A dishonest press must hold itself to account

I know this blog has been very quiet as of late and I am going to be honest with you about the reason: Harry Potter. Being an old romantic I didn’t take any reading material on my honeymoon, so after wondering around New York for the first week the second week was designed to be a chance to relax by the pool. Well, relaxing next to the pool is much better with a book and the only book available was the first Harry Potter book that the wife had packed. So, I read it and then felt obliged to the read the rest of them. Which I have done in the past couple of weeks, hence why I have not been posting on here.

So, now that is behind me I hope to start blogging again as well as starting some related projects that I’ll announce on here in due course.

Now, this post does have a point as I wanted to comment briefly on the News of the World phone tapping, which seems to have been routine practice at that newspaper for quite some time (and I’m fairly certain they are not the only tabloid newspaper who have done this either). Newspapers still laughably claim to be our moral arbiters and they’ll be the first to criticise a politician who dodges questions about any kind of dodgy behaviour. Yet, the NOTW has maintained a sturdy defence of ‘blame it all on one guy’ whilst everyone else either had no knowledge or memory of any phone tapping whatsoever.

The whole argument is pathetic and will hopefully be cast aside by some form of proper police investigation. Andy Coulson deserves no place in politics irrespective of whether he was aware of or involved in phone-tapping but he shouldn’t be made a scapegoat for what is rife within an industry, not merely one office or organisation.

I will not attempt to comment further given that the below bloggers have already done a great job of highlighting this issue:

Tabloid Watch: New York Times investigates what most of the British media won’t and ‘Inconceivable no-one else knew’

Five Chinese Crackers: What would the Met get in return for not looking hard at News of the World phone hacking?

An ethnic roundup

As promised here are the blogs that covered today’s tabloid capital letter racism:

If you have any other articles on this you want to add to the list then please add them in the comments and I’ll update this post. I believe such racism is well worth documenting as fully as possible.

Something for the weekend 22 May 2010

I realise I haven’t done a round up of links for quite some time which has meant that several new and interesting websites have cropped up without any mention from me (apart from on Twitter), so here they are:

Daily Mail Sadface – this is an amusing collection of the sad people photographed in the Daily Mail that accompany stories that are essentially just someone moaning. You can also follow them on Twitter here.

Hold The Front Pages – this is an excellent resource for bloggers who need to know what the front pages are saying. I shall certainly be using it. You can also follow them on Twitter here.

Like Punk Never Happened – this is the blog of Simon Brett and it might seem strange to link to a blog with just two posts so far, but he’s eloquent and thoughtful and both are worth reading. Here’s to many more. You can also follow him on Twitter here.

Here are some other blogs I read, I now realise that I am too lazy to write about all of them so shall just give a link and Twitter link. Many apologies to those below, but in my defence it is stunning outside:

Careful Man, There’s A Blog HereTwitter

Where is the world from here?Twitter

I’m sure I’ve forgotten many more, but I will try and do this more frequently.

In the meantime, if you have any constructive criticism of this blog theme, then let me know. It is still a work in progress as I just wanted to start using this blog because the comments system died on the old blog. As you may notice, content from the old Angry Mob site is being imported post-by-post, comment-by-comment so may take some time (and it may drive me insane).

If you want to self-host your blog and create your own WordPress template then can I point you in direction of Blue Globe Web Hosting, they’re blog hosting specialists with 100% Dell servers and 100% Cisco Gigabit technology, they offer great starter packages and they also offer a complete step-by-step guide to styling your own WordPress theme. You’ll see that the creation of this theme forms the basis of the guide (and making this theme didn’t take long at all). Parts 1-4 of the guide are already online with parts 5-6 being uploaded shortly and best of all, they even offer support in creating your own theme. Normally hosts only support the installation and basic function of scripts, Blue Globe have a team who will code check to solve any problems you might have creating your own blog theme.

Some Important pre-election links

It has been a very busy week for the blogosphere and Twitter, given the wealth of bullshit being printed by Tory-supporting newspapers.

One of the best round-ups of this can be found over on Tabloidwatch and makes essential reading, also pay Die Dog or Shite the Licence a visit for his take on this story. Enemies of Reason also has an important post on the matter, as well as a brilliant selection of worthwhile articles to read that almost makes this post rather pointless.

Beau Bo D’Or has created some graphics highlighting the importance of disobeying Rupert Murdoch at this election. He is not advocating voting for any particular party, but just not voting for the Murdoch-backed Conservative Party:

Disobey Murdoch

Johann Hari has been in fine form (not that he ever isn’t) with some important articles on the election: ‘The forces that have been blocking British democracy are becoming visible in this election‘; ‘If you’re looking for class war, you can find it – in David Cameron’s policies‘ and ‘The great bloody hole in the British election campaign – Afghanistan‘ – all essential reading.

Five Chinese Crackers has screen grabbed an Express headline declaring that David Cameron has already won the 2010 election.

Finally, if you’re not on Twitter I think now is the time to seriously consider joining. The amount of interesting articles I’ve read this week that I have only found from following people on Twitter has been immense. Twitter is helping to drive the truth forward, and has managed to destroy the Tory-press’ amazing smears this week within minutes of their publication. You can follow me on Twitter here.

A few good links

Haven’t done a list of links for a while but I read an awful lot of stuff online so I should do this more often. If you are interested in some of the things I read online I post the better stuff on Twitter so feel free to follow me if you aren’t already: @uponnothing. I also Tweet amusing or terrible headlines and articles from the Daily Mail…

Anyway, without further ado, here are some links from last week.

The Enemies of reason pointed out David Cameron trying to make political capital out of the torture and near death of two young boys, blaming the horrific crime as evidence of New Labour’s ‘broken Britain’ and also looked at the coverage of the Haiti earthquake and how the media seems obsessed with ‘machetes’:

Scan through a few nationalist and ultra-nationalist blogs, for example, and you’ll find almost visible salivation at the idea that Haitians are essentially a teeming mass of machete-wielding mobs, hacking each other to bits.

Tabloid Watch looks at another ‘clarification’ from Richard Littlejohn that tries to blame someone else for his total lack of even the most basic research:

He certainly hasn’t apologised. He says ‘if’ he has spread lies about Vaughan he is happy to put the record straight, despite it being perfectly clear he has. ‘If’ doesn’t come into it. It’s a classic newspaper non-apology.

Left Outside looks at how the media war on drugs has turned its focus on ‘legal highs’ and completely lied about them – blaming them for the death of a 14 year old girl:

A following coroner’s report established that there were no drugs in her system and that she died of broncho-pneumonia following a streptococcal A infection.

The reporting of this at the time should have been described as scandalously irresponsible by any sensible definition of the term.

Feminazery provided a handy round-up of Daily Mail sexism (although I’m not sure if it would have been easier to point out the few articles that aren’t misogynistic…).

Hagley Road To Ladywood sparked some debate with a post on the Edlington attacks:

unfortunately, torturers, serial killers and assorted scumbags have stemmed from all decades and walks of life, pre- and post-Thatcherism, pre- and post-New Labour, in council estates and in more affluent homes, the product of a “broken family” or an apparently solid one. They may have watched horror films or not. They may have been into classical music or Marilyn Manson.

John George Haigh, the “Acid Bath Murderer” wasn’t on state benefits, didn’t smoke spliffs and didn’t have the opportunity to watch Saw as a child. He was brought up a devout Christian and even went to a grammar school. Alas, that didn’t stop him from dissolving nine people in acid.

And finally, to end on a more cheery note I could have picked quite a few stories from the Daily Mash to link to but I chose this: ‘CLASS 4B INTRIGUED BY TORY ‘SUPER-TEACHERS’‘. I fully expect you to read all of the other stories afterwards.

Friday Links

First up, Akela has posted a guest article on The enemies of reason blog, and it is a cracker: Agendas, idleness and collateral damage: A scout leader writes.

The post perfectly demonstrates exactly how the media just talk absolute shite 90% of the time and that they rely on the reader not knowing enough about the issue to argue with the newspapers story. However, as you may occasionally notice, when a newspaper covers a topic that you know a lot about (or sometimes even a little) you can instantly spot the mistakes, misunderstandings and outright lies printed by the mainstream media. Akela quotes the scouts Chief Commissioner’s statement on the scouts’ website in reaction to the story:

A Mail on Sunday journalist approached us on Friday having read the latest guidance we issued in Scouting Magazine/online in December 08 and April 09 on advising Scouts on the situations in which they can use a knife as part of normal Scout Activities. He was looking to make the story into “Scouts Ban knives shocker”. The media team took them through the facts and sent them links to our various documents and magazine articles giving him the following info:

– The Rules changed about wearing knives with uniform in 1968
– We have issued regular guidance to the Movement on this matter ever since 1968 e.g. early 1980’s , 1996, 2008 and 2009 (the latest being the magazine article in April/May)
– We need to support leaders with information to help them support young people

Despite making these facts available the Mail on Sunday published the piece, They used a few selective statements and quotes some out of context..

You couldn’t make it up.

Along the same lines is a brilliant post from the very quiet Bloggerheads (calm before the storm I am led to believe) over on Mailwatch which demonstrates that a journalists idiocy and ignorance can be demonstrated on the simplests of topics, in this case Twitter: Julie Moult is still an idiot! (Please RT).

Essentially Julie Moult – famous for being an idiot – is being a complete and utter idiot once again, this time completely failing to understand how Twitter works in order to attack Sarah Brown. Just go and read it, I promise that you will find it very funny that the Daily Mail pay money for a moron like Julie Moult to write for them – and that somehow ‘hard-working taxpayers’ then buy that newspaper.

Sticking with the theme of newspapers talking rubbish we move onto slightly more intentional misinformation from The enemies of reason who has the patience to look at the recent ONS publication of most popular children’s names: What’s in a name?

The Maily Telegraph, though, doesn’t care about the popularity of Jack. It’s trying to whip up a bit of a frenzy about the popularity of the name Mohammed, resorting to ringing up a right-wing ‘think tank’ which has published a series of questionable papers about Islam in order to get some outrage. It’s pretty pathetic journalism, the sort of toss you’d expect the Mail to come out with in its darkest hours, but now it’s standard fare for the Telegraph.

Of course, the Daily Mail did cover this by getting Max Hastings to write similar drivel – claiming that someone is somehow making a ‘shabby effort to conceal it‘ – which is picked apart over on Mailwatch.

And last but not least, Stirring Up Apathy has a guide to Daily Mail commentators.

Apologies to any links I have missed out, I will try harder in future to bookmark and link to blog posts I have enjoyed recently.