Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 19, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Kissy kissy.

Draper and many bloggers defend strategy

Derek Draper, editor of LabourList, has rejected suggestions that his web strategy is too Westminster-focused. He told PRWeek: ‘There is a massive spread of issues on the website. It should be about the whole country and the Westminster village is part of that.’

He also pointed out that top Labour politicians were onside: ‘When I have asked them to do something for LabourList, not a single member of the Cabinet has been anything other than keen.’

Draper was speaking in the wake of rumours that his web tactics were dividing the party.

One Labour insider claimed: ‘There are lots of people at all sorts of levels of the party very uncomfortable with the Derek Draper ego show.’

But Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson told PRWeek that Draper was doing ‘sterling work’.

Meanwhile, LabourHome’s Alex Hilton said: ‘The one thing that Derek really has brought to the table is that he has delivered buy-in from senior figures.’

Fellow LabourHome founder Jag Singh said: ‘He has done a good job of getting upper echelons to buy into his project.’

Blogging Labour MP Paul Flynn was also supportive, saying: ‘We were underperforming before. It is nice to have a presence at all.’

I’m loving this ham-fisted PR. So reassuring. So organic. So “2.0 without the hype”

I live in hope that Tom Watson’s quote is only two words long because they’re the only two words of praise they could dig* out of his statement.

(*See: Movie/theatre posters)

More love and kisses here. I can’t help but wonder if MessageSpace money was spent on this massage.

(Not that they have much of it. They throw some big names about, but I’ve seen a lot of Commission Junction ads filling their inventory lately.)

UPDATE – Alex Hilton and Jag Singh ‘disappeared’ two entire conversations from their website yesterday without so much as a placemarker (or gravestone). They do this in the name of using the authenticity of blogging to reach ‘normal’ people, you understand, and have no wish to dwell on the hang-ups of ‘anoraks’.

A valid question is being shamelessly dodged here and here, if you’d care to watch. The ‘nutter’ tag just made its first appearance (not far behind ‘obsessive’ and ‘anorak’), and here, I get a lecture about leaving politics to the experts.

(Grass roots, baby. Welcome to 21st century campaigning. Now, shut up and do what we say. … No, don’t do what he said. Besides, he didn’t say anything. … No, he didn’t. Look, here’s the big empty space that proves he didn’t say anything: ___________________ Satisfied? Now run along…)

UPDATE – Not that we’re anywhere near that stage, but wouldn’t it be funny if there were a major division about them trying to ‘disappear’ information about a minor division?








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 18, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I’ve just made my very first post – ever – to Labourhome.

I hope it doesn’t get deleted or anything…

UPDATE – Prepare to choke back just a little bit of vomit; a joint statement from Alex Hilton and Derek Draper has just been released.

UPDATE – LabourList mirror here. Oh, and Tom’s likely to be disappointed if he’s seriously expecting me to kiss and ‘make up’ with Draper.

Here; I made an easy-to-understand diagram…

me and people I choose to associate with

__________________________________

lying, cheating scoundrels

Note the line. It’s not at all fuzzy. Also, Hilton and Draper are desperate for a Labour-oriented career. Me, not so much. Tom’s waiting for something that isn’t going to happen.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 18, 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

I really wanted to have a better logo ready for today, but hopefully you can see where I’m going with this, and I won’t need a long paragraph explaining exactly what this change in priorities means for ‘Murdoch Watch’:

The Sun: Tabloid Lies needs a tidy up and some focus, but I’m very happy with the ‘document the lies’ strategy so far, and plan to expand on it very shortly with a similar project targeting The Daily Mail.

The latter project will finally stagger into a soft-launch following a post from me within the next week.

I found the time cataloguing the dishonesty of amateur hacks like Iain Dale and Paul Staines to be very useful on this front, because with up-and comers and amateurs it’s not only easier to see the strings, it’s also easier to jiggle them about a bit and watch where/how the puppet show falls apart (and, crucially, where/how it manages to keep the illusion going).

If you can picture the skills/experience/resource gap that exists between Derek Draper and Paul Staines, you can easily appreciate the skills/experience/resource gap that exists between Paul Staines and Rebekah Wade. All that really separates them is practice in (or access to) any given format; the techniques they use are almost identical.

[Psst! Those watching Paul closely these past few years will have noticed where Paul’s character has, for example, evolved from showing casual indifference to torture, to having a more tabloid-like position; selective outrage (depending on who is doing the torturing, natch). Baby P was a watershed moment in this ‘growth’.]

Some of the blow-back from the Glen Jenvey affair (that I’m not at liberty to share with you just yet, but it will blow your effing mind) follows the same attack pattern and plugs in neatly with my wider experience with tabloids especially.

The short version is this:

If you remain calm, and simply document outright lies, they will have very little to throw back at you.

It won’t stop them trying, mind, but they’ll be operating without a scrap of evidence (i.e. they will be forced to make shit up) and anybody who takes 30 seconds to look at your site will see…. evidence, evidence and more evidence.

What also helps is a united front. A group is harder to classify as being a bit mental, which is the usual charge thrown about by someone not wanting people to read clear evidence that they’ve been lying, cheating, stealing etc. (“He’s delusional! And it’s *catching*! Stay away, children!”).

[Note – ‘Boring’ is the other one; it’s ‘mental’-lite. But, I’m working with a variety of writers, each with their own engagement/communication skills. We should be resilient enough, and it’s not a damaging tactic, so there’s room for improvement on the fly.]

The only time this ‘mental’ tag is ever likely to become a problem with a group? When that group strays from the ‘lies only’ mission and editors begin to lose their independence.

Putting what I personally think of them to one side, the fact is that the position of ‘Biased BBC’ is easily undermined because they as a group operate on a single almighty assumption and build every case from this perspective.

‘Bias’ is a perilous area to go into, as many of us will have learned in the past.

It is a slippery slope, and you even need to watch your step near things like hypocrisy, omission and obfuscation. It’s going to be painful to stick with at times, but it is my opinion that you’re better off sticking with cataloguing outright lies, because if you have a worthy target, there will be plenty.

Even if you stick to this, there will be people that won’t believe you.

But that’s OK. I’ve grown beyond unrealistic expectations of stopping this or crushing that, and now work towards speaking to the ‘softs’ in any given audience.

Paul Staines will never admit it, but I’m one of the key reasons why he mainly has “window lickers” on the loose in his comments. His page views may have gone up, but the quality of his (public) feedback has plummeted. Reasonable people started abandoning him in droves once they realised what he’d been up to and Staines reacted by giving his shouty anonymongrels more and more room to play.

MORE SHOUTING! THAT’S THE TICKET!!! ZANU LABOUR! RAH RAH RARRRGH!

*ahem*

(Hell, I was one of those people once; I bought into Paul Staines’ bullshit, and it took me far too long to snap out of his spell, because I was so focused on the poor souls having their genitals slashed in the name of T.W.A.T. – the turning point came with Oaten and Paul’s attempt to put the whammy on me at a later facetime event. He’s a lying, manipulative scoundrel who will say pretty much anything to get you to do what he wants you to do, and Alex Hilton is a damn fool to trust him.)

So, starting with The Sun and The Daily Mail, I’ll be documenting lies in tabloid newspapers with the help of other talented writers and bloggers.

New projects will emerge as opportunities present themselves and/or priorities make themselves clear, but the prime directive will remain the same; show readers of any given title/broadcaster if/when they are being lied to.

Every day, millions of people in this country needlessly worry, rant and rave about stuff that Just. Isn’t. Real.

Perhaps I can ease their minds on one or two specific matters.

Maybe, just maybe, I can teach some people how to recognise (or identify!) habitual liars; the heartless fuckers who play on your fears to profit monetarily and/or politically.

I’ll probably do no more than dent, deter, or isolate people like Wade and Staines… but I’ll salt great swathes of earth for those who wish to follow them.

Hopefully, especially because it brings other bloggers along on projects, it will also set a better pattern of blogging development than the often shouty, spin-heavy not-at-all-credible strategy folks have been following behind Iain Dale, the grand ambassador of political blogging

(FFS, the sponsor of the UK guide to political blogging for three years running has been APCO. They *astroturf* for a bloody living! We need to step away from such influences if we want blogging to be any different or more democratic than other channels.)

So, just before I get started, does anyone see any downsides to the ‘lies only’ plan? Does anyone think I’m being a wee bit unfair to certain tabloid editors (or bloggers)?

Now’s the time to speak up, because this is where I want to take Bloggerheads for the next year or two at least… and this is not a strictly ‘my site, my rules’ issue.

I’ll be sharing power with a lot of other people, but everything will be built on this framework, and I trust you appreciate that this deliberate landscaping will have an impact on the layout of at least one corner of the playing field.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 17, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

1. The Draper ‘Downfall’ video comes to us anonymously. It a situation like this, I suspect sock-puppetry. The video gets no linky-love from me.

2. Given Draper’s wider antics and the excuse he provides for his use of the term “window lickers”…

Derek Draper – Apologies and regrets over the use of a derogatory term: At that point I thought the phrase meant someone looking in a window, like a kid at a candyshop, wishing they were inside.

… I thought you might be interested in this article from 2005:

Guardian – The lady and the scamp: Looking back on his “idiot years” now, after seven years of therapy – the last three in daily analysis – he attributes the self-destructive impulses to an unconscious need to get out of politics. “I believe now, as a psychotherapist, that most of what we do is motivated by the unconscious. And I think slowly, over a period of time, not being at the centre of power but having my face pressed up against the shop window, I’d unconsciously decided I didn’t really like what I saw. But it was very hard for me to recognise, because it was all I’d wanted to do since the age of 11.”

That article is linked prominently from Draper’s Wikipedia page, so the connection with that excuse could be coincidence, a product of the subconscious, or a lovely bit of weaselling.

3. Draper put himself in a position where he had to apologise for use of the word that Paul Staines throws about without a care in the world. He’s a fool, on top of everything else.

4. Paul Staines got in touch today to (finally) help with the ongoing uncertainty about his bankruptcy. He claimed (in a lofty, dismissive and contemptuous manner one normally expects from a bloody politician) that he was fully discharged from bankruptcy on 23 December, 2005, and that this is a matter of public record.

a) Pity nobody told these people about it.

b) We still only have Paul’s word for this. He refused to produce anything to back it up. The sniffy bastard.

c) He seemed so put out that I would dare to ask questions about it. FFS, his grand plan involves a two-bit banner-advertising network exclusive to political weblogs. WTF did he think would happen? Did he seriously think no-one would ask any questions, or does he still live in that fantasy world where everybody has to be held accountable except for him and his mates?

d) Anyone might think from his reaction that Paul doesn’t subject people to far worse treatment on the basis of even less evidence every damn day on his Guido Fawkes non-blog.

e) Staines even uses his anonymous free-for-all comments system to help baseless rumours evolve into ‘open secrets’. And he’s moaning because I’ve got some questions based on hard evidence? Forget him.

5. I’ve been thinking about it, and I can’t for the life of me work out how exactly a key member of a two-bit banner advertising network expects to benefit from a regularly-risky widely-damaging comments free-for-all that is constantly refreshed… in more ways than one. Unless it’s a matter of profit before principle/politics, of course; then it makes perfect sense.

6. I’ve noted elsewhere and wish to repeat here that Paul Staines appeared online earlier than 2005, failed miserably in his attempt to gain a worthwhile audience, and returned with a new identity. In short, he has such a boring and unpleasant personality that he had to invent a new one for his website. So far, people prefer Paul Staines’ invented personality to Derek Draper’s real one, but some might argue that this doesn’t make for a fair fight. Paul has had far more time to perfect his spin, smear, comment manipulation and censorship techniques, too.

7. Do take some time to think about how much Paul Staines and Derek Draper have in common, because there’s a lot; the early career-ending mistake, reinvention, crawling back into politics by faking it as a blogger, the endless cheating under comments, selective faux-outrage, a multi-faceted resemblance to David Brent… Staines even insisted today that he more than anyone was above scrutiny. I had to check the ‘From’ field to make sure I wasn’t getting my meatheads mixed up.

8. Finally, to close, a quick note about Derek Draper’s funding*; he’s New Labour, used to write for the Express newspaper, had his wedding snaps featured in OK! magazine, (reportedly) isn’t averse to a little adult-oriented entertainment… if anyone’s drawing up a list of possible LabourList backers, you might want to add the name Richard Desmond. Just a thought.

(*Paul Staines assures us that he’s had no secret backers. Ev-ah. He just magically emerged from a financial black hole with the capacity to blog pretty much full-time… and that seems a reasonable enough claim to me.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 17, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Got any doubts about that equation?

Well, we’ve all watched Derek Draper’s manufactured outrage about words used or ‘defended’ by Iain Dale and Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’)… now I invite you to watch Alex Hilton playing the very same game.

Alex is reacting here to my calling Paul Staines a ‘pussy’ in an earlier email. He’s talked himself into a hole on one of his own damn websites (latest here), and is either ignoring me or attacking me, depending on if he thinks he has the upper hand at any given moment. On this occasion, he clearly thinks he has the upper hand because he is speaking to me:

—– Original Message —–
From: Alexander Hilton
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Guido Fawkes; Jag Singh
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 2:25 PM
Subject: Re: For the record

Tim,

The use of the word “pussy” in this context is both mysogynistic and frankly offensive.

Too often women’s body parts are used as a term of abuse which simply adds to the commodification of their sex.

But hang on a moment – I don’t actually believe you are a mysogynist, you seem merely to have had a lapse of political correctness on this occasion.

Not to worry

Alex

I’ll happily admit that Alex might have some pudding here… somewhere among all those eggs. I love the casual sign-off, especially. He makes a big deal about a little nothing – after announcing that he won’t be emailing me any more, I might add – and then ends with a casual ‘not to worry’.

So he’s outraged, but he’s not, but he is, but he’s not. This is not 100 miles from his position on asking people what they think (and please note that I’m paraphrasing here):

Tell me what you think. No, tell me what you think based on what I claim, not on what you know. Or what I told you. Or what you think about that. Yes, that’s it; tell me what you think, but don’t think. Hang on… what exactly are you driving at? Why are you being so mean to me? That’s it; I’m ignoring you!

(Psst! Alex’s invitation to publish our private correspondence on this topic is here, BTW. I sent an email to him almost two hours ago announcing my intention to publish on my website, but it looks like he’s ignoring me again… until the next time, when he won’t be. But he will be, but he won’t be. Oh, and I should point out in the spirit of disclosure that in that same email I called Paul Staines “a pathetic, sock-puppeting fallopian tube” and I bloody well meant it. Sorry, ladies.)

UPDATE (18 Feb) – It’s just past midday. The two posts that Alex started about this on LabourHome (and subsequently every comment underneath those posts) have been deleted/withdrawn without explanation. This is what we bloggers call ‘retro-moderation’. Why does Alex want to hide this all of a sudden? He seemed awfully keen to wave it about until a few minutes ago. Are the secret ‘threats’ now so secret that even Alex won’t talk about them?

URLs of deleted threads:
http://www.labourhome.org/story/2009/2/16/131227/809
http://www.labourhome.org/story/2009/2/17/11307/3162








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 17, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

All of the anger generated over Alex Hiltons claims that he was confronted with secret threats rests on the dual assumption (a) that Derek Draper made the call, and (b) that Hilton is being 100% honest with us/himself about what was said and how it was put.

Whoever is talking to Hilton has a point (stay with me…) up to the point where Hilton’s association with Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) might damage his relationship with other Labour members, or the members of any semi-responsible political group, come to think of it.

If they’re saying what Hilton is claiming and making secret threats about deliberately tagging Hilton with Staines’ popular brand of casual racism (1, 2), then that’s not on, but I’ve come to expect misrepresentation from Hilton’s quarter.

Hilton could have been issued with a warning that such association would happen naturally and without interference or effort; that’s a warning that could easily be passed off as a threat.

That, and Hilton often starts calling people ‘comrade’ when he’s laying it on thick.

I’m not saying that this is the way it’s happened, but it’s a bloody likely possibility from where I’m standing.

A lot depends on who made the call. Draper, I’d expect such threats from, especially after his over-reaching attach-a-word attacks on Dale and Staines and his finger-jabbing attack on Hencke.

But if almost anyone else made the phone call, I’d have serious doubts about Hilton’s claim. That I’m not able to hear the context of what was said forces me to make that judgement call, and Hilton is one of the people in this world that I trust the least.

Why? Well, one reason is the secret and none-too-subtle ‘I/we will ruin you’ threats sent my way from… MessageSpace.

Once, after I blogged about MessageSpace, a threat of legal action was issued from their office building by Paul Staines, who MessageSpace later claimed; “is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.”

All of these threats were marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL and I was advised that revealing any details and not caving immediately could cost me big time. I was also ordered (yes, ordered) to apologise, hire a lawyer or provide an address (more).

Meanwhile, I was receiving all sorts of nicey-nice reassurances from Jag Singh. On the condition that these remain secret, too.

Alex was dismissive and disingenuous about it, the only saving grace being that he was publicly dismissive and disingenuous about it:

“This article is the first time I have heard of Guido suing Tim. What for? I don’t know and can’t really be bothered to look into it. “

Meanwhile, I was being threatened by a man based in their office over an article I wrote about their company. I hate to be ungracious about it all, but fuck them, and fuck MessageSpace.

And you know what? It strikes me that the best way for Alex to get everyone onside is to have everyone think that poster-boy-for-tosspots Derek Draper is somehow connected to this call he bases his claims on.

To close, let me be ab-so-lute-ly clear on my central point:

I don’t entirely trust Alex Hilton’s claims about this. I don’t entirely trust Jag Singh’s claims about this.

That position is only likely to change if someone I trust less turns out to be behind these calls…. and there are very few people I trust less than the men behind MessageSpace.

That goes especially for the coward, liar and bully who “is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been”.

For more, click here.

UPDATE (18 Feb) – It’s just past midday. The two posts that Alex started about this on LabourHome (and subsequently every comment underneath those posts) have been deleted/withdrawn without explanation. This is what we bloggers call ‘retro-moderation’. Why does Alex want to hide this all of a sudden? He seemed awfully keen to wave it about until a few minutes ago. Are the secret ‘threats’ now so secret that even Alex won’t talk about them?

URLs of deleted threads:
http://www.labourhome.org/story/2009/2/16/131227/809
http://www.labourhome.org/story/2009/2/17/11307/3162








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 10, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

George Monbiot – Just what exactly do you stand for, Hazel Blears – except election?: Fixes like this might give you some clues about why more people are not taking part in politics. I believe there is a vast public appetite for re-engagement, but your government, aware of the electoral consequences, has shut us out… You create an impenetrable political monoculture, then moan that people don’t engage in politics. It is precisely because I can picture something better that I have become such a cynical old git.

Also, via Paulie, an item about those who – I’ll put this delicately – attempt to play out-do the government at their own game.

Polis – Clay Shirky: online group action lacks legitimacy: Shirky thinks this is now the biggest issue facing online public activism: legitimacy. It is simply too easy to campaign or lobby online. There needs to be ways of creating or measuring the legitimacy of online political actions that go beyond how many people click on a website.

And here’s one good reason why this matters.

Another? Well, we’ve all watched the quality of old media spiralling downward. Almost anyone nowadays can get their opinion in print or their face on telly by claiming to be an expert or the leader of a movement*.

(*see: bowels)

Back soon, folks. I’m travelling to the continent to recharge my psychic energies… and gather my imaginary army.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 9, 2009

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

Jeremy Reynalds is an interesting man whose mind works in interesting ways.

Take, for example, his reaction to the Abu Ghraib scandal; which *so* obviously raised questions about homosexuals in the military and the way CBS conduct themselves.

So when he is presented with evidence that Glen Jenvey posed as an extremist on Ummah.com, we should not be surprised that he asks questions about the way Ummah.com conduct themselves, and we should count ourselves lucky that he’s not speculating about their sexuality:

Jeremy Reynalds – Large Islamic Website Still Carries Material Advocating Destruction of Israel Ummah forum administrators posted a vocal defense of their site (www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=197121), headlined “Ummah forum detest today’s misleading article in ‘The Sun,'” and alleged that Abuislam is really Jenvey, claiming confirmation from his IP and email addresses. In an e-mailed statement, Jenvey denied being Abu Islam, adding that some inflammatory posts formerly on the site have now been either removed or manipulated to the forum administrators’ advantage. He said, “Over the years I have monitored both www.ummah.net and www.ummah.com and their chat rooms. I know they hate me enough to try and discredit me.” (via)

That’s not much of a denial, and I reject it for two main reasons:

1) That Ummah.com alone/initially declared a direct link between ‘abuislam’ and Glen Jenvey is a false premise; Ummah.com declared a link between ‘abuislam’ and a post by ‘Richard Tims’. The link between ‘Richard Tims’ and Glen Jenvey was later revealed at Bloggerheads, and involved otherwise-innocuous spam submitted some 6+ months previous to multiple websites, including the website of a close ally of Jenvey’s.

2) If Jenvey is claiming or suggesting that he’s the victim of a set-up, he’ll have to do better than establish possible motive. As Richard Bartholomew points out here; “Rather more is required than simply asserting (or even proving) that Ummah.com is run by bad people.” (more)

But the main point I wish to raise in this post involves declarations of interest.

Right toward the end of the article, there’s a passage where Jeremy Reynalds refers to “Jenvey and former colleague Johnathan Galt”, but there is no mention at all of any past or present relationship Jeremy Reynalds might have with Glen Jenvey. In fact, that sentence could be read to mean that it is Jenvey and Galt who are former colleagues (i.e. connected professionally to each other and not to Reynalds).

There are many ways that Glen Jenvey and Jeremy Reynalds (and Jonathan Galt) have intersected online, but in an effort to convince Mr Reynalds to take a closer look at the evidence linking ‘Richard Tims’ to Glen Jenvey, I have decided to use the following single example, that also includes a heck of a lot of spam:

Over the weekend, D-Notice kindly got the ball rolling on a Wikipedia investigation into the PCCLIES sock puppet, which led me to browse through Wikipedia edits made under Glen Jenvey’s old profile.

When doing so, I noticed that Glen Jenvey had link-spammed Wikipedia to promote Jeremy Reynalds’ (now out of print) book War of the Web: Fighting the Online Jihad, here on this page about Islam.

Oh, and here on this page about Islamic terrorism, here on this page about the Tamil Tigers, here on this page about Al Qaeda, here on this page about Abu Hamza, here on this page about Hizb ut-Tahrir, here on this page about Osama Bin Laden, here on this page about ‘espionage’, , here on this page about the PLO, here on this page about Terrorism, here on this page about Cyberterrorism, here on this page about the September 11 attacks, and, quite hilariously, here on this page about ‘bestsellers’.

[Note – Jenvey made several attempts to spam some entries, most persistently on the entry for Al Qaeda. Many of these spam entries include crimes against the apostrophe that have since become Jenvey’s trademark, and though the relevant ‘talk’ page was deleted a long time ago, it’s a fair bet that this activity led to him being banned or flagged as a spammer, and subsequently starting one or more replacement accounts to edit his own entry, promote his websites at glen-jenvey.com, abuhamza.org.uk & sellyourstory.org, plug the literary works of Jeremy Reynalds, and/or ‘set the record straight’ on his relationship with the FBI. There’s one hell of a vapour trail waiting to be uncovered, by the looks of things. If I find myself with a spare hour or two I may go browsing again later.]

I will remind readers again that this is only one visible way in which Glen Jenvey and Jeremy Reynalds have intersected online.

If there is a past, present, personal and/or professional link between Jeremy Reynalds and Glen Jenvey, then Reynalds should have declared it in his article… even if only to claim that Jenvey is merely one of his biggest fans.

After all, Reynalds is a CEO and he has a master’s degree in communication; he should know what a conflict of interest is.

PS – Link-spamming the entry for the 7 July 2005 London bombings was a class act… but I’m sure Jenvey was thinking of the victims in his own special way when he did it.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 6, 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

Hi folks! Regulars at Bloggerheads will know by now that I’m simply fascinated by the craft of sock-puppetry, and I have a cracker of a sock-puppet to show you.

[Note – If this is of little to no interest to you, then I invite you to instead enjoy the exciting events currently unfolding over at the Bad Science weblog; copyright claims are being used to dodge scrutiny. Hat-tip to Thomas for the heads-up.]

So far, an unknown number of anonymous web users operating primarily via the Lionheart weblog have been attempting to muddy the waters on the Glen Jenvey affair by claiming that the website hosted at Ummah.com is a terrorist/fundamentalist/extremist hive, hostel, hotbed, and what have you, as Jenvey himself was busy claiming after posing as an extremist on that website and passing off his planted comments as genuine.

I encountered a fresh pro-Jenvey sock-puppet this morning when I saw it being used to remove the following text from the Wikipedia entry for Glen Jenvey:

Criticism

Jenvey has been accused of falsifying evidence of Islamist threats. On 7 January 2009 the UK tabloid newspaper The Sun ran an exclusive front page story claiming that participants in a discussion on Ummah.com, a British Muslim internet forum, had made a “hate hit list” of British Jews to be targeted by extremists over the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict. Jenvey was quoted in the article as an anti-terror expert, stating, “Those listed [on the forum] should treat it very seriously. Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs.”

The UK magazine Private Eye discovered that Jenvey, posting to the forum under the pseudonym “Abuislam”, was the only forum member promoting a hate campaign, while other members promoted peaceful advocacy. The story has since been removed from The Sun’s website following complaints to the UK’s Press Complaints Commission.[5][6]

The name of the profile used for the removal of this text is PCCLIES, and as that name suggests, the person behind it seeks to clear Jenvey’s name not only by hurling accusations at his accusers, but also by hurling accusations at the industry body currently investigating their accusations.

Clear so far? Good.

I’ve saved a screen capture of three of the main edits of five used to make this latest accusation, and you can follow those edits yourself in this order – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – but I thought you might like to see what the final accusation would look like if it had been written in red crayon:

Tch. What is it about Jenvey’s many anonymous supporters than their uniform difficulty with spelling and apostrophes?

[Psst! I know the claim about Private Eye discovering the Jenvey/Abuislam link is highly questionable, but there’s not a lot I can do about it until Private Eye admits in print that perhaps the anonymous tipster they’ve claimed elsewhere as their source obtained their information by the novel means of reading my website. There’s also the small matter of one of Private Eye’s own people emailing me and seeking help with the story prior to their publication, a hitherto-unpublished fact that I’m far more inclined to go public with now that I’ve emailed them about this and not had so much as the courtesy of a reply. Anyway, the short version is this is the way Wikipedia works, and not a lot can be done about it until the peeps at Private Eye decide to be a little more reasonable. Please do not try to correct this anomaly via Wikipedia, no matter how unfair it may seem.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 5, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Tom has kindly been keeping tabs on the Downing Street email situation, and he tells me that they’re a month away from a fix.

The emails I’ve gathered have been faxed to Downing Street, with the following message:

Hello, Downing Street Peeps.

The following are emails sent to emaildowningstreet@yahoo.co.uk to with the promise of hand-delivery to Downing Street.

I’ve just been informed that the email facility for the PM will (finally) be replaced within a month. This makes any kind of fuss over this surplus to requirements, so I’m faxing the data instead.

However, at some stage, if it’s not too much trouble, I would appreciate knowing just why it’s taken 6 months to fix or build a system that can process maybe 250 emails a day, especially when so many of them can be safely ignored, addressed with a ‘Gordon Brown thanks you for your letter’ reply, or passed on to the relevant authority.

Tim Ireland
manic[at]bloggerheads.com

PS – I don’t care if you’ve done away with the old system, you jokers still owe me £2000… or, in lieu of that, the simple courtesy of acknowledgement.

That “maybe 250 emails a day” figure is what I’ve calculated as the maximum everyday flow of emails based on the number of people searching for ways to email Gordon Brown, the PM, the Prime Minister, etc. (i.e. how many emails they would get if everybody looking for a way to do it actually wrote and sent something, which isn’t at all likely).

I didn’t collect anywhere near that many of course, but the small sample I did collect showed me that the types of email sent to the PM have not changed over the past few years. All that was missing from my checklist was some guy having a back-and-forth with his MP before dramatically CCing the PM on their conversation (“A-ha! You’re in for it now!”)

Initially, I wanted to use the opportunity to send an email myself (probing for a response about that lovely Mr Draper, who claims their blessing), but it can wait. For a bit. Maybe.

Draper’s way is widely recognised as manufactured and fraudulent, but the following PR parallels may be of interest;

1. Draper speaking of himself in third person in his comment-free updates column. Elements of Drudge and Staines.

2. People from his circle billing him as a ‘stalwart’ when he’s been online for two bloody weeks. Elements of Dale, Staines and Hilton.

These people bluffed their way through and bullshitted their way past pretty much everything that makes a blog a blog, and fast-tracked their way to influence by the simple measure of declaring themselves important.

The only difference between them and Draper is that they’ve had more time to perfect their technique.

Allowing Draper rope is a risk.

(Unless of course the plan is to match the current circle of self-promoting pseudo-bloggers like-for-like in pitched battles of rigged arguments and manufactured outrage, in which case development is well ahead of schedule and you should be celebrating with boat drinks before the year is out. We’ve already reached a stage where every conversation needs two threads, because neither party can trust the other to host it.)

Related Bloggage:
Turbulent Cleric – Thatcher was crass but Draper is the real villain!








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