribution to one single, irrelevant word:

Meanwhile, across the southern pond, the ABC reports on yet another “spectacular example of lousy journalism”; this time the publication of faked raunchy images of Pauline Hanson.

(Psst! I wish the BBC could be as good as the ABC about transcripts on programmes like this.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 6, 2009

Category: Old Media

It is unclear if Glen Jenvey features heavily in War on the Web by Jeremy Reynalds, or if there are so many of his tall tales in it that his claim of being co-author is, ironically, quite credible:

Jenvey bio

Either way, Glen Jenvey describes Jeremy Reynalds as a friend, they worked together to some extent on a book that has yet to see the light of day, and Jeremy Reynalds recently wrote two articles that were quite sympathetic toward our Mr Jenvey (one of which has since been removed):

Richard Bartholomew – ASSIST News Service Scrubs Jeremy Reynalds Article on Glen Jenvey

(Psst! Don’t feel bad, boys; everybody who’s anybody is withdrawing articles without explanation these days, and I myself have a novel languishing in the doldrums.)

I’ve just been in touch with Jeremy Reynalds, who insists that he has “no advocacy position” on Glen Jenvey, and claims merely to have given Glen Jenvey an opportunity to tell his side of the story, as he felt there was an imbalance in reporting at the time; in his own words, Jeremy Reynalds’ intention was to “present Mr. Jenvey’s response to the charges against him and to share some of his perspective about why they surfaced,” as he felt this had not been done.

(For some reason, Mr Jenvey had little trouble getting his other conspiracy theories aired in tabloids, but could only rely on Jeremy Reynalds to air his claim that the Guardian were in league with extremists. This could simply be a budget-cutting credit-crunch thing, because lately even I have trouble getting any kind of response out of any of these people.)

However, after delivering one side of the story, Jeremy Reynalds appears to have failed to keep up with both sides of the story, as he now claims not to have heard from our Mr Jenvey in a month, and to be unaware of any accusations of sex crimes… i.e. the pile of turds currently at the centre of the story.

(Psst! A new round of freshly-crafted smears emerged at the weekend. All you need to know is that the only departure from the established plan/theme is that the perpetrator is no longer posing as a representative of the Daily Mail.)

One can only wonder when exactly the story ‘dried up’ for Mr Reynalds, because I didn’t catch any part where he pointed out that someone might have been wrong about the Guardian being in league with extremists thing, but at some stage he clearly stopped pursuing this dynamite story, so I can only assume that the leads stopped coming in… at about the time Mr Jenvey… stopped… calling………..*

… no, don’t mind me; I thought I saw a little revelation lurking in the shadows there, but it appears to be a trick of the light.

Anyway, as I’ve pointed out a couple of times now I’m experiencing some story imbalance myself in places, and Jeremy Reynalds appears to have dropped the ‘Guardian in league with extremists’ exclusive that was keeping him so busy… so I’ve asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking the time to tell my side of the story.

You know; to present my response to the charges against me and to share some of my perspective about why they surfaced, and like that.

I’ll let you know how I get on.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 3, 2009

Category: Old Media

(Pardon my tense… there’s a few things I’d like to put in the past.)

For the benefit of the archive:

This post first went live when the Dunblane/Express petition was delivered, as elements of the mainstream media made false claims about G20 protestor violence on par with Hillsborough. At that time, it was mostly beyond the remit of the PCC to do anything about an article that wasn’t about you personally, and the libel laws were mostly a set of tools for rich bullies wishing to silence critics while denying them their day in court.

Recent events showed that few newspapers allowing comments were publishing any criticism of substance, and they rarely if ever engaged under comments, which is an entirely un-blog-like thing to do, and certainly not on during a phase where mainstream media companies were trying to horn in on the blogging action while rubbishing the reputations of those in their way (i.e. us).

Further, a combination of economic forces and selfishness was leading to widespread sackings and an alarming downturn in quality, as profit was shoved ahead of the public interest more often and to clearly unacceptable extremes.

On this blog/week alone, I found myself chasing editors of The Times, The People, the Daily Star, The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Express, the Sunday Express, The Scottish Sun and even The Independent with really quite valid concerns, but hearing back from none of them, presumably because ‘more money’ equals ‘better than’.

See also:
A recent announcement
Why ‘Media Watch Rock-a-Hula’?

– | –

media watch rock-a-hula

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve all seen the recent/sudden downturn in the quality and reliability of mainstream news and comment, coinciding with alarming outbreaks of carelessness and sheer malice in some places.

We’ve got at least one rogue publisher (Richard Desmond) thumbing his nose at the PCC, and while every news outlet is begging us for chunks of our private lives that they can publish for profit (with or without our permission), no bugger will answer our emails or address our concerns when something that is clearly false has been published, and no effort has been made to remove, correct or (Dog forbid) alert readers to the error. Meanwhile, pretty much the same applies to the (blissfully) few ‘leading bloggers’ who claim to be challenging the establishment.

The only news outlet that’s in any way compelled to answer is the BBC, who find themselves crippled since Andrew Gilligan shot off his fat gob, and under constant attack by the same parties described in the previous paragraph (i.e. those who demand accountability of others, yet think themselves above it).

Clearly the time has come for us to form organised squads and start hitting people with sticks.

If you’re of a mind to do something positive and powerful about outright lies in the media, I invite you to join the Media Watch Rock-a-Hula, now in progress.

Much like Sun Lies and Mail Watch, the job (described in detail here) is to target outright lies, document them where possible (on your own site if you wish), and pursue a correction with vigour when circumstances call/allow for it.

While I expect this to be a modest-sized crowd with maybe a few dozen experienced/dedicated bloggers, writers and researchers on board at first, there are roles that pretty much anyone can play.

Yes, even you.

You could easily be that one person in a thousand with the right expertise, contacts, access or influence required to get a specific job done quickly, and if not, someone has to carry the pitchforks and kerosene.

Anything you do will be on a strictly voluntary basis and you can do it with or without a website. You’ll probably even learn a few things as we go along, and as natural talent groups form within the crowd (as they usually do), we can casually give birth to little beasties like the long-overdue Express Watch and more.

And it is with that (and that only) in mind that you should join me on Twitter, as that is all I plan to use it for:

Join me on Twitter

More sign-up options (e.g. a mailing list) to follow. Comments and bloggage welcome.

Cheers all.








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 2, 2009

Category: Old Media

Earlier:
Jamie Ross – Here Comes The Sun
Bloggerheads – David Dinsmore steals from cancer patient

In the old days of ‘journalism’, if a hard-working reporter wanted to get hold of a family snapshot, he’d have to pocket a framed picture or two from the mantelpiece while the interviewee was making tea or being comforted/distracted by an accomplice.

Now, in the marvellous age of digital photography, all newspapers have to do is get a snapper to rattle off a few pictures of your pictures.

He can then go on to sell copies, even if you don’t sign any paperwork giving him permission to do this, because from that point on, the photographer (or their agent) can claim copyright on these images of images.

Apparently.

epicscotland

I’ve contacted Epicscotland and the Independent to try to find out what’s happened here, but it doesn’t look at all right to me. Still, there’s an opportunity for David Dinsmore to indignantly bitch about the one thing that might not be his fault in the hope that it will distract us from the things that clearly are.

(waits)

Coming up next: Who wants to share my copy of a camera-recorded version of Watchmen? It’s free, and entirely legal, according to the newspaper people.

MINI-UPDATES – The online version of The Sun’s stunt has been withdrawn, and the journalist listed as author of the piece – Yvonne Bolouri – has issued a statement claiming that she has nothing to do with any of it, which puts David Dinsmore clearly in the frame. Dinsmore has not been in touch; he would instead prefer to bully/cajole Jamie by phone by the looks of things. Jamie has been advised that this is an old newspaper dodge to be avoided; if you suspect someone of being a liar and/or a cheat, conduct the conversation by email, *not* telephone.

When you’re ready, Mr Dinsmore…








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 1, 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

You may recall the recent fuss about Dunblane survivors being attacked in the Scottish Sunday Express (that Martin Townsend has yet to get back to me about, despite past assurances that he is not trying to be in any way evasive about any of this).

Well, it looks like the regional versions of tabloids are seeing an sudden upsurge of lazy bastardness and web-nickery with the downturn in the economy. Someone should write a paper on that, but in the meantime, it’s time to kick arse all over again…

The Scottish edition of The Sun has been caught stealing from a cancer sufferer and using material from his online journal out of context and without his permission:

Jamie Ross – Here Comes The Sun: They edited it to within an inch of its life, as if they were hell-bent on whittling it down to the twenty least entertaining and most disjointed words of each blog. It makes me look like an utterly abysmal writer who got in the paper thanks to a dying wish foundation scheme. They put words such as “MOCKED”, “FORCE” and “SILENCE” in huge emboldened letters outwith the main text, presumably for the benefit of the vast majority of Sun readers who can’t read full sentences. They’ve specifically chosen words which make it sound like I’ve been living in a Nazi concentration camp for the past seven months. I may have used these words at some point but, if they really had to summarise seven months of weekly entries in three words, I’d have suggested “TESTICLE”, “BALLS” and “COCK”. They inexplicably used a picture I had never seen in which my eyes are closed. They used a family photograph which I only allowed to be used in The Independent. They made me inadvertently write in the fucking Sun, effectively destroying all the good work that’s gone into my writing CV recently. All of this, need I repeat, without asking me, notifying me, paying me or consulting me.

At one stage the author (and rightful owner of this material), comedian Jamie Ross, submitted a comment under his own story on The Sun’s website – and they deleted it!

(This not only adds insult to injury, it also shows that The Scottish Sun are determined to stand by their unique version of reality, despite what they may claim about wanting to set this right. Like Iain Dale, they are far too precious to let readers know when they’ve made a grievous error.)

Even worse, when Jamie got in touch via email, they offered him the pittance of £300 as payment.

Time will only tell if they have the audacity to declare in their defence that a vulnerable young writer initially accepted these terms; stealing is stealing, damage is damage, and a pittance is a pittance.

(Perhaps someone at News International will cry ‘poor’ after throwing all their money at Jade Goody… who, we can only assume, had a rare form of cancer that stops tabloids from stealing from you. Either that, or we’ve finally arrived at the stage where tabloids can take what they like from you and do what they want with it if you’re not willing to give Max Clifford 15% of the take.)

Jamie advises me that The Scottish Sun have also issued a private apology, but they’ve laid in heavily with the mitigation and tried a few cons in the process (such as claiming that a similar feature being in The Independent gives them the right to steal his content and hack it to bits because it’s “in the public domain”), so I for one doubt their sincerity; people who are sincere typically don’t lie to you during an apology.

Besides, any apology for a public deed should be conducted in public (and given equal if not greater prominence than the stunt that calls for an apology).

Jamie may yet decide to keep/bank the payment that may cover use of the material to some small extenet, but this does nothing to address the harm done to this man and to his reputation by their reordering and repurposing his material in a way that makes him out to be a tabloid hack who is desperate for victim status*.

(*Ironically, judging by the repeated/shameless tabloid thievery I’ve seen over the years, his status as a cancer victim may be the only thing that earns him a proper apology.)

The offer of payment also fails to address the personal photos that they used – without permission – when presenting Jamie’s material out of context.

This is not only a copyright issue, but also one of reputation and harm.

But even The Scottish Sun deserve a chance to set things right a second chance to set things right.

As we’ve learned in recent weeks, there’s a way of doing these things, and the first order of business is to contact the editor involved so they can initially ignore us, and then issue a few pathetic legal threats.

The details you need appear below, along with a copy of my letter… Round Two to follow:

David Dinsmore
Editor
The Scottish Sun
124 Portman Street
Kinning Park
Glasgow G41 1EJ

E-mail: david.dinsmore@the-sun.co.uk

Dear David,

I am writing to you to demand a public apology (in print) for your disgraceful treatment of Jamie Ross.

That apology should make clear that Jamie’s material was used in your newspaper without permission, edited* without his permission and presented next to personal photos that you did not have permission to use.

(*’Hacked to bits and wanked to the max’ is a better description, but I’ll leave that up to you. You may also wish to apologise for refusing Jamie a right of reply by deleting feedback that he submitted to your website in good faith.)

If I have to explain why this apology is called for, then there really is no hope for you, and we may as well cut straight to the legal threats, because in this open letter (and therefore on my website) I describe you as a shockingly careless editor, if not a manipulative money-grubbing cad, and this – along with the headline ‘David Dinsmore steals from cancer patient’ – will be a top search result for your name in less than an hour.

Make this right. Now.

(Or come and have a go at me because you’re far too precious to apologise. Your call.)

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 26, 2009

Category: Old Media

Charlie Brooker on the subject of media coverage and mass murderers (via):








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 26, 2009

Category: Old Media

As you can see, I’ve been a busy boy this lunchtime.

Below is the first round in what I hope won’t have to become a series of open letters:

Open letter to James Harding (editor of The Times)
Open letter to Lloyd Embley (editor of The People)
Open letter to Dawn Neesom (editor of the Daily Star)
Open letter to Rebekah Wade (editor of The Sun)
Open letter to Paul Dacre (editor of the Daily Mail)
Open letter to Peter Hill (editor of the Daily Express)
Open letter to Martin Townsend (editor of the Sunday Express)

Apart from the minor overlap with the Dunblane matter, today’s list of targets in this (ahem) polite letter-writing campaign results from a quick run-down of newspapers running with a recent Anjem Choudary story, those carrying older stores likely to involve Glen Jenvey and his unique brand of ‘research’, and/or names shamelessly dropped in some as-yet-unpublished audio in my possession.

On the subject of the recent Anjem Choudary story, I will happily state that so far it merely stinks of Jenvey’s involvement, and there is only the suspicion* that Jenvey was trying to flush out Choudary and/or his supporters when he planted false claims in Anjem Choudary’s Wikipedia entry claiming [sic]; “His wife left him when she found out he was Gay in 2008”

(*It’s clear that he did this thing, but we cannot be sure of the exact motive at this time.)

Meanwhile, Jenvey is still at it in more ways than one, spreading his smears each and every night until the wee small hours, and more than one provider of interwebs services is proving to be a little bit useless on the customer support front. Ho-hum.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 26, 2009

Category: Old Media

Dear James,

I am writing to you about the ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey (aka ‘Richard Tims’) and his associate Michael Starkey.

In January, The Sun published a story for which Jenvey was the primary source in which it was claimed that a number of celebrities had been targeted by extremists.

Evidence later emerged suggesting that it was Jenvey himself, posing as a radical Muslim, who had posted the relevant forum messages and named these celebrities as ‘targets’.

The PCC has since launched an investigation, and one of the celebrities named (Alan Sugar), has announced that he is taking legal action.

I’ve been looking into it myself, and I’ve uncovered further evidence proving Jenvey to be a fraud, a liar and a fantasist (first link is a summary if you can’t be bothered with evidence/depth):
http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/obsession-pundit-in-meltdown/
http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/patrick-mercer-mp-makes-statement-on-glen-jenvey/
https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/michael_starkey.asp
https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/glen_jenvey_audio.asp

Keeping in mind that Glen Jenvey’s response to all of this has been to declare (a) that the PCC is in league with extremists and (b) that I am a notorious sex criminal…

– Could you (please) get back to me with a statement about the reliability of Glen Jenvey’s claims and if you still regard him to be a credible source?

– Could you also (pretty please) provide me with a complete list of stories on extremism or terrorism that are based in whole or in part on claims made, evidence presented or research conducted by Glen Jenvey (or Michael Starkey or a ‘Richard Tims’)? I’ve included a link to what I suspect to be a recent example:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5908534.ece

There’s no big rush with the list, but if you could issue that statement immediately/today, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com








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