Archive for the ‘The Media’ Category
This article started as a comment on an excellent piece in 'The Conversation' byProfessor of Communications, University of Westminster.
The Fleet Street Mafia has successfully subverted and corrupted our political leadership to ensure that Leveson has achieved nothing in bringing the worst excesses of the press under control. In fact, if anything, press regulation is even weaker and less effective than before Lord Justice Leveson first assumed the chair of the inquiry.
The whole exercise has been a farce and a waste of public money. Cameron and his cronies are so terrified of the press that they will do literally anything; change any policy, ignore any evidence, promote any untruth, in order to comply with the wishes of Murdoch, the Barclay Brothers or Paul Dacre.
IPSO, the replacement for the PCC, is even more corrupt, dishonest and fraudulent in its practice than its predecessor. It fails to enforce the Editors’ Code and instead finds excuses for publishers to breach the code as it suits them. It acts in expressly the opposite interest to that which it pretends. It seeks to support the interests of the press over the interests of the public at all stages.
IPSO’s new strategy to deal with troublesome and substantive complaints is simply to dismiss them, even without any consideration. The PCC would have made a play of investigating complaints before dismissing them but IPSO simply closes them down saying they do not raise any possible breaches of the code – even when they consist of blatant inaccuracy and distortion.
The net effect of Leveson is to place the public in a worse position than before it started. We have gone backwards. The press is more powerful, politicians are supine. In the case of weak, corrupt individuals like John Whittingdale, he has become the servant of the press barons, doing their bidding, performing at their wish from inside government where he betrays the electorate and subverts our democracy.
Fleet Street is like the Wild West but with immunity against any consequences of any actions. The only hope that we have is the terminal decline of newspaper circulation and that the power of this unelected elite of editors and proprietors will crumble over time. It would help if our other media, particularly the BBC, would stop letting Fleet Street set the news agenda. We need to accelerate the move to online news content.
The whole corrupt edifice is well illustrated by the regular Sunday morning spectacle of Andrew Marr, a dyed in the wool Fleet Street stooge, interviewing low-rent tabloid hacks such as Amanda Platell or Jane Moore, before another servile chat with a government minister. This defines the shabby, dishonest politicking within and around the Westminster bubble.
We do not have a a ‘free press’, we have an out of control, rampant, vested interest. While we need ‘freedom of the press’, in that journalists may investigate and publish the truth, we also need ‘freedom from the press’ and its bullying, self-serving control of our country and its political system.
Even though the British people have decisively rejected Fleet Street as a purveyor of reliable or impartial news, so the political elite and our broadcasters still allow a small gang of press barons and editors to set the agenda.
Cameron has changed his hateful, ‘walk on by’ attitude to the refugee crisis just like the Daily Mail. These desperate people are no longer migrants who we need to fear but refugees who we need to rescue.
Nothing corrupts UK politics like the Fleet Street Mafia. We are deceived, tricked, misled and cheated by this adherence to the minority views of a few rich, bigoted and out of touch men. The sooner the BBC stops following the Fleet Street agenda, the sooner we can start rebuilding our society in accordance with the wishes of the people.
I confess I shed a few tears at Cilla’s funeral today, given extraordinary coverage on BBC News.
She was part of the the soundtrack of my life. I grew up with her. One of my earliest memories, probably aged about six, was in the kitchen of our house in St Bernards Road, Solihull. My mum was there, at the sink, and Cilla’s voice singing ‘Downtown’ was blaring out of the transistor radio on top of the fridge. (Yes, it was Cilla, not Petula Clark. Cilla did a version as well.)
Later, before she went over to tacky ITV, she was the BBC Saturday night star. ‘Blind Date’ was amusing, the first time you saw it but the Cilla show was an institution and ‘Step Inside Love’ was perhaps the first time that romance entered my young mind.
Someone to be thankful for and a little sentimental about.
Cannabis Saves Lives And Cannabis Prohibition Ruins Lives Every Day. All the Media Can Worry About Is Djokovic’s Nose.
The BBC, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, countless international publications, blogs and websites have published this ridiculous story.
Apparently, Novak Djokovic felt “dizzy” because he could smell cannabis during his Rogers Cup semi-final win over Jérémy Chardy in Montreal. Now let’s be clear, the smell of cannabis comes from terpenes, not from cannabinoids. It cannot get you high or dizzy.
I’m pleased that Novak recognises the delightful smell of weed. More and more sportspeople are using it as an aid to recovery. NFL and rugby players are advised to use it to protect against the dangers of concussion or brain injury. Stimulating the endocannabinoid system helps to promote healing and growth. Not long before cannabis is ruled out of sport as a performance enhancer, not just because of blind prejudice against a safer recreational drug.
But it is sickening that so much coverage is given to this when across the world there are so many more important stories about the almost miraculous, life saving, therapeutic effects of cannabis. Similarly, there are important but tragic stories of people being incarcerated for growing the plant or treating their illness with it. There are disgusting stories of corruption in governments, parliaments and bureaucracies where lies and misinformation about cannabis are promoted, mainly to protect vested interests in the alcohol and law enforcement industries.
All the media is interested in is this sort of trivial nonsense, unless of course it’s some mythological scare story about mental illness or deranged axe murderers. A free press is a valuable and essential part of our pretence at democracy. We also need freedom from the lies, misinformation and corrupt agendas of press barons and editors.
Where are the front page headlines, the hysterical editorials, the hand wringing, bleating and scaremongering from the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail? They seem to be very quiet on this one. To be fair the Mail has covered it but the leaders in anti-cannabis propaganda at the Telegraph have ignored it and so have the BBC. What a surprise! Even Jon ‘Skunk’ Snow, the latest journalist to sacrifice his integrity on the altar of reefer madness, is completely silent. No grandstanding opportunities on this one.
This is a huge study of 408 males tracked from adolescence into their mid-30s. The results have been published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and comprehensively demolish the many, much smaller, ‘snapshot’ studies that the Mail, the Telegraph and the BBC have given massive prominence to in the past.
Even more important than the study itself is the insight this provides into the blatant dishonesty, misrepresentation and falsehood which UK newspapers and TV routinely engage in when reporting on cannabis. The usual bigots and deceivers such as Kathy Gyngell, Dr Max Pemberton, Simon Heffer and Melanie Phillips are notable only for their absence. This is the way the debate on cannabis is conducted in the UK. The media misrepresent the evidence, report only what supports their editorial position and our weak, cowardly political leaders dutifully follow what Fleet Street tells them to do.
What is particularly important is that this is a longitudinal study, following real people in real life over a long period of time. It’s a large number of people and its accuracy and reliability eclipses virtually all the research that the prohibition supporters report on at great length.
This is the real cannabis psychosis. A pathological dishonesty affecting editors, journalists, civil servants and politicians. Nothing demonstrates the seriousness of this widespread illness than the lack of coverage given to this remarkable research.
Remember this next time you see some ridiculous newspaper column misinforming about cannabis or some pompous fool of an MP bellowing their ignorant views in the House of Commons.
How the Code has been breached
2. Para 2 first sentence: “Many ministers admit having used illegal substances; so this policy of allowing the nation to rot its brains and become a danger to everyone else has yet to be countermanded.”
This is factually inaccurate. There is no evidence that cannabis ‘rots the brain’. In fact, precisely the opposite is true. Many studies demonstrate that cannabis is neuroprotective and helps to protect the brain against external injury, concussion and stroke. There is also no evidence that cannabis use causes anyone to “become a danger to everyone else”.
How the Code has been breached
1. Subhead: “Police laxity has led to more young pot-heads and rising levels of psychosis and addiction” This is factually incorrect. There are now fewer people of all ages using cannabis.
2. Para 3 “Far from a harsh approach, it is laxity that has boosted the number of young pot-heads. This is bad for multiple reasons. Cannabis itself is extremely dangerous. It impairs memory, cripples judgment and the ability to learn. In high doses it can cause addiction, paranoia and psychosis and provoke schizophrenia.”
Factually incorrect. The “number of young pot-heads” has declined not been “boosted”. There is no evidence that cannabis is “extremely dangerous”. There is no evidence that cannabis causes psychosis.
3. Para 7 “Then they claimed Portugalâ’s drug liberalisation had caused drug use to tumble. This was untrue; the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed that drug use there had increased.”
Factually incorrect, the EMCDDA and all sources show that drug use has declined in Portugal since decriminalisation
4. Para 10 “Although there is no scientific evidence for definitive benefit from medicinal cannabis, the US has now legalised this in 23 states”
Factually incorrect, there is a vast quantity of peer-reviewed, published scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis.
These are very serious inaccuracies which Ms Phillips publishes on a regular basis in the full knowledge that they are untrue. Any newspaper which knowingly publishes lies and falsehoods to deceive its readers should be subject to the strongest possible sanctions including a financial penalty. Such dishonest publications must be dealt with firmly, sufficient to deter repetition.