Archive for August, 2011

Exactly what beef does Roy Greenslade have with freedom of speech?

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Editorial in south london guardian

Bring back hanging: Greenslade doesn't approve

The Pythia of Journalism has jumped on his high horse and is waving his red knickers in the air. A mixed metaphor, I know, but an arresting image which I hope you will forgive once you know the facts.

The object of Greenslade’s outrage: that the group editor of Newsquest south London – publishers of the Surrey Comet, Richmond Times and various freebie Guardians and websites across SW London – that this self-same group editor, Andrew Parkes, should dare pen and let alone publish an Editorial in  – get this – Local Newspapers! Shame on him! For hath it not been written in the First Book of Greenslade: No editor (or editrix) of a newspaper be it ever so local or ever so humble shall comment – on pain of a thunderbolt from the slightly wonky eyes of Pythia himself – on any subject which may affect (NOT “impact on”, mind) their readers.

Pythia opines: “It is virtually unprecedented for local papers to publish hysterically right-wing opinions.” Yer-what? Unprecedented? Since when? Local papers do not often swim into Greenslade’s ken then, although that doesn’t stop him pontificating on them. There have been “hysterical” right wing local papers as long as there has been “moronic” left wing local papers.The Guardian started out as a local paper, Greenslade, in Manchester, don’t you know. Guess in which camp most thinking people place  your “local” newspaper, Roy. And the call for a debate on capital punishment  predates Parkes’ editorial. But for Pythia, who obviously does not agree with capital or corporal punishment, it won’t do, it just won’t do.

Pythia’s stupidity is betrayed by this: “In view of the riots, it was to be expected that papers – especially those publications serving areas hit worst by the looting, vandalism and arson – would urge that the people responsible should be brought to justice, and even to say they should be dealt with firmly.”

Greenslade: get out a copy of your AtoZ and look up Croydon. I know it’s sarf of the river and you and your mates at the Guardian probably don’t have an idea where that ghastly area may be. But you might remember that it was the centre of some pretty serious riots. Does the name “Reeves” mean anything to you? Croydon happens to fall within Parkes’ circulation area. It is one of those which was “worst hit by rioting”. On that basis, you tell Parkes to shut up?

Greenslade: you are an arse. And what’s more, you’re a left-wing, champagne socialist arse, who if someone suggests something that isn’t in the diktats of the bien-pensantry of N1 must be shouted down. The odious hypocrisy of someone writing a blog about journalism seeming to call for curtailment of freedom of speech, using a droit de seigneur command of “Oi, you yokel locals – know your place!” is pretty sickening, frankly.

Health news nonsense from the Daily Churnograph

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment
Telegraph headline

Drink a little wine, for thy stomach's sake

The Telegraph seems to be starting a health-news nonsense war with the Daily Mail:

Millions of couples who share a bottle of wine over dinner are unwittingly putting their lives at risk by underestimating the dangers of alcohol, a report has warned.

Some eight million British adults drink more than what is considered safe by experts, the study claims, raising their chances of suffering conditions such as cancer and stroke.

Many of those at risk are middle class drinkers, who are unaware that regularly drinking wine with their evening meal is damaging their health.

Women are at greater risk if they evenly share a bottle of wine with their partner because their alcohol tolerance is lower than men’s.

Tim Worstall makes the pertinent points about these “research” findings here. Of course, it’s not hard to see it as part of the Great Wowser Offensive, which started against smoking, continues with alcohol and “obesity”and will, if the usual puritan history repeats itself, end with targeting some modern form of witchcraft. It’s hard to know what the latter will be, but if I were Prince Charles, I’d be worried.

But this sort of pseudo-scientific reporting of press release flatulence has become increasingly common in the Telegraph over the last year or so (see Louise Gray et al) – to such an extent it really should be called the Daily Churnograph.

Personally, I don’t think the paper’s been the same since it was taken over by those mysterious oriental Barclay twins, Chang and Eng. I wonder what they’re up to, plotting in that mysterious opium den that is the isle of Brecqhou?

The new Olympics 2012 logo

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Missing the flaming torch in the background, methinks


Probably been elsewhere a lot, but I couldn’t resist.

H/T Pascal

Phone hacking: The Revolution devours its children

August 8, 2011 Leave a comment
David Leigh

David Leigh...into the Battle of Hackistan

Excellent comment from Fleet Street Blues about how David Leigh, investigations editor of The Guardian, is now in the frame for his self-admitted hacking into a phone. Oh, says the Guardian, between mouthfuls of humble pie, it wasn’t for “tittle-tattle”. It was for “investigating corruption and bribery”. Fair enough. Still illegal, though. Tittle-tattle, corruption- and bribery-busting, intellectual-profiles: if the means by which you gather these things are illegal, sorry, you’re nicked my beauty. What is it about the word “illegal” you up-yourself ponces do not understand?

As FSB said way back when this whole scandal first broke, journos have long used illegal, immoral and sometimes criminally dangerous ways to get stories. Yes…and? If they got away with it, well, they got a front page splash, maybe a promotion or a bonus and a round of drinks in the pub. If they got caught, they got hauled up before the beak fined or, rarely but occasionally, chucked in the nick, and when got out, a round of drinks in the pub.

Let’s not forget what has been behind the holier-than-thou stance of the Guardian and the BBC on this matter: the chance for a good round of Murdoch-whacking.

The Guardian has been caught out with its hypocritical knickers down with Leigh (I see Guido has another pop today), and I suspect there may be others to scurry blinkingly out into the limelight from Rusbridger Cathedral.

Then there is the BBC. Is it whiter than white? I suspect not, but I do not know. What I do suspect is that if someone manages to lift Auntie’s skirt, there will probably be an almighty stink, most probably from the direction of Panorama. I thought it odd of the Beeb to have Peston covering this whole affair. I mean, the Business Editor? Strange call: the US and EU economies are going to hell in a handcart, but never mind that, you haul in your Business Editor to cover a story about media phone hacking.

What’s that all about?

Polar bear attacks in Norway – I was right

August 7, 2011 Leave a comment
Telegraph article

Best avoid the yellow snow, too...

An expert agrees with my comments a few days ago about the fatal polar bear attack in Norway:

Norway polar bear attack: hikers need to be ‘armed to the teeth’

Modesty forbids any Sun-style boasting along the lines of “You read it here first, folks!” Merely consider it part of my ground-breaking worldwide news-gathering information service.

North Korea: where is everybody?

August 5, 2011 Leave a comment

The Independent has a remarkable slideshow of photos of North Korea by David McNeill here. They are definitely worth a look, and raise a few obvious questions and one, not so obvious, question:

Obvious: 1) Where is everybody? Many of these pictures were taken in Pyongyang, the capital, which has a population of 3.3 million. OK, it’s not London, but you’d expect a few more to be using the tube wouldn’t you? Or using the municipal swimming pool?

2) Picture 1: where is all the food?

There are some obvious points to be made here, almost all of which have been lost on the brain-dead trolls commenting on the Indy site: McNeill was working in a closed, ideological and totalitarian society; working within that society, and to be able to get his work out, required great ingenuity and artistic imagination to make his point; that he makes his point in images which are precise, technically brilliant (from the point of view of framing, composition, focus and that boring camera stuff).

And what is the not-so-obvious point about North Korea that McNeill so brilliantly captures in these images that he managed to get them past the all-censoring eyes of the Dear Leader’s flunkeys? Think of the famous Sherlock Homes story “Silver Blaze” – the one about the stolen race horse and the dog who didn’t bark in the night. Look at these photos and see the dog not barking. In other words, the things that are not there: not because they were airbrushed out or the Dear Leader didn’t want them depicted, but because they just weren’t there in the first place and never have been, nor are likely to be. They are likely to be the sort of things you take for granted to the extent that you don’t see them, even though they’re there before your eyes everyday.

Take that first photo: we’ve all seen fallow fields, but when was the last time when you ever passed a scene like that in the English countryside? Just one field among many that are producing something and the others…

I hope these wonderful photos are published in print with the space they deserve.



Horatio and polar bears

August 5, 2011 1 comment

It is of course dreadful news about the 17-year-old British schoolboy Horatio Chapple and his terrible, fatal mauling by a polar bear while on a British Schools Exploring Society trip to a Norwegian island. It would be bad taste to say that Norway is probably not the safest place for 17-year-olds to have been hanging about at the moment for all sorts of reasons, so I won’t say it.

Of course, anyone with any sense knows that polar bears are among the most vicious animals on God’s earth, and one shouldn’t go anywhere near them if one could possibly help it. Well, anyone would know that apart from the ecoloons of deranged multi-million dollar “charities” such as Greedpeace or the World Wildlife Fraud or whatever, who for some years having been feeding false propaganda to our newspaper “environmental” churnalists (Hi Louise! Hi George!) and into our schools that polar bears are drowning or otherwise being frazzled to death by “man-made global warming” or some such nonsense. In fact the polar bear population is increasing, and has been for some time. But that, of course, doesn’t make them any cuddlier.

What struck me was the young schoolboy’s name: Horatio. Some centuries ago, a young Horatio also tackled a polar bear, coincidentally enough off the coast of Norway:

Horatio Nelson attacks a polar bear

He was, I think, about 15 or 16 at the time. So despite the tragedy attached to young Chapple, it doesn’t seem to me that school trips to polar regions should be curtailed, despite what the mewling, puking babes of the BBC baby farm…sorry, I mean BBC News, may demand. Seems to me it may lead on to glorious things. Just be aware that polar bear numbers are growing, and they’re not cuddly. Oh, and it would probably be a good idea to arm the school trips with rifles, too, a la the young Horatio Nelson above…especially if they’re going to Norway.