Posts Tagged 'Integrity'

The most potent weapon in the media’s arsenal deployed against the public

On Radio 4’s Today programme this morning was an interview with former Sun editor, David Yelland.  He was talking about his views on press regulation and the Royal Charter, attacking the press for their reaction to the output from the Leveson inquiry.

While it was an interesting take on matters, focused on the Leveson Anniversary Lecture he is delivering today at the Free Word Centre and covered in the Guardian today, one small snippet of his speech that he shared on air stood out as being an invaluable insight from a heavyweight media insider:

One of the most potent weapons a newspaper has is to totally ignore an issue or a story. People attack papers for what they print. But what they don’t print is often the bigger story.

This is essential for people to understand.

For campaigns such as those concerned with leaving the EU, challenging climate change orthodoxy, demanding democratic reform, exposing abuses and failings of the establishment and so on, this  bias by omission is all too familiar and occurs all too frequently.  Another example of it has surfaced today.  It is invariably a weapon deployed in the interest of the media itself – but most frequently in support of agendas in the interest of the political class (which the media relies on for stories) and the rest of the establishment.  This cosy little stitch up, by and for people who consider themselves important, is designed to keep people in ignorance and conceal truths that are inconvenient to the establishment.

While this and many other blogs have often pointed at instances of bias by omission in favour of the establishment, very rarely does a member of it break ranks like this and admit the truth in such a transparent and matter of fact way.  Yelland reinforces the reality with another observation, thus:

[...] Whether they are mad or just lack self-awareness, the fact is editors and proprietors in this country see themselves as the small guy, the powerless man struggling against the establishment. What they fail to grasp is that they have become the establishment themselves. They are the powerful, and others are the weak.

He also confirms the pack mentality and derivative nature of the media – which while focused in this instance on the reaction to Leveson, equally applies to just about every major issue covered (or ignored) by this country’s press:

The press has done itself no favours in the biased way this entire matter has been reported, when it has been reported at all. Few papers have dared differ from the fundamental response to the great mess that caused the Leveson inquiry in the first place. There is a party line. And nearly everybody follows it.

The media cannot be relied upon.  Every story that is published needs to be viewed through a filter where one should ask themself; why has this story been covered, whose interest is being served, what is the other point of view, how and why were those providing comment selected, and what information has been excluded from the story?

It may seem cynical to do this, but it is the only way to shield oneself from the cynical manipulation to which the public is subjected by the press, be it broadcast, print or electronic.

Mainstream journalists have “a powerful reputation for accuracy” and bloggers are “no more than electronic versions of pub gossip”

Time and again that deluded tool of special interests, Lord Justice Leveson, will eat those words in return for his rank ignorance and opinionated myopia.

There is nothing that destroys the trust people have in a movement, or its credibility, or indeed undermines its objectives, as comprehensively, as being shown to be wilfully spreading inaccurate or knowingly false information.  But that is exactly what the Daily Express stands accused of today.

As Richard explains on EU Referendum, leading Eurosceptic journalist Christopher Booker, was approached by a newspaper who asked him to write a ‘robust’ commentary on the ‘plan’ by the EU Commission to ban the Union Flag from British meat packs.  Booker, along with Richard who often provides much needed forensic research expertise, soon discovered there is actually no such plan and went back to the newspaper concerned to tell them there was no story – foregoing what likely amounts to a four figure fee in the process.

This was after the Daily Express had contacted the European Commission about this ‘story’ only to be told it was not true.  Rather than dropping the piece, having been unable to deliver the narrative it wanted, the Express had commissioned John Ingham to write an article about this non existent plan the Express published despite the editorial team knowing it to be false.

An absence of fact checking is bad enough for the financed and resourced legacy media, but publishing a story for which they have been told there is no evidence and no basis in fact, is reprehensible.  This lack of integrity, this unprincipled behaviour, is damaging to the Eurosceptic cause.  If the Express knowingly published this story having been told it is false, how many other times have they done the same thing?  How much more false material is there waiting to harm the case for withdrawing from the EU?

As if this isn’t bad enough, it seems this false story has elicited outraged commentary from people whose very job necessitates them to sort fact from fiction using vast resources available to them.

Yes, that’s right.  UKIP’s seemingly infinite capacity for failing to do detail and instead shooting from the lip, has seen Paul Nuttall MEP, the party’s Deputy Leader, quoted on the UKIP party website as saying:

The EU is has launched this horrible offensive against national identity and scrapping appearances of the national flag is a way of doing that.

Consumers look for simple symbols like that when they buy meat to know they are buying British. We already have food supply chains that are far too long and British shoppers have lost faith in supermarket stock since the horse meat scandal.

Now I wouldn’t be surprised if shoppers instead are faced with the ring of stars logo instead. Well the general public are losing faith rapidly in the EU and will be seriously offended by these latest moves.

Really it makes more sense to be offended by something real rather than imagined, but hey ho.  With UKIP offering official comment that condemns plans that don’t exist, perhaps the faith the general public will lose will be in what the party has to say on EU matters.  On reflection, despite my regular complaints that UKIP is failing in its role by not using its platform to counter Europhile FUD, it is probably a blessing that its spokesman and MEPs stay silent on such EU related matters.  They should stick to filling vacant parish council seats until they can get their act together.

By knowingly publishing a false story the Daily Express is making fools of its readers and treating them with appalling contempt.  Rather than bolster the Eurosceptic cause they may well have done the opposite. So much for the mainstream media’s ‘powerful reputation for accuracy’.  It was a blogger who flagged up the media’s error and demonstrated integrity by setting the record straight.  Electronic pub gossip, or reliable and accurate guardian of the truth, m’lud?

The only way to defeat the Europhiles and their campaign of FUD is with the truth, with facts and with evidence.  The Express is therefore not an ally of our cause, but a ticking time bomb that could blow it apart.  The paper’s editors and journalists need to shape up or sod off.  We don’t need or want what they’re bringing to the table.

Farage’s desperate bluster reveals an underlying dishonesty

He has worked as a commodities trader in the City.

His employers have included investment banks and brokerages such as Drexel Burnham Lambert,  Credit Lyonnais Rouse, Refco and Natexis Metals.

As a commodities trader for these investment houses, the sort of work he would have done includes:

  • monitoring international market performance;
  • providing investment advice and market recommendations to clients;
  • trading on behalf of clients;
  • liaising with transport, shipping and insurance companies;
  • devising ‘hedging strategies';
  • visiting international suppliers;
  • meeting with clients;
  • interpreting market reports;
  • negotiating price, specification and delivery details;
  • investigating new business openings.

Yet tonight on Channel 4 News the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage – while trying to brush off the revelation that despite speaking out against tax avoidance strategies he himself had set up an offshore trust fund to minimise tax liability – tried to give the impression that he did not know the Isle of Man is an offshore jurisdiction by asking if the Isle of Man is offshore.

With his career history, this goes way beyond stretching the bounds of credibility.  Farage may think he is being clever by attempting to play the ignorant simpleton card.  But this isn’t average guy who could be forgiven for not understanding that the Isle of Man is a self governing entity that is only a Crown dependency and therefore in no way part of the UK’s tax jurisdiction.  This is a man who needed to understand investment strategies and tax implications of the deals he was executing as part of his job.  In fact, it is highly likely he had to advise clients about the tax implications of the trades they were making.

Farage has moved beyond hypocrisy for his ‘do as I say not as I do’ stance on perfectly legal and responsible tax avoidance, and on to dishonesty for his pathetic attempt to make it look like he didn’t know what he was signing up to when opening the trust.  It also stretches the bounds of credibility that his financial adviser failed to explain the reason for basing the trust in the Isle of Man was precisely because it is offshore and therefore UK rates of tax would not apply.  Further, if he didn’t think or believe the Isle of Man was an offshore jurisdiction, why his comments earlier today about having ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the trust in the first place?

Without any other revelation of the many that could emerge about Farage, this incident and the dishonest way he has attempted to bluff his way out of it, calls into question his character and integrity.  Farage can certainly no longer set himself apart from the mendacious politicians in this country and portray himself as a breath of fresh air.  He has shown himself to be every bit as slippery and unreliable as the rest of them.  He has now been condemned by his own words.

UKIP needs to remove this man before his taint spreads to envelope and damage the party and the prospects of the wider Eurosceptic movement.

Farage’s prospects facing death by a thousand column inches

It gives us no pleasure to see Nigel Farage courting the kind of controversy this blog has long warned was just waiting to be dropped into the public domain.  The media have been waiting for the opportunity to inflict the most damage possible on the Eurosceptic movement, and see the leader of UKIP as being a fulcrum in the movement.  It’s not rocket science.

The issue this blog has had has never been about UKIP or its supporters.  There are many decent people in that party with the wisdom to understand the interests of the British people and the United Kingdom will be best served with our nation outside of the EU.  The problem has always been Farage.  As we have noted for a long time, Farage doesn’t do serious and he doesn’t do detail.  This undermines UKIP and weakens the Eurosceptic campaign as a whole.

Witness the complete absence of a formal UKIP response to the political class’ efforts to hijack the narrative on trade to push the EUphile agenda during the G8 conference at Loch Erne. With the need to throw off the constraints of political union within the EU, the sight of Barroso and Van Rompuy pitching up at the G8 and addressing the media should have had Farage on the air, providing the media with balancing comments and rebuttal.  In fact he should have been briefing the media in advance of the meeting, but that’s a discussion for some other time.

Instead he was playing out a humiliating and self inflicted tragi-comedy, running from venue to venue around Aberdeen under police protection trying to dodge left wing protesters.  If potential UKIP supporters were watching and weighing up whether to throw their support behind the party, this episode – so close on the heels of another abortive Scottish visit – may have put many off.

If Farage did detail and listened to people who know things, he would have learned from the experience of the other parties how to conduct business north of the border.  There the parties are Scottish with their own leaders, not run out of Westminster.  The party leaders down in London do not cross Hadrian’s Wall unless they have an invite from the Scottish party leader and Scottish party supporters lined up to attend speeches and events.  Rightly or wrongly, the Scots do not like the Sassenachs mincing north from the capital and delivering what is seen as an English vision in their country.  It is seen as imperialist and an exhibition of bad manners.

Compounding this strategy of doing things his way to appear like a plucky outsider thumbing his nose at the very political elite he aspires to be part of, is Farage’s questionable character.

Sure, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.  But Farage doesn’t just break eggs, he burns down the chicken shed, kills the chickens, flattens the surrounding farm and hurls insults at the onlookers.  This is why there are so many ex-senior UKIP  members.

Away from the camera – although we’ve seen glimpses of his true nature at times – Farage is a psychological bully who believes he is the party.  But it’s not just his lack of interpersonal or leadership skills that is the problem.  It is his behaviour in other areas of his life, both professional and personal, that have left a trail of scandals and incidents with unsavoury outcomes which have largely gone barely reported due to UKIP’s previous lower profile.  But you can be assured the media has been digging into these and adding more detail, ready to drop damaging stories into the public domain at moments that best serve the interests of those who are trying to keep the UK firmly under EU control.

UKIP will be tainted by the assault on Farage and exposure of incidents and issues that he thought had been airbrushed out of public discourse.  UKIP doesn’t deserve to suffer this and neither does the wider Eurosceptic movement.

While it’s Farage’s prospects that are being dragged to the edge of the cliff ahead of rapid acceleration followed by deceleration trauma, the real issue is the collateral damage to those near him.  This was always the concern of those who have not supported Farage yet want to see UKIP do well. It now appears to be coming to pass.

Margaret Thatcher RIP

Everyone knew the day would come eventually.  But when the death of Margaret Thatcher was announced it didn’t lessen the impact of the moment.

I wasn’t always a fan.  When I was young, being conditioned by the prevailing attitudes in the solidly socialist Labour area where I was being brought up, to denigrate Maggie Thatcher was not only the norm, it was expected.  ‘Thatcher the milk snatcher’ was a familiar refrain in my school when she took office in 1979.

My mother was a Labour borough and county councillor and my father was an engineer at British Airways and senior trade union official in the TGWU as it then was.  There was little love for Maggie, but my parents were old school and despite their absolute rejection and dislike of Thatcher and the Conservatives they didn’t resort to name calling, abuse or vitriol.

The turning point for me was when as a teenager my class won a competition at school and the reward was a trip to the Houses of Parliament.  Coming from a political family I relished the trip, which was taking part on a Tuesday – Prime Minister’s Questions day.  The trip around the Palace of Westminster was led by the Conservative MP for the constituency in which my school was.

For me the visit was magical.  The history of the place and the events that had occured there, the sense of power that filled the corridors and meeting rooms, seeing famous faces of senior politicians walking past, entering the House of Commons from behind the Speaker’s Chair (and sneaking a quick sit down on the government’s front bench right in front of the dispatch box, just so I could say I had sat on a seat of power), and seeing just how small the chamber was compared to the impression pictures have constantly given.

But the highlight of my day was when the MP secured several tickets for the public gallery and I was given one.  When Parliament convened and Prayers were being said I raced up the stairwell as fast as I could.  I still remember the frustration as security checks delayed me getting into the gallery.  But eventually I was in and took a seat just as Neil Kinnock rose from his to ask his first supplementary question of the session.  He was on the attack about defence and Thatcher, in characteristic fashion tore him to pieces.  For a young teenager this was exciting, heady stuff in a rarefied atmosphere in a forum that mattered.

Rather than find myself in agreement with Kinnock’s argument, I found myself agreeing with Thatcher’s position.  I could not fault her logic, reasoning or the force of her argument.  That was the day when I learned to evaluate an argument on its merits, not assume a tribalist position just because that’s what my side’s position happened to be.  Mum and Dad were delighted that I started to debate them and challenge their thinking, and respond to their challenges with reasoned thinking of my own.  I’ll never forget that day; Mum said to me that she would respect any viewpoint I held, including and especially those that opposed hers, so long as it was an informed one that had been developed by carefully examining the arguments on both sides.

As years passed my dislike of Margaret Thatcher was replaced with respect and admiration for her.  Some people, those who detest Thatcher, wonder why. So I’ll explain.

My East End family lived on an urban council estate, tenants in a council house.  While honest, loving and hard working, the pay wasn’t great and Mum and Dad sometimes struggled to make ends meet.  As good parents do, Mum and Dad went without to ensure me and my siblings had what we needed.  My earliest memories were of power cuts and the excitement of having candles lighting the house.  Two things in my youth transformed our fortunes.  Council house right to buy and privatisation.

Thanks to her principles and convictions – two things the preening, identikit lightweights that have infested Parliament since do not possess – Margaret Thatcher saw to it my family was able to climb out of reliance on the state and become stakeholders instead of clients.  Mum left the Labour Party, having been sickened by policies that trapped people in dependency.  Dad too left the party, and the union, but went further and switched his vote too.  At last, hard work started to be rewarded in a way it hadn’t been before.  Aspiration was no longer something to be sneered at or viewed with suspicion, it was something shared by many.

I saw and experienced how my family was presented with the opportunity to take personal responsibility and enjoy the freedom to better ourselves.  My parents found they could do so much better with the state off our backs and more of their money in their pockets to spend as they saw fit.  Labour resented it and opposed it at every turn, desperate to re-apply the stranglehold that had kept us down for so long.

Margaret Thatcher’s policies contributed directly to my family’s emancipation from the waste, spitefulness and harm inflicted by socialism.  What she put in place has directly influenced my life and career.  For that I will always be grateful.

It’s no surprise seeing the hatred and bile now being hurled by those whose viewpoint is the opposite of mine.  Maggie did more than any other British leader to liberate this country from the socialist mentality that smashed our economy, saw the population held to ransom by unions, and was characterised by the demand for subsidies by (at that time) inefficient industries still wedded to socialist ideals despite overseas industries embracing efficiency and tackling costs to be more competitive.

Socialism is a vicious ideology, so naturally it follows the behaviour of its supporters can be relied upon to be equally hateful.  The sickening glee with which the death of an aged woman who transformed this country for the better wouldn’t be any surprise to the Iron Lady.  It would simply reinforce and evidence everything she said about socialism.  No doubt she would dismiss their behaviour with the contempt it deserves and simply point out they don’t know any better.

We have lost our last principled conviction politician, a Parliamentarian who had a guiding philosophy and who was motivated by a desire to improve this country rather than service a narrow self interested agenda.  We will never see her like again, much to the detriment of this country.

Thank you, Margaret.  Rest in peace.

Dr Michael E Mann – hoist by his own petard

Dr Michael E Mann is the high professor of rabid climate alarmism, a co-creator of the Hockey Stick with a dogged determination to hide data and emails, and a master of the delete button on Facebook and Twitter if anyone has the temerity to question him or critique his claims.

But today Dr Michael Mann stands humiliated, exposed as a liar at worst, or self aggrandising fantasist at best.  He has been hoist by his own petard, constructed on a foundation of arrogance, ignorance and self delusion.

As readers of ‘Watts Up With That’ will know, Dr Mann – a Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University – has filed a defamation law suit against National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with named writers Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg.

In setting out his case Mann has desperately tried to appeal to that old chestnut ‘prestige’. He wants people to see him as so grand and prestigious that his work must be considered to be beyond criticism. For people like Mann, what could confer more prestige than the claim that he has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with other members of the International Panel on Climate Change? Mann used his Facebook page to announce the law suit in which he included this claim:

‘Dr. Mann is a climate scientist whose research has focused on global warming. In 2007, along with Vice President Al Gore and his colleagues of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for having “created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.’

He even proudly displays a citation from the IPCC in his office window for all to see, only the citation makes clear he was not awarded the Nobel prize, rather he only contributed towards its award. Even that is a spurious claim, created by the IPCC without any grounds from the Nobel Institute for doing so.  But now it has got even better.  Mann’s claim to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize has been rejected by Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, of The Norwegian Nobel Institute, who has made it clear Mann is not a Nobel Laureate, by emailing Tom Richard the following information:

1) Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and to Al Gore) and made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma.
3) The text underneath the diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to the IPCC as such. No individuals on the IPCC side received anything in 2007.

Mark Steyn had already been mocking Mann for his claim, but having this clear statement from the Nobel Institute has nailed Mann for what he is.  He is clearly incapable to dealing with evidence and facts right that sit right under his own nose, or on his office door.  One wonders what Mann’s highly paid lawyers now think of being the counsel for a man who is so cavalier with the truth and seemingly has only a passing acquaintance with reality.  You can read all the instalments of this story over on Watts Up With That.

Irrespective of what happens in the legal action, the question raised here is one of personal and professional integrity. If Michael Mann is capable of fraudulently conferring upon himself awards in this way and providing false information in a claim to a court, what is he capable of when it comes to scientific research, data and findings? Can he ever be trusted or considered a reputable scientist?  Mann it seems has just outed himself as a Walter Mitty character in a science department office at Penn State.

Perhaps this is why Mann is doing everything in his power to prevent data and emails, that have been collected and created at the expense of the taxpayer in the US, from being released into the public domain.  Many people may very well think that. Of course, one couldn’t possibly comment.

Daily Mail hack’s shock as psychic career lays in tatters

The psychic career of Daily Mail journalist, Nick Pisa, lays in tatters this morning. It ended in stunning fashion after it was revealed he doesn’t really get messages from the other side.

Max Farquar has the full story and screenshots explaining how Pisa wrote the story that would have been published if Amanda Knox’s appeal had been rejected.  That would have been fine.  Only how could Pisa have possibly got the quotes he uses in the story from Italian prosecutors, given that Knox was successful and her conviction quashed?

Anyone looking for the article on the Daily Mail website finds this page in its place… or if you read it carefully, at least this is the page the Daily Mail should have on display in the interests of honesty and transparency…



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