Glenn Greenwald: In His Readers’ (Predictably Unkind) Words

The award for the stupidest idea of the week goes to the Guardian, who are encouraging readers to fill out a template offering their opinions on Glenn Greenwald and publishing the results without moderation. Cue the predictable:

Fair to say there are lot in a similar vein. Read them and share your own thoughts here. Why do they do it?

Guardian Will Give Your Data to Intelligence Agencies

Google, Microsoft, Apple et al denying Glenn Greenwald’s claim that they allowed the National Security Agency “direct access” to their servers was pretty awkward for the Guardian. Obviously the last brave freedom fighters defending us against an omnipotent surveillance would never do that, right? Here is the Guardian’s own privacy policy:

“Please note that we reserve the right to access and disclose personal data to comply with applicable laws and lawful government requests, to operate our systems properly and to protect both ourselves and our users.”

The same rule the software giants say they play by. Is this “direct access”?

H/T @guywalters

Another Guardian “Deleted Voicemail” Moment

As Putin winds up Obama by offering whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Russia, the wheels are beginning to come off of the Glenn Greenwald global gloating tour. Yesterday, in his usual tetchy style, he let slip that he had been working with Snowden in February, before he started working for private NSA contractors Booz Allen in March. As Guy Walters notes it could look like Greenwald and Snowden planned to look for abuses, quite plausibly to serve their own agenda.

David Allen Green notes that no evidence has yet been produced that anyone working for the NSA or GCHQ breached any law whatsoever, or that any information was obtained without a court order. Anyone except Snowden; who likes to type under a hood so satellites cannot see his screen.

Bob Cesca raises real questions over the veracity of Greenwald’s journalism. First, his assertion – repeated four times in his original article – that the NSA has “direct access” to the Google, Apple, Microsoft etc servers, is contested by the companies themselves. They insist the NSA had to pass the safeguard of agreeing consent. Unless they are not telling the truth, the phrase “direct access” is an exaggeration. Guido is still sceptical of their denials, but the Guardian accused them of “direct access” without evidence.

Secondly, the Washington Post has amended its own original story, now saying that PRISM was used to “track foreign targets” and not US citizens. Greenwald has not changed his own story that US citizens were targeted. Why the change from WaPo; why the sudden, unexplained discrepancy?

Once again the Guardian have lit the touch-paper only for it to emerge that the most damning part of the story is evidence free. Maybe it was the NSA that deleted those Milly Dowler text messages? Guido understands that Alan Rusbridger is in New York at the moment. He should be mopping up not boasting…

See also: More Questions for Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE: This, according to the Mail, is the girlfriend Snowden left in Hawaii:

How Political Journalism Works Puff Piece Pulled

pulled-lab-article

Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor for the Guardian, appears to have prematurely ejaculated over Miliband’s welfare speech.

It began:

The Labour leader’s speech has implanted into the public’s mind that his party ‘gets it’ on the economy and welfare…

Blah, blah, blah… odd that it was pulled… wonder why?

Guardian’s Hugh Muir Falls For Nick Boles Twitter Spoof

A classic Hugh Muir diary piece in today’s Guardian, recounting a speech by Nick Boles to the Institute for Government. All well and good, until blundering Muir went on to talk about Boles’ alleged extra-curricular activities:

“But there is a waspish side to Boles, who, when ministerial duties allow, likes to create mocking photoshopped pictures of Labour politicians.”

The ‘General Boles’ twitter account he references is, of course, a spoof. Oops.

SMOG* of the year.

*Social Media Own Goal

When Rawnsley Was Wrapped in the Tentacles of Lobbyists

Andrew Rawnsley really went for the lobbying industry in his Observer column yesterday. “Too many MPs are wrapped in the tentacles of the lobbyists” he warned, laying into “the murky world of lobbying”, describing it as an “industry that too often distorts and subverts democratic decision-making” and gagging at “the pungent smell given off by the whole business”.

He must have held his nose when he picked up the Public Affairs News award for Political Journalist of the Year from Warwick Smith of Citigate Public Affairs back in 2006

Check Your Privilege: True Costa #GuardianCoffee

Those free iPads, progressive decor and fair trade coffee don’t come cheap you know. Step outside from the plush white interior of hipster heaven however and you will find yourself on the mean streets of Bethnal Green, which the Guardian themselves ranked as the worst parliamentary constituency for child poverty. Isn’t that just the place to site an expensive coffee shop?  Perfect for the poverty tourism expresso… 

They even did some data led graphics:

Perhaps it could be used as a research centre to discover what life is like in the real world…

Too Easy to Mocha: WiFi is Latte for #GuardianCoffee Launch

neo+guidoThe Guy Newsroom relocated to trendy Shoreditch this morning to sample Guardianista barista’d coffee in the heart of hipsterdom, where the burn rate is high and IPOs are nowhere to be seen. We planned to write our Sun column in what is effectively the Guardian’s embassy in Tech-City. One fundamental teething problem – there is no WiFi. This is doubly embarrassing given the whole venture is sponsored by EE, the 4g-mobile network formerly known as T-Mobile and Orange, slogan “Everything Everywhere”. Only the Guardian could open a coffee-shop in the digital heart of Tech-City with no WiFi…

Lonely Guardianista

The famed free iPads are locked exclusively to the Guardian app in much the same way that Winston Smith’s television only had one channel. We spotted more Guardian staff than customers while we were there, filming a publicity video. As you can see from the pictures, customers are not queuing round the block yet.  There are 150 coffee shops in the area already, most with WiFi…

Another lonely Guardinista

To be fair, the coffee was pretty good…

See also: We Grind the Numbers

We Grind the Numbers #GuardianCoffee Needs to Sell 270 Coffees a Day to Break Even

Using figures from landlords We Are Pop Up, Guido has ground the numbers and calculated how many coffees the Guardian has to sell a day to break even:

  • Rent for one unit at BoxPark Shoreditch is £5,000 for every three months. Guardian Coffee has knocked three units together, making the cost for a year plus VAT £72,000.
  • There is a one off service charge for each box of £1,250, and electricity for each box is £150 a month. That makes £9,150 for the year.
  • Fitting the shop itself is valued at £25,000.
  • Business rates for Hackney Council are calculated as 47.1% of the annual rent, totalling £33,912.
  • A shop manager and four staff (based on witness reports of staff numbers) would together cost a minimum of around £100,000.
  • That is an estimated total cost per year of £240,062.
  • Each coffee is sold for £2.50.
  • At an estimated whosesale price of £10 per kilo from Nude Espresso, at 7 grams a cup that makes a fair trade gross profit of £2.43 per coffee.

Meaning they have to sell 98,791 coffees to break even. That’s 8,233 coffees a month, 1,900 a week, or 270 a day – basically one every 2 minutes...

At the time of going to pixel, before Guardian Coffee sadly removed their data infographic from the internet, on their big opening day they had sold just 60 coffees. Another Guardian financial success…

Guardian in the Black

In their latest wheeze to make money, the Guardian have opened a coffee shop. The “new venture #guardiancoffee” is “a single site operation which is both a coffee shop and a space for journalists to work in, based in Shoreditch, London.” As one visitor said: “infographics everywhere, iPads built into tables, not a newspaper in sight.” Presumably the coffee will be over heated and bitter and given away for free. Or will it be like their open sourced ‘Guardian Witness’ project, and you have to make it yourself?

Via James Waterson

UPDATE: If you use the #GuardianCoffee hashtag, your tweets will be projected on the wall of the coffee shop:

Just sayin’…

UPDATE: See We Grind the Numbers for a financial analysis of the enterprise’s prospects.

Guardian Accuses Jew of Not Being “Good Christian Person”

The Guardian’s Zoe Williams writes this morning:

“By its own terms, [marriage] must be lifelong. It is, in other words, beyond them. It is beyond Boris Johnson, it is beyond divorcee Nadine Dorries, just as going back to basics was beyond John Major, and being that kind of “good Christian person” was beyond Edwina Currie.”

Williams singles Currie out for not being a ‘good Christian person’ in her rant about Tories and gay marriage. Quite apart from the fact that Currie is a long-standing supporter of gay rights, who was behind attempts to equalise the age of consent, she is also Jewish. Awkward…

Katz’s Top Notch Lefty Credentials

Fair, balanced and impartial Ian Katz will have no trouble fitting in at his new role as Newsnight editor. He is reunited with former Guardian colleague Allegra Stratton and, in Paul Mason, he has an ex-Trotskyist Workers’ Power group member as his Economics Editor. Despite being a neighbour of Boris, Katz certainly has top drawer left-wing credentials. Back in 2004, he was editor of the Guardian’s G2 magazine during their infamous ‘Operation Clark County’ plot to swing the state of Ohio in favour of John Kerry and against George W. Bush. Katz organised thousands of letters written by lefty Britons to be sent to individual voters in Ohio, imploring them to cast their ballot for Kerry. The result was uproar, a near diplomatic incident, and victory for Bush. Slate magazine explained Katz’s humiliation at the time:

“The Guardian editor responsible for the project, Ian Katz, finally wrote a piece on Oct. 21 crying uncle… Katz said he knew all along that the letter-writing project could backfire. So, did it? Almost certainly, yes. In 2000, Al Gore won Clark County by 324 votes. And since Ralph Nader received 1,347 votes, we can assume Gore’s margin would have been larger without Nader on the ballot.

On Tuesday George Bush won Clark County by 1,620 votes.”

Add to that Katz’s support for various barmy climate change schemes, including the exploding children shock campaign 10:10. Throw in his views on the ‘paranoia’ and ‘complicity’ of ‘idiotic’ Israel and you start to get the picture…

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…

Guardian Uses Word “Scrounger” More Than Any Other Paper

Seemingly the entire left-wing twitterati have been up in arms this week over analysis carried via LexisNexis showing that use of the word “scrounger” has rocketed in the British media since 2010. You might, if you subscribe to the Owen Jones thesis that there is a right-wing agenda cooked up in CCHQ to demonise “scroungers”, have expected it to appear more in the likes of the Mail or the Express than the ‘progressive’ metropolitan liberal press. The demonising is in reality coming from Owen Jones, who is relentless in trying to describe any reasonable attempt to reform welfare as an attack on the poor – he is desperate for a Cabinet Minister to use the term “scrounger” so that he can say to the 53% of the population that receives a welfare payment of some kind – including pensioners, war widows and the chronically disabled – that the government thinks you are scroungers. Not so. Guido has been crunching the numbers, and it turns out it is none other than the Guardian that uses the word most, followed by the Indy, where Owen has a column.

After carrying out a simple search of the word “scrounger” on each newspaper website for the period 2010 to date, the figures show that the Guardian used the word in 736 articles over the last three years. In second place is Owen Jones’ Indy, who – as he might say – “demonised the poor” 185 times over the period. Much further down come the right-wing tabloids: 76 for the Mail and 20 for the Express. Owen knows there is no public sympathy for people who abuse the welfare state, he also knows that the majority of the population, thanks to Gordon Brown, receives a welfare payment of some kind. Owen dogmatically refuses to countenance any welfare cut of any kind, that is why he is trying to encourage the likes of mothers who receive child benefit and deserving pensioners to align with those who are rightly losing benefits – fit people of working age who turn down jobs for example – he wants them to believe that welfare reformers think they are “scroungers”That is why Owen and the unpopular progressive sections of the media use the emotive term more than anyone on the welfare-reforming right…

Methodology: Because neither Google or LexisNexis include all paywalled sites in their analysis, Guido used each newspaper website’s own internal search engine to determine in how many articles the word “scrounger” appeared between 2010 and today. The respective Sunday editions of the titles were included with the daily for the purposes of this research.

Tories and Guardian v UKIP, Staggers and a Delingpole

It takes something pretty special to unite the Tories and the Guardian, and then have UKIP and the New Statesman team up against them. UKIP candidate Dick Delingpole’s photoshop of himself with Hitler and subsequent Telegraph blog “confessing” to a non-existent Nazi past were so obviously a joke surely no one could fall for it. Step forward Simon Geraghty, Delingpole’s Tory opponent in Worcester, to bore us all with a cringeworthy sense of humour bypass:

“I find it absolutely sickening and abhorrent. I think the vast majority of British people will find this shocking – it’s not funny at all, it’s dreadful and I can’t believe he’s done it.”

The Guardian‘s Nick Watt even managed to bring himself to write the non-story up in full high-minded glory, apparently using the headline “Ukip in fresh Nazi row after candidate Photoshops Hitler image” without irony. You knew the whole thing had reached farcical proportions when the Staggers came out in defence of Delingpole this afternoon. CCHQ, a Tory candidate and the Guardian versus UKIP, the Staggers and a Delingpole – roll on Friday.

Guardian Misfire on Qatada ECHR Withdrawal

A big scoop for the Guardian’s home affairs editor Alan Travis…

…but one that will remain exclusive. Theresa May has confirmed withdrawal has not been agreed, so a spectacular misfire from the Guardian. Home Office sources tell Guido they have no idea where the briefing is coming from. Oops.

Polly’s Singapore Spin Unravels

Taking Polly Toynbee’s increasingly fact-free rants with a pinch of salt is generally good advice, but there is a difference between her standard spin and a complete falsehood. In a typical Gove-bashing piece for the Guardian today Polly asserts:

“Gove, calling for payment by results, cited Singapore’s high-achieving school system, “where expectations are higher”. What he didn’t say is that Singapore, like top performer Finland, is one of the most equal of developed nations. As his government drives up inequality, his schools face an ever tougher task compensating for the society they inhabit.”

Only Singapore isn’t one of the most equal developed nations. In fact, it is one of the most unequal. The country is currently dealing with one of the most severe income gaps in the world, indeed it has one of the highest Gini coefficients – the standard measure used to gauge inequality – of developed countries. But why let the facts get in the way of your see-through agenda, eh Polly?

Guardian Launch Copy-Cat Guido App

Guardian Witness, launched today, encourages readers to send in tips, stories, photos and videos straight to their newsdesk via a new app. As Guido readers have been been doing for this blog since the launch of our app last year.  They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Free, faster and formatted for your phone.

The Android native app can be downloaded hereFor all other devices you can download it here

Free the Guardian One

However bad your Tuesday morning might be going, at least you’re not Guardian Special Projects editor Paul Lewis, who has been stuck in a lift for the last 45 minutes:

Guido looks forward to Reading the Elevator: a data-driven study into the causes and consequences of why the lift broke down…

Guardian Phone-Hacker David Leigh Retires

David Leigh, the Guardian’s ‘public interest’ phone-hacker in chief, is retiring to spend more time with his two phones. Guido never got that apology for Leigh’s less than polite untruths back in 2011. That awkward admission in full:

There is certainly a voyeuristic thrill in hearing another person’s private messages… unlike the News of the World, I was not paying a private detective to routinely help me with circulation-boosting snippets.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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