Posts Tagged 'The Independent'

Tottenham shows it’s time to end the Jody McIntyre roadshow

Update: Bubbling with excitement, McIntyre enjoyed a second night of riot tourism this time in Brixton.  The journalistic giant, pride of The Independent, The Guardian and New Statesman, returned to his lair in the early hours to bash out some tweets glorifying the violence:

Those who have watched his evasive BBC TV interview from last year will be familiar with his technique of not answering a question, instead posing another of his own. Well, he does it on his keyboard too. There remains not a single word of condemnation from McIntyre of the looting, arson and criminal damage.  So will the newspapers continue to give this thug a platform?:

When this round of rioting is over we can but guess what ’cause’ he will attach himself to next as an excuse to take to the streets yet again and add to disorder and criminality.

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Original Post

Thanks to The Guardian, The Independent and the New Statesman, the self promoting rent-a-protester, Jody McIntyre, has been afforded the oxygen of publicity and a platform to spout his special brand of bile.  We’ll come back these media giants further down.

Jody McIntyre describes himself as a ‘journalist’ and ‘political activist’.  The reality is he is nothing more than a trouble-seeking wannabe thug who gets a thrill from being right in the thick of violent disorder.  On his blog he tells people:

Jody McIntyre is a journalist and political activist. With a regular blog for The Independent, he has also written for The Guardian, the New Statesman, Electronic Intifada and Disability Now.

That apparently depicts journalism despite an apparent lack of payment for his ‘work’.  In reality he is trying to cover his activities in a veneer of respectability they do not warrant.  What is noteworthy is that despite his complaint that disabled people are badly treated and discriminated against he seems to think his cerebral palsy and use of a wheelchair should exempt him from being treated in the same way as other protesters.

As McIntyre lives in south London it should come as no surprise that he was present in Tottenham, north London, last night as parts of the borough were consumed by rioting, arson, looting, house breaking and muggings.  But more of McIntyre’s big night out (presumably only for the purposes of ‘journalism’…) in a minute.  First, let’s examine the legend Jody McIntyre would have us believe, then add the reality he and his band of anarcho-fans would prefer people didn’t know.

McIntyre came to prominence during the student protests in London when he was twice taken out of his wheelchair by police and moved to the side of the road.  His complaints about his treatment were quickly picked up by the media looking for a police ‘disproportionate force’ and in no time he was on Sky News and the BBC claiming he had been ‘attacked’.

However the TV interview showed Jody McIntyre up to be slippery and evasive and his story was clearly questionable as the footage was not very clear.  When challenged about his self description as a ‘revolutionary’ who believes in ‘direct action’ McIntyre sought to get off the subject as quickly as possible.  Clearly it would be inconvenient to present himself as merely a concerned citizen when the reality is he goes out of his way to get stuck into the action anytime there is a protest, no matter what the cause.  However McIntyre can be seen trying to crawl away from the police officer in the middle of the road as he resisted before being pulled to the kerb where he wouldn’t cause an obstruction.

So here we had this poor, wheelchair bound, young lad who just wanted engage in peaceful, democratic protest, being mistreated by the police. Not once, but twice.  Or did we?  Because, before this incident, McIntyre had been right at the front of violent clashes with the police.  He deliberately put himself there despite knowing violence was taking place. He actually describes it on his blog!  Here are some snippets…

As we parked up, and began walking back down the Strand, we saw a crowd emerging from Aldwych; around 2000 students had set off from LSE. However, they were only marching down one side of the road, and we were in a militant mood. Me and Finlay crossed over, into the oncoming traffic, and within seconds the whole crowd had followed.

It was an endless sea of people, but unfortunately, they had been corralled by police and NUS stewards into one lane of the dual carriageway. Me and Finlay immediately set to work, tearing down the metal barriers which separated the two lanes. Oncoming traffic drivers looked on in wonder.

The people with the music system must have had the same thought. All of a sudden, the bicycle burst out of the crowd, rushing through the pair of armed police guarding the private road of the Treasury. A group of 200 followed, including me in my wheelchair, and Finlay pushing at full speed. A dubstep tune came on, and the chanting began; “Fuck Cameron! Fuck Cameron! Fuck Cameron! Fuck Cameron!” Not the Treasury’s proudest day.

The building was occupied on the day the Browne Review was released, so here the police were ready for us. We flooded into the courtyard, but the riot cops were called within minutes. As batons began to swing, me and Finlay stood our ground on the front line. I stood up on my wheelchair, but attempts to re-take the courtyard soon fizzled out as a riot van was brought in.

In front of us, a huge glass building towered; it was the Conservative Party’s Headquarters, and it was under attack. The crowd was so tightly packed that even with the wheelchair, it was a huge effort to force our way through. Around half way we gave up. The crowd was swaying. “They’re smashing the windows…”

Me and Finlay looked at each other. We knew that we had to make it to the front. Kareem started pushing the wheelchair again, and Finlay cleared a path in front of us.

It wasn’t long before the next surge came. A Mexican wave of bodies. I fell out of my wheelchair and pushed through two cops. Finlay stood behind me, the wheelchair still in his hands.

Scores of demonstrators followed. Finlay came running in with the wheelchair a couple of minutes later. Victorious chants rang in the air; “Tory scum! Tory scum!” “When they say cut back, we say fight back!”

But then, the chants changed… “To the stairs! To the stairs!” Two policemen blocking a tiny door were soon brushed aside, and around fifty of us forced our way through before they had a chance to re-seal the entrance.

It was an epic mission to the top. Nine floors; eighteen flights of stairs. Two friends carried my wheelchair, and I walked. We couldn’t give up now.

When we finally made it to the roof, a feeling of calm descended. I looked over the edge; thousands of students, three massive bonfires and masses of passion still occupied the courtyard. The Tory’s HQ was on it’s last legs. And we were on the roof.

This is only the start.

Gentle lamb, isn’t he?  All of this activity, yet no complaints about being disabled.  Yet the moment the police moved him out of harms way on a street, Jody McIntyre was screaming blue murder and citing his cerebral palsy and seemingly sporadic wheelchair use to underline their sheer evil and lack of concern for the disabled.

Inconveniently for McIntyre, not only was his involvement in the street part of the violence photographed, but the photographer even posted a blog piece explaining what McIntyre had done and why his subsequent complaint was vexatious.  It is a must read piece.  One of the photos included in it is of McIntyre, on his feet, about to hit a police officer – known in legal parlance as assault.

Despite this the Graun, the Indy and the marxist Staggers all publish his self indulgent tosh.  Fast forward from last autumn in central London to last night in Tottenham.  By 10.00pm it was clear that the peaceful protest outside Tottenham police station had been hijacked by those bent on violence and criminal activity.  But where there is violent protest, there is McIntyre.  We know because Guardian journalist Paul Lewis tweeted a message to McIntyre earlier today:

McIntyre was also online, winding things up and revelling in the disorder on his Twitter account.  The tweets below were screen captured at 2.00pm today, putting the time of posting the first image at around 11.00pm last night, at the height of the trouble and the second one at around 5.00am this morning when looters were still destroying businesses:

So here we have a man who is given a platform in The Guardian, The Independent and the New Statesman, out in the thick of the violence until early morning and inciting people elsewhere to riot in similar fashion.  A man who went on to condemn the police as troublemakers as properties, vehicles and businesses were torched, journalists and media were attacked and robbed, bystanders were mugged, and residents overrun by thugs who broke down their doors to steal from their homes.

The question is, having fallen for his deceitful sob story last year and given this man an unwarranted veneer of respectability, will these media outlets now remove the platform they provided this violence glorifying hooligan?  Or will they show themselves (again, more on this during the week) as part of this country’s enemy within who endorse and provide assistance those who engage in pre-meditated criminality, be it as a battering ram on wheels or walkabout agitator?

It is time to end the glorification of troublemakers like McInytre. It’s time for these papers to withdraw their endorsement and put an end to the Jody McIntyre media roadshow.

The Independent censored comment from climate scientist

A letter to the online editor of The Independent exposes a selective censorship of comments that are deemed to be embarrassing for that paper’s staff – in this case the science editor, Steve Connor.

Following publication of the email exchange between Connor and the eminent scientist Professor Freeman Dyson, covered by this blog, a climate scientist, Terri Jackson, submitted a comment that countered several of the assertions made by Connor.  The strength of feeling is clear from the introduction in the letter:

Dear Mr King

As a climate scientist I am writing personally to you as the online editor to strongly object to the blocking of my comments regarding the conversation by your science editor Mr Connor with Professor Dyson. My comments sent last night were phrased in very reasonable and temperature language and highlighted the serious and very misleading mistakes given by Mr Connor.

You can read Terri Jackson’s letter in full on Climate Realists, in which Jackson refutes a number of Connor’s central arguments used in an attempt to coax Dyson into attacking the theory of AGW.  Like Dyson, Jackson has little time for the bias in the Independent’s reporting of climate science matters, and says:

Is the Independent on a political crusade? It is high time that you started to report the facts, that human based carbon dioxide in the atmosphere poses no climate threat and that the majority of graduate scientists do not accept this unproven theory regardless of what certain scientific institutions may say.

It’s pretty uncompromising stuff.  The Independent’s decision to block the original criticism of Connor from wider view by the public demonstrates it’s lack of objectivity and impartiality.  Like all other media, it puts its own agenda above serving the interests of the public. The Independent – you might be, but it isn’t.

Prof Freeman Dyson rousts Indy churnalist

Let’s see the Met Office fall over themselves to link to this piece by Steve Connor in the Independent. Or do they only do that when he writes puff pieces for them when they’re under pressure?  They should be pleased because Connor is firmly on message and gives them another mention in this article.

Titled ‘Letters to a heretic: An email conversation with climate change sceptic Professor Freeman Dyson‘, Connor’s piece could just as easily be a piece by Prof Dyson called ‘Responses to a scientific illiterate: An object lesson in biased media and ignorance‘.  For despite being a science editor Connor seems remarkably one dimensional and out of his depth.

The best Connor can summon up is the appeal to authority, and he does so right off the bat in his by-line as he refers to Dyson as one of the few true intellectuals to be so dismissive of the global-warming consensus. From the outset Dyson set out his very high level rationale for AGW scepticism when explained (paragraph bulleted for ease of reading):

  • First, the computer models are very good at solving the equations of fluid dynamics but very bad at describing the real world. The real world is full of things like clouds and vegetation and soil and dust which the models describe very poorly.
  • Second, we do not know whether the recent changes in climate are on balance doing more harm than good. The strongest warming is in cold places like Greenland. More people die from cold in winter than die from heat in summer.
  • Third, there are many other causes of climate change besides human activities, as we know from studying the past.
  • Fourth, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is strongly coupled with other carbon reservoirs in the biosphere, vegetation and top-soil, which are as large or larger. It is misleading to consider only the atmosphere and ocean, as the climate models do, and ignore the other reservoirs.
  • Fifth, the biological effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are beneficial, both to food crops and to natural vegetation. The biological effects are better known and probably more important than the climatic effects.
  • Sixth, summing up the other five reasons, the climate of the earth is an immensely complicated system and nobody is close to understanding it.

But despite this explanation, Connor persists with what Dyson labels as the ‘party line’ focusing on what he sees as narrow technical issues, the premise of which he doesn’t accept.  So Connor, lost for an angle of attack to discredit Dyson, returns to his appeal to authority when he churns out:

So I guess my question would be, what if you are wrong? What if all the other scientists connected with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UK Met Office, NASA, NOAA, the World Meteorological Organisation, and just about every reputable university and institute doing research on climate science, happen to be right? Isn’t it a bit risky for me and the rest of the general public to dismiss this vast canon of climate science as just “fuss” about global warming when all I’ve got to go on is a minority opinion?

This was written despite earlier references in the email exchange to Alfred Wegener (theory of continental drift) with Dyson having already pointed out that there was even a consensus against Wegener among a small group of experts.  Connor clearly cannot square with the notion of a small number of outstanding scientists disagreeing with the pack. When will Connor ever ask himself and readers, what if the consensus he is so desperate to endorse happen to be wrong?  History is littered with examples of consensus opinion and ‘evidence’ being undermined by actualite.

In Dyson’s response to Connor, he reasonably writes the following:

Of course I am not expecting you to agree with me. The most I expect is that you might listen to what I am saying. I am saying that all predictions concerning climate are highly uncertain. On the other hand, the remedies proposed by the experts are enormously costly and damaging, especially to China and other developing countries. On a smaller scale, we have seen great harm done to poor people around the world by the conversion of maize from a food crop to an energy crop. This harm resulted directly from the political alliance between American farmers and global-warming politicians. Unfortunately the global warming hysteria, as I see it, is driven by politics more than by science. If it happens that I am wrong and the climate experts are right, it is still true that the remedies are far worse than the disease that they claim to cure.

Then follows the equivalent of the punch that Ali never gave Foreman…

I wish that The Independent would live up to its name and present a less one-sided view of the issues.

Connor indulges himself with another lengthy dose of pseudo-intellectual nonsense attacking what he believes to have been the varying arguments of the sceptics, before a clearly bored and unimpressed Dyson extracts himself from the exchange with this telling and penetrating summation that should give those who accept at face value all they read in the media pause for thought:

Your last message just repeats the same old party line that we have many good reasons to distrust. You complain that people who are sceptical about the party line do not agree about other things. Why should we agree? The whole point of science is to encourage disagreement and keep an open mind. That is why I blame The Independent for seriously misleading your readers. You give them the party line and discourage them from disagreeing.

With all due respect, I say good-bye and express the hope that you will one day join the sceptics. Scepticism is as important for a good journalist as it is for a good scientist.

Freeman Dyson has shown that Steve Connor is a case study in the modern media phenomenon that investigative journalist Nick Davies has apparently labelled ‘churnalism’ – which is when journalists are ‘reduced to passive processors of whatever material comes their way’ (referenced earlier by Ockham’s Razor).  In other words we don’t have journalists rather we have churnalists, mere cut and paste merchants who spew out press releases as news without any attempt at critical examination and questioning of the content.

It is another example of why we cannot trust the modern news media and how the public is ill served by these over rated churnos.


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