Room 101 beckons

February 20th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

Steady on Sinkaspud. Be careful what you say, mate. You don’t know who’s listening…

Shit! They got him!

Lindathecat needs to tone it down a bit, too. She seems a little too enthusiastic…

Read All About It! Trevor Kavanagh In Fisking Shocker!

February 13th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

Trevor Kavanagh (also freezepaged here)…

THE Sun is not a “swamp” that needs draining. Related StoriesThreat to free Press alert
PROBE into practices of papers must not kill free Press, Culture Sec warns
Nor are those other great News International titles, The Times and The Sunday Times.

Maybe not. Lets see where the police investigation leads, shall we? After all, all this phone hacking and poor journalistic practices was, as someone from News International once said, one rogue reporter. And yet here we are.

Yet in what would at any other time cause uproar in Parliament and among civil liberty and human rights campaigners, its journalists are being treated like members of an organised crime gang.

I think people are quite justified in thinking News International and it’s news titles are an organised gang. What are the charges so far? Intercepting private messages. Intimidation. Coersion, sometimes bordering on blackmail. Bullying. Paying the police. Sounds not quite straight up law abiding to me.

They are subjects of the biggest police operation in British criminal history — bigger even than the Pan Am Lockerbie murder probe.

Maybe that’s because of the period of time the investigation covers and the amount of victims, which is more than the Pan Am bombing produced.

Major crime investigations are on hold as 171 police are drafted in to run three separate operations.

In one raid, two officers revealed they had been pulled off an elite 11-man anti-terror squad trying to protect the Olympics from a mass suicide attack.

You’ll excuse me if I don’t take Trevor seriously about this mass suicide attack. Not only has The Sun had dodgy sources in the past, but if this was such a big deal, a mass suicide bombing at the Olympics, don’t you think it would’ve been mentioned in the news already? It would’ve been too good for the press to pass up. They love a good scaremongering. If this mass bombing is real, and the press have kept it quiet so the bombers aren’t given the tip-off, then Trevor has just given the bombers the tip-off. Either way, Nice one Trevor, you cock.

Instead of being called in for questioning, 30 journalists have been needlessly dragged from their beds in dawn raids, arrested and held in police cells while their homes are ransacked.

Yeah, maybe the dawn raids were a bit over the top. I don’t know what the police were expecting if they’d just knocked politely at the door. Journalists hurriedly flushing notebooks down the toilet? But again, The Sun has been one of the loudest shouting that the police don’t do enough and are too soft. You reap what you sow.

Wives and children have been humiliated as up to 20 officers at a time rip up floorboards and sift through intimate possessions, love letters and entirely private documents.

Hmm. That sounds famliar. Pot, meet kettle.

At least the journalists that have had their private stuff riffled through are being accused of more than just screwing someone they’re not married to.

It is important that we do not jump to conclusions.

Nobody has been charged with any offence, still less tried or convicted.

Jesus fucking christ. Listen to him. Has he no idea what his paper is like? Yes, Trevor. It is important not to jump to conclusions.

Yet all are now on open-ended police bail, their lives disrupted and their careers on hold and potentially ruined.

Is it any surprise that Britain has dropped nine places to 28th, behind ex-Soviet bloc states Poland, Estonia and Slovakia, in the international Freedom of Speech league table?

This is nothing to do with free speech. This is about breaking the law with no justifiable defence. The press are just as free to print whatever they want. They can even break the law to get information, as long as it is in the public interest defence. The press is so free to print lies and rubbish by their columinists even the PCC, the supposed regulator, doesn’t think it’s worth pulling them up on it.

So when the police get matters so far out of proportion, we are entitled to ask: Who polices the police?

Well, it certainly shouldn’t be the certain parts of the press, especially when those parts are being investigated for links so close it could be considered the police forces PR department.

Why should questions about police procedures be handled solely by the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is notoriously reluctant to rule against police?

Oh, Trevors noticed then. Once again, it’s been obvious to nearly everyone for a long time but somehow, Trvors only just thought to mention it now his shit has hit the fan.

This inquiry has even begun to disturb those of our critics who have been at least partly responsible for what many see as a “witch-hunt”.

Quite right. We mustn’t presume guilty unless proven. That would be quite wrong, wouldn’t it Trevor?

The Guardian has raised questions about freedom of the Press. Its media analyst, Steve Hewlett, says that when it comes to paying for stories, no newspaper — “tabloid or otherwise” — is exempt.

Maybe not, so those sources that are paid need to be carefully checked. Not just The Suns’ but all the papers. The Sun and Murdochs’ titles may be the titles that people are showing most glee towards when there are arrests but it is the industry that is being investigated. Trevor shouldn’t take it so personally.

Yet in a quite extraordinary assumption of power, police are able to impose conditions not unlike those applied to suspected terrorists.

Under the draconian terms of police bail, many journalists are barred from speaking to each other. They are treated like threats to national security. And there is no end in sight to their ordeal.

And who’s been calling for more draconian police powers…?

Their alleged crimes? To act as journalists have acted on all newspapers through the ages, unearthing stories that shape our lives, often obstructed by those who prefer to operate behind closed doors.

No, their alleged crimes are illegally listening to voicemails and paying police officers for information, amongst other things. In a lot of cases the journalists aren’t unearthing stories that shape our lives, they are puting a spin on them to manipulate the public to get what their proprietors want from the ruling elite of this country. The press, especially the tabloids don’t just report the facts and let us decide if something is right or wrong. They are not just happy with putting their views across through the editorial columns, they have put they’re own agendas into the stories. ommitting details that contradict them, exagerating some aspects and making complete fabrications, as detailed in the plethora of blogs and websites that are dedicated to shouting “bullshit” at them whenever it appears.

The rich and powerful have and always will try to obfuscate and hide things that are damaging or illegal that could be inconvenient to them and quest for more money and power, that is why the public defence clause is there. No one is denying the press need that clause, but they have made it harder and harder to defend when they do the normally illegal information gathering techniques on fucking celebrities.

These stories sometimes involve whistleblowers. Sometimes money changes hands. This has been standard procedure as long as newspapers have existed, here and abroad.

There is nothing disreputable about it. And, as far as we know at this point, nothing illegal.

Money changes hands. Fine, but the checking of it needs to be a fuck of lot more stringent. Just because something has been ‘standard procedure’ for a long time doesn’t mean it shouldn’t come to a stop. Our standard procedure was to hang criminals. In the USA segragation was standard procedure. Tradition is no reason to keep something. Ever.

Without good sources no newspaper could uncover scandals in the public interest.

Certainly, the world would never have learned about the expenses scandal that landed so many politicians in jail.

Very true. The press can get it right, just like a stopped clock is right twice a day. A couple of good stories does not justify the amount of shit raking and filth that the press make us swim in the rest of the time, though.

Which brings us to a sensitive domestic issue within the News International “family” which we cannot ignore.

Using ‘Family’ does bring to mind, rather than a group of companies, a crime ‘family’. I’d have thought Trevor would want to avoid that.

It is absolutely right the company co-operates with police on inquiries ranging from phone and computer hacking to illegal payments.

We are right to hand over any evidence — emails, expense claims, memos — that might aid those inquiries.

As it should, although ‘helping the police with their enquiries is not usually seen in such a good light by the press.

It is right that those inquiries are carried out separately from the journalists under investigation. Nobody on The Sun was aware in advance that ten colleagues were about to be nabbed.

Why should anybody be told of immenent arrests. What has that got to do with anything?

It is also important our parent company, News Corp, protects its reputation in the United States and the interests of its shareholders. But some of the greatest legends in Fleet Street have been held, at least on the basis of evidence so far revealed, for simply doing their jobs as journalists on behalf of the company.

Yes, Trevor. Protecting News Corps interests. That’d be why the original investigation, completely swallowed by the PCC and the Police, to which Nes Intl has close links, went for the cover of a lone rogue reporter. Get the situation closed down as quickly as possible. Move on. Carry on. This is bigger than bloody money. This is about the poisonong of the well in which we all drink. And now The Sun and other companies in it group are not liking it one bit now it has to drink it’s own piss.

And those journalists just doing their job? Maybe, just maybe there is evidence that hasn’t been passed to you. Or they could be innocent of everything. Lets see shall we and not jump to conclusions, as you seem to be so creful of all of a sudden.

Meanwhile, a huge operation driven by politicians threatens the very foundations of a free Press.

We have three separate police inquiries — Elveden, Weeting and Tuleta.

There is a Parliamentary inquiry and of course the free-ranging Leveson Inquiry into newspaper practices.

This ‘operation’ isn’t going to threaten stop a free press. If it does, something would’ve going very, very wrong. What it will do, hopefully, is create a better press. One that doesn’t trade favours with the police, one that doesn’t scare the shit out of people in case they come to the press’ attention, for the right or wrong reasons. A press that can still investigate stories using shady tactics, but does so only for important stories.

The field is open to almost anyone with a grievance to deliver their two cents’ worth, even touching unrelated issues such as Page Three.

The process, costing tens of millions of pounds, threatens to roll on for at least another year and probably two.

People affected by the press should be able to give their view. After all, many of them, even some celebrities have been worried about what sort of dirt the tabloids would dig up on them, that is nobodies business, if they spoke out.

If Trevor is so concerned about the cost then maybe his industry, should contribute towards it. After all it is the behaviour of his industry that has made something of this scale necessary.

Interestingly, nothing on this scale is envisaged for the banking industry which has brought the nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be something like this for the banking industry. But is Trevor asking for the bankers to be treated like the press or the for press to get off as lightly as the bankers, I wonder…

Before it is too late, should we not be asking where all this is likely to lead? Will we have a better Press?

Or a Press that has been bullied by politicians into delivering what they, not the readers, think fit?

As opposed to what we have now? The editors world view imposed on every story so that it fits their agenda rather than delivering news, accurately and truthfully and letting their readers make up their mind?

At least with a politician they can be voted out.

The Second Annual Media-Watchery Meetup

October 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Do you fancy a pint?

The gang behind The-Sun-Lies, Mailwatch, Expresswatch and numerous other media watching blogs are having Their second annual Media Watch Meetup. The first one, held in August just gone was such a success they couldn’t wait another twelve months so it’s being held in a couple of weeks.

Do come along for a drink or two and a chat about the papers, blogging or just to say hello. Best of all it’s free (apart from the beer which you’ll have to pay for yourself. We’re not *that* nice). There’s no entrance fee and you won’t need to buy anyone a beer to gain access to any of our top bloggers and you can stay as long as you want or until the pub kicks us all out. You can just turn up or or go to the Facebook event page and let us know to expect you.

So, are you coming then?

The Monarch pub, Chalk Farm Road, Camden (map).
Saturday 29th August October
3pm on

Daily Mail coughs up

September 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I recently posted about the Daily Mail infringing copyright whilst crying about someone infringing theirs.

So, I suppose I had better post about the conclusion too. Here’s a post from the blog of the Open Rights Group

We’ve just received a cheque for £1,000 from the Daily Mail’s publishers, after they admitted publishing photos from Alice in Wonderland blog without permission. The photos featured ultra-skinny mannequins. The Daily Mail had asked Alice for permission, but refused her £250 fee (given to a charity of her choice).

“I don’t like the Daily Mail, and didn’t want to give them commercial use of my pictures for free.” she explains.

But they published anyway. Alice wasn’t best pleased at this blatant commercial abuse of her copyright, and demanded they donate a grand to the copyfighters at ORG, alongside MIND. After some excuses, they relented, and today we received their cheque. You can read thefull story on Alice’s blog here.

A massive thank you to Alice for her heroics and the very generous donation!

via DickMandrake

Daily Mail takes down

August 16th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

The Daily Mail has sent a letter to shutting it down.

I’ve written about istyosty several times and if you’re not a regular reader this post explains what it’s all about.

Anyway, as of now istyosty is no longer cacheing the Mail, the Sun or the Express. If istyosty hadn’t of complied, the Mail would’ve chased for £150,000 per cached article plus legal expenses. They didn’t like the bit on istyostys’ ‘about’ page that detailed how it reduced hits and consequently ad revenue. Just as predicted, the Mails wallet is its’ soft spot.

The Mail also are under the impression that Istyosty is making money off the back of it…

Your deliberate attempt to interfere with Associated o’hits” Newspapers’ ability to get valuable to its website, through the willful infringement of our clientls copyrights, are irreparably damaging to Associated News. Under the law, Associated News is entitled not only to injunctive relief against you, but also is entitled to receive awards of damages, recovery of your ill-gotten profits, and to recover the attorneys’ fees and costs it incurs as a result of your violations of law.
Statutory damages alone may be awarded in the amount of $ 150,000 per work infringed under the U.S. Copyright Act,17 USC $101, et seq.

Istyosty did not use the Mails identifying features, logos etc to advertise itself, the only time they appeared was when a cached page was brought up.

As you can see from this cache of Istyostys’ frontpage, there are no adverts. As Istyostys’ cache process stripped the adverts from the Mails pages there were no adverts on those pages either. No adverts, no income generated.

Anyway, as usual, Istyosty doesn’t have the resources to contest this latest threat from the Mail and so has to close.

A good tool for media watchers, and one that the Mail obviously felt it had to take seriously.

It was good while it lasted. Thank you Istyosty.

The take down notice can be seen here (.pdf), or I have a copy here.

On linking out

August 5th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Robert Sharp is correct

Linking out, regardless of whether you agree with the person you”re linking to, should be the standard for blogging, just as it is for academia. It is the link to sources which gives the work credibility.

In contrast, anonymous gossip disguised as lobby reporting is one of the reasons why there is so little trust in journalists at the moment (a topic discussed at the recent POLIS journalism conference, where I asked a panel of spin doctors and hacks whether the press should abolish anonymous sources)… and the fact that a tabloid does not have to cite its sources is one of the reasons why #Hackgate could happen.

This goes back to the dilema of not giving your opponents publicity or letting your readers see the source of your anger/opposing arguement so they can judge for themselves how justified your view is.

In the case of the Daily Mail and other tabloid sites there is (sorry if I’m beginning to sound like a cheerleader) which caches the page and reduces to the hit count of visitors to the page, doesn’t show the adverts that are on the original and doesn’t show up in search results.

For others the only choice you have, that I know of, is to use the “nofollow” tag in the hyperlink. The target page still gets the visitor hits as your reader visits the page but search engines do not count the link and so using the “nofollow” tag will not help the target page rise up through the SERP rankings.

A link using the “nofollow” tag looks like this when you’re writing your post…

<a href="" rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a>

(The “nofollow” tag is in bold, if you couldn’t see it)

I’m sorry if this is teaching you to suck eggs, but there really is no excuse for not linking to source material, unless it really is dispicable content you’re writing about.

C’mon, we’re better than that, aren’t we?

Defending Fred, sort of…

May 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Fred Goodwins’ superinjunction has been, at least, partially lifted. We can all now know, legally, that Fred ‘The Shred’ has been bonking a colleague. Don’t we all feel better and more informed now?

The issue of superinjunctions is a hot one at the moment. Freedom of speech (or expression as some are saying) versus someones’ right to privacy. The press are scared that they won’t be able to report on vital establishment-shaking issues and people are worried that anything goes and will have to spend a fortune in the courts when their shit hits the fan, or newstand.

One of the arguements the press use is that with these injuctions they won’t be able to expose all these celebrities and public figures for the hypocrits they are. Fair enough, but who is a celebrity? What makes a public figure?

Sometimes it’s easy to say. An MP is a public figure, the leader of a campaign is open to scrutiny, the sportstar that uses his/her image to advertise stuff. They are all trying to influence the public to behave in a certain way. If they are not true to their word then fair enough, a charge of hypocrasy should be called and they shoudl have to defend themselves. They have, though, put themselves forward. They decided to enter the public concience in a certain way.

But what of the likes of Fred Goodwin. He was just a banker. Fred didn’t put himself in the public domain, he was thrust into it due to circumstance. Fred didn’t shout that we shouldn’t be doing drugs or being faithful to our spouses while snorting a barrel full of cocaine out the anus of a prostitute while his good little wife waited at home, sat at the table looking at an empty chair while dinner their plated up dinner slowly went cold. He ran a bank. No one, outside a very small circle, before the banking crises had heard of him.

So while the hoo-ha about his running of the bank or his massive pension agreement could be a fair target why should his choice of sexual partner be up for all and sundry to know about?

Fred was apparently shagging a colleague. How does that change things? Lots of people fuck someone they work with. It might cause a bit of concern if it’s the government defence secretary having secret liasons, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the liason is a honeytrap, but a banker? Does it really have any bearing on anything?

Fred Goodwin may be a national bogeyman, but the fact that he is not a public figure of his own making means he shouldn’t have needed an injunction to supress this little bit of his life that is of no consequence of anybody except those close to him, such as his wife and family.

It is entirely possible for this affair to have had some bearing of the massive losses RBS suffered, making it in need of govenrment help, in which case the press would be legitimate in it’s publication. There is nothing wrong with the press investigating this stuff, that is what they need to do to expose hypocracy and shadowy dealings that are of genuine public interest, but when there is no connection between his affair and (his part in) the collapse of the UK banking industry then there is no need to run it.

This obsession of the printed Press with who is shagging who is what is causing this, what seems to be, sudden flurry of injunctions. If the press stuck to what was important and relevant, there wouldn’t be any need for these people to try and gag the editors freedom of speech.

I understand that an MP might want to use Parliamentary privilege to smash an injunction, in the case of Trafigura for instance, but why the hell did the LibDem MP John Hemming think it’s anyones business who the fuck is fucking who?

MPs’ need to stop buggering about with this and either leave superinjuctions alone unless there is serious public interest being censured or debate it and sort out a proper privacy law.

The Sun: Gagging for it

March 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Sun is a little bit peeved today because it’s freedom of speech is being restricted again and can’t report on someones sex life (istyosty link). I can certainly see why.

A SENIOR executive at a British bank bailed out by the taxpayer has gagged The Sun from revealing an affair with a colleague.

High Court judge Mr Justice Richard Henriques leapt to his defence in a ruling that delivered another blow to free speech in the UK.

Why shouldn’t the Sun be able to report on someones carnal activities? This person worked at a bank that received taxpayer money. We should be able to know everything about them. Doesn’t that judge know who we are? We’re bloody taxpayers, don’tcha know?

The married banker, paid a substantial six figure sum, began the illicit affair before the credit crunch erupted and plunged the country into recession.

Look! He’s paid not just a six figure sum, but a ‘substantial’ six figure sum. What is the judge playing at? Doesn’t he know the bigger the salary the more right we have to know about who he is sticking is knob in?

He was present when the Government was forced to spend almost £1trillion to prop up the banks. Ministers are axing thousands of civil servants to pay for bankers’ mistakes and more than 50,000 workers in the sector have lost their job in the past two years.

This is outragous! He was there when the government gave the banks all of *our* money. Where ‘there’ is, is irrelevant. Was he present at the bank, present in government, in his girlfriend at the time the government handed over the whopping big cheque? It doesn’t matter. He was ‘there’. We demand to know. He is connected to the government, however remotely so he must’ve been telling us not to cheat on our spouses. He must be hypocrite. How can we tell unless we know who he is?

If he’s not connected to the government or not, he gets paid a big fat wodge of dough so he must be a role model for the kids. Either way the public must know who he’s been shagging, where, when, how often and in what positions. It’s in the public interest. This information being kept from us could be a game changer in the way we live our lives.

These people cannot get away with dicking about on their poor, poor wifes without retribution. And I want the Sun to deal it.

One bank insider told the Sun: “Given what was going on at the time they got together, I’m surprised either of them had the time or the energy.”

Jesus snapping arseholes! There’s more! He got paid a big bundle by a bank and he still had free time away from the bank. What were they paying him for? Surely he must’ve been skiving, or bonking on company time. It’s the only explanation. As for having the energy to for all this horizontal excercise? Well, there’s only one explanation. Drugs.

Yeah, ok. Drugs might not be the *only* explanation for someone having enough energy to bonk their girlfriend, but how do we, the public, know unless this man is exposed to public scrutiny?

I don’t know about you but I won’t be able to sleep at night thinking about how this man that worked at a bank was shagging someone that wasn’t his wife… er, without reaping the vengeance of the public.

I demand to know!


January 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

You know when you want to post but nothing comes to mind? Well. This is one of those posts. I seem to be in a bit of a rut. Apathy, is a close friend at the moment. That and lack of time.

Nothing seems to get my goat, except for other drivers, who by their very nature are only allowed on the road to piss me off, and a very good job of it they’re doing too.

So, anyway. How have you been? Have you seen Anton’s being made redundant. Shitty business that is, usually. Full of fear and self-questioning. Not everyone can see being pushed out of a job as an opportunity. It can hurt. It’s different if you’ve made the decision yourself to move on. You’ve prepared yourself. You might still be going into the unknown, but it’s been your decision not somebody else making that decision for you. From his post, Anton seems to have taken it well. Which is good. As one of his commenter said…

If this blog is any guide, you’re a good bloke with a good brain and you’ll find your way.

Matt Frei has been presenting Newsnight this week, hasn’t he. It doesn’t suit him. He’s ok as a correspondent, but not as the anchor. Something about his delivery when talking to the camera, I think.

Here’s a weird ‘un for you. The Express has an article up about how white pupils are dumbers compared to kids from other ethnic groups. What’s weird about it is that it’s fairly balanced. The first part just lists the percentage of kids from different ethnic groups in that get five or more good GCSEs by town and city. No snarking or insinuations, just the figures. The second part refers to ‘experts’ and names one of them who actually, according to my lazy Googling, seems to actually be an expert. I’m fucked if I know why the Express has taken a quote from this chap, he’s only blaming poverty and not race or multiculturalism or political correctness. The prof says it’s to do with lack of aspiration, un-educated parents and unemployment. He has offered this opinion with out an anonymous counter arguement appearing in the article either. Yeah. Weird, huh?

I went for a bike ride on Saturday morning. Me and a couple of friends did an organised mountain bike event. It was bloody hard. We did the medium route, 26 miles, in just under 4 hours. I’m bloody pleased with that. It’s the first time I’ve done something like that. The hills were steep and it was really muddy, as you’d expect for January. Some of those other guys are amazing. Flying up these steep muddy hills on bikes that looked like they’d dragged out the bottom of a river. Awesome. If you’re interested here’s the results (.xls) and the medium route is in yellow (click to enlarge)

Well, I think that’s about it for this braindump.


Media Watching by proxy

October 2nd, 2010 § 9 comments § permalink

Here’s a good site for all you

Isty-who? I hear you ask.

Istyosty is a proxy service that seems to be dedicated to providing a way to read the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Express, but nothing else, without giving the papers the hits.

This is what they say, it might explain it a bit better…


This site was set up after reading this. I thought it would be more fair to the statistics if only people who actually liked the daily mail appeared as a “hit” on the site. We are a proxy service enabling users to view that particular site without necessarily visiting it. Pages are cached here for a few days so many hits on a particular story will only count as one initial hit on that website (until the page is re-cached). Hits to the homepage however, are updated every few hours to keep it reasonably current. This system has the added advantage of providing anonymity from their invasive tracking and the advertisements from companies that should know better (we strip the ads, referer information and the javascript by default).

… and they say it’s legal.

So, if you’re linking to one of these three rags and and don’t want to increase their hits, because as far as they and their advertisers are concerned every hit is an approving hit, use an Istyosty link.

(They’re also on Twitter –

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