Corrections and Clarifications: Brooks Newmark Sting

Over a period of six months, Media Guardian campaigned to stitch up the Sunday Mirror, consistently falling short of the journalistic standards it sets for others. In an extraordinary series of factually incorrect articles, Roy Greenslade alleged that “at least seven other Tory MPs were also offered similar lures” in “a giant trawl“. It is completely untrue to suggest that we “offered similar lures” to a “giant” number of MPs. If we had only tweeted at Brooks Newmark he would have seen the sting coming a mile off. The account followed and tweeted at many MPs, male and female, as well as celebrities and news organisations. Prior to the investigation we had a specific tip-off about Newmark. We only ever had a private conversation with one MP – Newmark – and it was instigated by him. 

Media Guardian claimed on multiple occasions that “Wickham approached the Mail on Sunday’s political editor, Simon Walters”, and that “the MoS was concerned about the methodology employed to obtain the story, believing that it amounted to entrapment and also involved a fishing expedition”. We can now reveal this to be 100% untrue. Alex Wickham never spoke to anyone from the MoS about the story. A very brief conversation was had between Paul Staines and the MoS, where the detail was not discussed and it was agreed that the story would not work for the mid-market paper on the grounds of taste – Lady Rothermere’s taste. Despite the innuendo and factually incorrect reporting of Media Guardian, at no point was the methodology ever considered by the MoS as the prime stumbling block to running the story. Whatever may have been subsequently briefed.

Greenslade then wrote in the Standard that “the net had been spread wide in the hope of a juicy catch”, concluding “It is impossible to disentangle the public interest from the methodology. Given that we have a code of practice, we cannot argue that the end justifies the means”. Again, we had a specific tip-off about Newmark, and IPSO has found that the methods employed did not breach the code of practice.

Much of Media Guardian’s error-strewn reporting can be explained by their reliance on unfounded innuendos made by less popular parts of the Twitterphere. Peter Jukes claimedthere are many abuses being perpetrated here“, accusing us of  “fishing others”, and again suggesting that two other newspapers “knocked back the subterfuge”. Our position has now been vindicated by IPSO. 

Buzzfeed report named a number of MPs with whom our account had interacted, implying they were targeted: “If you’re a middle-aged Conservative MP and a young attractive researcher starts taking an interest in you on Twitter, then be careful”. These MPs were not targeted, Buzzfeed’s irresponsible report was factually incorrect and responsible for much of the bad reporting that followed.

Finally those doyens of press accuracy at Hacked Off also made a series of untrue allegations about the story. They suggested there was no “prima facie evidence that any of the six MPs approached were engaging in inappropriate conduct on the internet”. This is clearly incorrect and the IPSO ruling has found that to be the case. They concluded: “There appears to have been nothing to justify the use of subterfuge by the freelance reporter”. This was always disputed by us and the Sunday Mirror, because we were in possession of the facts and we have now been vindicated by IPSO.

See also: Not So Pronto IPSO

You can read the IPSO ruling in full here.

Professor Greenslade Overlooks Guardian’s Double-Digit Decline

professor-greenslade

Media commentator Roy Greenslade reports that the Sun’s circulation was down to 1,842,284 copies a day in February, a fall of 6.89%. Professor Greenslade, writing in the Guardian, speculates as to if it is due to the suspension of the traditional Page 3 Girl from the print edition – though she can still be found in all her glory in the online edition.

Greenslade does a fairly balanced analysis of the situation over a thousand or so words. It is only when the determined Guardian reader reaches the fourth last sentence of the column that he learns that the Guardian itself actually had a worse drop in readership of 10.34%. The worst performance of any national daily newspaper in the country. Mind you the Sunday sister-paper, The Observer, lost 11.28% of its readers…

Election Result Due Imminently

nuj-ballot-guardian

There is another election result due soon…

UPDATE: Media Guardian beats Media Guido for once….

kath-vinerStaff of the Guardian and Observer have voted in favour of Katharine Viner, the current editor-in-chief of Guardian US, in an indicative ballot on who should be the next editor-in-chief after Alan Rusbridger steps down after 20 years this summer.

Some 53% of those who voted backed Viner with a first choice vote of 438. In second place was Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and a non-executive director of Guardian-owner the Scott Trust with 188 votes. Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of theguardian.com, was in close third place, with 175 votes. Wolfgang Blau, GNM’s director of digital strategy, received 29 votes.

Piers Tears: Another Fake Mirror Front Page

Under the headline “Britain, 2014.” the Mirror’s front page is really going for emotional shock factor today:

The only problem is that the picture is not “Britain, 2014″, it is “America, 2009″ and Anne is crying over an earthworm. The Getty photo was shared via Flickr by Lauren Rosenbaum in November 2009, she has a really cute smile:

anne-flickr

Of course this is not the first time that the Mirror have got into trouble for a fake front page photo misrepresenting a wider campaign, editor Lloyd Embley is following in the traditions of Piers Morgan. Nobody mention that “territorial Army base in Lancashire”  and “occupied Iraq”.

UPDATE: The Mirror ran a fake story about mutant super rats in Liverpool and had to pay compensation to a Hampstead man as a result.

Via Dan Barker

Pardon Snowden, He Blew Whistle on NSA Crimes

pardon-snowden

Ed Snowden has been demonised by some on the right as a traitor. Those on the right don’t as a rule put their trust in governments and Snowden is a patriotic, freedom loving libertarian, not a Russian or Chinese dupe, as some conservatives seem to believe. (He even donated $250 to Ron Paul’s election campaign.) His motivation was ideological and principled – it has cost him his personal freedom and his career. People who Guido would normally expect to side with the cause of liberty have focused on the medium not the message – because it was Alan Rusbridger’s Guardian that broke the story they have got their backs up. Whatever right-minded people think of the Guardian, it was disgraceful to hear Rusbridger’s patriotism questioned by a Select Committee over him publishing the Snowden story.

Ed Snowden was as the New York Times argued yesterday clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on the blanket intelligence-gathering was to “expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work“, revealing what his bosses covered-up and lied to Congress about. Beyond the mass collection of phone and internet data Snowden revealed:

  • The NSA (aided and abetted by GCHQ) broke the law, and exceeded their authority, thousands of times per year.
  • The NSA (aided and abetted by GCHQ) broke into the communications links of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other internet giants, allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts. Many of those companies are now, thankfully, scrambling to install systems that the NSA cannot yet penetrate.
  • The NSA systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust. Ironically this opened back doors that could also be used by hostile intelligence agencies.
  • His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March.
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rebuked the N.S.A. for repeatedly providing misleading information about its surveillance practices, according to a ruling made public because of the Snowden documents. One of the practices violated the Constitution, according to the chief judge of the court.
  • A federal judge ruled earlier this month that the phone-records-collection programme probably violates the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. He called the programme “almost Orwellian” and said there was no evidence that it stopped any imminent act of terror.

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. Rick Ledgett, who leads the NSA’s task force on the Snowden leaks, told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Snowden halted any additional leaks. President Obama should do just that, bring Snowden home. He is a hero.

Hat-tip: New York Times

Trinity Mirror in Corporate Criminal Investigation

Trinity Mirror has announced that the Met are investigating whether the group was criminally liable for alleged phone hacking by, for now, the Sunday Mirror:

“The Group does not accept wrong doing within its business and takes these allegations seriously.”

Tick tock, tick tock…

Here is a list of some of Guido’s stories about the Mirror and hacking allegations:

First Guardian Deputy Editor Runners and Riders

Hopefully the new Guardian deputy editor will be able to stir MediaGuardian from their slumber, it took a whole twelve hours from the story breaking to get anything up on their website about the departure of Ian Katz to Newsnight. Insiders are tipping two names to MediaGuido as his replacement. Dan Roberts, the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief, is a frontrunner, rivalled by their former media man and new National News editor Dan Sabbagh.

So it looks like Dan the man for the gender-balanced Guardian. Though one possible dark horse being touted is Helen Boaden of Newsnight fame, because the Beeb-Guardian relationship wasn’t cosy enough. Developing…

Katz Leaving a Sinking Ship

A cunning move by Ian Katz, jumping from the Guardian to Newsnight. The heir apparent is the latest lefty print figure to join the Beeb. Guido reckons he will return to Kings Place eventually, as the editor of a multi-platform, video-led converged Guardian. He can bide his time while Alan Rusbridger wrings his hands for a few more years as the print figures continue to crash and the mass sackings become inevitable. Smart...

The appointment has not gone down well with everyone. BBC types and government sources are moaning to the Speccie, while a Tory source tells Guido: “At this rate Alastair Campbell will be presenting. Given the huge salaries the Guardian pay, the BBC need to disclose how much they are billing the license-fee payer for Mr Katz.” Mr Paxman was unavailable for comment…

The Indy Pol Ed, UKIP and the Six Year Old Guardian Quote

Fascinating insight from the Indy’s political editor Andy Grice on Thursday last week:

“The wildcard on May 2 could be the UK Independence Party. The anti-EU party is consistently in double figures in the opinion polls and is fielding

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Exclusive: Indy to Go to Seven Day Operation
Standard and Indy to Merge Newsrooms

BREAKING FIRST ON MEDIA GUIDO:

A memo has just gone out to Indy and Standard staff:

  • The Indy and Sunday editorial will be completely merged.
  • The Sindy editor John Mullin is a goner.
  • The Standard and Independent to move to

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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