Ken vs The Mail

July 21st, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Apparently in March it was reported in the Mail that Ken Livingstone dodged a train fare and avoided a fine.

The PCC (via email)…

Articles published by the newspaper in March concerned an allegation that, despite not having a ticket for a train journey between London and Slough, Mr Livingstone was not asked to pay a penalty fare. This, said the newspaper, contrasted with his ‘zero tolerance’ policy when Mayor of London.

Red Ken complained to the PCC that the Mail misrepresented the situation and should’ve spoke to him to get his side of the story before going to print, as Ken may not have had a ticket for the whole of his journey, but neither did about 10 other passengers. They all paid for the unpaid part of their journey when they got off the train.

The main thrust of Kens’ complaint is that how the story appeared in the Mail was that he received preferential treatment or was a hypocrite (avoiding paying for a train journey whilst having a zero tolerance whist Mayor).

The PCC hasn’t upheld the complaint because…

…the Commission did not agree that the newspaper should have obtained Mr Livingstone’s comments because it was clear that the thrust of the story was true (and had been witnessed by the freelance reporter responsible for writing it). The Commission did not consider that the newspaper’s coverage was misleading or that the “failure to mention that ten other individuals had avoided the fine…would have altered the general understanding of the situation…in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code”.

What bollox. The thrust of the story (from what I understand) was that Ken either used his ‘fame’ to get himself let off a fare or that he is a hypocrite for avoiding fares whilst espousing zero tolerance. If he had been a lone in in what had happened, then yes that charge may have some validity, but if ten other people did the same, then it is a bit of a non-story and has detail has been omitted to blacken his name.

Nice one, PCC. Showing us some of the common sense there that makes a mockery of self-regulation.

PCC statement on phone message tapping claims

July 9th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

PCC statement on phone message tapping claims

In 2007, the PCC conducted an inquiry across the whole of the British press into the use of subterfuge by journalists. This followed the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire for offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Criminal Law Act, which the PCC considered threatened to undermine public confidence in investigative journalism. While the specific allegations of criminal behaviour were matters for the police and the courts, the PCC made clear that there were outstanding questions about the application of the Code of Practice, Clause 10 of which bans the practice of intercepting phone calls and messages unless there is a strong public interest.
As a result of its inquiry, the PCC published 6 specific recommendations to publishers to ensure that phone message tapping – where it had taken place – was eliminated, and that steps were taken to familiarise journalists with the rules on using subterfuge in the law and the press Code of Practice. It also had a number of specific questions for the News of the World.

The PCC has previously made clear that it finds the practice of phone message tapping deplorable. Any suggestion that further transgressions have occurred since its report was published in 2007 will be investigated without delay. In the meantime, the PCC is contacting the Guardian newspaper and the Information Commissioner for any further specific information in relation to the claims, published today about the older cases, which suggests the Commission has been misled at any stage of its inquiries into these matters.

The phone hack story on the front pages

July 9th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Here is the main stories on the front of the online editions of the papers at a bout 9 o’clock this morning:

The Mail goes with Prescott calls for police probe into claims Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper bugged his phone down at the very bottom of the page..

The FT has Murdoch reporters accused of phone hacking.

At the top of the shop in the Independent is Commons to study phone tap claims and a couple of small links to related stories underneath.

The Guardian has at the top of it’s page Murdoch papers paid £1m to phone-hacking victims, with a picture of a rather fed-up looking Rup and another story under that, Met pressed to investigate hacking. Both have links to related stories under them too.

On the pile of internet vomit that is the Express frontpage, that is in apparently still in beta according to the URL, has nothing.

The Times, the Sun, unsurpisingly, also have nothing to say on the subject.

Arse! I knew I’d forgotten one. I needn’t have worried, the Telegraph has bugger all about it as well.

Update II (I am trying to work as well, you know):
And then there’s the Mirror, too. They’re a bit quiet and all.

While I’m here, the Star is not just missing this news of the phone hacking, but just news in general really. Nothing new there then.

Iain Dale: Peddlar of untrue allegations

May 20th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

My first post titled Irony was quite good, and involved Iain Dale. But this one is a cracker. And involves Iain Dale again.
(I was going to call this post something else and now this first bit doesn’t really work. I’m lazy and I like that post linked to so it stays.)

Tom Watson

Mr Watson complained of an article by Iain Dale, headed “Smears, glowering henchmen-like the Nixon White House” published in the Mail on Sunday on 12 April 2009 in which it was stated not only that Mr Watson was copied into emails sent by Downing Street press adviser Damian McBride to Derek Draper, but that he “encouraged” them. The emails were reported to have made serious and false allegations about the private lives of a number of Conservative Party MPs in the course of discussing proposals for a new website to be known as “Red Rag”.

As the Court heard today, Associated Newspapers Limited now accepts that these allegations are entirely untrue. In fact, Mr Watson was not copied into any of the emails exchanged between Mr McBride and Mr Draper. As Mr Watson has already publicly made clear, he had no involvement in or knowledge of the “Red Rag” website and he did not condone the content of the emails and, indeed, regarded them as completely inappropriate.

Iain Dale on Chicken Yoghurt and Liberal Conspiracy

Get your facts right

…and then gives a couple of different stories about having already apologised to Tom. Once in this post, which has no apology at all, and this one here that nearly has an apology. Well, Iain says an apology is owed, but never gets around to actually saying ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I apologise’ or anything similar that says sorry.

What a card eh?

Now, in a similar vein, others, most prominently Manic has always had trouble with Iain and his comments with smears and accusations that aren’t true, as well as some more serious stuff recently (so many links to choose from, but this one will give you an idea, if you don’t already know), so, as Sunny says

Smug? Oh I’m just happy you forced Associated Newspaper to pay out “substantial damages” and its now on the record that you have smeared people without fully knowing the facts.

But Iain doesn’t just smear people and let other people do the same in his own comments, he likes to control other peoples comments, one of the things that he used to accuse Tim of regularly…

The Morningstar: Iain Dale – Nadine Dorries and New Media

  1. Comment amended upon request. So far she has not offered any explanation for claiming the amount of expenses. Comment amended upon request.

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — Sunday, May 17, 2009 @ 11:47 am

  2. I hope you will delete that comment from JHL. It is entirely untrue and probably libellous.

    Comment by Iain Dale — Tuesday, May 19, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  3. Iain I have amended the comment. However, when I consider some of the comments I have seen you allow on your blog which attack other people on issues of both sexuality and on mental health, I think you should be paying far more attention to your own comments.

    Comment by The Morningstar — Tuesday, May 19, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

The Morningstar: Iain Dale Lies and Libel

Only last night self proclaimed leading UK blogger Iain Dale accused me of allowing an untrue and potentially libelous comment to be posted on this blog, here. The comment was aimed at one of his friends, that doyen of political blogging Nadine Dorries, I stupidly just gave in and amended the comment without consulting the author. At the time I didn’t want to start a ridiculous fight over a comment, mental health issues can suck the fight right out of you, but when I realised the the comment was essentially factual I Apologized to the author and posted a link to the relevant news paper story.

So Iain Dale lied to me, on this blog, in order to get a comment removed that was factual.

So, I present to you the King of Irony, Iain Dale.

Dirty girls

May 11th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink


Naked “Page 3 Girls” have helped Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun sell papers for 40 years now, but they’re not helping the paper break into the mobile marketplace. The Sun was set to be included in Newspaper(s), an iPhone app that allows readers to browse the content of over 50 newspapers, but Apple banned the app from their iTunes store on the grounds that the provocative “Page 3 Girls” are “obscene.”

The page 3 girls are obscene? They should’ve read some of the stories too!

Only enough for half the population

April 28th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Armageddon is on it’s way. We are all doomed

How dangerous is it?

Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.

These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue.

Most cases so far reported around the world appear to be mild, but in Mexico lives have been lost

You see, lives are being lost and a couple of people here in Britain might have it too!

The Daily Mail, is of course trying to calm it’s readers down and reassure them that life, as we know it, will go on. Or maybe not. lets have a look

Private health firms have seen a surge in sales of anti-viral drugs folowing (sic) concerns that the Health Service would be unable to meet demand if a swine flu pandemic broke out.

Well, that’s the first box ticked. The NHS may not be able to cope. I wondered who’s concerned? It’s a pity we’re not told.

One company told the Daily Mail it had sold Tamiflu to 25,000 customers in one day, a further sign that swine flu panic is spreading

25,000? That’s a good days business by anyone standards. Surely the panic can’t be fuelled by our drama-queen press, though. Can it?

The firm, Healthcare Connections, said individuals were getting in touch because they did not believe they would be able to get the powerful drugs from the health service if there was a mass outbreak.

And we’re back to knocking the NHS. Why would people think that? Has the NHS suddenly become a haorder, unable to let go of anything?

The NHS has more than 33million doses of antiviral drugs – enough for more than half of the population – but there are fears the NHS would not have the capacity to get them to those who might need them.

The NHS unable to get drugs to the general population? Who fears it? Why do ‘they’ fear it? Have ‘they’ forgotten about the hundreds, if not thousands of pharmacies in the UK? This drug is a pill, it needs no special skills to actually administer the thing, unlike an injection.

Current plans are for those with symptoms to nominate a friend or relative without symptoms to pick up Tamiflu packs (pictured) from local NHS despatching centres, probably hospitals and clinics.

And pharmacies, maybe? They are the usual route for drugs to be dispensed (or is it called despatching now?) to non-hospitalised patients.
I love this next bit…

But there could be queues of thousands.

Isn’t it great? Everyone in your town, queued up at the same time, for the chemist. The line winding its’ way around the town. No cars on the road and everything else closed because everyone’s queued up to get they’re antidote to the biggest threat to mankind since, ooh, bird flu.

Healthcare Connections sidesteps this problem by dispatching the drugs to the customer’s front door when they are needed.

Thank goodness someones on the ball. Healthcare Connections are the only ones quoted in this Mail story. Would it be cynical of me to suggest this may be turning into an ‘infomercial’?

Louise Lloyd, from the company, said: ‘We make sure there are some of these drugs in the warehouse with your name on it. If there is a pandemic, and a medical adviser will confirm you need them, a car will be sent over with your drugs.

‘The Government does not have the infrastructure to do this.’

No. It wouldn’t be cynical.
Ok, Ms Lloyd. I probabably couldn’t argue against that point, But then the government deals in a slightly different magnitude of customers.
The government ‘only’ has enough of this drug for half the population and if it sent all those drugs out by car, which I doubt you do, as for £3.50 it’ll more than likely be a van on his rounds rather than a dedicated car as you make it sound, people like the Daily Mails’ readers, and of course the Taxpayers Alliance, would be apoplectic about a waste of money when all but the most isolated people (as in loneliest) can find someone to pop to the shops for them.
How many people can you supply? Not 30-fucking-million. And you can send them however you want without anyone complaining because your customer is paying for it [from Healthcare Connections main site]…

You can purchase the Antiviral Protection Plan for just £11.99* per person per year.

So, that’s more than a prescription on the NHS already, which is £7.20.
Still doesn’t sound too bad, does it. £11.99 and you’ve got a dose guaranteed allocated to you., rather than the virtually, pretty much guaranteed for you on the NHS. But if you actually get a bout of the swine flu, it gets a bit more expensive going private…

The table below shows how an upgrade to the full plan cost is broken down; to illustrate where the costs are allocated.
Healthcare Connections will only charge you for your private doctor to patient consultation, private prescription and distribution when you need access to medication.

Antiviral drug cost from manufacturer……………… £16.36
DHL medical despatch secure delivery service……. £ 3.50
Doctor to patient web consultation………………… £18.55
Private prescription/dispensary…………………….. £10.59
Total……………………………………………………. £49.00
Plus VAT @15%

£11.99/year just in case and then £49 when then poo hits the propellor. Plus VAT, it ends up just over £70 to your door.
And for £7.20 and a bit of sweet talking the Missus, I have the same result.

I think that’s a win for the NHS, for a change, despite how The Mail spins it.

Telegraph Twitterfail

April 21st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

A measured analysis of why the Telegraph Twitterfall gave us lols. Well, I say measured, it’s a bit more than just ‘hahahaha! Idiots’
I blog, you blog, they blog, weblog

…the Telegraph’s major error in this case was that they put the thing up two days before the budget is actually going to be announced. The amount of natural real-time discussion of the budget was therefore minimal; in the absence of anybody saying anything else, it was possible to hijack what was displayed on the Telegraph site almost by accident – this wasn’t a co-ordinated attack in any sense, just a few people idly goofing around.

It’s as if Newsnight, in the middle of a piece on Bolivian land reform, suddenly announced “and now we’re going over live to the saloon bar of The Dog & Duck to see what their opinion is” – except the patrons of The Dog & Duck hadn’t been discussing Bolivian land reform, and weren’t told anything about Newsnight’s plans until the moment that they blinkingly realised they were on national television. What would you expect? You might get lucky, and someone who’d read the papers might mutter something about Evo Morales’ significance as the country’s first indigenous leader. But most likely there’d be a bemused pause, followed by nervous laughter, followed by someone shouting “wankers!” and Terry getting his knob out.

I’m not sure about the rest of it, to be honest, but the comparison with the pub is spot on.

Jethro. Go get moi gun…

April 3rd, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink


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.

C’mon, guys. It;s time to clean up Dodge.

A free press is supposed to be the sign of a healthy democracy. We might have a free press but that doesn’t mean it is doing it’s job.

A newspaper is supposed to tell the truth, expose the corruption and duplicity of the ruling classes. What we have at the moment is a press that tells us what the propriotor wants us to know or how we should think. The press should be on the side of the common man but it isn’t. It is on the side the vested interest and the ruling classes.

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.

Me? I’m a pitchfork and kerosene bloke. What are you?

He does what?

April 1st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Does he really?

Deliberate liars or compulsive liars?

March 31st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Cross posted from The Sun Lies, so leave comments over there.


Gordon Smart:

…I was disappointed when I heard that Mr PETER DOHERTY, a fine upstanding member of his local community, was meeting BBC bosses on Tuesday for a job interview.

And that job is as a writer, apparently. According to Gordons’ source at the BBC, they (BBC) want a pilot episode of a Skins type drama, and if it’s a good ‘un, they’ll commision a whole series. Very nice, Mr Doherty. Best get cracking.

Only Pete isn’t going to be writing a series, or even a pilot show for the BBC.

The Quietus [my emphasis]:

…the Beeb has rubbished the rumours as “completely false”, telling The Quietus that The Sun knew there was “no truth whatsoever” in the story – published in Gordon Smart’s ‘Bizarre’ column today – before they went to print.

I don’t know The Quietus too well and I am very good at making an idiot of myself, so I thought I would confirm what the Corporation had been quoted as saying, by going to the Corporation.

I asked for the the BBC to confirm or deny if i) Pete Doherty is or isn’t going to be writing/co-writing, or in negotiations with regards to writing a drama for the BBC and if ii) The Sun or Gordon Smart of the The Sun knew the story to be untrue before publishing it (if the story is untrue, obviously).

And a spokesman for the BBC confirmed that i) Pete Doherty isn’t going to be writing a drama for them and ii)

They [The Sun] had our response in advance but didn’t put it in.

Gordon Smart/The Sun knew the was story untrue, but still ran with it. Which means they are either compulsive liars and couldn’t help themselves or they ran with it, looking at the language used, just to have a dig at the BBC to keep things ticking over until the Beeb give them a bigger target.

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