Monday, October 22, 2007

Indy-Gate Scandal at Independent

The Indy-gate scandal is gathering momentum in the media following Kelner’s un-apology.
  • Dan Hannan in the Telegraph is derisory about the Indy’s misinformation.
  • Roy Greenslade in his widely read (by hacks) Guardian blog returns to the issue for a second time.
  • James Forsyth over at the Speccie’s CoffeeHouse wonders “What would The Independent say if another newspaper had done the same on Iraq?”
  • Iain Dale doesn’t think this over yet. “Not by a long way.” Nor does Guido.
  • Melanie Phillips thinks Indy-gate “a practice associated with the unfree press in totalitarian societies. Once again, the blogosphere has shown its power to hold the mainstream media sharply to account and inflict real damage to its reputation.”
150_not_indyThe newspaper’s readers surely deserve to know the truth. Is it now the editorial policy of the Independent to reprint lengthy government press releases word-for-word if Andy Grice* agrees with them? Shouldn’t the Indy flag up when it is re-printing government press releases - “This information was supplied by the government, we are reprinting it in its entirety on the front page because we agree with it.” Perhaps a little “Government Approved” logo would suffice?

*According to Simon Kelner “what we printed was a collection of facts, which our political editor independently verified.”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Huhne “Can’t Remember” Authoring Druggie Article

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Indy-gate : Issue is About Journalistic Ethics, Not the EU

The Indy’s editor-in-chief Simon Kelner, attempting to defend the reprinting of an FCO press briefing as original journalism, claimed that “The Eurosceptics, who have monopolised this debate for so long, appear to be shooting the messenger because they don’t like the message… I am completely unapologetic about our attempt to explode the myths that have been allowed to develop in what has been an extremely one-sided debate…”.
This is an attempt to distract from the substantive issue – which is a question of journalistic ethics. No one can accuse the Indy of being one-sided on the issue, they have laughably flipped and flopped on the referendum issue:

18 June – a leader calling for a referendum, “The question is whether or not a package of fairly weighty changes that will undoubtedly affect Europe’s shape and destiny should – in this country at any rate – be decided in a referendum. The answer is simple: it should and it must.”25 June – a leader opposing a referendum,

“Having dangled the prospect of a referendum last week, Mr Brown was right to bat it smartly away.”12 September – a leader calling for a referendum,

“The case against a vote on the treaty is weak. The Government’s argument that the new European treaty is significantly different from the European Constitution that was rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005 is unconvincing. The name may have changed but it is essentially the same document on which Tony Blair promised a national plebiscite shortly before the last general election… This newspaper wants a referendum for different reasons.. Rather than trying to evade the moment of truth, Mr Brown should concentrate his energies and those of his Government on campaigning for a yes vote.”18 October – the piece

cut ‘n pasted from the FCO briefing opposing a referendum.Source : OpenEurope.org

Kelner’s credibility on this is zero. We can completely ignore the Indy’s position on the EU Referendum, it is as irrelevant as it is changeable.In America, where journalists take professional ethics more seriously, there would be resignations if a journalist plagiarised a government briefing wholesale. The substantive issue here is not whether the Indy is for or against a referendum, it is whether the Indy is a credible source of honest independent journalism, or a rag which reprints press releases uncritically. Which is it? Indy readers have a right to know if they are being peddled government spin as independent journalism on the front page.

Tim Yeo Does a Days Work

Guido has reflected on the high emission hypocrisy of Tim Yeo before. This week we read in the FT about him flying off for some golf. The article reveals that he actually went to the office on Monday, yes a whole day, before flying to Spain for another week of golf. Well done Tim…

"Queen" Brown at the Rugby

Last night the Rugby World Cup commentators said that in addition to Princes William and Harry, the Princess Royal was present “as the representative of the Queen”. After the final whistle, the trophy was presented by the French head of state Sarkozy accompanied by Mbeki, South Africa’s head of state, and Gordon Brown. Protocol-wise it should have been Anne.

What was Brown’s role at the rugby world cup final? Was he keen to get close to all those rugby heroes to bask in their reflected glory? Sports fans should note that the PM is a sporting Jonah; Scotland lost the the soccer match he attended as PM, England lost to Germany the match he attended with Merkel and the English rugby team suffered his curse last night.

The Springboks carried Mbeki aloft as they celebrated, if England had won could you imagine Jonny and the boys carrying our bottler-in-chief on high?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Indy-gate : Fax Over A Press Release -If It Is True, We’ll Put It On the Front Page

The Indy’s editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner has finally given a comment to the Guardian :

“What we printed was a collection of facts, which our political editor independently verified. The source doesn’t really make a material difference. What matters is whether those facts are accurate or not. And no one, as far as I can see, is doubting the truth of what we printed.”

Neil O’Brien, who spotted Indy-gate, is not so sure about the somewhat partial “facts”. The only sure fact is that a government press release was presented to Indy readers as original journalism. It wasn’t original, it wasn’t journalism. It was almost word-for-word a reprint of a government briefing.

The paper’s staff might be embarrassed, but Kelner should be ashamed – he has discredited the name “The Independent”.

Friday Caption Contest

Graphic credit : Jamie D

Gordon Signs

Is it just Guido, or does Gordon look to you like he has just finished a particularly satisfying nose bogey in the new Tory pro-referendum poster?

Guido is bored with all the details of this EU not-the-constitution treaty. It simply seems pretty shoddy not to hold a referendum, just because they have dropped a flag and anthem, when it was explicitly promised in the 2005 Labour manifesto.

Gordon may come to rue signing this if the Tories succeed in making the next election about trust and character. The Miliband line that this is not the constitution is a transparent falsehood.

Voters down the pub can see this clearly…

08:30 UPDATE : Clegg is launching his “glitz-free” campaign in Sheffield today.

His website www.nickclegg.com will go live immediately afterwards. His pitch is going to be that he can reach out beyond the LibDem comfort zone. Translated : “I’ll take votes back from Cameron”.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bang Goes the Neighbourhood

Hardly a day passes without further rumours about the Blair’s house-hunting. But where is his office to be? A co-conspirator has directed Guido towards 33 St James’s Square, the Robert Adam designed grand eighteenth century Grade II listed former London home of the Earls of Buckinghamshire.

Guido’s revelation – despite what Blair’s people claim – won’t really add to his security risk.

Iranian MOIS intelligence agents will practically have to drive past the front door on the way to their Embassy, so they will probably notice him.

Guido suspects that the added security risk the neo-peacemaker brings to the area is going to irritate the hedge fund managers and corporate titans whose natural domain he is entering. Never mind what the denizens of the local gentleman’s clubs will make of his wife…


Seen Elsewhere

From the IRA to Windsor Castle | WSJ
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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