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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Archive for the ‘The Media’ Category

The BBC’s Treatment Of Sir Cliff Richard Must Have Severe Consequences For The Individuals Responsible.

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Fran Unsworth, BBC Director of News and Current Affairs

Dan Johnson, BBC Reporter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There simply is no other option, Fran Unsworth and Dan Johnson must be sacked.

I could have been persuaded to let them resign but not since they have both supported the idea of an appeal, compounding the abuse of Sir Cliff.

This has been in inexcusable episode which has brought shame on the BBC.  It would have disgraced the News of the World if it was still with us but for this editorial decision to have been forced, repeatedly, and defended by the BBC at huge cost, really is a national scandal.

Sack them both now and apologise unreservedly. Anything less and the BBC will forever be diminished beyond any possibility of redemption – and think what that means to all the sincere, honourable, decent people who have worked there.

The brazen attempts to justify this abuse have damaged the BBC even further.  The public is sick of media abuse and of weak governments that repeatedly fail to stand up to powerful organisations.  The second part of the Leveson Inquiry was supposed to investigate collusion between the media and the police.  Only a few weeks ago, the then Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, cancelled it. There can be no doubt that this was designed only to appease the press barons in the interests of the Conservative Party.  Just days later, Murdoch’s takeover of Sky was approved as well. As in so many other instances, this government and its ministers are demonstrated to be corrupt and shameless with it.

If the BBC wants to be regarded in the same category as Murdoch, Dacre and the Barclay Brothers, by all means keep Unswortth and Johnson on staff.  The British public will never forgive you.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

July 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

MasterChef 2018

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Another immensely enjoyable series. Nothing on television absorbs me more and enables me to turn off and relax so effectively. Again this year, the contestants have achieved an extraordinary, almost unbelievable standard. It gets higher every year.

I will, as usual, nail my colours to the mast and predict the winner – Nawamin, the Thai doctor, champion of champions.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Posted in food, television, The Media

Tagged with ,

What Is This Alleged Anti-Semitism In The Labour Party? Is It A Secret? Does It Even Exist?

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London, UK. Friday 5th September 2012. ‘Freedom for Humanity’ a street art graffiti work by artist Mear One aka Kalen Ockerman on Hanbury Street near Brick Lane. Tower Hamlets has ordered that the mural be removed as the characters depicted as bankers have faces that look Jewish, and is therefore antisemitic.

My regular readers will know that I am no supporter of the Labour Party but I am bemused by the wall-to-wall coverage about what you would think is an extremely serious issue.

We have been given absolutely no explanation at all of what this is all about.

The only substance seems to be that in 2012, Corbyn commented on a Facebook post of a mural in East London which was about to be whitewashed over.  Apparently he agreed that as a piece of art it should be left alone.  Perhaps he didn’t look at it closely enough?  I don’t know and I really don’t care. Ferreting around in people’s old social media posts used to be the preserve of obsessive nutters, trolls and sad young wannabe journalists with nothing better to do.  Now it seems to be one of the BBC’s main ‘news’ sources.

If this mural is the sole reason for all this hyperbolic coverage, what exactly is the matter with the mural?  It lampoons some caricatures of Jews but it wasn’t long ago that we were encouraged to permit lampooning of images of Mohammed as free speech.  This is clear bias, a ridiculous amount of coverage and yet more proof that the BBC is increasingly focused by lobby groups for minorities to the detriment of the majority.

As for the Labour MPs sabotaging their party in puerile demonstrations outside Parliament, what is it all about? I asked on Twitter, “where and what is this anti-semitism” and I received just a couple of replies both referring me to the Twitter feed of a Jack Mendel who describes himself as the Web Editor of Jewish News UK.  The pinned tweet which is supposed to justify this hysteria can be seen here.

There is nothing to see. It’s a conspiracy theory more suited to a spotty, adolescent 14-year old locked in his bedroom stinking of smelly socks than anything remotely serious.

‘Witch hunt’, ‘McCarthyism’, call it what you will. These allegations of significant antisemitism are a smear campaign by an irresponsible BBC and the right wing press.
 
Anyone who denies the Holocaust is simply a fool and anyone who discriminates against those of the Jewish faith is just a sad idiot – but it’s not racism, religion is a choice.

On the evidence, and remember I am no supporter of Corbyn, the far more likely explanation is that this is a smear campaign which is really about the righteous opposition to the war criminal state of Israel and its apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people.

Darkest Hour.

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This film is brilliant. The first movie I have watched in years where it felt too short rather than too long. Instead of self indulgence from a director with far too high an opinion of his work, this is beautifully crafted, paced and at the end I was thinking “no, surely it can’t be over now?”

The final minute delivers the most massive emotional punch which had me reeling and as the credits began to roll the tears followed them down my face.

Just magnificent.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 22, 2018 at 9:20 am

BBC Executive Complaints Unit, Stage 3 Complaint Re: Interview Claiming ‘Cannabis More Harmful Than Heroin’.

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Louisa Philips Kulukundis

CLEAR has submitted a formal complaint to the BBC concerning its broadcast of the interview with Lousia Kulukundis in which she claimed that using heroin was safer than using cannabis.

BBC complaints are outsourced to Capita and are not actually considered by the BBC itself until they reach Stage 3, the ‘Executive Complaints Unit’.

From: Peter Reynolds
Sent: 22 September 2017 17:05
To: ‘ecu@bbc.co.uk’ <ecu@bbc.co.uk>
Subject: Request to review complaint CAS-4563673-ZNGCG0

Dear Sirs,

1. Please review the decision made in respect of this complaint.  The correspondence including complaints and responses at stages 1a and 1b are attached to this email.

2. The complaint concerns an interview with Louisa Kulukundis, a psychotherapist, a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  The interview was broadcast as part of ‘Newsbeat Documentary Cannabis:Time for a Change’ which was repeated frequently on the BBC News channel and is available online.  It was also included within the ‘Newsbeat Debate: Cannabis’ also broadcast on the BBC News channel and also available online.

A formal complaint about Ms Kulukundis’ conduct has also been made to the BACP.

During the interview Ms Kulukundis made the statement:

“I would say give me a room full of heroin addicts than skunk addicts. I remember saying to my older son I would prefer you to take heroin than to smoke skunk. There will be generations of kids with severe mental health issues.”

1.The points of complaint raised at 1b that need reconsideration are:

a. In broadcasting these comments which are dangerous, irresponsible and directly contradicted by all scientific and medical evidence, the BBC has acted negligently and endangered the lives of vulnerable, easily-influenced young people at whom this programme was targeted.

b. The relative danger and/or harms of heroin and cannabis cannot be justified as a matter of opinion or of ‘balance’ because they are clearly established scientific fact.

c. It is essential that the BBC should broadcast a correction with equal prominence and repeated as many times as the original programme. The BBC owes a duty of care to its viewers, particularly in the case of programmes for the young.  It must make clear that Ms Kulukundis’ words were incorrect, that heroin is hundreds of times more dangerous than cannabis to both physical and mental health and can lead to death.

Broadcasting this interview breaches the BBC Editorial Guidelines as follows:

a. “…we must give our audiences content made to the highest editorial and ethical standards.  Their trust depends on it.” 1.1

b. “ We must therefore balance our presumption of freedom of expression with our responsibilities…to provide appropriate protection for our audiences from harm.” 1.1

c. “Accuracy  is  not  simply  a  matter  of getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth.” 1.2.2

d. “…we  balance  our  right  to broadcast  innovative  and  challenging  content  with  our  responsibility  to  protect the vulnerable from harm…particularly  in  relation  to  the  protection of children.” 1.2.5

e. “We will be rigorous in establishing the truth of the story and well informed when explaining it.” 1.2.6

f. “We will always seek to safeguard the welfare of children and young people…while ensuring their dignity and  their  physical  and  emotional  welfare  is  protected  during  the  making  and broadcast of our output.  Content which might be unsuitable for children will be scheduled appropriately.” 1.2.9

g. “…accuracy  must  be  adequate  and  appropriate  to the  output,  taking  account  of  the  subject  and  nature  of  the  content,  the  likely audience expectation and any signposting that may influence that expectation.” 3.1

h. “Accuracy   is   not   simply   a   matter   of   getting   facts   right… we should check and cross check facts…corroborate claims and allegations made by contributors.” 3.1

i. “The  BBC  must  not  knowingly  and  materially  mislead  its  audiences.    We should  not  distort  known  facts,  present  invented  material  as  fact  or  otherwise undermine our audiences’ trust in our content.” 3.2.3

j. “We should normally acknowledge serious factual errors and correct them quickly, clearly and appropriately.” 3.2.4

k. “ In  all  our  content  we  must  check  and  verify  information,  facts  and documents,  where  required  to  achieve  due accuracy.” 3.4.2

l. “We should not   automatically   assume   that   the   material   is   accurate   and   should   take reasonable  steps,  depending  on  how  it  is  to  be  used  and  if  necessary  to achieve due accuracy, to seek verification.” 3.4.3

m. “We  must  not  knowingly  and  materially  mislead  our  audiences  with  our content.” 3.4.11

n. “We should consider the emotional impact pictures and personal testimony can have on perceptions of risk when not supported by the balance of argument.  If a  contributor’s  view  is  contrary  to  majority  opinion,  the  demands  of  due accuracy and due impartiality may require us to make this clear.” 3.4.21

o. “We should normally acknowledge serious factual errors and correct such mistakes quickly, clearly and appropriately.  Inaccuracy may lead to a complaint of  unfairness.    An  effective  way  of  correcting  a  mistake  is  saying  what  was wrong as well as putting it right.” 3.4.26

p. “When dealing with ‘controversial subjects’…Opinion   should   be   clearly distinguished from fact.” 4.4.7

q. “…when   personal   view   programmes…cover  ‘controversial  subjects’…we should:…retain a respect for factual accuracy.” 4.4.30

r. “The  BBC  must  apply  generally  accepted  standards  so  as  to  provide adequate  protection  for  members  of  the  public  from the  inclusion  of  offensive and harmful material.” 5.2.1

s. “We  must  not  broadcast  material  that  might  seriously  impair  the  physical, mental or moral development of children and young people.” 5.2.2

t. “…deal  with  all  aspects  of  illegal  drug  use…with due accuracy.” 5.4.42

I am happy to provide further information, evidence or detail on any aspect of this complaint.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Reynolds

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 25, 2017 at 12:22 pm

We Should Encourage Peter Hitchens In His Bombastic Ways.

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Peter Hitchens clearly doesn’t realise what a turn off his rude, boorish behaviour is to 90% of people who watch him on TV. Of course, to the small minority who agree with him, it’s very effective rabble rousing just like an Islamist fanatic or a hard right hatemonger.  That’s exactly how he looks to most people and really we should encourage him to do more of the same.

Peter’s performance on BBC Sunday Morning Live followed a pattern all too-familiar to those who understand his tactics. Through such occasions his tone becomes increasingly strident, he interrupts everyone repeatedly, complains that no one has read his book, throws in a wild and dishonest claim about cannabis and mental health, then goes into full tantrum mode complaining he’s never allowed to finish his point.

He was accompanied today by David Raynes, the retired-in-disgrace, ex-customs officer who is well trained in Hitchens’ techniques. With a career one step up from a security guard, he now holds himself out as some sort of scientific and medical expert and has a ready made reefer madness story to add in while partnering with Hitchens on the interrupting, talking over and hectoring of other guests.

The moderation of the debate by Sean Fletcher was weak, ineffectual and really rather pathetic but I do sympathise.  Hitchens is a Machiavellian, calculated subverter of debate and only the very strongest can handle him.

But it’s clear that nowadays he digs himself deeper and deeper the more hysterical he becomes and the angrier he is, the more the weakness of his arguments is exposed.  Carry on Peter, you’re doing our job for us now.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 24, 2017 at 9:51 am

The Daily Telegraph Misrepresents ‘Skunk’ Cannabis Mental Health Cases With Figure of 82,000. True Figure is 1,600.

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Martina Lees

Two almost identical articles were published in The Daily Telegraph on 11th and 12th August 2017

Does smoking skunk trigger psychosis? And if so… why aren’t we doing more about it?

The secrets of skunk

In both articles, journalist Martina Lees wrote that:

“…hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders have more than doubled over the past decade, to almost 82,000 a year. Most are believed to be cannabis-related.”

This is a combination of wildly misleading manipulation of data and brazen falsehood.

Hospital Episode Statistics are maintained in great detail by the NHS using a system of coding called ICD10 – a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). containing codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases.

The specific code for ‘mental and behavioural disorders due to use of cannabinoids’ is F12.  For the past 11 years, ‘finished admission episodes’ (FAE) for F12 have averaged 973, so the claim that most of the 82,000 are cannabis-related is simply false. (Unless of course, Ms Lees is going to claim she made a mistake.)

So where does the extraordinary figure of 82,000 come from (the exact figure is 81,904)?

Firstly, it is for all illicit drugs or ‘drug misuse’ including the following ICD10 codes:

F11 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of opioids
F12 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of cannabinoids
F13 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of sedatives or hypnotics
F14 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of cocaine
F15 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of other stimulants, including caffeine
F16 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of hallucinogens
F18 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of volatile solvents
F19 Mental and behavioural disorders due to multiple drug use and use of other psychoactive substances

Secondly, the figure is not just for primary diagnosis but for secondary diagnosis.  So the primary reason for one of these cases might be a broken leg or any other medical condition. The secondary diagnosis might be that the person was high on speed or any of the drugs mentioned.  The primary diagnoses for all these codes adds up to about 8,000 FAEs but the figure is inflated ten-fold by the inclusion of secondary diagnoses.  Why do this?  Why have the figures been presented in this way?  With what purpose?

If the whole premise of her article is about the mental health effects of cannabis, why does Martina Lees use this massively larger figure for all illicit drugs when the specific figure for cannabinoids is easily available?  And if the purpose of the article is to investigate the effect of cannabis on mental health, why look at secondary diagnoses – except that it handily inflates the figure ten-fold?

Three other important points about this data:

1. ‘Finished admission episodes’ is not the same as people, its caseload, so those 1606 cases in 2015-16 almost certainly includes cases where the same person has been admitted more than once.

2. ‘Cannabinoids’ includes synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice and anyone with any knowledge of current affairs will know how problems with Spice have exploded in recent years.  It is a fact that Spice is much more harmful to mental health than cannabis so the increase in F12 FAEs in recent years is almost certainly explained by this.

3.  I’m not a believer in always comparing any data about cannabis with equivalent data for alcohol but it is worth noting, to put these figures into perspective, in 2015-16 the number of FAEs for mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol was 44,491.   As there about 10 times more people use alcohol regularly than cannabis, that means anyone is nearly three times as likely to be admitted for ‘alcohol psychosis’ as ‘cannabis psychosis’.

I have written to Martina Lees asking her to comment on this data and explain why she has used it in such misleading fashion.