Tag Archives: Leveson

Know your enemy part 3

OK so… wow. Has it been that long? Where was I? It’s like a really bad dream. One where I’m frothing at the mouth screaming at the people around me… running down the street, tearing at my clothes crying… “they’re coming … they’re coming…. the immigrants are coming”.

Then I’m falling… endlessly falling, until hands reach and grab me, shaking me awake. And I’m here. Sat in front of a computer screen. The concerned faces that swam before me are gone. I’m out of the sanitorium and back home. And that was after just 22 pages of the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail I’ve promised myself to try to read cover to cover (well at least what I can manage). The Daily Mail that I found on the train on the 6th March and it’s taken me this long to get 22 pages into because …. because…. well I don’t want to go there again.

This is the least S&M pic of a straitjacket I could find

Page 23 and it’s back to the warm cuddly face of the Daily Mail – the grandmother you still love even though she sometimes says things like “Back in my day there was nothing wrong with calling them gollywogs” because she’s your granny, she loves you… besides, she was born in a different age … and she’ll probably be dead soon.

That’s right… Dad’s Army. Oh.. but it’s a bit sad because someone’s died. Hold it. And he only appeared in one episode of Dad’s Army?! This is actually utterly bizarre. The DM is reporting the death of Philip Madoc but is saying his most memorable role ever is appearing as a German U-Boat commander  in one episode of Dad’s Army? I’m gonna have to let that one wash over me.

Page 24 – Leveson. So in page order the death of someone who appeared in one episode of a sitcom in 1973 is more important than a national media enquiry? Mind you. At least it puts the boot into the met a bit – Go Daily Mail!

The Euphoria doesn’t last long mind. There follows a montage of random fear and loathing mixed in with a heavy dose of opinion that is hard to stomach… Woman poses as boy to seduce teenage girls. Chinese super-rich hunt polar bears. BBC wastes taxpayers money. Ooh pictures of David Beckham with his son! Best friends die at 99 (yes… that is a story). Union reps cost police £4.8m (just to hammer that into your fat kneejerk skull – that’s equivalent to 200 bobbies on the beat apparently – in fact the article, barely a few hundred words, manages to include “bobbies on the beat” 3 fucking times). Ha Ha someone called Rachel Ragg writes for the DM… which is a RAG! Geddit? Geddit? OK – I’m losing it here. Time out!

OOH LOOK – There’s a double fucking spread about … wait for it… no really. WAIT. THE FALKANDS WAR. Seriously – forget the 30 year time gap. The DM is adapting a book in a bid to let the jingoistic nostalgia junkies bask in every British victory ever and sock it to those dirty forruns! Think I’m joking? The piece is entitled “Under the Argentine Jackboot” – How subtle do the DM want to be? This subtle “We don’t ever want to become Argentinian. We are British and always will be – no matter what rubbish we hear from the Argentinians” Ahhh – a home (thousands of miles away from) home. Like Gibraltar… that open sore on the coast of Spain were fat-rosy-faced career criminals go smeared in faded tattoos and old England shirts to buy marmite and crisps and moan about immigration without a hint of irony.

What next? Diana auction… of course! Then its Health – NHS reform gets 2 pages. Page 38 is like a quack page – squeezy balls, muscle pills and superbugs. I’ll skip the puzzles and cartoons if that’s ok… although I do love the massive weight of opinion and angst out there about Fred Basset being the worst EVER comic strip.

HAHAHAHAHAHA no? Me neither.

I try to ignore the horoscopes but I’m caught by the fact that someone has actually written to the resident soothsayer asking what stage in the lunar cycle was best for conceiving children…. WHAT?  No? Really “I hear that the waxing moon is better, but as children grow in the dark I was just wondering?” Seriously. What the fuck is that? The soothsayer isn’t content with writing shite out for each of the 12 star signs… he also kindly adds a premium phone line for each star sign so the feeble-minded and gullible can be exploited further. How kind!

Blimey. The health section goes on for ages… and it’s awful. Skits on orange juice being unhealthy, a letter to the doctor where the good doc gets on a soapbox and whinges about a lack of compassion among nurses. There’s even a special regular section called waterworks about urinary problems… Dentures. The ubiquitous cancer page (good news this time… they’ve cured colon cancer… tomorrow it will probably be that colons cause cancer). There’s even a mini-health interview with Kelly Osbourne (yeah… the one whose dad is famous). Of course… the entire health section is decked out with ads for various gadgets and books. My favourite is “The saltpipe” – it’s a porcelain inhaler for salt. INHALE SALT – IT CURES EVERYTHING. A snip at 30 quid….

Of course… you know the health section is coming to an end when you see a full-page ad for electronic cigarettes. Mmmmm nicotine and water vapour…

Blimey. Is that the time? I’ll have to finish this off another day. I’m starting to get to the juicy bits.

To be continued.

Advertisements

Sinking ships

Gah. Just saw that James Murdoch’s resigned from News International

Had a brief moment of “whoop” before the stilted reality of it hit me,

I mean… So what?

So fucking what?!

The king is dead eh! Long live the king.

Those of us hoping that scratching the Murdoch name from the taint of the NI stable would herald some new utopian era of reporting, where journalists stop going through bins and making up saucy kiss and tell fantasies are likely to be sorely disappointed.

With all the Leveson revelations gushing out of the enquiry like a burst sewage pipe you’d think that there would be a news revolution taking place! You’d think that James Murdoch wouldn’t just be quitting – but that he’s be committing ritual suicide along with all the unscrupulous hacks that he gave a voice to. You’d think his dad, Ruprecht, would be willing to appear on the telly draped in a costume made from the skin and hair of a sacrificial Rebekah Brooks offering to give his power and fortune to charity while he ekes out the rest of his days as a hermit in a cave with just lizards for company (step up Cameron and Clegg).

Yeah. We’re finding out what we knew already. That NoTW was like the tip of an iceberg –  but an iceberg made of frozen shitstorm drifting perilously close to the good ship newscorp. That power grabbing Fox-news-toting, king-making, phone-tapping vessel is already springing a few leaks – lets watch it go!

Problem is that Ruprecht and his son can see this. They’re like puppet lizard masters aren’t they. NoTW scandal? Easy… close the fucker down. Relaunch the Sun on Sunday! And guess what – you’ve just got streamlined your editorial staff – made huge cost-savings and are still tapping into exactly the same market. Man – nothing gets past these guys does it.

That’s what’s so dispiriting about the news of James being jettisoned. The stink that Leveson is releasing into the atmosphere is fetid… far too fetid for ickle James, who doesn’t want his name mixed up in that. Much easier to jetpack him out of there. Then what? Simples… sell the lot.

News Corp has bigger fish to fry and they know print media is dying a slow death. Why not just end the family link to it all and let the world laugh at Rebeckah and her police horse while you quietly get the fuck out and laugh all the way to the bank.

Meanwhile the knee jerker will still go out and buy their daily fix of tits and brainwashing – just like they all queued up to do for the Sun on Sunday – as if hacking a dead girls phone for a story had never happened in the first place!

Mrs Leveson’s Enquiry

OK SO! I finally buckled yesterday.

Well buckled isn’t the right word is it. I mean I was hardly under a stream of unrelenting pressure. I just … well … did what I wanted to I suppose.

What am I talking about?

The Leveson enquiry of course. The words on the tip of the tongue of every media blogger and commentator out there for as long as my junk smashed brane can remember.

By rights I should have been tuning into the live feed daily like a stupid salmon migrating home to spawn and die. It’s a chance to finally hold the press that I deride to account for all the godawful shit they make the public put up with. It’s covering everything: phone hacking, privacy invasion, celebrity stings, churnalism and all the other gutter spewing tactics the media resort to in order to bolster circulation and propogate their murky political agendas.

Yeah. I should be all over Leveson like bark on a tree. But it was only yesterday, after months of ‘meh’ that I actually took an interest.

“WHY???” I cry back to myself (punctuating each of the three question marks with a shrill little echo). Well two reasons. First I been buzzy. Like panicking myself into a fuzzy ball of vomit buzzy. EVERY DAY. When I started this blog weekly updates was the aim but fuck me that’s hard when ‘the man’ is out there slamming you into the coal face with a cricket bat every day. Jesus!

All work and no play makes me want to kill humanity one by one

But that’s not worth going into. Second is because the whole Leveson thang has left me feeling a bit ‘meh’. Perhaps it’s just that I got Leveson fatigue really quickly. Following @hackingenquiry on twitter (who bizarrely have an avatar resembling a highwayman’s mask) meant that my feeble feed of daily mush got flooded with bone dry platitudes.

So what is this? A mask? A tape? An old school instant camera film?

Platitudes that were compounded by tonnes of analysis and commentary from other twitter feeds. Add to that the ubiquitous live blogging and streaming feeds from the Guardian and it was like being smothered under a big Leveson shaped blanket. Even without paying any attention at all I felt I knew what was going on. Like when you don’t watch a soap opera for a year, then go back and the same characters are saying the same things in the same way.

Steve's looking a bit tired these days

The enquiry quickly lapsed into groundhog day with most of the people repeating the same sentiments. Only Leveson hasn’t learned to play piano and sculpt ice like Bill Murray. On top of that the man Leveson didn’t fill me with confidence. I’m prejudiced because whenever I hear the word Leveson it reminds me of the Mrs Levinson characters in a league of gentlemen, and it’s hard to respect someone when you have that in your head.

Would you let this man run a press enquiry?

Leveson also irked me when he said that he wouldn’t be drawn into a witch hunt.

These aren’t witches you idiot they’re journalists. A much more devious enemy. If you don’t hunt them down they’ll eat your SOUL

There have been highlights sure. The wronged celebs queuing up to vent their spleen. Cannon fodder car crash hacks like Paul McMullen checking in to patter out their hasty orisons. But til yesterday it didn’t grip me like a gristle.

Stay Classy Paul

WHY? (again with the shouting). Well. Dacre of course! The warm up acts were there to soften us up for the big bout. But in all honesty the Daily Mail Editor was a big draw. Finally a chance to see the nemesis of the left-wing media squirming in a chair under a rigorous cross-examination of righteous anger. What would happen? Would he melt under scrutiny? Would he reveal himself as a shape-shifting lizard intent on controlling humanity? Would he somehow evangellically convert all his critics into fans and secure some sort of Daily Mail led fourth Reich?

MY secret hope was for a Jonny Marbles style pie incident – but a pie secretly laced with Sodium Pentothal so that Dacre would be unable to help himself and the truth would come pouring out like a lumpy tearful haemorrhage leaving the mouths of the watching world agape as Dacre confesses to crimes we didn’t even know existed.

Yeah. Grant and McMullen were fun but Dacre was serious and far more likely to be entertaining than the bland and fully lawyered up Murdoch clan.

The weird thing about tuning into Leveson is that it’s actually a bit like listening to an audio book of a tabloid newspaper. But one that’s delivered in dry legalistic tones. Listening to Dacres warm up acts of Dan Wootton and Nick Owens was almost literally a list of celebrity gossip speculation being sombrely related from a transcript . Like… you know when they read out the  name of every person who died on 911 on the tenth anniversary? Well it was like that but without the emotional heartstring pulling sobs – instead a dry soulless narrative.  Oh. And also without people’s names being read out – but instead little titbits of celebrity tittle-tattle instead. So nothing like the 911 readings then. Bizarrely that’s more diverting than it sounds. Who could fail to stifle a giggle as cross examiners danced carefully around Kerry Katona’s Kocaine (sic) hell or as they drily read sweary transcripts speculating over the imaginary cosmetic surgery stories Chris Atkins made up for Starsuckers.

It was almost as though lesser journalists were just being called up to be laughed at for a bit at the ludicrousness of their profession then sent home chastened with the knowledge that what they engaged in was pretty stupid. When NOTW showbiz gossip Dan Wootton boasted that he kept a copy of the PCC code in his wallet at all times I had to laugh out loud.  

BIG BOX LITTLE BOX BIG BOX LITTLE BOX

Dacre himself was much more of a difficult beast to cage though. Unlike the others, he gave the impression that he actually believed in what he was doing. And that all this broo-ha-ha was little more than an irritating diversion from his day job of running the world. Any difficult question he could swat away like a bug by saying he didn’t have involvement or wasn’t in the office. Funny how editors are always out of the office when all the big stuff goes down. Funny how someone like Dacre takes personal and excessive credit for the Stephen Lawrence prosecutions – but had little or no involvement with legal actions from the likes of Neil Morrissey. Also funny how he can’t remember half the things he said about Hugh Grant but is happy to launch into a full apoplectic rage when picked up on his mendacious smear comments.

There were highlights – Dacre’s slip of the tongue when he implied that he sought to prevent legislation that would have made the UK the only country in the world that imprisoned journalists (erm – that would be “world” in Daily Mail terms of Dacre’s back yard then?) and the semantics of a conversation about whether turning on the bathroom light at night could cause cancer. However, Dacre’s appearance was ultimately disappointing. It was like having your grumpy old uncle over for Christmas Dinner – the one who is secretly an alcoholic and wants to be down the pub knocking back shorts instead of telling everyone what he got for Christmas and whether he believes Santa Claus exists.

Dacre highlights the problems of the Leveson enquiry to me. While the lower minions and hacks feel the full force of national ridicule in the face time Leveson grants them, the big guns are too busy, too savvy and too “mock” disinterested to give themselves away. Unless someone does start making up a Sodium Pentathol pie quickly Dacre, Murdoch et al will represent trawlers that the gulls can’t get Sardines from.