Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

Debate around the web

In links on September 25, 2009 at 4:03 pm

The Daily Telegraph has said that it paid £110,000 for the data about MPs expenses. Assistant editor Andrew Pierce said:

“So far the taxpayer has been reimbursed by MPs £500,000, and there will be more” and described it as “money well spent in the public interest

Harry’s Place has criticised an interview on 5Live with a reporter from Press TV:

“The BBC are not telling their listeners that Press TV are a Iranian government funded operation, the station’s slavish support of the regime, and the problems they have had with impartiality.

According to the Guardian, the situation of Notts County shows the limits of the football league’s “fit and proper person test” for directors. It is an example of self-regulation. The Guardian says:

Lord Mawhinney, the League’s chairman, told the government this summer that he would be “happy to work with the FA and Premier League” to see how the rules could be “strengthened appropriately, including how they might be applied prospectively”.


Debate around the web

In links on September 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm

The Evening Standard has corrected a report from TUC conference about a motion concerning high heels in the workplace. Mark Pack writes:

“Credit where credit’s due: the Evening Standard was one of the media outlets which ran pieces wrongly reporting the TUC as wanting to ban high heels.”

The Daily Mail and the Evening Standard have paid damages to Ali Dizaei. The Guardian quotes the Black Police Officers Assocaition:

“The article suggested that Commander Dizaei was involved in a bigamous marriage to Mrs Dizaei. Bigamy is a criminal act which carries a sentence of seven years,”

Roy Greenslade reports the details of how Fabio Capello won his complaint against the Daily Mail and the News of the World:

“The PCC has been assiduous in the last couple of years in dealing with complaints made discreetly by people worried about their privacy being compromised . . . The PCC has also been eager to show that people do not need to seek redress from the courts.”

Alastair Campbell suggests that the press treat the Tories differently from Labour:

“If you read in a newspaper that ‘Unemployment could top five million if the Labour government continues with its economic policies, a leading economist warned,’ and if the leading economist turned out to be a former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, Professor David Blanchflower, do you think that you might read more than two sentences in a couple of broadsheets?

The editors’ code committee has announced a revision of the code of practice. Of particular interest is the revision to the definition of the public interest:

“Whenever the public interest is invoked, the PCC will require editors to demonstrate fully how the public interest was served that they reasonably believed that publication, or journalistic activity undertaken with a view to publication, would be in the public interest.

BBC News reports the Independent Police Complaints Commission has announced an 8% increase in complaints in the last year. Chairman Nick Hardwick says:

“At a time when politicians and the police are debating public confidence in the police and how to make them more accountable, the complaint figures published today give a strong indication of what the public want sorted out. Complaints about rude and late officers consistently top complaint categories and work to address this can have a positive impact.

Debate around the web

In links on September 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Alasdair Palmer in the Telegraph writes:

“The BBC is the only public body whose accounts aren’t checked by the National Audit Office. No wonder its bosses have no concept of value for money

Iain Dale takes James Macintyre of the New Statesman to task for an article accusing the Tories of racism. The following exchange is particularly interesting:

Q. Why was the article removed, and was it done with your knowledge?
A. No comment.

Pickled politics says that a shortage of junior doctors is partly due to tabloid newspapers:

“Thanks to the tabloids and the EU, we now don’t have enough people to heal the sick. The incompetence is striking.

Tom Watson MP criticises a news report from Cathy Newman of Channel 4 which inaccurately said that the Tories were responsible for the Westfield shopping development:

“Either the Tories hoodwinked Cathy Newman when briefing her or she’s willingly broadcast a misleading story.

Debate around the web

In links on September 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Media Guardian reports that the government is to conduct a review of libel laws, particularly as they relate to online content:

“Existing defamation law needs to be updated so it is fit for the modern age, and it is important we listen to views on the best way to achieve this”, said Jack Straw, the secretary of state for justice. “Freedom to hold and express opinions is a right that is vital to democracy.”

Press Gazette report a poll of journalists which found that more than half across Europe fear a decrease in standards as a result of the economic pressures in the industry:

Almost two in three of all respondents believed that the number of printed media will shrink dramatically in the near future and 32 per cent of journalists in the survey thought that their print publication or broadcast could be taken off the market altogether.

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has attacked the BBC Trust:

“I know of no other area of public life where – as is the case with the Trust – the same body is both regulator and cheerleader.”

The Guardian has sprung to the defence of one of its correspondents who attracted the attention of Quentin Letts:

“Sources close to Miss Slinky point out that during the PM’s speech . . . Miss Slinky wasn’t, by then, actually in the auditorium, as her website deadlines meant she was busy in the newsroom filing copy.

Debate around the web

In links on September 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

There’s some controversy over a Daily Mail story reporting the protests in Washington DC against Barack Obama’s healthcare plan. The number of protestors in attendance is in some doubt. The page title of the article suggests that the article originally claimed “up to two million” attended whilst the headline currently reads “a million march”. Some of the most popular comments suggest that there were only tens of thousands. The debate has been taken up on the Wardman Wire.

The Daily Mail has apologised today for an article which originally appeared on 25 May 2007.

Tim Toulmin is to step down as the director of the PCC. Roy Greenslade writes:

“Toulmin has no immediate plans to obtain another job. He is taking on some unspecified “projects” and, in the short term, is looking forward to a restful period that includes “having a lot of fun. His job will now be advertised in national newspapers. Interviews, due to take place in October, will be conducted by a panel appointed by the PCC’s board. The capable deputy director, Stephen Abell – widely known by his nickname, Stig – is my tip for the job.”

The Guardian reports that Michael Palin is “very angry” and “very let down” after being censured by the BBC Trust.

“The complaint was upheld. That, I believe, brings the BBC into disrepute. I think it was a stupid decision. I felt very, very angry and very let down,” Palin told a Royal Television Society veterans’ lunch.

Debate around the web

In links on September 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Former Chancellor Nigel Lawson has called for stricter regulation of banks but a light touch regulation of other financial institutions – a sort of variagated regulation – via ConservativeHome.

Harry’s Place covers the account of someone who worked inside Press TV:

“There are a number of instructive vignettes concerning life at Press TV. You will enjoy reading about the horror of channel director, Mohammad Sarafraz, at finding photograph of a Press TV employee in a bikini on a Facebook page. His response: to circulate a photograph of the employee within Press TV, while issuing an injunction against ‘friending’ other employees.

There’s an interesting submission to the media select committee about the BBC’s complaints process:

“The procedure is extraordinarily lengthy and bureaucratic. . . At each stage of the procedure, BBC personnel defending the coverage are given the last word and use it to raise new points which the complainant does not get an opportunity to address.

George Monbiot has published correspondence with The Spectator about climate change:

“There are thousands of people out there making crazy and demonstrably false claims, about everything from the shape of the earth to seven-foot lizards, but none of them are worth staging an event for. Why him? It reinforces my observation that otherwise-sane editors take leave of their senses when it comes to climate change.

Debate around the web

In links on September 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Matt Wardman writes about how self-declared terrorism expert Glen Jenvey, acting as an agent provocateur under the name of Abu Islam, created a false story by posting allegations on an Internet forum, and then passed that story to the national press on his own behalf and made the front page of the Sun.

“There is also a more potentially sinister aspect – that of gung-ho coverage of anti-Islam stories in the British media provoked and seeded by commentators whose political attitudes are sympathetic to such stories. A good example of this style of coverage was the inflammatory coverage of the demonstration by approximately 20 extremists during a parade of soldiers returned from Basra in Luton, in March this year. By contrast, a far more balanced report was published by the Nofolk Unity blog.

This is another story which asks serious questions of the quality and professionalism of the processes of journalism in our national media

Anton Vowel reports:

“The Mail don’t skew everything, and very often their straight reportage is insightful . . . The sadness for me comes that after a rather good piece of news reporting from the Mail, there’s a predictable response in the comments.

The owner of the Guardian and the Observer has rebutted inaccurate reporting of the future of the Observer:

“It is not accurate to characterise GNM’s review of operations as a plan to shut the Observer. The review is an ongoing examination of all GNM’s operations, ruling nothing in and nothing out, with the full endorsement at all stages of the group board and the Scott Trust

Judith Townend writes about 4IP backed website Timetric. Boss Andrew Walkingshaw says:

“If you look in a newspaper, an entire sports section, the weather section, the City section: all those are data driven. What’s really interesting is that data confined to these areas is beginning to bleed out into editorial and opinion, where [normally you’d only see] polling and opinion surveys.

Alex Brummer of City AM, writing for about journalism’s role in the financial crisis says:

‘Far from scaring people, the press were providing readers with reliable information’

Ofcom has announced that the BBC iPlayer and 4OD will be regulated by the Association for Television on Demand in the first instance – and the Advertising Standards Authority for advertising – with the regulator retaining backstop powers – in a system of co-regulation.

Guy Black (former director of the PCC) has been appointed the chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance which determines the PCC’s annual budget.

Ofcom has criticised the Jeremy Kyle show for failing to edit out swearing.

Debate around the web

In links on September 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Tara Hamilton Miller‘s article ‘How cool are David Cameron’s Conservatives?’ has attracted criticism around the web, particularly from Hopi Sen. However, the comment section of the article itself was particularly critical.

Picked Politics criticises the coverage of the ‘most popular names’ story which reported (again) the growing popularity of Muhammad and its variations.

The Guardian reports a judge in Portugal has banned sales of a book about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Dr Silcock, Tweeting from the Future of Journalism conference suggests that the PCC develops a more proactive capacity (which it would probably argue it already does very well) and also:

  • John Horgan‘s comments: Journalism needs regulation like the Titanic needed deck chairs
  • 97% of PCC complaints concern trivial matters

Tim Ireland disputes Julie Moult’s understanding of Twitter after an article suggested Sarah Brown was given the cold shoulder by Demi Moore on Twitter.

And finally, in the corrections column of today’s Guardian, the newspaper mis-spells management.

Debate around the web

In links on September 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm


“Is there any journalist in Australia who isn’t currently endorsing a product, organisation or PR agency?”

The Guardian reports that bcap, the body which governs the rules relating to broadcast advertising has:

“delayed publication of the results of a controversial review of the UK advertising code, which includes proposals that could allow abortion clinics to run TV commercials, until next year after receiving around 4,000 submissions.

Michael Kinsley, of the Washington Post, says of the New York Times corrections column:

“Although the purpose of this column is to demonstrate the Times’s rectitude about taking facts seriously, the facts it corrects are generally so bizarre or trivial and its tone so schoolmarmish that the effect is to make the whole pursuit of factual accuracy seem ridiculous.

Judith Townend is complaining about an article in The Independent which criticises online media for passing on inaccuracies. The article itself repeats an inaccurate story from uncorrected newspaper clippings.

“The irony is this: the inaccuracy repeated by Smith occurred as a result of stubborn mainstream journalism habits. Why don’t the newspapers correct the copy? Responsibility isn’t always taken by named and supposedly accountable writers either.

Philip Stevens writes about the Murdoch view of Ofcom:

“News Corp should not be immune. It wants Ofcom emasculated, supposedly in the cause of competition. But that sits uneasily with its own behaviour. Mr Murdoch senior, some will recall, did his best to use his pricing power to drive out competitors from the newspaper market during the 1990s. A current investigation into BSkyB’s monopoly in the pay-television market may explain some of his son’s antipathy towards Ofcom. Mr Murdoch wants regulation when it suits him – hence BSkyB’s request that Ofcom rein back the expansion into new media of the telecommunications company BT.

Iain Dale reports an apology from the Daily Mail who confused David Davis MP and David Davis of the Libertarian Alliance. The original article, highlighted by Dale appeared on Friday 4 September.

Anton Vowel noticed on Twitter:

“Today’s Star: JACK ‘RAPE’ CAUGHT ON TAPE. Story: “Cops are desperate to find out if the alleged incident might have been filmed…”

Debate around the web

In links on September 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm

David Hencke has criticised the lobby system in parliament suggesting that the close relationships between ministers and journalists prevent proper scrutiny of the government.

“One glaring example was the planned part-privatisation of the Post Office. All newspapers reported that the government was legislating to sell off a third. Had anyone checked the parliamentary bill, they would have found that the legislation gave the government the right to sell half of it.

Roy Greenslade reports a mea culpa from Michael Parkinson over his abilities as a columnist:

“When I became Mirror editor in 1990 one of my first acts was to relieve Mr Parkinson of his hapless, hopeless and terrible column . . . I am delighted that almost 20 years later he has had the honesty to own up to his shortcomings.

Jon Bernstein reports on misleading media articles regarding the government’s social media strategy:

“There were some obvious inaccuracies, not least the job title, worthy of correction. As yet, scanning the print and online versions of these publications, no corrections have been made.

TechCrunch reports inconsistencies between the New York Times’ principles and the position of columnist David Pogue:

The one thing the NY Times has is its brand and its people. They aren’t first to stories but they generally get things right. Trying to hide conflicts of interest hurts that brand, particularly when they hide, hypocritically, behind an ethics statement that prohibits the behavior they’re hiding. It’s far better to keep everything in the open. Transparency is what’s important, not appearances.

Danny Baker talks to Media Guardian about his return to Five Live:

“The encroaching, suffocating layers of management who are surrounding all of it now will probably stop that just for the hell of it. Health and safety, I don’t know, but it probably will get stopped. I don’t think the public care one way or another as long as the show is any good.

Manchester United are threatening to sue Le Havre after widely reported allegations regarding the tapping up of one its youth players. The club deny the allegations which were widely reported in the British press this morning.

“In response to the wholly unfounded comments widely reported in the media of Le Havre AC President, Jean-Pierre Louvel, Manchester United wish to categorically confirm that as a matter of club policy and in accordance with the applicable football regulations, we do not offer inducements to the parents of players who sign for the club such as monetary payments or the purchase of houses,”