Newsnight Hire Pro-Labour TUC Wonk as Economics Editor

newsnightStephanie “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:

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.

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.

UPDATE IV:

Media Movements: Janine Gibson Heir Apparent to Rusbridger

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…

Guardian Correction of the Day

Ticks every Grauniad box.

Via @NilamAtodaria

Guardian's Greenslade Stood Surety for IRA Terrorist Roy Enjoys Provo's Donegal Oysters

roy-greenslade

Roy Greenslade stood surety for IRA bomb suspect John Downey it emerged during the failed prosecution of Downey at the Old Bailey in London. Greenslade, the Guardian’s media commentator and a journalism professor at London’s City University, owns a home near Downey’s in Donegal. The Old Bailey was told, according to a report in the Irish Independent, that Greenslade gets his oysters from Downey’s farm.

Lt Anthony Daly, 23, Cpl Roy Bright, 36, L Cpl Jeffrey Young, 19, and Trooper Simon Tipper, also 19, all of the Blues and Royals, died in the blast along with seven of the regiment’s horses. Two hours after the Hyde Park blast, an IRA bomb killed seven Army bandsmen in nearby Regent’s Park.

john-downey

The case against on-the-run John Downey, 62, collapsed after a senior judge heard the defendant was among the IRA terrorists who had received a “get out of jail free” letter protecting them from prosecution. Greenslade’s illustrious career in journalism includes editing the Mirror and writing for An Phoblacht, Sinn Fein’s pro-IRA propaganda sheet, he is also the Professor of Journalism at City University London.  Greenslade is said to be a close friend of former Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty, who was also a member of the IRA Army Council.

GCHQ is Watching You Watching Porn

The Guardian’s latest GCHQ leak reveals that our intelligence services have stockpiled a massive collection of people enjoying themselves on the internet. GCHQ’s ‘Optic Nerve’ surveillance programme intercepted webcam images of millions of users, a large number of which were at intimate moments.

It would seem that GCHQ has amassed a huge collection of cum face pics. Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch has it about right:

“Secretly intercepting and taking photographs from millions of people’s webcam chats is as creepy as it gets. We have CCTV on our streets and now we have GCHQ in our homes.

It is right that the security services can target people and tap their communications but they should not be doing it to millions of people. This is an indiscriminate and intimate intrusion on people’s privacy.”

Don’t forget though, some of those masturbators may be terrorists…

Yet Another Guardian Contributor Arrested for Terror Offences

Just before Christmas Guardian contributor Babar Ahmad pleaded guilty to terror offences, well today another has been nicked. Moazzam Begg, who has written for the paper’s website no less than thirteen times, has been detained on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences. Who’s next?

Robinson's Lobby Colleagues Fed Up With Him Lifting Stories

Nick Robinson was the focus of ridicule among his Lobby colleagues last night after he yet again lifted a newspaper journalist’s story and claimed it as his own. “BREAKING”, he tweeted, the three major parties would reject a currency union with an independent Scotland, “the BBC has learned”. Just one problem, Nick Watt at the Guardian had broken the story some 21 hours earlier. 

Several Lobby journalists have since been in touch with MediaGuido to express their increasing frustration at Robinson claiming stories broken elsewhere as his own, attributing them instead to “BBC sources”. It is a running joke that BBC news broadcasts consistently refuse to credit other news organisations – putting up  ‘Breaking News – the BBC has learned’ graphics half an hour after it was on Sky – but Robinson telling readers that this story was his own has crossed the line. One hack notes his regular surprise to see lines from government or opposition press releases (emailed out to every Westminster journalist at the same time) reported as “a Tory/Labour source tells me” on the News at Ten. The fact he is “never around” is hardly helping his popularity either. BBC head of news James Harding is cracking the whip demanding exclusives from his political team, Robbo seems to be feeling the pressure.

When MediaGuido spoke to Nick Watt last night, he wanted to stress that “I hold Nick in the highest regard” and suggested we take a look at the high volume of critical tweets from Lobby journalists to gauge how other hacks feel. Despite Robinson confessing to reading the Guardian story first, last night’s News at Ten again fibbed “our political editor Nick Robinson broke the story”Tut tut…

 

Guardian's Internet Disconnected

red edEd Miliband is due at Guardian HQ shortly to give the Hugo Young Lecture, and what happens?

The internet goes down…

From: Sheila Fitzsimons

Dear all, In order to try and resolve the internet connectivity issue in Kings Place we will make a network change at about 3pm. It would help if those of you who don’t need to use the internet could limit your use for the rest of the day. Thanks for your patience today – everyone is trying as hard as possible to resolve the problems. Sheila

Have they tried switching it on and off?

George Monbiot, 2006: Our Rivers Will Run Dry

Guardian green and resident loony lefty George Monbiot looked into his crystal ball and made a somewhat brave prediction about “our rivers” back in 2006:

The Thames today:

How’s that working out for you?

H/T Christopher Snowdon

Exclusive: Guardian Promises to Stop Paying for Readers Swagbucks Scam Defrauds Cost-Per-Click Advertisers

Following MediaGuido’s exclusive story this morning, the Guardian have admitted to using the services of the company which paid people to read their website. In a statement they claim they did not realise the service involved traffic whoring and have promised to stop:

“The Guardian is currently in a testing phase with a company called Vertical Searchworks who offer promotion of video content through a large network of US-based sites. We were not aware of our content being promoted through online reward sites, such as Swagbucks, as part of this testing phase. We would never knowingly promote our content through these sites. We are asking for this to be taken down with immediate effect.”

The real question lies with the advertisers who paid out on a performance basis. Will the Guardian be reimbursing those advertisers who were deceived into thinking their adverts were being watched by genuine readers?

Scam Traffic Boosting Website Pays You to Read Guardian Questions Raised Over Digital Advertising Revenue "Click Fraud"

SwagBucks is a Los Angeles-based “online rewards” website, which allows its 4 million users to make money by earning virtual currency for watching videos, completing surveys or clicking links, then exchanging it for cash. It is a ruse used by other websites to boost their traffic; they offer ‘SwagBucks’ for users who click on their links, boosting performance related advertising revenue. One website that appears on SwagBucks is theGuardian.com. As you can see below, users are being offered the chance to “earn an easy 1 SwagBuck when you watch 2 videos or read articles” on the Guardian website.

Click on the offer and you told you will have “1 SwagBuck awarded when you watch 2 videos or read articles from our trusted partners”. The links from the “trusted partner” go to videos on the Guardian website.

Digital revenue for the Guardian was reported to be up 28.9% to £55.9 million last year. Guido wonders what the Guardian’s advertisers, who pay up depending on how many impressions its website receives, think about its traffic being inflated by users being paid to read its content…

*NB Nobody we contacted from the Guardian admitted having any knowledge of Swagbucks.

Psycho Huhne’s Lecture on Loyalty

It is worth savouring Chris Huhne’s lecture to the Tories in the Guardian this morning. “Whatever happened to loyalty?” he hectors, with a straight face telling us how the LibDems are saintly but the Tories are experts in betrayal. He would know, having betrayed his own wife, his children, his party and knifed rival after rival down the years. Huhne’s column is becoming increasingly unhinged…

D-Noticed Issued on Naming Spies

A D-Notice yesterday went out warning editors against naming spooks:

LEGAL NOTICE: DEFENCE ADVISORY NOTICE: IDENTITIES OF PERSONS CONNECTED
WITH THE SECURITY SERVICES – NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Please see below DEFENCE ADVISORY NOTICE

Editorial Legal Services

DEFENCE ADVISORY NOTICE

Private and Confidential:  Not for publication, broadcast or use on social
media.

To all Editors,

There have been a number of cases over the last 2 days where editors have
attempted to establish a link between a person’s identity and his
membership of the security services.  Any such linkage is likely to cause
a significant increase in the threat to a person’s life and to that of his
family, major disruption to current security operations and a significant
cost in attempting to relocate households.

May I take this opportunity to remind editors that DA Notice 05 advises,

inter alia, that the following should not be published:

‘…..   (b) the identities, whereabouts and tasks of people who are or
have been employed by these services or engaged on such work, including
details of their families and home addresses, and any other information,
including photographs, which could assist terrorist or other hostile
organizations to identify a target…..’

No responsible editor would want to name serving spies active in the field surely? It’s not like the authorities are looking for an excuse to go round smashing up journalists’ laptops. Oh…

Facts are Sacred

…reports the Guardian this morning. Today, under cross examination, Dan Evans has confessed Coulson never actually used that word:

C.P. Scott would be turning in his grave…

Guardian Sells Autotrader Stake for $1 Billion Moment of Tax Truth for Guardianistas

In 2011 this blog ran a Guy News investigation into the Guardian’s offshore tax dodge in the Caymans. We followed it up in 2012 and Guido personally asked Alan Rusbridger and GMG plc’s CEO to explain the continuing holding of assets offshore. No reply was forthcoming. In 2012 we checked to see if GMG was still using GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, the controversial tax-exempt corporation which it set-up in 2007.

Subsequently in 2008 The Guardian claimed GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, a GMG-owned company, would be transferred into their investment partner Apax’s offshore structures, normally when this happens there is a name change. The name is unchanged to this day, strongly suggesting the ownership was unchanged. At the very least Apax/Guardian will have saved themselves $5 the million in stamp duty which would otherwise be due to HMRC by doing the transaction offshore:

No pronouncement from Polly Toynbee as yet. Guido is consulting beancounters on further tax implications of the deal…

Further reading on the Guardian‘s tax hypocrisy:

Michael White on Guardian: “How Petty We Can Be”

Fearless exposer or political wrongdoing and campaigner on behalf of the public Michael White reckons revealing the cost of MPs’ vanity portraits is beneath a respectable publication:

Clearly he hasn’t seen the front page of his own paper this morning:

20140114-085130.jpg

How petty. 

Simon Hoggart 1947 – 2014

Guido particularly enjoyed one of Hoggart’s last pieces about learning Tony Benn ‘loathed’ him:

“To be loathed by Tony Benn is something any political writer of my age would sell their grannies for. I feel humbled by his hatred. He got almost everything wrong – not least the cuckoo behaviour that helped usher in Margaret Thatcher’s long reign. Or take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao’s death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was “a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does”. True enough. I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history. Here are the figures: Number of innocent people who died in the Great Leap Forward, through Mao’s policies for the countryside and from mass executions: between 40 and 65 million. Number of deaths caused by me: 0. But Benn greatly admired Mao.”

RIP.

Guardian Take the Dubya Defence on Unpaid Interns

The Guardian have tried to respond to Guido’s revelation that the moralising paper were advertising for unpaid interns:

“Guardian News & Media advertises editorial experience opportunities twice a year. These opportunities range from a few days to a maximum of two weeks and are not internships.”

Just because it is only two weeks? They are still expecting people to work for free. It’s disingenuous hair-splitting at best and exploitation at worst.

Like Dubya saying water-boarding isn’t really torture. 

Guardian US Boss Out After a Year

CEO of Guardian US Michael Bloom has quit. He had only been in the job for just over a year but Guardian Media Group have today announced he “will leave the company to pursue other opportunities”. No replacement has been lined up so new deputy chief executive David Pemsel is brought in to cover. It’s only the US market after all. Axe-wielding GMG CEO Andrew Miller insists the company is “firing on all cylinders”. Well quite…

Guardian Advertises for Unpaid Interns After Claiming Exploitation is "Ruining Journalism"

The Guardian has been a vocal campaigner in sticking up for unpaid interns. Their pages have played host to an endless list of articles making clear where the paper stands. “Join the fight against unpaid internships”, they have urged. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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