Profundity of the Punditry: Florence Quadruple Whammy

Robert Peston caused a bit of a stir yesterday afternoon reporting that Theresa May was about to “do a Canada”:

“Her aspiration for after those two or perhaps three years of transition is for our future trading relationship to be what is known – in the ghastly jargon – as CETA plus… What this means is we want a trade deal modelled on Canada’s new one (CETA) with the EU, that has just become operative in interim mode, and not the more intimate integration with the EU of Norway or Switzerland. The reason we are doing a Canada is there has been no resiling from the position taken by the PM in her landmark Lancaster House speech… all of that is broadly May’s position, to be expressed tomorrow.”

May actually ruled Canada out:

“One way of approaching this question is to put forward a stark and unimaginative choice between two models: either something based on European Economic Area membership; or a traditional Free Trade Agreement, such as that the EU has recently negotiated with Canada. I don’t believe either of these options would be best for the UK or for the European Union.”

Doh!

Over at the Telegraph they has this top pre-speech scoop:

Except it didn’t come true, there was no mention of this in the speech. Boris seemed happy too, rather than on the verge of resigning. Doh!

What about all those Remain pundits who said again and again that May had dropped her view that “no deal is better than a bad deal”? Asked by Laura K, May confirmed this was still her position. Doh!

Then there was Sky’s Faisal Islam, who after the speech claimed May was “65% towards the Norway model”. Nope, you can read May’s damning verdict of Norway here. Doh!

Brexit reporting not particularly enlightening at the moment…

Who is the Eye’s Telegraph Mole?

For the past couple of years Telegraph staff have kept track of the internal bloodletting and embarrassing insider secrets recounted in remarkable detail in Private Eye. Eagle-eyed reporters have noticed a pattern. While he has a reputation in the office for being an all-powerful control freak who always gets his way, in the Eye editor Chris Evans is almost always portrayed as an ignorant, innocent party who is far from the scene of the crime.

Take this well-informed Eye nugget about the Telegraph’s infamous election day email urging readers to vote Tory, for which the paper was fined £30,000. Even though Evans’ name was on the email, the Eye write-up generously portrays him as an innocent bystander “without a political thought in his head“, and instead names and shames two other Telegraph journalists, as well as Murdoch MacLennan and Aidan Barclay, as being responsible.

Then there was this curiously briefed story about the Telegraph’s positive coverage of UKIP. The Eye’s piece makes clear that talking up UKIP definitely isn’t Evans’ idea, in fact it is Evans who has been “keeping at bay” UKIP supporter and Telegraph owner Frederick Barclay. Evans is referred to as an “idiot“, but it’s Sir Frederick who is the true villain of the piece.

This Eye story, again very well-informed, derides the decision of Telegraph execs to cut back the Saturday paper. MacLennan and the Barclay brothers are named as the guilty parties, but who was it who bravely tried to fight back against the cull? Chris Evans, of course, alas his efforts were, according to the Eye’s top source, sadly “swept aside”.

What about this Eye hit piece on former Sunday Telegraph editor Ian MacGregor, who is dubbed a “laughing stock” whose job was really being done by – you guessed it – Chris Evans. MacGregor is portrayed as a shameless lackey of Aidan Barclay’s business interests. Who was the man standing up to him? Evans, once again.

Whoever the Eye’s mole is, it seems they are keen to make sure Evans escapes blame for calamitous decision making, as his rivals in Victoria are publicly machine gunned one by one…

Telegraph’s Boris Story Back From the Brink

The Telegraph went all in with the claim that Boris Johnson was set to resign at 1pm yesterday, something both Boris and his team denied within minutes of the story being published. The original copy was swiftly and quietly deleted and replaced with the news that Boris was in fact staying and had “dismissed suggestions” he was about to quit. (Suggestions from, er, the Telegraph.) The unchanged URL address suggests it was the Telegraph rather than Boris that came back from the brink…

Boris “I’m Not Resigning”

Telegraph’s pol-ed Gordon Rayner is claiming that Boris will resign if Theresa May goes soft on Brexit.

Boris denies it…

Telegraph’s Dumbed Down Diana Coverage

Once the paper of Bill Deedes, the Telegraph’s desired readership these days is people googling “who was Princess Diana”…

Telegraph Bad For Business

A few years ago the Telegraph business desk was the best in Fleet Street, regularly better than the FT and streets ahead of the Times. It took a hit in 2014 when Richard Fletcher left to become Times business editor, taking several people with him to form the core of their business operation. Today the Telegraph business team is facing an exodus. The current business editor James Quinn is leaving after 11 years at the paper for a job in comms. Banking correspondent Ben Martin has left for Reuters. Business reporter Szu Ping Chan started a new job at the BBC this week. These were all good story-getting reporters who the Telegraph now has to do without. MediaGuido hears there are several further senior departures in the works. The business team is officially a shell…

Telegraph Buries Alive Duke of Edinburgh

Someone at Telegraph towers has pressed the wrong button: a full-length report went live on the paper’s website this morning wrongly reporting the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. In fact, the alive and well Duke is today carrying out his final official engagement before retiring from public duties. The pre-prepared piece reads:

The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving consort to a monarch in British history, has died at the age of XX, Buckingham Palace has announced. 

“Prince Philip, whom the Queen described as her “strength and stay” during her record-breaking reign, passed away XXXXXXX

“FILL IN DETAILS

“He will be given a royal ceremonial funeral in line with his wishes, which is expected to take place in seven days’ time.”

A note at the head of the copy says: “This file needs to be a living file – and will serve Apple News as well as be the main news story. Please stick to the format below.” The story carries the joint byline of the paper’s royal correspondent and political editor. Amusingly, the piece rather prematurely quotes “palace insiders“:

“Palace insiders have said the Duke specified he wanted a “low key” funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where he will also be interred.”

The story has now been deleted. One for the mood board

Mood Board Reveals Despair of Telegraph Hacks

Inside Telegraph towers morale is at rock bottom. New Chief Executive Nick Hugh needs to cut costs: profits have collapsed below the sacred £50 million mark. The plan to cheer everyone up? Put up a mood board…

The top of the board reads: “On our best days, the Telegraph is…” Like a primary school exercise, staff then pin their answers up on little bits of paper. The instructions say: “Everything contributed to the board will contribute to our people values.Vomit…

Hardened after a decade of cuts, the hacks have come up with some interesting answers. One kissed a piece of paper – leaving lipstick marks – along with the answer “sexual“. Others complete the sentence with: “published” and “tolerable”. Yet another: “the toilets work”. The board is a far cry from the occasional £500 bonuses former boss Jason Seiken used to dish out to keep scribblers happy. Amazing that the execs thought this would work…

Telegraph Publishes 17 Stories About Love Island in 24 Hours

Remember when MediaGuido uncovered the Telegraph’strash traffic” strategy to game Search Engine Optimisation and secure millions of extra Google juice clicks? Well, in the last 24 hours the Telegraph website has published a grand total of 17 articles about Love Island, the popular ITV2 reality show featuring scantily-clad ladies and on-screen romps. This is the sort of “premium content” lucky Telegraph subscribers get to read today:

  • 16 things Love Island taught us about sex
  • Love Island’s Caroline Flack: ‘It’s not about sex’
  • How Love Island convinced me to stud my poodle
  • The top 10 cringiest moments from this season’s Love Island
  • Viagra sponsorship: how will Love Island contestants will make their millions?

A reminder that at the Telegraph it’s the SEO Chartbeat monkeys, not editors, who call the shots…

Telegraph Kills Tradition of Charitable Donations

The Telegraph used to make a big deal of its noblesse oblige responsibilities to the less privileged. In 2015 Telegraph Media Group made £3 million of charitable donations via the Barclay Foundation – £2 million to the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre veterans charity and £1 million to Great Ormond Street children’s hospital. TMG’s new company accounts, released yesterday, reveal that the tradition of charitable donations is dead. Forget the £3 million of the previous year, in the last year TMG made just £850 of charitable donations. Times are tough, profits are £32 million…

Telegraph Head of Axings Faces Axe

Interesting rumblings at Telegraph Towers. The word, according to three sources, is that Richard Ellis, one of the most senior figures at Telegraph Media Group and their former Publisher, Chief Development Officer and Director of Talent, is likely to be on his way out. Ellis was in charge of sacking the scores of journalists who have left the paper over the last few years, so the newsroom is awaiting news of his fate with keen interest. His departure will make editor Chris Evans nervous – Evans has been notably absent in the newsroom over the last few days. Telegraph veterans have felt a great disturbance in the force…

UPDATE: Another source gets in touch to say Ellis was given the push on Friday. A Telegraph old hand says he was Murdoch MacLennan’s man and his departure is a consequence of MacLennan being sidelined. Which would be good news for Evans…

Barclays Bank €50 Million in Superyacht Sale

Telegraph hacks are on course for that sinking feeling when they find out TMG chairman Aidan Barclay has sold his €50 million superyacht. Measuring more than 244 feet, Enigma was launched in 1991, and was sold to the Telegraph mogul by US billionaire Larry Ellison in 2007. Now Barclay has cashed in on the asset, a sign of hard times sure to leave Telegraph scribblers far from buoyed. Barclay’s superyacht keeps him afloat, one to remember when the next round of job cuts comes…

Telegraph Hiring Three Snapchat Editors

The Telegraph has no security editor, no home affairs editor, no subs and no foreign correspondents to speak of. Yet this afternoon they are advertising for three Snapchat editors. The Gorkana notice is being shared among incredulous hacks…

New Rule Bleeds Telegraph Hacks For Every Penny

Telegraph hacks are spitting feathers after a new rule saw them charged to come into work. Previously if staff forgot their security pass they would be signed in at the desk and let into the office. Not any more. Hacks who leave their pass at home now have to pay a £5 toll to get past security. The decision has caused employees to go berserk – it is the petty penny-pinching policies like this that has sent them over the edge. MediaGuido’s newsroom mole says deputy editor Rob Winnett was one of the first to be stung. An imaginative way to balance the books and crush staff morale at the same time…

Allister Heath is New Sunday Telegraph Editor

Allister Heath has been appointed the new editor of The Sunday Telegraph. Heath is currently Deputy Director of Content and Deputy Editor at sister paper the Daily Telegraph. He replaces Ian MacGregor who becomes “Editor Emeritus” – which  means he will be “a bridge between editorial and commercial arms” of the paper. MacGregor will also run the graduate scheme. That “Editor Emeritus” title is causing some hilarity in the Telegraph newsroom…

Amber Rudd and Fleet Street Don’t Understand Encryption

Following Amber Rudd’s talk of “necessary hashtags” and how “we don’t want to go into the cloud”, you’d be forgiven for thinking she is something of a digital immigrant. The Home Secretary has her sights trained on the messaging service WhatsApp and end-to-end encryption, the system which means a conversation can be read only by the sender and recipient and not intercepted by a middle man. Here’s why that’s a red herring…

1. A backdoor to end-to-end encryption would not have stopped the Westminster attack

Khalid Masood was not on the security services’ radar. So even if MI5 and GCHQ were able to intercept his WhatsApp messages before the attack, they would not have done so. The attack would have proceeded all the same. Any change in law or policy would have made no difference.

2. End-to-end encryption is not preventing MI5 read Masood’s messages

Rudd says detectives cannot access Masood’s final messages and that WhatsApp’s complicity in this is “unacceptable“. Today’s Telegraph front page says “Internet giants hide terrorist’s final note”. This is just wrong. WhatsApp do not have access to the unencrypted messages – the messages can only be read on the phones of the sender and recipient. The police presumably have Masood’s phone, it is highly likely they are now inside and able to read the messages. The only thing stopping them get in would be the phone’s passcode. Which is nothing to do with WhatsApp.

3. Encryption is binary

Either you have end-to-end encryption or you don’t. Giving MI5 and GCHQ a backdoor into WhatsApp means the service is no longer secure and any hacker can break in to any user’s messages. As Open Rights Group say, “compelling companies to put backdoors into encrypted services would make millions of ordinary people less secure online. We all rely on encryption to protect our ability to communicate, shop and bank safely”Rudd is asking WhatsApp to open up all their users to attacks by cyber criminals and foreign regimes. 

The Home Secretary is using encryption as a scapegoat when it is completely irrelevant to the Westminster attack. She is being aided by establishment journalists who do not understand technology – Andrew Marr’s interview was pathetic in its amateurism and today’s Telegraph front page is factually incorrect. As a side note, newspapers have splashed on attacks on Facebook, Google, YouTube, Uber and WhatsApp in the last week, today’s Mail bizarrely claims WordPress is helping terrorists. Almost as if Fleet Street has an advertising revenue-shaped ulterior motive for going after tech companies…

How Telegraph Exploits Revenge Porn Market For Clicks

Ever wondered why newspaper websites publish so many articles about ‘revenge porn’? The answer, of course, is search engine optimisation. MediaGuido can reveal exactly how the Telegraph exploits the revenge porn market and its victims for traffic. This email was sent to journalists ordering them to “target” “popular search terms” like “revenge porn sites” and “Girlfriend revenge”.

Subject: Revenge Porn SEO Research
To: news_newsdesk 

Hello everyone.

I’ve done some keyword research into revenge porn following the recent leaks/scandals etc.

Popular search terms

Revenge Porn Sites – this phrase would be good to target, obviously don’t include site names.
Revenge Porn Site
Revenge Porn Videos
Revenge Porn pics
Girlfriend revenge

Let me know if you need anything else on this “interesting” topic.

The aim is that people trying to find revenge porn online end up clicking on links to the Telegraph, delivering them traffic and ultimately profits. Classy stuff… 

Hacks Aired Farage-graph Concerns to Editor

“The Telegraph has become the Farage-graph”, declares ConHome this morning, as the paper puts yet another pro-Nigel, pro-Arron Banks story on its front page. The number of pro-Farage stories featuring on Telegraph front pages over the last few months has been notably disproportionate considering the relative size and significance of UKIP, and the fact Nige isn’t leader anymore. Added to that are Telegraph “Breakfast with Farage” events, not to mention op-ed after op-ed by Nigel. The new obsession is going down badly in the more liberal, metropolitan newsroom.

At a recent staff meeting, one brave journalist raised their hand and spoke about the recent Farage-centric coverage. The Barclays may like UKIP and they may host parties for Farage at the Ritz they mused, Telegraph readers however tend to be old Tories who don’t care much for the ‘Kippers. The concern in the newsroom is that the paper is running so many puff pieces for Farage and Banks because Banks is trying to buy the paper. Rumours have been circulating for months that Banks has been putting together a consortium of Brexit-backing donors to stump up the £250 million asking price – rumoured possible backers doing the rounds include Malcolm Pearson, David Stevens, Stuart Wheeler, Peter Cruddas and Michael Ashcroft. Asked if this was a possibility, Telegraph editor Chris Evans avoided the question and told his staff to follow the news. The prospect of a Banks-backed takeover has become the subject of gallows humour in the newsroom, though surely – without a lot of help – Arron just doesn’t have enough money?

New Telegraph and Mail Pol Eds

Two big Lobby moves which MediaGuido can announce. Gordon Rayner has been appointed political editor at the Telegraph, leaving his previous role as chief reporter to join the Lobby. An internal hire was inevitable. Would’ve taken silly money to convince a top hack from a rival to join the Tel…

Talking of which, Jason Groves is the new Daily Mail political editor, as tipped by MediaGudio a few weeks back. John Stevens has been promoted to deputy pol ed – he had been one of the favourites for the Sunday Times deputy job. The Mail will be pleased to have kept him out of their clutches.

Telegraph Vaz Bercow Story Disappears

Curious that this story published by the Telegraph earlier this afternoon has been taken down…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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