The first issue of Incite Politics gave Bryce Edwards a very low rating on the trustworthy scale. His bias has been extremely apparent since Dirty Politics hit. His column, which used to be a political roundup that regularly referenced the most popular Political Blogs, has not quoted New Zealand’s number one Political Blog for at least a year now.
Pretending Whaleoil does not exist and wishing that it no longer has any influence, is not the same thing as it actually not existing and having no influence. Perhaps this is part of the problem with New Zealand’s mainstream media and one of the many reasons why Bryce Edwards has penned a touching obituary for it.
Telegraph chief political journalist quits because paper lacked the stones to publish things that might upset their advertisers
PETER OBORNE QUITS TELEGRAPH http://t.co/NOvMzG5wbE
— Tim Murphy (@tmurphyNZH) February 17, 2015
Tim Murphy from the NZ Herald tweets about Peter Oborne the chief political journalist of The Telegraph, who has resigned because the paper lacked the stones to publish things that might upset their advertisers – for example the recent scandals around HSBC bank.
This is a big story over there at the moment.
Circulation was falling fast when I joined the paper in September 2010, and I suspect this panicked the owners. Waves of sackings started, and the management made it plain that it believed the future of the British press to be digital. Murdoch MacLennan, the chief executive, invited me to lunch at the Goring Hotel near Buckingham Palace, where Telegraph executives like to do their business. I urged him not to take the newspaper itself for granted, pointing out that it still had a very healthy circulation of more than half a million. I added that our readers were loyal, that the paper was still very profitable and that the owners had no right to destroy it.
The sackings continued. A little while later I met Mr MacLennan by chance in the queue of mourners outside Margaret Thatcher’s funeral and once again urged him not to take Telegraph readers for granted. He replied: “You don’t know what you are fucking talking about.”
Ahhh the arrogance of mainstream media editors and executives.
Solecisms, unthinkable until very recently, are now commonplace. Recently readers were introduced to someone called the Duke of Wessex. Prince Edward is the Earl of Wessex. There was a front page story about deer-hunting. It was actually about deer-stalking, a completely different activity. Obviously the management don’t care about nice distinctions like this. But the readers do, and the Telegraph took great care to get these things right until very recently.
The arrival of Mr Seiken coincided with the arrival of the click culture. Stories seemed no longer judged by their importance, accuracy or appeal to those who actually bought the paper. The more important measure appeared to be the number of online visits. On 22 September Telegraph online ran a story about a woman with three breasts. One despairing executive told me that it was known this was false even before the story was published. I have no doubt it was published in order to generate online traffic, at which it may have succeeded. I am not saying that online traffic is unimportant, but over the long term, however, such episodes inflict incalculable damage on the reputation of the paper.
Herald bombs? Read more »
Martin Martyn has been eating humble pie on his Union funded blog.
Like the men in the above photo I would like to assist him with his meal so will share some of the highlights of his snack with you all.
I was wrong, horribly, horribly, horribly wrong.
Sue Bradford was right, Josie Pagani was right, and god damn it- the mainstream media were right.
Cameron Slater manages to come out as a winner in all this.
I will step back from blogging for a couple of weeks to reflect on things.
One thing that has always stood out to me surrounding the past and current conflicts between Israel and the resident Gaza Strip Arabs is the obvious imbalance of firepower. And I’m not talking about military firepower, I am talking about the weapons grade propaganda and compliance from the world media as the Gaza Arabs feed as much misinformation as possible to anyone carrying a camera and microphone.
We’re talking about supposedly reputable sources such as The Telegraph who have boots on the ground in Gaza reporting live to the world. The trouble is they report everything they see without question nor query. And like an infectious disease, it spreads far and wide as news repeaters around the world enable it to reach every citizen without an ounce of scrutiny. Perhaps it is a heat of the moment thing and not intentional in the frantic moments of a live report in a war zone, but is a clear and deliberate act of deceptive propaganda by ‘innocent’ Palestinians, Hamas and any other militant factions in Gaza. Read more »
Again, as it is so often now it surely can’t be a coincidence, news from the UK closely mirrors what is happening in New Zealand.
James Delingpole at Breitbart discusses the problems that are dragging down the Telegraph. Loss of focus on core customers and their wants and needs and following a left wing path to mediocrity…all reducing their readership and value as a result.
If you change out Telegraph for NZ Herald you will realise the same malaise is besetting our biggest paper in NZ.
Speaking as one who spent most of his journalistic career on the Telegraph – I joined in 1988 and worked variously there as an obituarist, diarist on the (defunct) Peterborough column, and arts correspondent – I can’t say this affords me any Schadenfreude. I loved the Telegraph: for at least two decades it was the only paper to which I subscribed because its generally pro-small-government, pro-tradition, pro-personal-responsibility, pro-freedom, pro-country politics aligned most closely with my own.
But I can’t pretend it isn’t good news for the operation here at Breitbart London. And to understand why all you have to do is look at some of the comments below our posts.
Many of them come from disgruntled ex-Telegraph readers, furious at the studiedly centrist direction their paper has taken, yearning for more of the red-meat conservatism and/or libertarianism which these days they can find almost nowhere in the UK mainstream media but which is Breitbart’s raison d’etre.
It wasn’t always this way. And it didn’t need to be this way. Not so long ago, the Telegraph had a secret weapon in the form of the superb, incisive, tell-it-like-it-is blogs section established by Damian Thompson. Thompson’s unspoken ambition – in sly defiance of the print paper’s increasingly centrist stance – was to create a kind of UK online answer to Fox News. To this end, he recruited a roster of some of the finest right-wing commentators in the business which, at various stages, included: Thatcherism’s living conscience Lord Tebbit; MEP Dan Hannan; Toby Young; Douglas Murray; Ed West.
I was on the list too and, for a period, Telegraph blogs was the only place to be. At least it was if you thought that the media desperately needed a counter to the almost overwhelmingly left-wing online narrative provided by HuffPo, Slate, Salon and the Guardian’s Komment Macht Frei. It was, indeed, like the Telegraph used to be in its glory days, only more colloquial, funny, snarky and up-to-the-minute topical. The traffic was huge; and growing. For example, when it helped break the Climategate scandal, its post garnered over 1.5 million hits.
A reader emails:
I’ve never posted on your blog before, but the mainstream media has been getting me down so much lately I felt I had to speak out.
It seems to me that the MSM is duty bound to ensure any one party never has enough of a percentage of the popular vote to govern alone. To me it seems that if one party nears 50% the MSM suddenly pulls out articles they’ve been sitting on for months – beat us to death with them, until the party the articles are invariably about is eroded to below the threshold of being able to govern alone.
I believe in free speech, but I believe that if you are attempting to speak to the masses – we should at least know the colour of the soap box you’re standing on. It’s ridiculous to accept there is no media bias, when those writing the articles day after day seem to follow party specific lines. Read more »
I’ve had a few like this in the past few days. It is from a new reader and we welcome new readers.
He does raise some valid points but what do the old hands think, beyond the obvious that this polite new reader has no idea about my politics.
I have recently ‘found’ WOBH and find that it … as well as mainstream media … seems to be distracted with the unimportant.
Where is the ongoing and cutting analysis of TPPA, for instance. To have American BIG business dictate and TPPA countries lose their sovereignty, is surely more urgent than jumping on the ‘change the flag’ bandwagon, or publishing a photo of Mr Cunliffe’s screwed up face, or Scooping Scoop. Read more »
People, okay mainly left wing tossers with their heads jammed up their fundament, claim that this website is rubbish or a sewer not by what is written on it but by what is in the comments. their site is better, smarter or more erudite because we have nicer commenters is the answer.
Of course it is petty jealousy fuelled with an unhealthy dose of intellectual snobbery. The market speaks and the market decides if you’re good enough not some pompous leftwing snob’s idea of what people should say or think.
Daniel Hannan explores this in his blogpost (again the Telegraph is a mainstream “news medium” that has bloggers).
The FT’s former correspondent at the European Parliament used to ask me the same question at every press conference. “So does this mean you voted the same way as Jean-Marie Le Pen?”
It’s amazing how many people want to judge a proposal, not by its merits, but by its incidental supporters. We need only state their implication openly – that you should drop an otherwise sensible idea because someone you don’t like agrees with you – to see how absurd it is.
Yet people carry on doing it. It’s the phenomenon that lies behind Godwin’s Law, the observation that all Internet discussions, if allowed to run long enough, end with comparisons to the Nazis. Hitler didn’t like trade unions! Hitler banned foxhunting! Hitler was a vegetarian! Hitler was an atheist! Hitler was a Catholic! Hitler was a pagan!
Now there’s a new variant of the phenomenon: judging a blog by its comment thread. Again, the absurdity should be obvious. Bloggers are not responsible for what happens after they have posted. Those who comment most aggressively are more often than not hostile to the writer. The word “troll” didn’t originally mean, as is often thought these days, someone who is rude and unpleasant; it meant someone who used an assumed identity to discredit someone else. Read more »
Gordon Campbell adds a clear voice to the issue of Judge Blackie’s strange decision and the strange selfish interests of my detractors.
He is not from my side of the political fence but he is a good writer and journalist…though with Judge Blackie’s ruling could now be considered to be outside the description.
There are good reasons to dislike and despise Slater and his style of journalism – and Judge Blackie seemed thunderstruck that Slater writes and publishes stuff on his computer, all by himself – but the problems only begin to multiply when you start to decree who is or isn’t legitimately within the journalism club. The same Law Commission report had gone on to argue that regardless of any style and balance issues, bloggers do enhance free speech and a free press, and are entitled to media privileges. Slater is relying on the protection of sources’ conditions stated at Section 68 (1) of the Evidence Act. Touchingly, the Evidence Act goes on (at 68:5) to define “a journalist” but does so entirely in passive terms:
A journalist means a person who in the normal course of that person’s work may be given information by an informant in the expectation that the information may be published in a news medium.
Leaving aside the particulars of Slater’s case for a moment…is this really what we would want to call “journalism”? Namely, the printing of stuff that other people give to us? This peculiarly passive image of journalism omits the active, creative news-gathering role – and the conscious selection that every news outlet indulges in as to what items (among all the various bits of information “given by an informant”) that it chooses to print, what prominence it affords them etc. etc. Journalism never has been passive. Largely for “news as entertainment” reasons of commerce, the mainstream media is being remarkably un-passive in how it goes about this business. Increasingly, it is blurring the lines between passive reportage and overt commentary, and most noticeably in its coverage of political news and events. Slater may be no one’s ideal of a journalist – but to assume there is some clear, bright line between him and the rest of the blogging/journalism pack is self-delusory. Readers are adults. They can read around Slater’s agenda just as they can read around the Herald’s “bias.” Or mine. Fairness and balance are aspirational goals, not givens. Some try a bit harder to achieve them, that’s all. Read more »