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Former Sun man turned DWP’s new Director of Communications really doesn’t like the Guardian. Richard Caseby has written an 815-word takedown of the paper for Press Gazette, accusing them of inaccuracy, hysteria and “demonising” public servants:
“Why is it that the national newspaper which devotes the most coverage to welfare reform reports on it with such pinpoint inaccuracy? Is it ineptitude or ideology? Is it the innumeracy of its journalists? Day after day, Alan Rusbridger’s Guardian gets its facts wrong.”
First in the firing line is Polly Toynbee:
“Within weeks of my starting as the Director of Communications at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Polly Toynbee stuck the knife in, saying people “could forget factual information” now I had been appointed. It was a typical Guardian smear based on the evidence of absolute zilch. Toynbee managed to throw in two inaccuracies of her own about Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA). So much for “forgetting factual information”. Exquisitely, her apology and corrections run to almost a quarter of the length of her original column.”
Guardian clarifications are not always so prominent and easy to secure, however:
“Truth is, the only way to extract a correction from the Guardian is to treat it like a landed eel. Stand on its head until it spits one out. It’s that slippery.”
Caseby concludes with some friendly advice for Alan Rusbridger:
“The Guardian is drifting into choppy waters again. When Mr Rusbridger waged war on News International, he and his staff got so giddy with the factoids they ended up publishing the longest correction in British newspaper history. It took days of standing on the eel, but it spat one out in the end. Today the same hysteria is creeping into the Guardian’s coverage of the DWP, whose thousands of staff are working hard to introduce the biggest reforms for 60 years…It is wrong for the Guardian to demonise public servants. Mr Rusbridger might wish to get a grip on his skittish staff. He could start by encouraging an ethos of criticism based on fact. His reporters’ latest excursion outside the London bubble in an ill-conceived mission tomisrepresent Newcastle as the UK’s industrially imploded Detroit was so laughable in its misrepresentation even Buzzfeed took the mickey.”
At least he didn’t send round a loo-roll this time. You gonna take that, Alan?
The balanced BBC seems to be ignoring the YouTube / Guardian / Telegraph debates proposal. Guido noticed nothing on any of the BBC news shows. Nothing on the Six or the Ten, Newsnight or the Today programme. Almost as if they want it to go away…
A source from the bid consortium says they have definite positive interest from the parties.
N.B. Guy News is mulling over a debate bid…
Eternally unhinged, freedom-hating, commie-loving, loony lefty John Pilger is off on one again in the Guardian today, rehashing everything he has ever written and blaming America and Britain for the situation in Ukraine:
“The US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders. In many cases Britain has been a collaborator… For the first time since the Reagan years, the US is threatening to take the world to war. With eastern Europe and the Balkans now military outposts of Nato, the last “buffer state” bordering Russia – Ukraine – is being torn apart by fascist forces unleashed by the US and the EU. We in the west are now backing neo-Nazis in a country where Ukrainian Nazis backed Hitler.”
Alrighty then. Unsurprisingly Pilger’s latest conspiracy theory is being widely mocked by all quarters, including the Guardian’s own Moscow correspondent:
I know it's in my paper, but on a reread, Pilger piece inexcusable. Especially quoting "doctor" who appears to have been completely fake.
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) May 14, 2014
May well be valid points to make re Western Ukraine coverage, but greedily swallowing up every Russian half-truth/lie not the way to do so!
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) May 14, 2014
The penny finally drops that he’s a nutter…
Owen Jones launches a one man campaign to ban people from calling Boris by his first name today, ironically on a platform called Comment is Free.
In the first line of his third paragraph Owen asks: “can we drop the over-familiar “Boris”, please?”
Then, two sentences later: “If Ed Miliband was filmed flailing around on a zip-wire, it’d be game over, but with Boris, it was all “LOL!””
That went well.
The Guardian is in full back-slapping self-congratulatory mode this afternoon as it reaches 100 million monthly unique browsers for the first time. They are even treating lucky readers to a video taking them along the ‘Road to 100 million‘. MediaGuido’s graph of Guardian News & Media’s road to £30,900,000 in losses is slightly more sobering:
100 million uniques means they lose over 30 pence per reader. Hardly something to celebrate…
Campaigners at English Pen are giving Chris Grayling a kicking by asking famous writers to join a “mass protest” by naming the book they would most like to send a prisoner. Martin Amis, Carol Ann Duffy, Hermione Lee and many other authors have so far taken part, suggesting classic reads for lags by the likes of Dickens and Mark Twain. Guido is tickled however by the book chosen by the Guardian’s foreign correspondent Luke Harding. He recommends:
“The Snowden Files, Luke Harding. The book describes how an overweening state can behave in an undemocratic manner (among other things)”
Stephanie “Two Eds” Flanders used to annoy Tory MPs when she was the economics pundit on Newsnight, before her the quasi-Marxist Paul Mason had them shouting at the telly. Well imagine how they are going to react to the news that the TUC’s senior economist Duncan Weldon has been hired as her replacement. Weldon is a former Labour Party staffer who has blogged for the Fabian Society, Left Foot Forward and written a series of posts praising Labour politicians and attacking the Tories on LabourList. If that were not enough he also writes regularly for the Owen Jones launched and Unite-funded CLASS think tank. Guido looks forward to his fair and balanced reporting…
BBC sources say that it would be unfair to blame the former Guardian deputy-editor Ian Katz who is now Newsnight’s editor for the hire as James Harding (ex-Times editor) signs off the hires. Katz seems sensitive to complaints about the politics of Newsnight:
@MediaGuido Excellent work!…thought it would take you longer to expose whole conspiracy
— Ian Katz (@iankatz1000) March 14, 2014
It is clearly provocative in a pre-election year to hire a well known Labour Party advocate for the position when the economy is going to be the central election issue. The BBC’s Charter is up for review in 2017. Conservative HQ will be as suspicious as ever of the BBC…
UPDATE: Livid Tory spokesman: “Highly questionable appointment. Arthur Scargill would be a more objective appointment.”
UPDATE II: Duncan Weldon ran as a candidate for the Labour Party in Crouch End, Haringey in the 2010 elections.
Interesting post by Crouch End Labour's Duncan Weldon on the government's supposed 'green investment bank' http://s.coop/agy
— Muswell Hill Labour (@MuswellLabour) January 31, 2011
UPDATE III: Duncan Weldon was the economic adviser to Harriet Harman when she was acting leader of the Labour Party. This might just lead some to question his objectivity in reporting on Labour’s forthcoming 2015 manifesto.
— Media Guido (@MediaGuido) March 14, 2014
Hotly tipped by MediaGuido in the past, Janine Gibson is coming home from the US to be deputy editor of Guardian News & Media and editor-in-chief of the Guardian website. Cementing her position as the heir apparent to Alan Rusbridger. Fair play to her for celebrating her good news appropriately:
Gibson’s main rival to the job Katharine Viner replaces Gibson as US editor, leaving her position in Australia. She is replaced by Emily Wilson, who was UK network editor of the Guardian website. Rusbridger spent an hour today explaining the moves to some hundred staff who, according to reports, were not too happy…
Privately educated Janine has previously been media editor and editor of the G3 supplement, so as a candidate she is from outside of news and features but is more than just a techie. The promotion leaves her back in Kings Place and in line for the throne…
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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:
“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”