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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Murdoch Sky Bid IS DEAD

With all today’s fallout from the Government’s Brexit vote defeat yesterday evening, some observers may have missed the significant media news: the Murdoch mafiosi have sold most of their properties to the Disney organisation. What was thought for many years to be the empire that Creepy Uncle Rupe would pass on to his sons James and Lachlan has been cashed in as if it were chips in a casino, prior to a player leaving the building.
And you Matey - don't let the door hit you on the way out

As so often with these matters, the culture of press Omertà means very few newspaper sites have said anything about the deal, but fortunately the Guardian and BBC have gone there, and the news is clear: “Walt Disney has agreed to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets for a total $52.4bn (£39bn) … The deal includes Fox's 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky, and the 20th Century Fox film studio”.

The BBC explains thatMr Murdoch will still retain control of News Corp, the news publishing group that split away from 21st Century Fox in 2013 and which owns the Times and the Sun newspapers”. The Murdochs will also keep hold of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), Fox Sports and Fox Business. So the propaganda operation across the USA will continue. But the Sky stake is being sold.
As to the future for Murdoch’s sons, all we know is that “James Murdoch had been widely tipped to be given a senior role at Disney. But [Disney CEO Bob] Iger told Good Morning America: ‘James and I will be talking over the next couple of months. He will be integral to the integration process. He and I will be discussing whether there is a role for him or not at our company’”. That is the mystery. But there is no mystery about the Sky stake.

The Guardian spells it out: “Fox’s current takeover offer will proceed and the Competition and Markets Authority will give its opinion next year. But it will be Disney that inherits the UK broadcaster. And it is clear that, if necessary, Murdoch will be prepared to close Sky News to complete the takeover”. No Fox News UK. Maybe no Sky News at all.
This has led Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and Charlie Falconer to release a joint statement telling “For decades, Rupert Murdoch has expanded his empire and used his power for a deeply ideological agenda, corroding public debate. Today, he is in retreat … If this deal happens, the long held ambition of Rupert Murdoch to turn Sky News into Fox News is dead and buried. This abandonment of his attempt to Foxify Sky News is good for broadcasting, the quality of public debate and democracy”. There was more.
The Murdochs already have too much power over UK media. After this deal, they will have less … To truly show it will stand up to the power of the Murdochs, the Government should now commission the Leveson 2 Inquiry and make good on its promise to the victims of phone hacking”. Moreover, the hacking trials, investigations into corrupt practices and illegal behaviour, and pressure on press advertisers must continue.

The Murdoch mafiosi are now in retreat. Just rejoice at that news.

Britain First Leaders BOTH NICKED

Although neither Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, nor former UKIP leadership hopeful Anne Marie Waters, nor the party’s former Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, nor indeed Battersea bedroom dweller Paul Watson have mentioned it today, the leaders of Britain First, one of whom achieved notoriety recently when Combover Crybaby Donald Trump Retweeted her fake videos, are in trouble.
Auditions for new Addams Family film off to a shaky start

In fact, they are in Being Nicked trouble: Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen arrived at court in Belfast this morning, a place that knows not only about terrorism, but also that it does not have to involved followers of The Prophet, for Ms Fransen to make a scheduled appearance. But instead of accompanying her into the building, Golding was arrested and taken away to a nearby Police station for one of those friendly chats.

Ms Fransen, as the BBC has reported, “was in court over two charges relating to behaviour intended to or likely to stir up hatred … Her lawyer told the court that she intended to plead not guilty”. Stirring up hatred? That sounds rather like the arrest of both Golding and Ms Fransen last May on suspicion of inciting religious hatred. Ms Fransen has since been arrested twice, once for jumping bail in order to swan off around Europe.

So, as Golding was having a “polite conversation” with the PSNI,  his deputy faced the court alone, which probably made her even more of a victim. The Beeb again: “Ms Fransen spoke only once in the dock - to confirm she understood the charges against her … A small group of supporters were in Belfast Magistrates Court - and after Ms Fransen was re-arrested, they staged a short but angry demonstration, holding placards and chanting in front of the media gathered outside the building”.

The BBC’s report includes a photo showing all of seven supporters. And what was that about Ms Fransen being re-arrested? “The police confirmed that a 31-year-old woman had been arrested as part of an investigation into ‘an incident at a peace wall’”.

The Beeb explained “It is believed Ms Fransen has been re-arrested over social media posts she made from a peace wall in Belfast on Wednesday … Peace walls are used to separate Catholic and Protestant residents in areas where tension between the two communities can run high”. Or, to put it directly, the PSNI have enough on their plate keeping the peace without hotheads from outside town sticking their bugles in.

There was, therefore, concern about Ms Fransen’s social media activity, but as the Guardian has reported, the judge “did not limit Fransen’s social media activity, but said [she] was not to be within 500 metres of any demonstration or parade in Northern Ireland”. What may have fuelled the concern was that she “referred to the Belfast Islamic Centre, located in the south of the city, as a ‘den of iniquity’”. Been there, has she? Thought not.

Ms Fransen will be having another trip to Belfast next month, when she will find out just how impressed the courts there are with her Not Guilty plea. In the meantime, there will no doubt be plenty of victimhood playing. But, as ever, the Police are there to uphold and if necessary enforce the law. Maybe one day Golding and Ms Fransen will understand that.

Nadine Dorries’ Brexit Meltdown

There are few Tory MPs more prone to passing adverse comment on every party’s leadership than Mid Bedfordshire’s representative (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries - and at times the adverse comment, as it was when Young Dave was PM, can be directed at her own side. So can the hypocrisy: Cameron was denounced as a “Posh Boy”, but she is a fan of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
The fragrant Nadine is also prone to rebelling against that leadership, and so it should be no surprise at all that she condemns anything that smacks of coercion, intolerance, telling people “do as I say, not as I do”, or any kind of controlling behaviour. Putting the arm on MPs to have them bent to someone else’s will was a no-no.
Labour’s campaigning group Momentum was a case in point: “So, Corbyn sends a coded message to momentum (grassroots)to put pressure on  Labour MPs over the weekend Threats of deselection? #nastyparty” she railed. Only last month she confirmed her stance: “It’s not democracy, it’s a cult. A frightening, brainwashing, only think like we think and do as we say, cult. Momentum, an opinion free principle free zone”.
But then came last night’s Brexit vote and all was miraculously changed. Remain supporters celebrating? “The real party was taking place in Corbyn’s office where the celebrations could be heard outside the building”. It got worse: “When Dominic Rabb [sic] offered to give the rebels their amendment as a concession from the front bench, before the vote took place, the rebels shouted ‘too late.’ That moment captured their true motivation. High as kites on the vapour of their own self importance”.
Had the rebels undermined Theresa May? “That was their intention”. Should they be punished? “Tonight, the Tory rebels have put a spring in Labours step, given them a taste of winning, guaranteed the party a weekend of bad press, undermined the PM and devalued her impact in Brussels. They should be deselected and never allowed to stand as a Tory MP, ever again”. Rebellion was A Very Bad Thing. Deselection was now OK.
Suddenly, it occurred to Ms Dorries that she might be accused of hypocrisy (again). So out came the lame excuse: “I’ve been a rebel myself, but never when a Marxist government was knocking at the door”. They’re coming to get her too! And the rebels had been disloyal: “The Govt recently nominated Grieve to be Chairman (paid) of the Intelligence and Security Committee. He has repaid that by his treachery. We’re [sic] there no loyal MPs for the job? You know, like the way Labour do it when they are in government”.
Dominic Grieve has to vote a certain way because he chairs a Commons committee? Yet Ms Dorries is on the Speaker’s Panel of Chairs, and it doesn’t seem to have restrained her in any way. But there was no consoling her, even Tim Shipman suggesting that everyone calm down as it wasn’t such a big deal. “Which is exactly the point and why last night was so self indulgent in terms of the boost it gave to Labour”. Wibble.

Nadine Dorries hates democracy when Labour do it. She hates it even more when her fellow Tories do it. Anyone might think she wasn’t a fan of the idea.

Brexit Vote - Dacre Loses It

Yesterday evening in the Commons, the Government was defeated on a Brexit Bill amendment which guaranteed Parliament a vote on the final deal worked out between Theresa May and her team, and the EU’s negotiators. The sovereignty of Parliament, a concept so beloved of those favouring departure from the EU, had prevailed. The result was achieved after eleven Tories voted against the Government. Others abstained.
Why the f*** shouldn't I f***ing well tell other c***s to do as I f***ing well say and not as I f***ing well do, you c***ing c***?!?!?

This was nothing more than ensuring that the will Parliament was supreme. But for those whose very being is focused on getting Brexit completed at all costs, this was treachery. And there is no-one more focused on bending Parliament to his will, and pursuing the UK’s departure from the EU, than the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail. For him, this was a traitorous act, for which there had to be suitable punishment.
Directing abuse at Tories is very bad ...

And so it came to pass that the Mail’s front page, which only the previous day had gone after the hated “Web Giants”, thundering “BRING THE WEB GIANTS TO HEEL” and claiming that “Facebook and Twitter helped fuel a tide of vile abuse against Tory General Election candidates”, launched, er, a tide of vile abuse at Tory General Election candidates. The denunciation was as long as it was loud.

Just as the newly confident Tories inch ahead in the polls, 11 self-consumed malcontents pull the rug from under our EU negotiators, betray their leader, party and 17.4m Brexit voters and - most damning of all - increase the possibility of a Marxist in No 10 … PROUD OF YOURSELVES?” All eleven of the Tory rebels were pictured and named, thus guaranteeing a tide of hatred and abuse directed at them and their staff.
It was hateful. It was bullying. It was intolerance personified. There was no attempt to explain or understand the issues - like, once again, Parliament being sovereign. It was exactly as Nick Davies had told in Flat Earth News: “I know of nothing anywhere in the rest of the world’s media which matches the unmitigated spite of an attack from the Daily Mail”. What is worse on this occasion is the sheer hypocrisy of that attack.
As Russ Jackson observed when Tweeting out the Mail’s front page, “A few days ago @DailyMailUK  accused @StopFundingHate of ‘bullying’ & being ‘a handful of zealots’ whose values ‘may very well be unpalatable to the values of millions’, adding that ‘behind this pious bluster lies an extraordinary hypocrisy’”. The Mail is not even a handful of zealots, but one embittered individual, filled with boiling rage against the real world.
The reality is that it took real bravery for those eleven rebels to do as they did, knowing that the likes of Dacre would respond as he has: Labour’s David Lammy reacted to that front page with “They certainly should be. Country over party and do not underestimate the bravery this took”, and Gary Lineker, who has found the range with his responses to the Mail and the hatred it directs at him, agreed. “They should be. Takes real patriotism to put the country before their own political party”. Real patriotism. Real courage.

While all that Paul Dacre can muster is real hypocrisy. No change there, then.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Sun Edits Itself Out Of Rape Trial

The Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have, on the face of it, reported today in a fairly open manner on the trial of Sam Armstrong, chief of staff to Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who stands accused of raping a young woman in the MP’s offices close to the Palace of Westminster. But once again, someone has been selective here, removing the presence of one of their own staff in the drama.
The flannelled fool - edited out of his own paper

This is what the Sun says: “Southwark Crown Court heard how the 24-year-old then pounced at 2am as the woman dozed in his boss’ office … He is said to have called her a ‘b****’ after she woke to him kissing her and she turned him down … He then allegedly began taking her clothes off and assaulted her, saying ‘this is what you want’, jurors were told”. But the BBC report is rather more revealing.

Southwark Crown Court heard the woman sent a message to her boyfriend … ‘Keeping you in the loop. I've given it to Harry Cole who works for the Sun. It will either be in the Mail on Sunday or the Sun front page on Monday,’ it said … Jurors were told the message was sent 15 hours after the alleged assault, and a later message said: ‘The media already knew so this is my way of controlling it to ensure I get a sympathetic writer’”.

Why the woman thought Master Cole would be a “sympathetic writer” is unclear: as I told at the time, he was effectively dobbing in one of his own. Armstrong, like Cole, had been a close friend of disgraced activist Mark Clarke, central figure in the Tory Bullying scandal and source of the never to be forgotten mantra “Isolate, Inebriate, Penetrate”. Both had connections to the now-moribund Young Britons’ Foundation.
Sam Armstrong (left) with his pals Mark Clarke and India Brummitt

It gets worse for Cole: the story wasn’t in the Mail on Sunday, and it certainly wasn’t on the Sun’s front page, or even any other page, on the Monday. His story did not appear until the following day. Why the delay? Was it being legalled? If so, why did it take so long for that process to complete? More pertinently, was it being discussed with any of Cole’s pals? Was anyone being warned what was coming? When did he inform Sun bosses?

Master Cole might not fancy answering any of those questions, but those investigating the complaint of rape just might. Moreover, the thought occurs that Cole should be called to give evidence, especially now he has been named by the complainant, who has “insisted she did not sell the story and explained it had been a friend who spoke to the Sun … I really didn't want my identity to come out and it was a state where I had absolutely no control in the event, so I wanted a little bit of control”.

Did she know that Cole most likely knew Armstrong? Did he tell the complainant, or her representative? And how come nobody has yet mentioned that Armstrong was so close to the disgraced Clarke and the Tory bullying scandal that he was barred from the party’s conference the previous year? And intimately involved in the plot to smear Tory MP Robert Halfon over his affair with Alexandra Paterson?  Questions, questions.

Meanwhile, the trial continues. Perhaps Master Cole will enlighten everyone soon.

Dan Wootton’s Boy Band Blunder

As if to demonstrate that the Press Establishment made a mistake that was excessive even by their lamentable standards in awarding the deeply repellant Dan Wootton of the Murdoch Sun an award this week, their choice has just demonstrated why the only award that he truly merits is that of the boot. On top of that, Private Eye magazine has told the world exactly why he threw a mardy strop with Alexandra Burke.
It's bizarre how anyone listens to the SOB

After the British Journalism Awards citation claimed “Dan Wootton’s stories show a showbiz journalist at the top of his game. The interviews show many years worth of earned trust”, his column in today’s Sun showed that this was total tosh. Wootton is so knowledgeable about pop culture that the latest Bizarre offering came complete with the kind of howler that would have got lesser hacks sent down the road.
Alexandra Burke - in the Strictly final despite Wootton's smears

Worse, the howler comes as part of Wootton shamelessly recycling a PR item for pop promoter Louis Walsh, second only to Simon Cowell (aka The Black Helmet) in manipulating the rep-top press to his advantage. “X Factor judge Louis Walsh hails ‘Fab Four’ as he confirms Westlife reunion … minus Brian McFadden” tells the headline. So we get a photo of Westlife - an easy one, nothing more demanding than a Google search.
This is Westlife ...

But after prattling “‘I’m looking after Shane, I’m talking to Mark all the time, I’m talking to Kian and talking to all of them - I’m really good friends with all of them’ … As well as negotiating a huge pop comeback, the talent show judge is also getting to grips with his temporary career change … He’s starring in new stage show Nativity The Musical, which runs from tonight until Sunday at London’s Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, ticking off one of his bucket list dreams”, the clanger is well and truly dropped.
... and this certainly isn't (it's Five) ...

Because there is a photo, and whoever it is, it isn’t Westlife. Oh dear! Realising that The Great Man had fouled up, the Murdoch goons swiftly edited the photo out of the online version of the article - but not swiftly enough, because several eagle-eyed observers took a screenshot, including, er, me. And then came the Private Eye revelations.
... so they were hurriedly edited out

The Eye (issue 1458, available at all good newsagents, or you can subscribe as I do) told readers how Wootton’s attacks on Alexandra Burke had very little to do with journalism - or, indeed, facts - and rather a lot to do with sulking over not getting an interview with the former X Factor winner. Ms Burke had instead given an exclusive to Fabulous! magazine, which has been published in its latest issue - out last Sunday.
What’s in the interview? “ALEXANDRA Burke has opened up about losing her mum and finding ‘The One’ as she returns to the spotlight … The former X Factor star also discusses those rumours about being at war with dance partner Gorka over his relationship with rival celeb Gemma Atkinson”. How do we know this? Because Fabulous! magazine is included with the Sun on Sunday - so the teaser is on the Sun website.

That’s the same paper Dan Wootton claims to write for. So he’s basically gone rogue, turning his own loss into a vendetta based on malicious lies. But don’t forget, he’s “a showbiz journalist at the top of his game”. Which happens to take place at the bottom of the barrel, utilising a scraper. Still think he’s worth that award, press people?

Nigel Farage Backed A Loser

After the euphoria of seeing the EU referendum go his way, and cosying up to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump later in the year, former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage must have thought he was on a roll. Sadly, he is now discovering, after the European Parliament stopped paying his MEP’s salary after he was caught fiddling his expenses, that his stock could go down as well as up.
Squeaky racist bigot finger up the bum time

But Nige was still lionised across the USA, or at least those parts of it that have no objection to the election of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and in the case of his latest endorsement, child molesters. Because Farage gave his ringing endorsement recently to Judge Roy Moore, running for the US Senate seat in Alabama vacated by the elevation to US Attorney General of one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
Roy Moore - child molesting bigot loses

Mr Thirsty may not have left any trace of this endorsement on his Twitter feed, but Moore marked the occasion, as I noted recently. This may be not unrelated to several women coming forward to testify that Moore had behaved inappropriately towards them when they were in their teens. One of his accusers had been 14 at the time. An appearance by Moore on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) only made matters worse.

But not to worry for Alabama Republicans: despite some in the party asserting that Moore should stand down, Trump just went ahead and endorsed him anyway. Yes, the President of the USA gave his full-throated backing to a neo-Confederate, racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, child molesting homophobic bigot (Moore has previously backed moves to make homosexuality illegal). And so did Nigel Farage.
This, though, was a campaign destined to turn out not necessarily to his advantage: in a state that last elected a Democrat to the Senate 25 years ago, African-American voters turned out in significant numbers to get Moore’s opponent Doug Jones over the win line. Nigel Farage had backed another loser. And there was worse to come.

Mr Thirsty has endorsed other less than savoury characters in the States: last weekend he proclaimed “A must-watch interview with the brilliant @SebGorka”. Gorka proved too poisonous even for the Trump White House. He, too, is a racist bigot. And Farage then endorsed the dubious wisdom of Ann Coulter, the Stateside Katie Hopkins, who eagerly Retweeted fake videos from far-right Britain First.
Could it get worse still? It certainly could: Farage, it has been reported to Zelo Street, was seen last weekend at a local rugby club, knocking back pints, smoking away, and making lots of calls. But he was alone. The much-vaunted security that he so needed was absent. Why so? Well, the Police declined to give him protection, and now the EU money has dried up, he would have to pay for it out of his own pocket. So it’s ceased.

That’s because Nige was lying about needing protection. Like he lies about so much more. But he isn’t lying when he backs racist child molesters. As the far right likes to say when pushing its dubiously sourced propaganda, let that sink in.

Damian Green - Whitewash Coming

And so it came to pass that the report from the inquiry into those allegations against Damian Grope, Ashley Madison non-member and female party-goer toucher-upper with special responsibility for legal threats, landed on Theresa May’s desk, accompanied by an oversize container of Official Government Issue One-Coat Non-Stick Whitewash (available soon at the introductory price of £19.99 from your local B&Q Warehouse).
That's right Sir, both hands where we can see them

Despite the pie-in-the-sky talk from the Ron Hopefuls in the right-leaning press of the Empress Treeza enjoying some kind of Brexit talks victory bounce, the Tories remain vulnerable to any kind of shock, and that includes the S-word, as in Sleaze. So despite the clearly credible evidence against Damian Green, and the approaching press investigation into yet more allegations of misconduct, he is set to be cleared.
About to don her yellow gloves ...

ITV Political Editor Robert Peston, who called the Brexit business correctly last week, said “I am told by three well-placed sources that Theresa May’s deputy, the First Secretary of State Damian Green, will be informed on Wednesday by the Cabinet Office and his boss the PM that he does not need to resign - following allegations from former police officers that in 2008 there was porn on his House of Commons computer and from the journalist and academic Kate Maltby that he behaved inappropriately with her”.
... and administer some of this, basically

Now here’s a thing! And there was more: “According to several members of the government, no other women have presented evidence against Green … And the police testimony does not prove beyond all doubt that it was Green himself who was watching the porn on the parliamentary equipment - which should not have used in this way”.
These claims are disingenuous crap, although Peston is too kind to call it out. Green was described simply on That Spreadsheet as “Ashley Madison - handsy at parties”, which strongly implies that there is a worryingly high possibility that other women may come forward with similar claims to Ms Maltby in the future.
The reaction to the possibility that Green will get off scot-free has been one of dismay: former political editor Jane Merrick has Tweeted “If Theresa May saves Damian Green from resignation she will be sending an appalling message on harassment - this piece shows Kate Maltby was telling the truth”. Her reference was to an article in the Evening Standard, which you can read HERE. And she had more to say.
Surely if the inquiry finds that Damian Green released information to help the Daily Mail's hatchet job of Kate, that is reason enough for him to go”. This was echoed by her fellow freelance James Ball: “If Damian Green or any of his staff had anything to do with the vile Mail hit pieces on his accuser, that alone is reason to go”. The Daily Mail’s hatchet jobs on Kate Maltby were down to the usual Dacre doggy standard.

And they are both right. But it is looking increasingly as if Green will be reprieved, thus showing that the Empress Treeza is not as strong as her admirers would have us believe.

So it’s back to B&Q for another container of that whitewash, then. No surprise there.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

David Davis EU Foot In Mouth

To say that Brexit Secretary David Davis is prone to the occasional gaffe is one of those examples of stating the bleeding obvious. It is for catching the giveaway asides so beloved of DD that those working on The Andy Marr Show (tm) devised interview transcripts - well, maybe not officially, perhaps. And this tendency to open mouth and insert one of his Plates of Meat has now done the UK another serious disservice.
After Theresa May’s crack of dawn capitulation in Brussels last Friday, and the realisation by those in the Tory Party for whom any yielding to the hated Eurocrats is anathema that the spin was unravelling and we were giving the EU side exactly what they had demanded in the first place, Davis must have thought he had to say something. Sadly, the something he came out with only served to make matters worse.
As the Evening Standard has reported, Davis claimed that the deal signed last Friday was not legally binding. Yah-boo, Euro suckers, we won! DD told Marr “It [the “divorce payment”] is conditional on an outcome. I am afraid that wasn't quite right … It is conditional. It is conditional on getting an implementation period. Conditional on a trade outcome … No deal means that we won't be paying the money”.
This has, to no surprise at all gone down like the proverbial cup of cold sick elsewhere in the EU, not least with the Irish, who believed that as they were negotiating in good faith, so were their opposite numbers in Westminster. So Davis’ foolish gaffe has had one consequence: any chance of there actually being a get-out clause is going to get sealed up good and tight - so when the Brexit moment comes, there won’t be one.
European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt put it directly: “Remarks by David Davis that Phase one deal last week not binding were unhelpful & undermines trust. EP text will now reflect this & insist agreement translated into legal text ASAP #Brexit … After @DavidDavisMP’s unacceptable remarks, it’s time the UK government restores trust. These amendments will further toughen up our resolution”.
To that, David Allen Green, who has been casting a mildly sceptical eye on proceedings, had to admit “Crowing about the ‘sufficient Progress’ document being ‘legally non-binding’ may become the latest of a number of serious unforced errors by UK ministers on Brexit. Idiotic, needless, self-inflicted setback”. And then Davis woke up.
Blustering “Pleasure, as ever, to speak to my friend @guyverhofstadt - we both agreed on the importance of the Joint Report. Let's work together to get it converted into legal text as soon as possible”, the sound of hands striking foreheads could be heard across Whitehall and well beyond. Jon Worth could only manage “You’ve royally cocked up this week. Better to stay silent until the summit!” As if DD could manage that.

When David Davis said he didn’t need to be particularly clever to do his job, some might have given him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was joking. They won’t be now.

Dan Wootton Wins Hypocrite Of The Year

Last night saw the awards season getting into full swing with the British Journalism Awards: as Press Gazette has told, “Some 400 journalists from across the industry attended the event held at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms”. PG’s Dominic Ponsford chaired a judging panel featuring the great and the good of the Press Establishment, gathered together to pass judgment mainly on themselves.
It's bizarre how anyone gives the SOB the time of day

Thus the old problem of both the Press and Pundit Establishment comes around again: operating in their own closed world, they slap one another’s backs, echo the same groupspeak, all the time oblivious to circulation figures and advertising revenues in freefall, and of course trying desperately to ignore anything out there in the New Media world.

Only by such means could the Sun’s deeply repellant Dan Wootton have been given the Arts and Entertainment journalist of the year award, mainly for a column - the Bizarre feature in the Sun - most of which he does not write. Moreover, Wootton, unlike for example Will Gompertz of the BBC (crazy name, crazy guy), would not be able to identify “Arts” if it jumped up and kicked him in the undercarriage.

Still, there he was, luxuriating in the moment, the grovelling commendation “Dan Wootton’s stories show a showbiz journalist at the top of his game. The interviews show many years worth of earned trust” ringing in his ears, and wanting to make sure everyone knew that he knew the people worth knowing: “I am so honoured to be the Arts and Entertainment journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards, which recognise revelatory journalism in the public interest. I could only do this because of these brave stars. Thank you @celinedion @louist91 and @antanddecofficial” he gushed.

Sadly, this only served to show what a complete shit Wootton is: he couldn’t even be bothered using the correct Twitter handle for either Louis Tomlinson or Ant and Dec. And his award was in significant part for his articles on Ant McPartin.

It gets worse: quite apart from Wootton, or someone on his behalf, inventing a pack of malicious lies about Alexandra Burke, one of the contestants in the current series of Strictly Come Dancing, he was revealed recently by Private Eye magazine to have been involved in yet more low and less than totally principled behaviour.
Condemning the use of the word “Faggot”, Wootton had told “Let me be very clear, the F-word - which I do not like to say, even as a gay man - used in that context is incredibly damaging”. The Eye then detailed three occasions when Wootton had forcibly outed three gay or bisexual men against their wishes. You can read the account online HERE.

No surprise, then, to see that many of the replies to Wootton’s self-congratulatory Twitter excursion are less than complimentary. Giving him the time of day is bad enough: to give Wootton an award after all the smearing, borderline racism, gay-bashing, and succession of pack of lies that are churned out in his name, is an insult to good journalism.

But never mind - keep up the mutual back-slapping any pretend nobody outside the bubble really matters. I mean - what could possibly go wrong?

Asian Men And Grooming - THE TRUTH

Just to underscore that the Murdoch Times long ago ceased to be a paper of record, and has become little more than an upmarket version of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, the latest Sunday Times shock horror story was, like the now-discredited Tower Hamlets fostering saga, a thinly veiled attack on Scary Muslims (tm). The same tactic used by the Sun - and of course by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Under the headlineAsians make up 80% of child groomers - study”, readers are told “More than 80% of people convicted of child-grooming offences are Asian, a report will reveal this week … The research, by the anti-extremism organisation Quilliam, looked at 58 cases of grooming gangs identified in the UK between 2005 and 2017, which led to 264 convictions for grooming … Of the 264 offenders, 84% were of Asian heritage, mostly Pakistani; 8% were black and 7% were white”.

And, circumventing the paywall as well as upping the demonisation count, the Mail On Sunday applied its own inimitable spin to the story, telling “Revealed: 84% of men convicted of grooming young white girls are Asian and see them as 'easy targets' for sex … Quilliam study says seven in ten are believed to be of Pakistani-Muslim heritage … The study - likely to provoke controversy - is written by two British Pakistanis … Asian gangs abused white girls because they hold entrenched racist attitudes towards them”.

It’s likely to “provoke controversybecause what both the MoS and ST say is not true. But on with the anti-Muslim frighteners: “The Quilliam study comes after a spate of high-profile court cases, one of which involved the Rochdale child abuse ring … In 2012, nine British Pakistani men were convicted of abusing under-age white girls. Although the testimonies of three victims led to the convictions of the gang members, police believe the group abused and trafficked as many as 47 white girls”. Any more dirt to fling?

There certainly is: “A separate grooming gang from Rochdale involving ten more men was convicted at a trial in 2015 … The first case was made into a controversial three-part BBC drama called Three Girls, which was broadcast earlier this year”. The hated BBC has suddenly become useful to the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker.

So why are these stories are little better than the usual pack of lies? Simples. The Quilliam report talks only of grooming gangs. It does not talk about individuals grooming young women and girls, or, interestingly given the Murdoch and Rothermere press’ obsession with those “web giants”, any grooming that takes place online.
Does that make a difference? It certainly does: as Iram Ramzan has confirmed, “Majority of CSE offenders/paedophiles are white. unfortunately when it comes to street grooming Pakistanis are disproportionately represented”. Why should her voice be important? Well, she works for the Sunday Times. SHE WROTE THAT ARTICLE.

Yes, the writer of the ST’s shock horror article admits her story is grossly misleading - to the point of rank dishonesty. Worse, the significant contributory cause - that those involved in this crime are invariably those working in the night-time economy - goes ignored.

But readers become frightened and hateful towards Muslims. So that’s all right, then.

Daily Mail Rewards Failure

One newspaper above all others is hot on Fat Cats, those earning eye-watering sums of money while many of those they serve - and many of their own employees - struggle to get by. And that paper is the Daily Mail. It matters not whether the Fat Cats are in the public or private sector: the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre will be on their case, splashing that excess all over the front page.
Why the f*** shouldn't I have my wad delivered by Securicor, c***?!?

Well, up to a point: there is one product out there whose boss has overseen a decline in sales over the last 14 years of over 40%. Staff engaged in producing this product are being subjected to cutbacks in both numbers and salaries. Management is fearful of losing ancillary revenue, to the extent of publicly exhibiting their nervousness for all to see. And overseeing this slow and steady decline is one of the fattest cats of all.

No prizes for guessing that this litany of failure is the Daily Mail itself: from a high in 2003, when it moved 2.5 million copies a day, the Mail has now fallen below the 1.4 million mark. Star columnists are being forced to take pay cuts. Specialist staff have been sent down the road. The recent screaming denunciation of Stop Funding Hate shows how scared the Mail’s bosses are about losing advertising revenue. Yet Dacre remains aloof.

How aloof? As usual, most of the press establishment, subscribing to the iron code of Omertà, does not report such matters, but to its credit the Guardian has told readersDaily Mail editor Paul Dacre's pay jumps 50% to almost £2.5m … Editor-in-chief of Mail titles earns £1.45m in salary plus £856,000 payout from company’s long-term investment plan”. And he spends an increasing amount of time away from the office.

Although Dacre is a workaholic, and has in the past bawled out those who fail to put in the shifts he does - including Christmas Day on occasion - he spends more and more time away on holiday, perhaps under sufferance after being ordered to by his reassuringly expensive private doctor (the Mail’s antipathy towards the NHS is not unconnected to Dacre and other top brass having gone private for decades past).
The nuances of the Dacre remuneration régime vis-à-vis the ordinary Mail reader are explained in layman's terms

And the headline numbers are not all: as Mark Sweney’s article points out, “His total remuneration of £2.37m - up 56% on £1.5m in 2016 when he had yet to receive his first LTIP payout - follows a 20% slump in DMGT’s share price after the company reported a sharp drop in annual profits and warned of a tough year ahead”. The shares slumped by 20%, yet there is Fat Cat Dacre trousering a 50% pay rise.

Can it get worse? It certainly can, two times over: one of the reasons given for Dacre’s mammoth pay packet is “investing in strong brands of digital consumer media, particularly Mail Online”, something to remember when his apologists claim it’s a totally separate business over which he has no influence. And the second Dacre demerit is when Sweney tells “Dacre … has accrued a pension pot that pays out £708,000 a year”.

Failure was never so well rewarded. So when the Daily Mail whines about someone being paid more than the Prime Minister, don’t forget that Paul Dacre is being paid 17 times as much. And when he retires, he’ll still be getting almost five times as much.

And this is someone who claims to represent ordinary working people. Pass the sick bag.