A Case Study in Media Disintermediation : #Trafigura

The blogosphere and Twitterati come out of this quite well. M’learned friends will have to rethink strategy. Guido will have more to say about the bigger picture tomorrow. It is time to take the freedom of the press into our own hands.

The full story is on the C4 News site here.

Raw (unedited) video for Guido’s interview:

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Wikileaks still hosts the the Minton report which you are not allowed to see, by order of the Court, hereSuck on that Carter-Ruckers…

More New Media Muscle Flexing – Montgomerie Takes a Scalp

Who really removed the Shadow Leader of the House from his position? David Cameron?

duncan_poll

No, not really. Tim Montgomerie and Heydon Prowse, the blogosphere’s sheperd of the Tory grassroots and the angry young man with a video-cam did the job:

Tim Montgomerie runs a regular poll asking the ConservativeHome grassroots to rate the Shadow Cabinet.  Do not for a second underestimate how much of a whip hand this gives him.   Whereas once upon time a frontbench Tory politician would worry about keeping the proprietor, editor and political correspondent of the Telegraph happy, as well as perhaps sharing a few drinks with the young and upcoming editor of the Spectator, now his horizon is much more extensive.  Fail to keep Tim Montgomerie and ConservativeHome’s readers onside and he might just commission a special poll on how you are doing.   If that poll finds tells the party leadership 65% of Tory members want you to resign…  you won’t last a month.

just_go_alanOld media looks on in bemusement in Washington as cable news’ Glenn Beck gives White House Environmental Czar and former communist 9/11 “truther” Van Jones his marching orders, and the White House demurs.   Heydon Prowse, who is he? He just destroyed the career of a greasy pole climbing Westminster slitherer.  No house trained political nouse, no insight, in fact a little naive.  He still did it.  The news is now disintermediated. 

Power has shifted from the top down to the bottom.  Adjust your sets and tighten your belts, it is going to be a bumpy ride…

Channel 4 Snooze

cathycorporatepic_biggerThe race for exclusives and scoops is of more interest to hacks and bloggers than it is to the readers and viewers.  News distributors take great pride in being first with the scoop.  Guido is no different in this respect from Channel 4 News, and boasting emails like this from newsrooms are not uncommon:

from: Laurent, Fiona <[]@itn.co.uk>
date: Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM~
subject: C4 NEWS EXCLSV: DEFENCE AIDE RESIGNS – ERIC JOYCE’S LETTER TO BROWN
Embargoed until 19.30 hrs on 3rd September 2009
*LEAD STORY* LEAD STORY* LEAD STORY
CREDIT CHANNEL 4 NEWS WITH ALL MATERIAL USED  CHANNEL 4 NEWS EXCLUSIVE:
PARLIAMENTARY AIDE TO THE DEFENCE SECRETARY RESIGNS

Sure enough the lead story on C4 News at 7pm had been Eric Joyce resigning. Was it really an exclusive? Co-conspirators will note that at 6.27pm Guido reported a rumour that a PPS was resigning, just after that Guido publicly tweeted @EricJoyce to badger him to answer the phone – he hadn’t been answering his mobile for hours – (the Twitterati picked up the hint).  At 6.46pm Guido named Eric Joyce after a co-conspirator emailed some corroborative information on the back of the 6.27 pm teaser.

Cathy Newman confirmed the story and lead with the contents of the resignation letter at 7.01 on C4 News, she apparently had got the story the night before. Guido heard the story late yesterday afternoon, as Cathy tweeted after her broadcast So hard to keep a secret in Westminster. Somehow the mod got wind of our Eric Joyce scoop mid afternoon. Hmm.”

Eric Joyce Newswire Timeline

Cathy undoubtedly had the resignation letter first, nevertheless the first news source to put Joyce’s resignation into the public domain was this blog, as PoliticsHome’s “as it happens” newswire confirms. You snooze, you lose…

UPDATE : Remember Dizzy’s story which became a “C4 News Exclusive” the next day?

Reporting from the Guardian

IndexGuido was at the Index on Censorship Awards ceremony last night, deep in the bowels of the Guardian’s new fancy offices. The purpose built modern building will make a great museum when the paper eventually goes bust.

The event was packed to the gills with media luvvies and Islington’s finest. David Hare gave a splendidly acerbic speech. Chairman Johnathan Dimbleby raged against the “censorship” of the BBC’s Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen, who was mildly criticised for his blatant anti-Israeli bias by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee. Guido thought it a gentle rebuke to Bowen given how biased his broadcasts from the supposedly impartial state broadcaster seem. Hardly makes him a dissident, does it? He has been given no punishment, no demotion, nothing. Wonder if he had been criticised for anti-Palestinian bias would the room have been so concerned?

Václav HavelStereotypically the auction fundraiser saw a week in a Tuscan villa get the top bid from the assembled Hampstead liberals and Guardianistas. No, it really did. Guido was very pleased to win the auction for a copy of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto signed by Václav Havel himself. The dissident playwright was imprisoned multiple times during the Soviet era by an authoritarian socialist Czech regime, his plays were banned and he was reduced to working in a brewery. After the Velvet Revolution he ended up being President of the freed Czech Republic. It went for a tenth of the price of that week in Tuscany. Guardianistas really do have different values…

Political Class Starting to Fear the Public's Anger

Not often that Polly Toynbee, Tim Montgomerie and Guido agree: popular anger with the political class is rising.  Something that Polly wants Labour to adjust to by moving policy to the left as well as limiting public-sector fat-cat pay. Tim Montgomerie agrees on the latter but wants the Tories to wake up to popular anger by putting on hair-shirts and getting their own snoughts out of the trough.  Guido welcomes both pundits to the anti-politics banner.

Democracy is broken, the political media elite distant from the people with the two main parties offering no choice and no change.  Osborne is promising no change and blaming the economic crisis.  Taxation will remain penal, spending will remain prolific, there will be some reforms of a failed state bureaucracy but no rollback and no radicalism.  Hannan is at least making the case for a radical shift of power from the centralised state bureaucracy to people at local level.

The Cameroons can’t seal the deal with the people with pragmatism,  “Triangulation Now!” is not the banner that will get people marching.  Voters are angry with Brown and disenchanted with politicians offering more of the same.  Bedazzled during the Blair years, Cameron, Osborne and Hilton have yet to show that they realise the times have fundamentally changed.  Taking strategic advice from the wrong Danny* has left the Tories outflanked on their USP – the LibDems are now the only party promising to reduce the tax burden on the low paid.  Hannan told Newsnight last night that people are fed up of being, “ripped off, lied to and ignored” by politicians.  Disenchantment with politicians has never been higher, most think they are overpaid and dishonest.  Hannan gets it.  This crisis is an opportunity to radically change the plan.

*Finkelstein.  Nice guy, but wrong.  Danny has been consistently one political zeitgeist behind the times all his life.

Cameron Hails Hannan's "Brilliant Response"

In an email tonight to Conservative Party supporters Dave hails

Dan Hannan’s brilliant response to Gordon Brown in the European Parliament. It was so effective and shows the growing power of the internet over TV.

Meanwhile Sir Michael White is getting a lashing from his own readers on the Guardian website for, well, just not getting it.  Douglas Carswell MP is taking the opportunity on his blog to remind Sir Michael that he recently mocked Carswell for saying YouTube was  going to be politically important.  On the other hand Guido has to give full credit to John Prescott, who clearly does get it:

I must say I find the internet sensation caused by Dan Hannan’s speech to the European Parliament remarkable. Normally, an obscure Eurosceptic Tory MEP would not get any coverage for a rant against the Prime Minister in the mainstream media. And it proved to be the case. None of the networks or the newspapers originally covered it. But once he uploaded it onto YouTube it took off. Firstly it got up to 30,000 hits after being promoted by Guido Fawkes on his website. Then it exploded in the US once it was put on the Drudge Report site. The mainstream media were then forced to cover it and it has now been seen by more than a million people. I think this is a perfect example of the power shift away from the mainstream media to the internet. Instead of having to get past the editorial filter of journalists and editors, people are starting to set the news agenda and the hacks are having to catch up.

All the left-wing think-tanks and pressure groups have been having seminars and meetings on how to harness the internet “after Obama”.  Maybe they should have looked to Ron Paul instead, he had a clear libertarian political message that he articulated via the internet.  The internet insurgency shook up the Republican party during the U.S. primaries when Ron Paul, then a little known anti-War Republican running for President, shocked the U.S. political establishment by raising over $4 million online – in one day It was not for nothing that his campaign song was “Google Ron Paul”.

Hannan’s first choice for U.S. president was the libertarian Republican, not really surprising considering Hannan and Carswell are two of the most libertarian leaning Conservative politicians.  If you read their book The Plan“, you will see they both get the internet and the effect it will have on politics.  Right now some 1 1/4 million people have “Googled Dan Hannan”…

Rushies, Co-Conspirators : "Hannan is Our Leader"

Rushies UKRush Limbaugh says, “Hear, hear. Hear, hear. Republicans in Washington could take a lesson from the bravery of this man.”

Guido spoke to Dan earlier today, he seemed bemused at the colossal impact of his speech. Guido tried to explain to him he was about to go inter-continental. “I have to deal with a lot of constituent’s letters today”, “Dan, Drudge has just front paged you”, “Yes, it is strange, I have said the same thing before.”

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – we are all ditto-heads now; Rushies and the Co-Conspirators.   British politicians are mesmerised by Obama, without noticing that two months into his presidency Obama’s ratings are lower than Dubya’s were at the same time.  Dan, we know you won’t back down, stick to your guns…

Fox : Danny Tells Cavuto – “I Wanted Ron Paul, But I Backed Obama”

UPDATE : Hannan’s reply to Gordon Brown is already at 1/3rd of million views on YouTube and on course to be the most viewed political speech in the fastest time in internet history. It is the speech that many Republicans wish  they had someone to deliver to Obama.

ePolitix Not Closing, “Re-Focusing”

Michael Hepburn, CEO of Dods tells Guido that ePolitix.com is not closing (despite rumours to the contrary), it will instead focus more specifically on specialist in-depth analysis of policy and legislation rather than general political news stories. They will be cutting back on “3 or 4 journalists” as a result…

Not Nihilistic, Realistic

Yesterday afternoon Guido put in a call to Paul Richards, Hazel Blear’s SpAd, after being tipped off that she was going to attack Guido in a speech later today to the Hansard Society. Guido also called the Hansard Society to arrange to attend the speech. He was told it was a closed meeting. The subject of the meeting, ironically, is political disengagement.

The pre-speech spin to the press is that corrosive cynicism, fueled by politically nihilistic blogs and a retreat from dispassionate reporting is endangering British political discourse and fueling growing political disengagement in Britain. She will say:

“We are witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture… Perhaps because of the nature of the technology, there is a tendency for political blogs to have a ‘Samizdat’ style. The most popular blogs are rightwing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes. Perhaps this is simply anti-establishment. Blogs have only existed under a Labour government. Perhaps if there was a Tory government, all the leading blogs would be left-of-centre?

“But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy.

“Until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair.”

Paul Richards, Guido understands, wrote her speech. (Guido has written about him a few times.)

Anti-establishment and occasionally vicious Guido may be, but nihilistic? Never. Nihilists deny that an objective morality exists. Guido has a clear sense of morality – Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Blears really shouldn’t use words she doesn’t understand. Does Blears actually think that Guido rages against political corruption because he cares not for morality?

She is however correct to say that Guido has disdain for political corruption and seeks to unearth scandal and hypocrisy. Does Blears really think that is a bad thing?

Asking political bloggers to “add value” is to misunderstand the relationship between a free press and politicians. Take a memo Ms Blears, we are not here to “add value”, or do what politicians want, Guido has his own values and aims to hit back at political hypocrisy and lies. Politicians make laws, so they should be held to account, to a higher standard. The Nick Robinsons, Peter Riddells, Michael Whites and Steve Richardsons of the world don’t do investigative digging, they report back their impressions from their lunch meetings. They re-package and interpret spin from the party machines. That is how they “add value”. They are what Peter Oborne memorably described as the “client media”.

Guido has, without the platform of a newspaper or broadcaster backing him, achieved a position of influence for some reason. From nowhere this blog has become one of the most widely read political sources in Britain. It reaches a lot of people who were once disillusioned with and disinterested in politics, it is written (on a good day) in an accessible and entertaining way. Why does Hazel think this fuels political disengagement? The Labour Party would love to have a website that engaged as many people as this blog.

What has deservedly brought about disengagement from and cynicism towards politicians is spin, triangulation, focus group derived policies, positioning purely for partisan advantage, vacuous slogans and meaningless promises. Add in personal self enrichment from expense fiddles, petty corruption and barefaced lying to that toxicosis. Hazel has herself personally defended with repulsive sophistry everything from 45 minutes to mass destruction and cash for honours in her time. Who has really fueled corrosive political cynicism? Look in the mirror Hazel.

BBC Drama Shock : Not Left-Wing

What has happened to Spooks? Have they got a new script writing team? The heroes in tonight’s episode were MI5 agents, saving the lives of innocent women and children – service families. Adam the hero dies in the process despite having already saved the life of a British soldier from would be Al Qaeda terrorists set on a beheading. The soldier was presented sympathetically, as a father and husband who refused to read out the speech dictated to him, preferring death to dishonour.

The ultimate baddie was a Russian spymaster. What no evil Christians? No duplicitous Americans, no Israeli Mossad manipulators, no big business plutocrat exploiters? This is the BBC, we expect to be force fed left-wing platitudes and propaganda, not given a patriotic tear jerker.

The 10 O’Clock News returns things to normality: “Tonight America is accused of terrorism…” Don’t start paying the TV licence fee just yet.

Blog Regulation :They’ll Have to Prise the Keyboard Out of Guido’s Cold Dead Hand

Dale has been telling Guido this was coming for some time. At a fringe meeting at Conservative Party Conference on the platform Guido insisted the government wouldn’t have a chance of suppressing him unless they went down the Iranian route of censoring the internet at the ISP level or copying the Great Firewall of China, and they wouldn’t do that.

Maybe Guido underestimated the government. Having failed to put a positive spin on Gordon, Stephen Carter is going to try and regulate blogs under the guise of “promoting content standards” – otherwise known as censorship. No doubt bloggers will first be found guilty of some kind of thoughtcrime to justify censorship, apparently calling Chinese milk a “Chinky Drinky” in a jokey headline is bigoted, co-conspirators calling Ed Balls names will no doubt be guilty of a crime against the state soon.

Andy Burnham a couple of weeks ago made a direct threat against bloggers, “It is not just about copyright or intellectual property but [things like] taste and decency in the online world. The time will come to say what are the direct interventions [needed, if any].”

Freedom of speech is messy, freedom is messy full stop, but it is of primary importance There is no way Guido is going to surrender his liberty to insult, expose and humiliate our rulers in the vilest ways he can. That wouldn’t be fun at all. If they want a fight, a fight they shall get. They will have to prise the keyboard out of Guido’s cold dead hand…

Gordon Live Chat

Post Match Live Blog Statistics:
Email Reminders Set Up: 28
Total Blog Page Hits: 2545
Total Unique Viewers: 1279
Avg. Unique Viewer Duration on Blog: 11 min.

Chat Text
Viewer Chat Messages Sent: 4046
Viewer Chat Messages Published: 3509

Tories Give Bloggers Parity with Big Media

The Tory press office is, quite rightly, treating bloggers at their conference the same as the rest of the media (including charging us £150 for an internet connection and £95 for a power socket). Guido however will be unplugged and wirelessly blogging from his shiny new iPhone-killing, Blackberry-beating, all-singing, all-dancing, sat-naving, “beam me up Scotty” Sony Ericsson Xperia X1* phone, saving himself a couple of hundred quid.

Nice of CCHQ to offer bloggers a dedicated base to work from… the bar works best for Guido…

*Muchos gracias to Sony-Ericsson for the pre-launch model.

Edwards Finally Admits Affair that US Press Ignored

John Edwards, the third-placed, left-leaning former Democratic Party presidential candidate, was in the running for the VP slot with Obama, now he is in disgrace. Tonight he will admit in an interview to be broadcast on ABC News that he had an affair with a staffer. Edwards denied the truth until now:

“I’ve been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years,” Edwards added, about his wife Elizabeth, who is suffering from incurable cancer, “and as anybody who’s been around us knows, she’s an extraordinary human being, warm, loving, beautiful, sexy and as good a person as I have ever known. So the story’s just false.”

The most interesting aspect of the matter is the craven attitude of the U.S. press. No major newspaper touched the story for weeks, the National Enquirer was the only national paper to touch the story for a long time and Fox News the only broadcaster to report the truth. Bloggers ran with the story whilst the New York Times and Washington Post remained silent. A shameful conspiracy of silence. Elizabeth Edwards has cancer.

The mistress has a baby, which he still denies fathering, despite photos of him cradling the child being in circulation. Just as well or he might have to return his 2007 Father of the Year Award.

See also Gawker and Hitsville.

UPDATE : He laundered hush money to the mistress from his campaign funds as payments for her producing YouTube videos. A twist we haven’t had before.

Number10TV

Gordon’s charisma and engaging personality are bound to make Number10TV a vote winner. Rosa Prince has written a story about the forthcoming launch of the channel. (The story mistakenly links to the spoof site Number10TV.com).

All this is so Gordon can reach voters without having to answer tough questions from TV interviewers. Don’t they already have a YouTube channel? Isn’t this just a waste of taxpayers money to promote the PM which should really be paid for by the party?

New Statesman Owner Buys LabourHome

Guido has been hearing rumours that LabourHome was “in play” and that two bidders were after the site. Tom Miller’s Newer Labour has the exclusive confirming that LabourHome has been bought by Mike Danson, the new owner of the New Statesman.
Newer Labour reports that it went for a “high five figure sum… with some of the existing editors, like Alex Hilton, one of the foremost Labour bloggers and co-founder, Jag Singh, staying on board.” PoliticsHome had also shown an interest in bringing the site into the “home” network – Freddie Sayers had been in negotiations with the site but got gazumped.

Guido called Alex Hilton, LabourHome’s chief commissar, to commiserate with him for not getting a six-figure valuation. (Guardian Media Group just bought PaidContent for $30 million, the Gawker group of blogs is valued at over $100 million.) Alex would only say “We are very pleased to have the support of the New Statesman” from his yacht in the Caribbean.

Guido reckons that if the valuations being achieved in the U.S. were reflected here, the leading blogs would be worth seven figure sums. Mrs Fawkes has become noticeably less intolerant of Guido’s blogging of late…

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.

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