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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Editors’ Code

Fleet Street Celebrates Total Victory Over Leveson. The Public Interest Is ‘Collateral Damage’.

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leveson header

This article started as a comment on an excellent piece in 'The Conversation'
by Steven Barnett, Professor of Communications, University of Westminster.

Politics versus public interest in battle over press regulation.

The Fleet Street Mafia has successfully subverted and corrupted our political leadership to ensure that Leveson has achieved nothing in bringing the worst excesses of the press under control.  In fact, if anything, press regulation is even weaker and less effective than before Lord Justice Leveson first assumed the chair of the inquiry.

The Leveson Inquiry.  A Waste Of Time And Public Money.

The Leveson Inquiry. A Waste Of Time And Public Money.

The whole exercise has been a farce and a waste of public money. Cameron and his cronies are so terrified of the press that they will do literally anything; change any policy, ignore any evidence, promote any untruth, in order to comply with the wishes of Murdoch, the Barclay Brothers or Paul Dacre.

IPSO, the replacement for the PCC, is even more corrupt, dishonest and fraudulent in its practice than its predecessor. It fails to enforce the Editors’ Code and instead finds excuses for publishers to breach the code as it suits them. It acts in expressly the opposite interest to that which it pretends. It seeks to support the interests of the press over the interests of the public at all stages.

IPSO’s new strategy to deal with troublesome and substantive complaints is simply to dismiss them, even without any consideration. The PCC would have made a play of investigating complaints before dismissing them but IPSO simply closes them down saying they do not raise any possible breaches of the code – even when they consist of blatant inaccuracy and distortion.

John Whittingdale MP.  Sycophant And Toady To The Press Barons.

John Whittingdale MP. Sycophant And Toady To The Press Barons.

The net effect of Leveson is to place the public in a worse position than before it started. We have gone backwards. The press is more powerful, politicians are supine. In the case of weak, corrupt individuals like John Whittingdale, he has become the servant of the press barons, doing their bidding, performing at their wish from inside government where he betrays the electorate and subverts our democracy.

Fleet Street is like the Wild West but with immunity against any consequences of any actions. The only hope that we have is the terminal decline of newspaper circulation and that the power of this unelected elite of editors and proprietors will crumble over time. It would help if our other media, particularly the BBC, would stop letting Fleet Street set the news agenda. We need to accelerate the move to online news content.

The whole corrupt edifice is well illustrated by the regular Sunday morning spectacle of Andrew Marr, a dyed in the wool Fleet Street stooge, interviewing low-rent tabloid hacks such as Amanda Platell or Jane Moore, before another servile chat with a government minister.  This defines the shabby, dishonest politicking within and around the Westminster bubble.

We do not have a a ‘free press’, we have an out of control, rampant, vested interest. While we need ‘freedom of the press’, in that journalists may investigate and publish the truth, we also need ‘freedom from the press’ and its bullying, self-serving control of our country and its political system.

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It’s Time To Stand Up To The Gangsters From The Fleet Street Mafia.

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Brooks Newmark, Victim.

Brooks Newmark, Victim.

There is no excuse for the Sunday Mirror’s entrapment of Brooks Newmark.  It clearly amounts to a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  For causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent the penalty is up to 10 years in jail and both the freelance journalist concerned and the Mirror’s weekend editor Alison Phillips should be charged forthwith.

The subterfuge involved is also in clear breach of the Editors’ Code and the newly created, sham press regulator, IPSO, should act.  Mind you that’s like asking the mafia to lock up its gangsters.  It’s not going to happen.  IPSO and the sickening parasites who set up this fraud as a successor to the corrupt PCC are the problem and no part of the solution.

Alison Phillips, Sexual Offender

Alison Phillips, Sexual Offender

The only defence to the use of subterfuge under the Editors’ Code is if it is in the public interest.  After their disgraceful record over many years, anyone who thinks that Fleet Street can judge what is in the public interest, must be a Daily Mail reporter.  This sting has achieved absolutely nothing except to show that a man is vulnerable to the provocative enticement of an extremely attractive woman.  Frankly, Brooks Newmark would be either gay or impotent if he wasn’t sorely tempted by the delicious 22-year-old Swedish model Malin Sahlén, whose photograph was stolen by the Mirror and used to entrap the MP.

This is all part of the sickening hypocrisy, prurience and dishonesty which pervades Fleet Street.  Just like the banks, our pathetic and weak leaders, even in the face of the Leveson Inquiry, allow so-called journalists to act with impunity.  These aren’t journalists, they are malevolent, predatory criminal abusers and they should face the full force of the law.  The crime is aggravated because it is committed for financial gain and is deeply corrupting of our media and our society.

Malin Sahlén.  Who Wouldn't?

Malin Sahlén. Who Wouldn’t?

Another side to Fleet Street’s abuse of its power and hypocrisy is the revolting Camilla Long of the Sunday Times, who has been instrumental in the harassment and malicious prosecution of Dave Lee Travis – another life sacrificed on the altar of Fleet Street malice.  This vile bitch, for there can be no other description has misused her power in the media to launch the most repellent attacks on a man who is clearly innocent of any criminal intent.  I don’t know what is behind her abuse.  Perhaps she is sexually frigid and socially inept, incapable of handling herself in a situation of mild flirtation.  More likely she is doing it for the money and if you take a moment to look at the smug, patronising drivel she writes in the Sunday Times, she is obviously in desperate need of material.

As if we didn’t know already that Cameron’s cowardly retreat from Leveson would result in more abuse from Fleet Street.  Newmark must feel an idiot and highly embarrassed but it seems to me he has done nothing wrong except as far as his wife is concerned.  That he was a government minister should have made him more cautious but should afford him stronger protection under the law, just as he might have a bodyguard or personal security against physical attack.  The offences against him should therefore result in very severe sentences and the Sunday Mirror should go the same way as the News of the World.

The Fleet Street Mafia Needs To Wake Up To The Fact That We Won’t Be Misled On Cannabis Any More.

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Rebecca Smith, The Daily Telegraph

Rebecca Smith, The Daily Telegraph

Rebecca Smith, health editor and Martha Gill, blogger, both of the Daily Telegraph have been getting a hard time in the comment threads of the pieces they published on cannabis yesterday and deservedly so.

Even casual use of cannabis alters brain, warn scientists. By Rebecca Smith.

Smoking cannabis will change you. That’s not a ‘risk’, it’s a certainty. By Martha Gill.

Rebecca Smith is by far the worst offender, publishing such gross distortions of the study she was reporting on that I have submitted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.  It’s dreadful that someone granted the title of health editor can be so casually ignorant of science, evidence and ready to mix up her opinion and wild speculation with just a smidgin of fact here and there.  Incidentally, I expect no satisfaction from the PCC.  Three years and nearly 100 complaints show that it is a deeply corrupt organisation that acts only in the interests of the press to find excuses for breaches of the Editors’ Code.  Its nothing to do with protecting readers from inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting.

Martha Gill, The Daily Telegraph

Martha Gill, The Daily Telegraph

Martha Gill does a bit better because she points out what a vacuous and meaningless piece of research Rebecca Smith has made such a fuss about.  But Martha, apparently, writes for the New Statesman on ‘neuroscience and politics’.  She’s entitled to her political views, which are self-evident given the publication concerned but on neuroscience, the clue is in the third and fourth syllables.  It’s science, not opinion and Martha is woefully out touch with the evidence.  If she’s not careful she”ll grow up into a mumsy moraliser like Libby Purves or Lowri Turner.  She should try reading Professor Gary Wenk, Professor David Nutt, Professor Les Iversen, Professor Peter Jones, Professor Terrie Moffitt or Professor Roger Pertwee.  They and many others could give her a grounding in the neuroscience of cannabis: it’s almost undetectable toxicity, its powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective qualities, its anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects.  Her sweeping statement that “cannabis bad for you” is simply wrong.  For most adults, in moderation, it’s beneficial.

Martha is also detached from reality and distant from the evidence, as is all of Fleet Street, when it comes to the risks of cannabis.  The endless screeds that are written about the risks of cannabis use correlating with schizophrenia or psychosis are ridiculous when you consider the evidence.  Hickman et al, 2009, a review of all published research so, by definition­, not cherry picked,  shows  the risk of lifetime cannabis use correlatin­g with a single diagnosis is at worst 0.013% and probably less than 0.003%.  By contrast, correlation between cigarette smoking and schizophrenia is 80% – 90% (Zammit et al, 2003) but when  do you ever read that in a newspaper?

I’m sorry you’re getting a hard time Rebecca and Martha but you and the ‘capos’ of the Fleet Street Mafia need to realise that people have had enough of your bad science, sensationalism and scaremongering about cannabis. The internet means we can’t be bullied and misinformed by newspapers anymore which is why your circulation is plummeting and journalists are held in ever lower esteem.  We know you’ve spent years supporting Big Booze with its £800 million pa advertising budget.  Obviously it’s desperate to hang on to its monopoly of recreational drugs but if you want to stay in business you’re going to have to start treating readers with respect and with facts and evidence, not baloney.

The Daily Telegraph has become a broadsheet-sized tabloid since it broke the MPs expenses scandal and it is genuinely difficult to distinguish its headlines, writing and content from The Daily Mail these days.

Of course, there’s a lot of rubbish in comment threads but there’s also a lot that’s better informed and considered than in the articles themselves.

People like cannabis, they find it effective, they know it’s safe. 5% of the population uses it regularly. That’s three times as many people as go to Catholic Church regularly.

Expect to be pulled to bits if you try to go back to bad science and reefer madness hysteria.  The world has moved on.

It’s Time To Put The Daily Mail Out Of Business.

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Paul Dacre, Editor of The Daily Mail,  Butcher of Truth.

Paul Dacre, Editor of The Daily Mail, Butcher of Truth.

Freedom of the press is a crucial ingredient of any free society but so is freedom from the press that habitually lies, misleads and distorts. This is the very essence of The Daily Mail. It is the way it does business. It is its editorial policy and its business strategy. If a story can be twisted, evidence misrepresented or opinion disguised as fact then that is the route that The Daily Mail will always choose.

I am no supporter of Red Ed but now I have a reason other than his delusional policies to feel sorry for him. The disgusting and shameful abuse of his father is beneath contempt but it is exactly what one would expect from the most vile and offensive man in the media, Paul ‘The Butcher’ Dacre.

Dacre is the butcher of truth, the master of distortion and the cause of great misery and misinformation throughout Britain.  No other individual has been responsible for more  ‘inaccurate, misleading and distorted’ reporting. Those are the words at the heart of the Editors’ Code which is supposed to determine the standards by which newspapers operate.  The Daily Mail’s editorial is defined by its direct contradiction to the requirements of the code.  It is not just in breach of it.  It is the antithesis of it.

The tragic irony is that Dacre chairs the Editors’ Code committee.  His perverse influence means he rules the Press Complaints Commission with an iron fist and it, despite the good intentions of its staff, is a laughing stock and a rubber stamp for whatever lies monsters like Dacre want to print.

There may be a silver lining in this latest despicable episode.  It just might give Cameron the backbone he needs to implement Leveson in full, to kick out the ‘capo di tutti capi’ of the Fleet Street mafia and restore some decency and truth to British journalism.

We Must Have Independent And Legally Binding Regulation Of the Press

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The Editors’ Code, a transparent complaints process and investigative powers all backed with the force of law is what we need.  The idea that this would be state control of the press is a fallacy but one that the newspaper barons, with their huge vested interests, massive resources and influence are pressing as hard as they can.

 ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring but the sacred freedom of the press!’

They’re trying to stitch us up with scare stories.  Pretending that some great principle is being infringed.  Now, where have I heard that before?  Oh yes, the press.

Who’s to say that we don’t already have state control of the press?  In extremis, the government would step in and impose any rules it wished.  Then,  idiots like Fraser Nelson of The Spectator would be two a penny and they could rot in jail.

Real life is not in extremis.  It is in  state of constant compromise.  We need to establish rules by which the press and all media must abide.  Compassion, respect and accuracy should be our principles but the idea that newspaper editors should regulate themselves is codswallop.

Broadcasters are required to provide balance, the press is not.  That is a privilege that must be balanced by a responsibility

“not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”

These are the exact words of the existing Editors’ Code. All we need to do is give them the force of law.  If we can make the press take  responsibility it will be to the great benefit of society.

My Lord Leveson, I submit.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm