The Guardian

Tit for tat media war erupts in wake of Oborne resignation

When Peter Oborne left The Telegraph and outed their compromised and corrupted newsrom hiding stories a few other media outlets jumped in for the kicking.

But the tables have turned in a tit for tat war that is breaking out over media ethics, with accusations now besetting the Guardian.

The Guardian is facing questions over its relationship with advertisers after allegations that it changed a news article amid concerns about offending Apple.

The media organisation has criticised The Telegraph for failing to observe the “Chinese wall” between advertising and editorial coverage, a claim The Telegraph strongly denies.

However, The Telegraph can disclose that in July last year Apple bought wraparound advertising on The Guardian’s website and stipulated that the advertising should not be placed next to negative news.

A Guardian insider said that the headline of an article about Iraq on The Guardian’s website was changed amid concerns about offending Apple, and the article was later removed from the home page entirely.

The insider said: “If editorial staff knew what was happening here they would be horrified.”The Guardian declined to comment on the specific allegation, but said: “It is never the case that editorial content is changed to meet stipulations made by an advertiser. ¬† Read more »

This is the greater threat…problem is it is already here

What if Charlie Hebdo was a UK publication?

Spiked examines what would have happened.

Week 1: Magazine‚Äôs editors and staff get No Platformed by the National Union of Students on the grounds that their publication has been ‚Äėidentified by the NUS‚Äôs Democratic Procedures Committee as holding racist or fascist views‚Äô. They are forbidden from all campuses.

Week 2: Individual student unions ban the sale or display of Charlie Hebdoanywhere on their premises in order to protect students from feeling the need to¬†‚Äėsuccumb to media pressure to fear and loathe Muslims‚Äô and encourage students instead to ‚Äėcelebrate Muslim students for their academic achievements and countless other talents‚Äô. Unions across the country justify the ban as ‚Äėan important symbolic step towards creating a culture of ethnic and religious parity on campus‚Äô.

Week 3: A petition is created, calling on supermarket chains to ‚ÄėStop Selling Charlie Hebdo‚Äô. A different petition is launched, by a campaign group called Muslim Eyes, demanding that supermarkets hide Charlie Hebdo in black plastic bags so that Muslims and others will not feel offended by its front covers. Supermarkets are called upon to ‚Äėpromote the right environment in store‚Äô and not allow the open display of ‚Äėoffensive material‚Äô.

Week 4: A Twitterstorm builds in support of the petition of supermarkets, with hundreds of thousands of tweets using the hashtag #CoverUpCharlie to demand that the magazine be put in black bags. A member of parliament backs the campaign. Supermarkets relent and announce that some stores will remove Charlie Hebdo from sale while others will put it in black plastic covers and on the top shelf next to the porno mags.

Read more »

When old media loses its audience

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.

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Should there be a source shield law?

In the US there is a move afoot to further protect press freedoms by extending protection of sources further.

It is an interesting discussion and one well worth having, especially where sources could suffer a clear and present danger to their well being from those who would seek to identify them.

Geoffrey R. Stone writes at The Daily Beast:

The press isn’t free if it has fear of prosecution for leaks. It’s time to give reporters the same type of privilege attorneys and doctors have.

The Guardian and The Washington Post were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for their reporting based on classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. This will no doubt annoy many in the intelligence community who believe that Snowden, The Guardian, and the Post have done serious damage to the national security of the United States.

Unlike most disclosures of classified information, this reporting has not raised any central issues about the legitimacy or value of a journalist-source privilege, because Snowden chose to make no secret of his identity. Nonetheless, the bestowal of the Pulitzer Prize presents a good moment to reflect on the appropriate relationship between the government, the press, and source.

The issue is particularly timely at the moment because Gabriel Schoenfeld,¬†a senior fellow at theHudson Institute¬†and a former adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, recently published an article in the journal¬†National Affairs¬†in which he concludes that for Congress to enact a federal journalist-source privilege would be ‚Äúa bad idea.‚ÄĚ Although I admire and respect Schoenfeld, in this, he is wrong.¬† Read more »

No supporting evidence but the daft poms look at plain packaging too

As with climate change governments are being hoodwinked into policy changes without any reliable or accurate scientific data to support their contentions.

We are seeing this particularly in the health arena with the foisting of plain packaging on consumers of tobacco products. But the same people who are lobbying for tobacco control also have their trotters deep into other health troughs, usually in areas of obesity.

Now in Britain their government has fallen for the latest assaults and decided to look at plain packaging, again without any sensible evidence.

Standardised plain packaging for cigarettes is to be introduced in England, following a comprehensive review of the evidence which found unbranded packs could cut the number of children starting to smoke.

Public health minister Jane Ellison told the House of Commons that she would introduce draft regulations swiftly “so it is crystal clear what is intended” ‚Äď although there will be a short consultation.

Sir Cyril Chantler, who was asked to look at the potential benefits, particularly to children, of plain packaging after the government postponed a decision last summer, made “a compelling case that if standardised packaging were introduced, it would be very likely to have a positive impact on public health,” Ellison said.

Weasel words like “very likely” and “potential benefits” are the key indicator to their being no actual evidence, rather it is emotive and subjective agenda being pushed by state funded researchers on a jihad against big tobacco. When they finally kill of them, they will turn their guns onto “big food”, and yes they are already calling it that…along with “big sugar”.

The Guardian editorial is unusually forthright about where this will lead to. ¬†¬† Read more »

The changing face of media freedoms

There seems to be developing a narrative amongst some media elites that unless you travelled their path then you are no journalist.

The sanctimony and finger pointing is hilarious, then there is the personal animosity if your politics or beliefs or even behaviour don’t match their own.

But if you can’t stand up for the freedoms of your political enemies then who will you stand up for.

Glen Greenwald is suffering from this. Now his politics are not my own, I doubt we’d agree on much and I am unlikely to ever meet him, but he is facing this exact criticism, simply for telling a story, even if it is the story of a traitor.

Among the dozens of reporters, editors, and commentators who have worked on articles sourced to Edward Snowden, just one, Glenn Greenwald, has been subject to a sustained campaign that seeks to define him as something other than a journalist. NBC’s David Gregory¬†asked¬†him why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a felon.¬†Representative Peter King declared that “legal action should be taken against him.”¬†Representative Mike Rogers¬†charges¬†that he is a thief who sells stolen material.¬†The New Republic¬†published¬†a piece¬†alleging that he has a nefarious, secret agenda. Why this unique effort to discredit him in particular?

Countless American journalists have published classified documents in the modern era. All were paid for their work, and in a world with Bob Woodward, it’s unlikely that Greenwald has been paid the most for revelations of classified material. Greenwald isn’t even unique in writing about secrets stolen by Snowden, or in being paid as a freelancer for his work upon the publication of those articles. Nor has Greenwald authored the Snowden articles denounced most bitterly by the national-security establishment. That distinction goes to the talented Barton Gellman.

So what is different about Greenwald?

The news organizations he works with are different. Rather than publishing in the¬†Washington Post¬†or the¬†New York Times,¬†institutions that have particular, unique, and often cozy relationships with America’s ruling class, he started out with a personal blog, later moved to¬†, started publishing stories sourced to Snowden at¬†The Guardian’s¬†U.S. edition, and has worked with the foreign press.

His approach to journalism is different. Rather than trying (or purporting) to be objective, he is transparent about his opinions and explicitly argues for their validity. He criticizes fellow journalists for being insufficiently adversarial. Unlike most mainstream-media reporters, he voices contempt for certain American officials. And when he believes that they have broken the law, he doesn’t shy away from urging that they be prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes. It is no accident that there is no love lost for him in the national-security state. ¬†¬† Read more »

Has Chris Turney lied about his support by institutions?

Chris Turney and his now infamous Ship of Fools are looking more and more foolish as evidence mounts as to the real purpose and backing of their little trip of fancy to the ‘ice-free’ waters of the Antarctic.

When this debacle unfolded people started rummaging through their website. One page, that of their supporters, raised alarm bells.

It appears that taxpayers funds may have been used to promote this little warmist holiday camp on ice.

The Taxpayers Union followed up by contacting the New Zealand organisations listed and found some pleasant news…for taxpayers…and not so pleasant news for Chris Turney.

Following the¬†well publicised¬†case of global warming scientists being stuck in record pack ice in Antarctica (ironically the¬†expedition¬†was intended to study the dwindling sea ice) and the efforts to rescue them, the¬†Taxpayers’ Union¬†began enquiries late last year¬†to find out precisely how much taxpayers’ money the NZ¬†Government¬†“supporters” listed on the¬†exhibition’s¬†website¬†had contributed.

It appears that thankfully New Zealand taxpayers’ haven’t forked out the huge amounts feared. In fact, it appears that the¬†Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) is claiming at least one ‘supporter’ it doesn’t¬†have…

The¬†expedition’s¬†website¬†lists expedition supporters the Department of Conservation,¬†Landcare Research, and¬†the University of Waikato.

Despite asking the AAE leader (via email and his very active twitter account), and the media contacts at the University of New South Wales, no one would tell us how much kiwi taxpayers had contributed via the three agencies.

On 1 January we lodged Official Information Act requests with DoC, Landcare and the University of Waikato.

To DoC’s credit it responded by 8 January, stating that DoC were not participants in the expedition and therefore the information (i.e. what financial and non-financial support was given) does not exist. ¬† Read more »

Voter fury stops people voting

While the left-wing thinks that 800,000 voters didn’t vote for them and conjure up all sorts of conspiracy theories about why it is that people don’t vote, some people have actually conducted some research and found out the major reason people don’t vote is fury with politicians.

I guess they are working under the old anarchist proverb “Don’t vote it just encourages them.”

Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians, according to a Guardian/ICM poll analysing the disconnect between British people and their democracy.

The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout ‚Äď particularly among under-30s ‚Äď finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster.

Asked for the single word best describing “how or what you instinctively feel” about politics and politicians in general, 47% of respondents answered “angry”, against 25% who said they were chiefly “bored”. ¬† Read more »

Even Christmas isn’t safe from the lefties peddling their mythology

God loves a trier, and The Guardian is certainly trying and stretching with this article from Larry Elliot where he tries to tie Santa and Christmas into his socialist horror story about capitalism.

Up in the frozen north, it’s the busiest time of the year. At the world’s biggest toy production and distribution centre, the workforce is under pressure to fill the long list of outstanding orders to meet the Christmas Eve deadline. Outside, the snow lies crisp and deep and even, but inside Santa’s workshop the pace never slackens.

Actually, workshop is a misnomer. It was the rebranding consultants who came up with the idea of a “workshop” after a whistleblower revealed that Santa’s little helpers were underpaid, overworked and suffering from a range of stress-related illnesses. The workshop is actually the world’s biggest warehouse, millions of square feet of aisles filled with toy trains, books and computer games. ¬† Read more »

Daniel Hannan on judging blogs by their comment threads

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‚Äôs former correspondent at the European Parliament used to ask me the same question at every press conference. ‚ÄúSo does this mean you voted the same way as Jean-Marie Le Pen?‚ÄĚ

It‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď that you should drop an otherwise sensible idea because someone you don‚Äôt like agrees with you ‚Äď 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äútroll‚ÄĚ didn‚Äôt 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 »