Trouble at the Labourgraph

Today sees another round of sackings at the loss making Telegraph. Rumours abound that Heffer is off to the Daily Mail affronted by the spiritual decline of the paper – as well as an unsympathetic attitude to his hero Enoch Powell from the editor Will Lewis. The £10 million loss last year was they claim due to the move to the Victoria newsroom and the website’s multi-media revamp.
This year’s losses should be more limited – though the website is still not making money for anyone except ITN who supply content. Morale is low, even the Barclay Brother’s consigliere, Andrew Neil, was reported in the Indy on Sunday saying “The bloodletting at the Telegraph has gone on too long. After any takeover there is an element of blood on the carpet, but you have to go forward then and take your staff with you.” Admininstration staff on the foreign desk were fired Wednesday, 8 more staff hacks face the sack.

The paper’s editorial line is confusingly mixed, for a paper that was once considered the house paper of the Conservative Party it harbours a number of hacks who are determined enemies of Cameron. It is seeking to gain readers from the Daily Mail by emulating the Daily Mail. The only problem being the Mail does it so much better.

The other problem is the problem faced by all newspapers worldwide. Office based readers increasingly read their paper online and do not buy the inky dead tree version for the commute. They are also more promiscuous in their reading choices. The better the website, the less attractive the paper. Guido spoke last night at the journalist’s Frontline Club on a panel with digital hacks from the Press Gazette, Guardian and the Telegraph. As digerati they were a bit more clued up than most hacks – so they were very pessimistic. Guido of course cheerfully reminded them that he was the only one on the panel from a profitable publisher…

PMQs Live-Chat

Mediasaurus-like Stat-Porn

Just got off the phone with Deborah Summers, Guardian Online’s Politics Editor. She doesn’t really dispute the figures, just that they are not “like for like”. She reckons we should include Comment is Free to boost up her numbers.

Not sure about that, since CiF re-distributes content from The Observer and the main site’s editorial pages as well as third parties. It also has an entirely different editorial team headed up by Georgina Henry.

The fact is, head-to-head, like for like, Guido and Dale each have more readers than Guardian Politics. Elsewhere in the MSM at The Times, the Fink’s Comment Central blog has a respectable record month with 608,143 page views from 491,351 visits. The Telegraph‘s blogs play it close to their chest and are in a war of words with the Guardian’s CiF over traffic and who provides a platform for the BNP / “anti-zionists” and their respective main-site traffic figures. Funny how the MSM don’t like to reveal how bad they are doing in absolute terms – the relative actual number of individual readers is not that impressive – which is why they don’t publish the stats transparently. The dead-tree-press, even in online form, is losing money…

Don’t Shout at the Telly :LiveChat PMQs Watching the Daily Politics

Be here from 11.55 for fun and to throw rotten tomatoes…

Watch Daily Politics online here.

The Sheep With The Wool Pulled Over Her Eyes


Janet Daley’s stunning insights into the character of Gordon Brown in her Daily Telegraph column last year caused disquiet with many on the right because she is seen to be of the right. She firmly bought into Gordon’s project, thinking that he would be intellectually firm in the face of the shallow flim-flammery of Cameron.

She wrote immediately after the Glasgow terror attack:

Mr Brown made a terse and perfectly judged statement. For all its brevity, it conveyed the essential message of calm resolution and national unity: “I know that the British people will stand together, united, resolute and strong.” This was High Seriousness delivered in the old-fashioned way, with spare wartime urgency and without sentimentality.

He even became to her a great, non-neurotic TV performer:

Again, yesterday, in his interview with Andrew Marr, Mr Brown did not put a foot wrong … Interestingly, these were the first television appearances I have seen in which there was no sign of his peculiar nervous mannerism of rolling his tongue inside his mouth that is so beloved by satirists. Has he been trained out of it, or has he been transformed by his role and the state of national emergency? Either way, its absence helps to remove the impression of neuroticism that would not have inspired public confidence.

So no more laughing at Gordon the Great. The next month in August 2007 she contrasted Brown’s biblical strength to the effete Dave. Gordon had, in Janet’s view, the strength to withstand the trials of power:

First the terror attacks, then the floods, now the pestilence. Gordon Brown seems to be undergoing the trials of Job. But in this case, it is not so much his faith that is being tested as the country’s in him. And, my goodness, isn’t he rising to the challenge?

Once again he has appeared on our television screens within hours of terrible news, not just to assure us that he personally is taking charge of the foot and mouth crisis but to thank the authorities in affected communities for their cooperation and competence – to make it clear, in other words, that he is in command but also deeply respectful of people on the ground who must deal with the problems over which they have singular expertise.

Wow! Will this guy ever put a foot wrong?

Gee, Janet, who knows? Your psephological predictions suggested not: What the voters will look for is not a leader who bangs on about how things look, but one who can cope with reality.

Reality struck Janet hard in September :

Can Gordon pull it back? This week is the true beginning of the Brown era, as opposed to the fag end of the previous one. With the Queen’s Speech and the first Brownite legislative programme we should get the answer to the political question of the moment: was the New Brown a figment of our imagination, the most transitory illusion ever to capture the imagination of the Commentariat, or was there really something there worth grasping?

Almost a redemptive mea culpa.

The Commentariat collectively, Janet in particular, wrote in the summer of 2007 with all the considered judgement of a herd of sheep. They however would have you believe that they possess valuable insights and good judgement based on their intellect and access to the key players. They have opinions just like everyone, no better, no worse. They merely express them better than most. More often than not their access and close proximity to the subjects they write about clouds their judgement. Mostly their opinions are not worth the chip-wrapping they are written on…

+++ Live PMQs Chat Here 11.45 +++

We will be watching Daily Politics. Would a co-conspirator like to volunteer to be a moderator? Basically let everything pass with few exceptions even if it upsets Suzanne Moore. No drinking before midday. Email Guido.Fawkes@order-order.com.

Coming Next Week : Holding the Punditry to Account

The exasperated collective counter-attack by the establishment Commentariat on bloggers has inspired Guido to start a new regular feature. When the great and the good assembled at the RSA last Wednesday, shepherded by Julia Hobsbawm, John Lloyd (in absentia) and Matthew Taylor*, to bemoan their diminished status, they drew the battle-lines for a battle that should be joined and won for the blogosphere. The Commentariat desperately want to maintain their monopoly role as media gate-keepers, as the sub-edited filters of democracy and the monopoly producers of public commentary. Guido has said this before; in an age of near costless technological disintermediation “the news” is no longer what they say it is, we can make the news ourselves, unfiltered by the metropolitan media elite. Successful boutique news sources are proliferating. The media Goliaths now face an army of blogging DavidsA lot of what was said at the Editorial Intelligence event was plain ignorant, the conflation of blog writing with blog comment interaction in particular. It is true that the comments left here and on the Guardian’s CiF can be pretty vitriolic and profane, but they are genuinely reflective of what readers really think. Polly Toynbee hates the contradictory “barrage” of comments that follow her articles because she has an over-inflated view of the value of her analysis. Many of us only read her articles for the pleasure of seeing them torn to shreds in the comments that interactively follow. Polly is highly paid and successful because she is a provocative columnist, not because she is a better analyst of social affairs than Frank Field. That is a valuable hack talent she shares with Richard Littlejohn…

The fear and ignorance heard last Wednesday did not showcase the “Power of the Commentariat”, it highlighted their decline. They are weakened and rightly so, for they have time and time again failed to hold political power to account successfully. Proximity breeds compromise and the politico-media class has for example tolerated lying about expenses by politicians for decades and that toleration spread to tolerating spin, which is as often as not professional lying. Democracy is worse off because the Commentariat are compromised by being so embedded in the political class – or as Polly Toynbee explains “in sympathy with politicians”.

Laughably the Commentariat simultaneously fear and deride what they perjoratively term the “cult of the amateur”. The irony of this is not lost on Guido. The pundits of the unpopular press really need a re-think here, very few journalists earn as much as top bloggers. Guido can think of a few lone website owners who produce their content and make far more than most journalistsof the Dead Tree Press. They are also profit making publishers, unlike the Independent, Guardian and Telegraph.

This misplaced arrogance of the Commentariat deserves a research-based response. The writings of the Commentariat no longer just end up as fish and chip wrapping, their writing is accessible via the internet forever. So tomorrow, hopefully with the assistance of the wisdom of the blogging crowds, Guido will start putting the profundity of their punditry in context and under the microscope, starting with Janet Daley.

What did she, with all her intellectual authority, tell us about Gordon Brown last summer? Feel free to be profane…

*Matthew Taylor has complained bitterly about bloggers before. Contrast Taylor’s attitude to Rupert Murdoch’s attitude to the democratising of commentary. Overwhelmingly the Commentariat basically has a protectionist attitude, the increasing pluralism of news sources scares them because it devalues them. Shrewdly and counter-intuitively, Murdoch has an enabling attitude, expanding by freeing the market for commentary. He gets it.

PMQs : Don’t Shout Abuse at the Telly

After the alcohol driven success of the local election night live-chat Guido will be hosting on the blog another live chat session from 11.30 until 12.30 covering PMQs. We will be watching the Daily Politics as our point of reference.

On election night it was fun and profoundly profane. No doubt this time it will be full of respect for our political masters, completely free from bad language and vitriol. Or maybe not…

The system allows Guido to let 10 chatterers go freely unmoderated, the rest have to have their comments click-approved. So if you want to be unmoderated, be wittier and more amusing…

Ofcom : "Guido is a Public Service"

Guido has only just become aware that Ofcom has published a consultation paper on Public Service Broadcasting in the Digital Age. So what?

Well, this blog is cited in the review of “public service content available online” as “an

[…]

+ READ MORE +

"Politics Home" Beta Snapshot

“Politics Home”* is the beta working title of the still-under-wraps site that aims to be the Bloomberg News of politics – it certainly looks a little familiar to the users of the financial newswire service. No original editorial as far

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Gordon Tells Court His "Manifesto Pledges are Not Subject to Legitimate Expectation"

Guido thought that this attempt to take Gordon Brown to Court by a UKIP member for breach of contract over not holding a referendum on the EU Constitution was crazy. It was in the manifesto and a manifesto commitment is

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guardian Online Doesn’t Have Much to Boast About

The Guardian was boasting this week that it has 3.6 million UK users a month. Guido has got the breakdown of those numbers from the online industry’s competitive intelligence monitors Hitwise.

In December the Guardian politics pages had some

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

William Hague on Tony Blair…

“To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.”

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