Tag Archives: Guido Fawkes

A BBC Producer, Guido And Me

The antics of Britain’s news media in the last few weeks have been, to say the least, discomfiting and laughable in equal measure. From the production of anti-Corbyn smears to their fulsome and unquestioning support for the government’s vague position on the Skripal poisoning case, the media has shown itself incapable of critical analysis and devoid of professional curiosity. It has, instead, resorted to smearing the leader of the opposition, who advised a more cautious, even statesman-like approach. For his trouble, he was smeared by the government, the media and even some members of his own party, most notably the MP for BAe Systems, John Woodcock.

The BBC has been especially poor and has recently taken to sourcing news stories from the disreputable flak machine that’s Guido Fawkes. I wrote about the site in this article from 2012.

Last October, as I watching The Daily Politics, I’d noticed that the editorial team had sourced an item about Labour MP, Jared O’Mara, from Guido. I took to Twitter to express my disgust and disbelief.

On Monday, anticipating a smear story that was about to break, I took to Twitter again after it emerged that the BBC and other news organizations, had sourced a story from Guido.

This morning I noticed there had been a reply from someone claiming to work as a producer for Radio 4 ‘s You and Yours.

The arrogance here is astonishing.

I responded, first by telling him he was “projecting”, then I quoted his tweet, so that everyone could see what kind of people work for the BBC.

Mousley has yet to respond. But if this is how one BBC employee replies to viewers and listeners, then it’s a fair bet that this high-handed, smug attitude is consistent throughout the Corporation. If Mousley deletes the tweet, then I have a screen shot.

We expect better from our news providers, but when they produce blatant propaganda pieces and repeat smear stories sourced from sites like Guido, then they no longer deserve the trust and support of the public.

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Filed under BBC, Free Press Myth, Media, Yellow journalism

Nothing To See Here. Move Along, Please…

If you only took your news from television, radio or the right-wing press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Labour Party is uniquely violent, sexist and anti-Semitic, and the Tories are a party of fair-minded individuals, who stand up for the rights of oppressed minorities. That’s not only the image the political hacks want to give us, it’s a narrative that’s pushed out regularly and supported by a conspiracy of silence over the misdeeds of Tory MPs. But every now and again, a story comes along that disrupts that image. Today was one of those days and you could quite literally hear the wagons being hastily circled as the mainstream media outlets desperately attempted a damage limitation exercise on behalf of the Tories.

After the furore over Jared O’Mara’s sexist comments he made 15 years ago, and Clive Lewis’s use of the word ‘bitch’ in a conference event hosted by Novara Media, the Tories were quick out of the traps with their condemnations, with Nusrat Ghani demanding an “urgent debate” on the matter.  Here she is, claiming on Twitter that sexism and misogyny is “systemic” in the Labour Party.

Doesn’t she look the fool? She doesn’t think so, but then Tories have never been self-aware and as for thinking, they just don’t do it. Ghani herself says absolutely nothing about Boris Johnson’s numerous racist outbursts. But when it comes to racists in their own party, Tory MPs like Ghani are noticeably silent. The London-centric media is also silent and yet, the weakest accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party are treated with great seriousness.

The BBC for its part, sourced the story from Guido Fawkes, a site with a less than unblemished reputation and whose founder, Paul Staines, a self-styled ‘libertarian’ has a love for tyrants. Indeed, as many people on Twitter pointed out, Guido has used the word ‘bitch’ not once, not twice but several times, and yet, the BBC and their allies in the Tory Party seemed, apparently, to be unaware of this. Can you imagine the BBC sourcing a story from The Canary or Evolve Politics? No, I can’t either.

This morning it was revealed that at least two Tory MPs have been accused of sexual harassment and sexism. But to see the Tories on today’s political programmes, you’d think nothing had happened. Isabel ‘Poison Ivy’ Oakeshott and Julia Hartley-Brewer, who appeared on The Andrew Marr Show and The Sunday Politics respectively, said in not so many words, “nothing to see here” and made excuses and yet, if these had been Labour MPs, they’d have been unrestrained in their condemnation and would have demanded the pair’s immediate dismissal.

Here’s Poison Ivy on Gove.

Here’s Hartley-Brewer attacking Bianca Jagger for daring to suggest that Poison Ivy apologized for “sex pests”.

No, Julia, she (Poison Ivy) didn’t have to directly apologize but she gave the impression, like you, that there was nothing to worry about.

In the tweet below, Hartley-Brewer suggests that stories of Tory sexual predators amounted to a “witch hunt”. Again, if Labour MPs had been involved, the words “witch hunt” wouldn’t appear and it would be taken as fait accompli that the MPs concerned were guilty of sexism and much else besides.

Hartley-Brewer’s position seems a little confused. This should come as no surprise, and if you’ve ever seen her on Question Time, she swings about in the wind, hoping to attract the maximum amount of applause from the audience for her ‘common sense’ views – muddled as they are. Hartley-Brewer only cares about one person: herself.

Changing the subject slightly, Hartley-Brewer, is rather fond of her schoolgirl jibes. For a supposedly ‘serious’ political commentator, she’s comes across as petty and immature. No wonder Westminster politics is in such a terrible mess when we have commentators behaving like school kids and politicians indulging in childish insults, while at the same time, infantilizing the voting public.

Here’s an example of her childish name-calling on today’s edition of The Sunday Politics.

The acrid stench of hypocrisy hangs over the pair of them, and their Tory pals.

We’re being poorly served by a weak government that has no policies, and a commentariat that thinks juvenile name-calling  and piss-poor opinion passes for serious journalism. Oh, how they squeal when those they defend are outed as sex pests.

As Corporal Jones often said in Dad’s Army: “They don’t like it up ’em”.

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Filed under Media, Television

Plural media or supine media? The right’s media claims don’t stack up

Jeremy Rhyming-Slang: Murdoch can count on him to do the 'right' thing

There are many right-whingers in this country who constantly moan about ‘BBC bias’. It seems to me that none of them actually pay any attention the BBC’s news output, particularly with regards to corporation’s reportage of the recent student protests. Throughout its history, the BBC has been more biased against the left and the working class than it has the right: the General Strike of 1929, the Battle of Orgreave Colliery are a couple of examples of this tendency. Then, in the aftermath of the 9/11, old footage of celebrating Palestinians was grafted onto current footage to help reinforce the myth that all Muslims hate America (this ignores the fact that there are Christian Palestinians). These are examples of real bias yet the right say nothing – and for obvious reasons.

Make no mistake, the right’s claim that the BBC is ‘biased against them’ is a nothing more than a manifestation of control freakery. They won’t be content until all the news media of this country reflects their views. Guido Fawkes blog tells us that “breaking up the BBC” will actually create a “plural media”. The subtext to this demand is that right-wingers like Staines want Murdoch to increase his stake in BSkyB. Murdoch already owns The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, The News of the World, Times Educational Supplement, The Times Literary Supplement and publishers Harper Collins.  Staines says,

The BBC must therefore be an even worse threat to “media plurality”, particularly when one considers that it is protected from fair competition by a state subsidy via taxation. Somehow this doesn’t worry the Guardian, which is hardly surprising because BBC News often feels like the broadcast arm of that paper. When one considers that the BBC overwhelmingly recruits from its pages the Guardian-BBC axis is abundantly clear.

The fact that media jobs (note I said media jobs) are advertised in The Guardian is not an indication of media bias any more than teaching jobs advertised in the Murdoch-owned TES will necessarily attract an overwhelming number of right wing, Tory- voting teachers. It’s a facile assertion. What Staines fails to understand is that the numbers of media jobs advertised in The Times and The Telegraph are fewer than in The Guardian because their media sections are smaller. The Guardian has had a dedicated media section for a number of years. This has not been the case with the right wing press.

Douglas Carswell chimes in with this

Creating a framework that allows local TV to flourish – and without public funds – would give a real boost to localism.  A patchwork of local TV stations across the country would help folk keep tabs on their ever more autonomous council – and their directly-elected police commissioner and mayor.

Besides, it would, as Guido suggests, give us a more decentralised, more plural media.

These TV stations will more than likely be bought up by larger concerns. This is exactly what happened to many local newspapers in the 1980’s which were bought up by larger publishing companies. As for a “plural media” how exactly will this be achieved by creating ‘local television stations’? ITV franchises like Anglia, Thames and Granada once provided quality local news until deregulation forced them to consolidate. Localism, my eye.

When the Broadcasting Act (1990) was passed, the Major government claimed that it would lead to more ‘choice’. 19 years after the Act was passed, it has led to dilution, repetition, dumbing down and a greater choice of rubbish. Television companies, including the BBC,  have been involved in a race to the bottom since the Act was passed. Commercial radio has fared even worse with much of the music output, for instance, duplicated across channels.  Interestingly enough the Act also provided a convenient loophole to protect Murdoch’s Sky which was defined as a “non-UK service”.

What the Tories and their supporters actually want is a supine media that disseminates their ideology and only asks polticians what Americans call ‘softball questions’. They want a British equivalent of Fox News which, in spite of its name, contains very little news and a lot of right wing opinion. Fox News, as Chomsky and Herman observe, is little more than an “unofficial ministry of information”. No doubt this is what Jeremy Hunt and his supporters want to see. Not content with having most of the newspapers on their side, they want control of the rest of the media too.

The last thing this country needs is to have the likes of Richard Littlejohn or Nick Ferrari elevated to the same status as Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity in the States.

Don’t let Murdoch get his own way. Please sign the petition.

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Filed under allegations of bias, Media, News Corporation, Society & culture, television, Tory press

And they’re off!

The rush to paint Ed Miliband as ‘red’ has moved into overdrive a mere 2 days after his win was announced.

The Honourable Tobes has produced this blog where he repeats the line that Microband is a ‘deficit denier’.

Ed Miliband’s tax-and-spend approach to the economy, by contrast, would plunge Britain into a far more dire fiscal crisis which would eventually mean more swingeing cuts than those likely to be proposed in the CSR. If we want to see the consequences of insufficient fiscal tightening, we only have to look at Greece or, more recently, Portugal.

Thing is, Eddie hasn’t said a dickie about taxing and spending; this is just a presumption that is based on the flawed thesis that Labour is a ‘socialist’ party. He continues,

So I was delighted when the IMF confirmed today that the British economy is on the mend and praised the Coalition for its hardline approach.

Ah, the IMF…we must always trust what the IMF has to say. I mean, they are, after all, the sages of late capitalism. The IMF always support austerity measures since the slashing of public spending is the usual condition that is attached to their loans.  The IMF cares nothing for the poor; it’s all collateral damage; a price worth paying and poorer countries hurt the most.  Hon Tobes links to this Torygraph article which says that,

The IMF’s unequivocal endorsement of the Coalition’s proposals, which comes the day before Ed Miliband’s first speech as Labour Party leader, will be seized on by ministers as they hit back at opposition claims that the cuts will damage growth.

This is quite obviously the Telegraph’s idea of a shot over Microband’s bows.

Other articles and blogs have muttered darkly about alleged electoral misdeeds that led to Eddie’s leadership victory. This one by Guido Fawkes is typical,

Unite the Union broke not only the spirit but the letter of the leadership election laws by sending a mailshot endorsing Ed when they sent the ballot papers to their 950,000 members.  Unite even set up a website backing Red Ed which linked to the Electoral Reform Society’s online voting page. If David Miliband had a little less dignity he would have pretty solid grounds for an investigation.

Really? Excuse me while I roll my eyes but isn’t the party that our Fawkesie supports funded by a load of millionaire tax exiles and private interests? The thrust of Guido’s blog is that Miliband is a creature of the evil unions and as such will only do their bidding. Hang on, didn’t the unions support Tony Blair in his leadership bid? Is Blair a ‘red’ too?

Here’s a classic from the Taxpayers Alliance,

While one does not like to get involved the internal family matters of others I feel that it would do Labour more good than harm to cut off its formal links with the trade unions and in so doing cut off the rumours that its leader owes a debt to those unions.

I have a suggestion: why doesn’t the Conservative Party sever its links with its millionaire backers? Let’s not forget that while the TPA poses as a ‘non-partisan’ organization, it is supported by many Conservatives and operates as an unofficial flak machine.

I expect to see more stuff and nonsense in the next couple of weeks. The Tory Party conference is next week and this will provide a perfect opportunity for the faithful to chuck out a few jibes about Stalinism and the USSR. I can’t wait…

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Filed under Government & politics, Labour, Labour leadership contest, Public spending