‘Michael White Smacked My Bottom’

The #MeToo movement claims another… former doyen of the Lobby and top Guardianista Sir Michael White has been accused of smacking a young female journalist on the bottom. Angella Johnson, a feature writer at the Mail on Sunday, tweets:

Mike does not deny the charge, claims he too is a victim and says Angella should have taken it as a compliment:

Remember Mike thinks it is actually female journalists who are the predators. “Much younger”? He’s only been married a few decades…

Sun & Mail Launch Worboys Judicial Review Proceedings

Tonight The Sun and The Daily Mail have begun judicial review proceedings to force the Parole Board to reveal its reasons for allowing black cab rapist John Worboys to be freed. They have seven days to publish the Worboys reasoning or else the two newspapers will launch a legal challenge. Elsewhere, tomorrow’s papers report that a fresh sex assault allegation may keep Worboys behind bars. Wheels in motion to keep Worboys inside, at last…

Which Family Really Has Too Much Media Influence?

The Competition and Markets Authority has provisionally ruled that 21st Century Fox’s bid to take control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own was not in the public interest due to concerns about media plurality. The CMA says the Murdoch family trust would have “too much control over news providers in the UK across all media platforms and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.”

Which multi-platform media giant really dominates the news industry in Britain? The BBC controls some two-fifths of the news market, nearly double that controlled by Sky and News UK.

Which family really has for decades had too much control over British public opinion and the political agenda on multiple media platforms? Which family dominates BBC coverage of the Royal Family, general elections, budgets, as well as the flagship weekly current affairs shows; Question Time and Any Questions? The Dimblebys…

Galloway Backs Evolve Politics Editor’s Parliament Bid

George Galloway is backing the ‘senior editor’ of pro-Corbyn fan site Evolve Politics to run for parliament. Labour sources say Corbynista Twitter activist and Evolve blogger Matt Turner is sniffing around for a seat and is expected to stand at the next election, one of many Corbyn Twitter outriders considering a tilt in 2022. You can read what Matt and his comrades are like in their own words here.

Turner recently appeared on Galloway’s Russia Today programme and was backed to run:

“Just in time for you to enter the House of Commons – there’s a prediction for you.”

Turner replied: “precisely”Neighbouring candidates?

UPDATE: Turner gets in touch to say: “No idea what I’ll be doing in four months let alone four years”. Classic non-denial denial…

Who Is On Question Time Tonight

Last Days at Buzzfeed

Judging by these tweets, not a great day at “the future of journalism”:

Sad and entirely predictable news…

James O’Brien Too Much For Newsnight

MediaGuido had heard a few whispers about why James O’Brien had been canned by Newsnight – chiefly that BBC bosses were fed up with his Trumpian hyper-partisan attention-seeking both on their programme, on Twitter and elsewhere. One insider says they simply ran out of patience with him always going off on one. O’Brien has today essentially confirmed that version of events, tweeting:

“I withdrew from the roster some months ago to retain my right to criticise Brexit and Trump in my other work”

To the relief of those who had to work with him, there are no plans for him to present again…

Facebook’s Retreat from News and Algo Change Panics Buzzfeed

Facebook’s Adam Mosseri announced last Thursday that it is getting out of the news business and going back to connecting people with personal stuff:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers…” 

Good for people who want to share pictures of their cats, bad for media organisations that have a business model based on cat GIFs. Twitter’s stock price rose 5% on the news that they will now be the main social news platform…

For Buzzfeed and other Facebook traffic driven organisations this is bad news, Buzzfeed gets some 23% of their traffic at the whim of Mark Zuckerberg. Unsurprisingly Buzzfeed bought adverts on Facebook on Friday pushing soon to be lost users to download their app. At one time Buzzfeed were spending millions on Facebook adverts, they may well have to do so again if their content is dropped from the Facebook feed. In the political sphere those sites that specialise in clickbaity headlines designed to go viral on Facebook may see a drop in traffic…

Approximately 7% of Guido’s traffic is referred from Facebook. Twitter on the other hand drives 23% of our traffic, just behind Google on 24%. The Spectator and Breitbart also rely on Facebook for some ~7% to 8% of their traffic. Skwawkbox and The Canary rely on Facebook respectively for a massive ~40% and ~48% of traffic…

N.B. Traffic data sourced from Similarweb.

Paul Mason “Aggressive and Intimidating” Towards Female LBC Producer

Latest on Paul Mason’s shouty crackers descent into mid-life crisis. Shelagh Fogarty has just revealed on air that the leather-jacked Corbyn outrider this morning “bellowed” down the phone at a female LBC producer in an “aggressive” manner, leaving the woman feel “intimidated“. Apparently he was ranting that LBC want to destroy Corbyn and the Labour Party, which is a bit odd given the previous show was James O’Brien. Calm down Paul, step away from the phone…

James O’Brien’s Carillion Fake News Goes Viral

LBC leftie and sometime Newsnight presenter James O’Brien helped fake news about the collapse of Carillion go viral yesterday. Keen to find a damaging line, O’Brien tweeted that the company’s chairman is “an adviser to the Prime Minister Theresa May on corporate responsibility”. Nope…

O’Brien was later forced to correct his assertion in another tweet:

His original tweet was retweeted more than 8,000 times. The correction has been retweeted 170 times. And James still hasn’t deleted his fake news…

Osborne on Carillion: Then & Now

George Osborne’s Evening Standard editorial on Carillion today“Why has the state found itself so dependent on a few very large outsourcing firms? The failure to use a variety of smaller, mid-size companies undermines innovation and leaves services hostage when things go wrong.”

George Osborne, signing off on another Carillion contract as Chancellor in 2014: “It is great to see successful companies like Carillion winning contracts around the world. This deal, the first in a pipeline of many, will help us reverse the age-old trend of not exporting enough, boosting growth and creating jobs.” 

He even wore their hat…

H/T Chris Williams

Guardian Axes Paul Mason’s Column

Paul Mason’s weekly Guardian column has been axed. Mason announced the move on the day the paper launched its tabloid redesign, saying there would no longer be room for his pieces. Asked by a Twitter fan if his columns would still be on the Guardian website, he replied, “no”. No room on the internet either…

The leather-jacketed Corbynista scribe revealed he will now write for struck-off Novara Media, where he will have to answer to a Tory (does he know that yet?) For observers of the British left, Mason’s weekly sermon has been must-read. Here are some highlights…

On James Bond: For the Bond genre to survive, Spectre would have to be portrayed, overtly, as the global oligarchy, ripping off the world. Bond would be tasked by MI6 to kill and maim members of the hedge-fund industry, the fracking bosses and the global CEOs extorting financial rent from the rest of us… Bond comes to a swift conclusion: he must target Donald Trump.”

On Michael Foot: “Michael Foot was a dire leader not because he was too old or too leftwing (or wore a duffel coat), but because he was a compromise candidate, constantly torn between the interests of the unions – who were largely on the right – and the membership, which had moved left. His 1983 manifesto was actually well crafted, but they were the right ideas at the wrong time.”

On the 1990s: “You could still riot without a balaclava, walk into a jobcentre with your head held high, and when a whole family could – if it had to – live on the earnings of a dinner lady.”

On craft beer: “BrewDog’s open-source revolution is at the vanguard of postcapitalism.”

On the perfect city:“A massive ecosystem of gay, lesbian, transgender, BDSM and plain old sleazy heterosexual hangouts: clubs, bars, dancehalls, cabarets and all the dim-lit alleyways and grassy knolls inbetween. For it is a truth unacknowledged by those who make the official league tables that Joe Corporate, with his squash racquet and sober suit, and Joanna Corporate, with her nanny and pushchair, really want to live many other secret and parallel lives, and the ideal city is one big, analogue version of Craigslist.”

He’ll be missed…

Branson Backs Down: Virgin Trains Will Stock Mail

Virgin Trains has reversed its decision not to stock the Daily Mail on its services and will revert to selling the newspaper, Richard Branson announced this morning. Branson backed down in a statement:

“Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance for differing views are the core principles of any free and open society. While Virgin Trains has always said that their passengers are free to read whatever newspaper they choose on board West Coast trains, it is clear that on this occasion the decision to no longer sell The Mail has not been seen to live up to these principles… I have instructed our team at Virgin Trains to reconsider this decision and re-stock the Daily Mail while they undertake a full review of their sales policy, making clear that this policy should not single out individual media titles.”

Motorboat’ Branson has had several notable appearances in the news pages recently. Press-hating vendetta groups such as Stop Funding Hate, who welcomed the ban, will be gutted. What a shame…

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

2018 starts as 2017 ended: another remain-heavy panel…

Press-Hating Peers Pave Way for Leveson 2

Unelected, unaccountable and unknown to the British reading public, a gang of press-hating peers last night forced a double defeat on the government which could pave the way for Leveson 2. Lords voted by a majority of 29 to effectively green light the proposed second part of the Inquiry. Lengthy Leveson 1 already produced a 2000 page report at a cost of £5.4 million to the taxpayer – and left the press with legal bills in the tens of millions. 

The Conservative manifesto pledged in black-and-white that the Inquiry would not be reopened. Despite this promise, Leveson 2 will now face a vote by MPs in the spring. Commons maths means the outcome is far from certain. Tom Watson can hardly conceal his glee. Cop-thumper Max Mosley will consider it a spankingly good development…

The peers, led by Baroness Hollins, effectively hijacked the Data Protection Bill, twisting consumer protection measures into yet another press-bashing free-for-all. Their illiberal agenda includes introducing measures akin to the harsh Section 40, which would mean newspapers could have to pay both their own and their opponent’s legal costs even if they were successful in data protection cases.

Guido understands government concessions are in play. A ‘press sustainability review’ may be put on the table. There’s a danger opponents of a free press will run away with any concession and try to force through their anti-freedom agenda. The government last night said it will seek to overturn the Lords’ amendments in the Commons.

The press has been publicly scrutinised to an extraordinary level in recent years, put under the spotlight unlike any other industry, with lengthy inquiries and multiple (fruitless) police probes. The threat of yet another inquiry was described in last night’s debate as amounting to “harassment” of the press by the state. Some politicians are still on their hellbent crusade to muzzle the free media, the force that exposes their wrongdoing and holds them to account…

‘Motorboat’ Branson Lectures Mail on Values

Richard Branson has taken to lecturing the Daily Mail on their values, proclaiming that regardless of customer choice the newspaper will no longer be offered on Virgin Trains. His company said:

“Thousands of people choose to read the Daily Mail every day. But they will no longer be reading it courtesy of VT (Virgin Trains)… We’ve decided that this paper is not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs. We won’t be stocking the Daily Mail for sale or as a giveaway.”

A lecture on values from Richard Branson, who just a month ago was accused of ‘motorboating’ US singer Antonia Jenae – that is, putting his head between her breasts. Jenae said the incident “feels like sexual assault.” She recalled:

“We were by the bar and he was saying bye to everyone. He came up to me and put his face in my breasts. He went ‘brrrrrr’ and just walked away.”

Branson didn’t deny it and apologised – also saying he “had no recollection”…

A lecture on values from Richard Branson, who F1 star Jenson Button recalled had stared at and then touched his girlfriend:

“Although Jessica was a model, she was quite shy, so this was making her feel uncomfortable. Especially when Sir Richard followed up his blatant flirting by putting his hand on her face.”

Branson didn’t deny it and apologised…

A lecture on values from Richard Branson…

Kay Put Through Her Paces

Kay doing her best to make this reshuffle day entertaining…

BBC Reporter Attacked By Lemurs

One BBC reporter who does deserve a pay rise…

BBC Silences Resigning Gracie

Last night the BBC’s China Editor Carrie Gracie dramatically announced her resignation calling the corporation’s pay structure “secret and illegal”. In a damning letter she wrote of a “a crisis of trust at the BBC” over equal pay.

This morning, Gracie co-presented the Today programme (as scheduled). Due to BBC rules, she was unable to cover her own resignation, having to sit in silence for seven minutes while John Humphrys reported the story – with Gracie unable to say anything at all even though she was sitting in the very next chair. Classic BBC…

UPDATE: The BBC has now decided its senior female journalist resigning over pay disparity will be allowed to speak. On Woman’s Hour… 

UPDATE II: The farce continues:

Fraser Burns Polly

Zinger from Fraser Nelson as Polly Toynbee went after Toby Young’s record on free schools:

Polly: “He wanted to create a school for his kids.”

Fraser: “Yes, it’s better than sending them private like some columnists I could mention.”

Remember Polly sent two of her children private.[…] Read the rest

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