Tag Archives: Media

‘Enough is Enough’ protests take place across the UK – and go reported everywhere but here

Here’s yet another indictment against the UK’s news media:

Fortunately there has been some coverage on the social media. Want to see some?

Here’s the RMT’s Mick Lynch:

Eddie Dempsey:

Jeremy Corbyn:

NHS Doctor Rita Issa:

So: 10,000 people came to the event in London alone, and it wasn’t worth reporting on the BBC (apparently).

Dozens more events took place across the UK and they weren’t worth reporting either (apparently).

Perhaps we should all switch to foreign news outlets, like “nurseybird”?

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Now the Tories are blaming the results of their nightmare mini-budget on the social media

Watch this:

So there you have it: it’s all the fault of the social media.

I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

Of course, he doesn’t mean mass-market sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or whatever, so they won’t be getting taxed properly, even now – he means sites like Vox Political, with our tiny (in comparison) audiences.

I never knew we were so influential.

Or do you think – is there a teeny, tiny, ever-so-slight, possibility that he might be mistaken?

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The hypocrisy of the headlines in your lovable Tory papers

This clip speaks for itself.

Chunky Mark has been a laughing legend for years. His point about the hypocrisy of the Tory media’s headlines is well-made, I think.

Some of you may dislike his comments about certain Royals.

Here’s the clip:

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Jacob Rees-Mogg shows how powerless Commons Speaker is

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tried to put Jacob Rees-Mogg in his place after the Business Secretary took details of a new policy to the media rather than announcing it to Parliament first, as is required.

But Hoyle has no power here. Nor does Parliament. Rees-Mogg’s behaviour shows us that the UK’s democracy is flatlining.

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What was wrong with Kwasi Kwarteng at the Queen’s funeral?

It’s a valid question.

In case you haven’t seen what Kwasi Kwarteng was doing, it looks like this:

I reckon this could be the answer-

– don’t you?

Even if it’s not true, the BBC will be prey to such accusations as long as it has a Tory on its board, responsible for “impartiality” (a euphemism if ever there was one).

So how about it, BBC? Why not kick Robbie Gibb off your board and run a proper investigation into Kwasi Kwarteng?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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#Carriegate – tell the truth, media hacks: Johnson DID deny trying to get his now-wife a top FO job

The UK’s news sites were full of stories saying Boris Johnson had avoided a question on whether he tried to give his now-wife Carrie a Foreign Office job, at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (June 22).

This is not true.

Here’s what happened:

Labour MP Chris Elmore asked Johnson: “Has he ever considered the appointment of his current spouse to a government post or to any organisation in the working of the royal households? Be honest, prime minister, yes or no?”

To this, Johnson replied: “I know why the party opposite wants to talk about nonexistent jobs, in the media.”

He was very clearly denying that he had tried to get Mrs Johnson a job by saying that no such job existed.

If, in the future, evidence shows that he did try to get her into a job – that one did, in fact, exist – then he will have lied to Parliament again.

This Writer hopes Parliament’s Privileges committee is paying careful attention and asks the right questions.

Source: PM avoids denying he attempted to get Carrie Johnson top Foreign Office job

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Covid HAS harmed online politics – but so have social media platforms that suppress alternatives

The Covid-19 pandemic and its lockdowns that forced so many of us online for our social interactions has polarised and poisoned political debate, according to some arguments.

But is it really the people reading and responding who are fouling the well, or the organisations dictating what they see and influencing how they respond?

This Writer’s experience is that people turned away from politics – hugely – during the lockdowns, and are now only slowly returning.

Vox Political had its highest-ever readership in March 2020 – nearly one million hits, and I think that was because I was reporting the failures of Boris Johnson’s leadership on Covid in an unbiased way.

Readership remained high during April and May, but then it suddenly and sharply dropped off during June.

It is certainly possible that some of this decline was due to the debate about Covid-19. In his article on the BBC News website, Richard Morris puts forward views that Dominic Cummings’s visit to Barnard Castle polarised the public, as did the debate on mask-wearing and the lockdowns themselves. I would add the debate on vaccination, also.

But who fuelled those debates? Suddenly the social media were full of “experts” we’d never heard of before, all screaming that their view was right and we were fools if we didn’t accept it.

Who promoted those views? Who gave them the space? Wasn’t it right-wing media outlets with an agenda to get people back out of their homes, never minding that they were in danger of death from the disease, and into work making money for rich industrialists again?

How many Tory MPs spent the whole of the crisis ranting about the economy when they should have been concerned with their constituents’ health?

And how many right-wing social media organisations minimised rational debate by using algorithms that push links to sites like mine down users’ notifications in order to starve us of followers and views?

I’m thinking of Facebook under Nick Clegg, and of Twitter, because those are main outlets of mine. Vox Political‘s following on FB has been static at 42,500 for years because of this mistreatment.

It’s a recordable phenomenon. I have lost count of the number of old readers who have contacted me to say they were amazed Vox Political was still going because they had not seen a link for (insert long time period here), despite having asked to be alerted when notifications are posted.

And sites like mine lose out on shares because people are afraid they will be criticised for supporting points of view that don’t conform with those of their more loudly-opinionated right-wing acquaintances who have only gained a platform because they have received preferential treatment.

None of this is properly addressed in the Morris article.

Instead we see information that five per cent of UK internet users are in a “left-wing echo chamber” and two per cent of them are in a similar position on the right.

We see an opinion that “it’s ‘only human’ for journalists, politicians and those in media to see extreme negative reactions to their posts online and for this to ‘colour your perception of the whole world the same way’, with no discussion of who is posting those reactions and why.

Do you remember the government’s Nudge Unit, which is now at least partly in private hands? It was a shady organisation David Cameron used to push the public into supporting his policies by subtly guiding us into decisions we would not have taken otherwise.

So, for example, people may have found themselves supporting the benefit policies that have killed thousands of good people for no reason, because they were “nudged” into believing that benefit claimants were all scroungers who were perfectly capable of work but were defrauding the system (tell that to the diabetes sufferer who could not keep his insulin at the right temperature because he could not afford to power his fridge – oh, but you can’t: he’s dead).

The article concludes by saying it may “take years to find out the lasting impact on society of what took place in the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021” – but I think it’s worse than that.

I think after those years have passed, we’ll be presented with a conclusion about what happened that suits the people in power now – because they will have used all the levers at their disposal, including manipulation of the social media by “nudging”, to make you believe them.

Call me paranoid if you like, but what did you think of mask-wearing and social distancing, of the lockdowns, of vaccinations before somebody told you they were wrong? How did that affect you? And how many people do you know who were swayed by these dangerous whispers?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Here’s why campaigners are right to seek end of ‘government by WhatsApp’

Social media junkie: for all we know, Boris Johnson is probably deleting WhatsApp messages in this shot.

Government ministers led by Boris Johnson are conducting business via insecure social media services because it is easier than doing the work properly – and because they can hide what they are doing.

That’s the only explanation This Writer can see for Boris Johnson receiving a summary of the material from his ministerial red box via WhatsApp – he’s simply too damned lazy to go through the paperwork himself.

It means some poor civil servant has to do his work for him, in order to present him with a summary that he just about manages to keep in his tiny mind long enough to get it entirely mixed up – as seems to have happened, infamously, in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in 2018. If not that, what was the real reason for his shocking faux pas?

As for hiding what they are doing – we have seen secret WhatsApp messages from Boris Johnson because his former aide Dominic Cummings took screenshots of them – and they include decision-making on the procurement of ventilators, testing in care homes, and Mr Johnson’s description of then health secretary Matt Hancock as “hopeless”.

But there is no official record of these messages. That is unacceptable.

Worse, it has emerged that Johnson and other senior ministers, along with at least one of the six Cabinet Office senior civil servants, downloaded Signal – an app that can instantly delete messages. The only reason for them to do that is to communicate decisions outside of official government channels; government in secret.

That’s why campaigning lawyers from the Good Law Project and Foxglove are challenging the government’s use of these social media platforms in the High Court.

The Good Law Project and Foxglove say records of vital decision-making have been lost to the public, and this could undermine investigations such as next year’s inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They say the government is potentially in breach of its own data security guidelines and the Public Records Act of 1958, which requires legal checks to be made on messages in case they need to be kept for the public interest:

Cori Crider, director of Foxglove, said: “Our democracy can only work if the decisions of those who represent us are open to scrutiny.

“That can’t happen if officials govern by secret WhatsApp chats that vanish into thin air.”

The government says it has secure channels for exchanging sensitive information, and ministers are obliged to record important decision-making discussions with officials.

It argues that a record is kept of all substantive discussions and only ephemeral messages are deleted.

With proof that Johnson used WhatsApp to communicate decisions – and then deleted them – freely available courtesy of Cummings, it will be interesting to see if any right-thinking judge can uphold that argument.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Backlash against former PM Cameron after social media foodbank post

Russian connection: while we’re panning David Cameron for his shameless exploitation of the food banks whose use exploded under his premiership, let’s remember that he was also a close friend of Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The politician most closely associated with the surge in UK foodbank use has actually had the nerve to fanfare his volunteer work in one.

David Cameron’s harsh anti-social policies pushed foodbank use up by 2,612 per cent while he was prime minister.

No wonder people rushed to condemn his ill-advised attempt at self-publicity:

Probably the best put-down was by left-wing journalist Owen Jones.

He tweeted that it was like a ‘serial arsonist joining the local fire brigade’.

Source: David Cameron faces foodbank backlash after posting about his volunteer work

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Here’s why our media are hypocrites for praising Russian ‘propaganda’ protest

Take a gander at this:

It’s a reference to a placard protest by Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Russian state-controlled TV Channel 1.

Her placard read: “No war, stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”

She was arrested, and has been fined 30,000 roubles for breaking protest laws in that country. A lucky escape – the maximum punishment is 15 years in prison.

It was a brave protest in the face of state censorship – but it has brought on a wave of hypocrisy from the west.

News outlets here in the UK have universally praised Ms Ovsyannikova – but have shown hardly a scrap of support for someone in prison in this country for doing much the same:

Both are journalists, both whistleblowers.

But here in the UK, one is raised up for praise while the other is cast down and ignored, even though his fate may be worse than hers could have been.

Doesn’t that make the UK’s news outlets just as bad as those in Russia?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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