Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘newspaper

‘Skunk’ Drives Tabloids And Politicians Mad.

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Tom Chivers, Ian Dunt and Jonathan Liebling expose the dreadful reporting of the latest cannabis harms study from the husband and wife team of Professor Sir Robin Murray and Dr Marta Di Forti.

The British tabloid press has long been engaged in the corruption of our society and successive governments’ ability to deal with drugs policy by its sensationalism, distortion and dishonesty.

In fact the worst offender now is the Daily Telegraph, a tabloid in everything except format. It now eclipses the Mail newspapers for inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting on all aspects of drugs policy. Its science and medicine writers are either deliberately engaged in deception or utterly incompetent. Virtually every story it publishes on drugs these days has to be retracted but you never hear about it because it’s buried in a tiny, tiny correction.

Here’s what happened to its ridiculous claim recently “cannabis as addictive as heroin”

DT headline 071014

The Mail newspapers can’t resist the stories about the miraculous medicinal benefits of cannabis because they make such good sensationalism. So although they still publish hogwash, like this latest distortion, they’ve actually become more balanced almost by mistake.

Why is the British press so incompetent and/or malevolent on drugs? Is it anything to do with the £800 million pa that the alcohol industry spends on press advertising? I don’t know. Maybe it just likes to appeal to the fast dwindling band of bigots that actually buy newspapers these days.

We are a laughing stock across the world for the idiocy of our press and government, particularly in respect of cannabis. In Canada and Israel, hospitals provide elderly patients with cannabis vapourisers on trollies, so strong is the evidence for its beneficial effects on aging and dementia. Here of course we prefer to let them lie in their own excreta while feeding them with scaremongering nonsense, distortion and exaggeration of scientific studies.

Sugar, peanuts, hay fever remedies, aspirin, paracetamol and traffic fumes cause far more health harms than cannabis.

In Colorado, in 2014, $44 million in cannabis tax revenue was ringfenced for schools and hospitals. Since legalisation, crime and fatal traffic accidents are down 15%, murder is down 50%.

Far too sensible for Britain isn’t it? And it’s the work of our gutter press that prevents such progress here because politicians still give newspapers far too much respect.

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I Stand With Nigella and Against The Disgusting Fleet Street Mafia And Oppressive British Police.

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nigella-446696

Nothing better demonstrates the venal, self-serving and foul behaviour of British newspaper editors than the abuse of Nigella.

Their corrupt, dishonest perversion of journalism and their subversion of the Leveson Inquiry is proven beyond any doubt.

Parliament established a judicial inquiry to investigate the culture and practices of the newspaper industry.  It was found to be engaged in criminal and reprehensible behaviour at every level.  Yet now,  it has used its power to undermine our democratic process and return to the sort of conduct that all decent people find unacceptable.

The slimeballs at Scotland Yard also show their true colours, nothing to do with the law or justice, in a knee jerk response to the shrieking, baying mob of the Fleet Street mafia.

It is not against any UK law to use any drug except opium. You have to prove possession, supply, production or importation. There is no reasonable prospect of any charges against Nigella getting past the most junior court clerk.  That senior police sources should even hint at such a course calls for charges of misconduct in public office.  This is abuse by police officers when what they are supposed to do is protect.

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

We Must Have Independent And Legally Binding Regulation Of the Press

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The Editors’ Code, a transparent complaints process and investigative powers all backed with the force of law is what we need.  The idea that this would be state control of the press is a fallacy but one that the newspaper barons, with their huge vested interests, massive resources and influence are pressing as hard as they can.

 ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring but the sacred freedom of the press!’

They’re trying to stitch us up with scare stories.  Pretending that some great principle is being infringed.  Now, where have I heard that before?  Oh yes, the press.

Who’s to say that we don’t already have state control of the press?  In extremis, the government would step in and impose any rules it wished.  Then,  idiots like Fraser Nelson of The Spectator would be two a penny and they could rot in jail.

Real life is not in extremis.  It is in  state of constant compromise.  We need to establish rules by which the press and all media must abide.  Compassion, respect and accuracy should be our principles but the idea that newspaper editors should regulate themselves is codswallop.

Broadcasters are required to provide balance, the press is not.  That is a privilege that must be balanced by a responsibility

“not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”

These are the exact words of the existing Editors’ Code. All we need to do is give them the force of law.  If we can make the press take  responsibility it will be to the great benefit of society.

My Lord Leveson, I submit.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Good Riddance To The Tabloid Muck Raker

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You live by the sword.  You die by the sword.

Never was disgrace or the end to a career more richly deserved.  When you play the disgusting game of distortion, propaganda and misinformation that newspaper editors do, then you can expect your karma to get you in the end.

Newspaper editors and media owners sustain the oligarchy with their chums in parliament that oppresses the people of Britain, controls the news agenda and promotes its own self-interest.

He won’t be missed by anyone.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

The Times. Will Charging For Online News Work?

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Unpleasant

I don’t know whether it will work or not but I think I have to support the effort, much as it sticks in my throat to do anything in support of  Rupert Murdoch or his unpleasant offspring and cronies.

As a writer, I have to believe in the idea that online content can be “monetised” or what is my own future?

In passing, can I at least blame that revolting new word on Murdoch?  It would be some small consolation for paying him £2.00 per week for my online access.

I think The Times is still the finest newspaper in the land and I cannot let its ownership stand in the way of my appreciation of its content.  Even though I am now a subscriber, I shall still buy the Saturday edition in print.  I have avoided The Sunday Times for years since it size began to offend me and its content became almost indistinguishable from the Daily Mail.

Still Thundering

There is one aspect of The Times though, that is gone for ever.  Even my paid subscription cannot bring it back.  I used regularly to link to The Times’ stories from this blog but now that is useless unless all my readers are subscribers too.  So my only solution is cut and paste.  In celebration of this heinous, copyright infringing intent, I reproduce below the  stand out article from this Saturday’s edition, an intelligent and incisive article about Israel and Palestine from Margaret Atwood.   Please enjoy it with the compliments of this subscriber.

In one respect though, I still stand absolute against the Murdoch empire.  Though Sky is undoubtedly the finest digital TV system available, particularly with its PVR and HD capabilities, I will not support its outrageous charges or dreadful customer service.   Freesat, Freeview and BitTorrent for the programmes I miss is a much happier solution.

******

From The Times, 14th August 2010 by Margaret Atwood

Seven futures are possible. Which will it be?

Wiped out by nuclear bombs? Constant war? But the crystal ball also shows the path to peace for Israel and Palestine

Picture a minor prophet. Perhaps he’d be working as an astrologer. He’s looking towards Israel and Palestine, consulting his charts and stars, getting a handle on the future. But the future is never single — there are too many variables — so what he sees is a number of futures.

In the first one, there’s no Israel: it’s been destroyed in war and all the Israelis have been killed. (Unlikely, but not impossible.) In the second, there’s no Palestine: it’s been merged with Israel, and the Palestinians either slaughtered or driven beyond its borders. Israel has become completely isolated; international opinion has been outraged, boycotts have been successful, financial aid from the US — both public and private — has evaporated, and the US Government has cooled towards Israel, and swung towards entente with the Muslim world. Israel has become like North Korea — an embattled military state — and civilian rights have suffered. Moderate Israelis have emigrated and live as exiles in a state of bitterness over wasted opportunities and blighted dreams.

In the third future there’s one state, but a civil war has resulted, since the enlarged population couldn’t agree on a common flag, common laws or a common set of commemoration days — “victory” for some being “catastrophe” for others.

In the fourth, the one-state solution has had better results: it’s a true one-person, one-vote democracy with equal rights for all. (Again, unlikely in the immediate future, but not impossible in the long run.) In the fifth future, neither Israel nor Palestine exists: nuclear bombs have cleared the land of human beings. In the sixth, climate change has turned the area into a waterless desert.

But there’s another future: the seventh future. In this there are two states, “Israel” and “Palestine”. Both are flourishing, and both are members of a regional council that deals with matters affecting the whole area. Trade flows harmoniously between the two, joint development enterprises have been established, know-how is shared, and, as in Northern Ireland, peace is paying dividends.

That, surely, is a desirable outcome, thinks the stargazer, but how was it achieved? Since he has the gift of virtual time-travel, he leaps into the seventh future and looks back at the steps taken to get there.

The impetus came from within Israel. Its leaders saw that the wind had shifted; it was now blowing against the policy of crushing force and the appropriation of occupied lands. What had caused this change? Was it the international reaction to the destructive Operation Cast Lead invasion of Gaza? The killing of flotilla activists? The gathering boycott activities in the US and Europe? The lobbying of organisations such as J Street? The 2010 World Zionist Congress vote to support a settlement freeze and endorse a two-state solution?

For whatever reasons, Israel had lost control of its own story. It was no longer Jack confronting a big bad giant; the narrative of the small country struggling bravely against overwhelming odds had moved to the Palestinians. The mantra “plant a tree in Israel” was no longer respectable because it evoked images of bulldozers knocking down Palestinian olive groves. Israel could not continue along its current path without altering its own self-image beyond recognition. The leadership decided to act before a peaceful resolution slipped forever beyond reach. Leaders are supposed to guide their people towards a better future, they thought, not over the edge of a cliff.

First, the Golan Heights was returned to Syria under a pact that created a demilitarised zone with international supervision. The few Israeli inhabitants were allowed to remain if they wished, though they then paid taxes to Syria.

Then, with the help of a now-friendly Syria, Hamas was invited to the peace negotiations. The enlightened leaders realised that they couldn’t set as a precondition something that remained to be negotiated, so they didn’t demand the pre-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Hamas, to the surprise of many, accepted the invitation, as it had nothing to lose by doing so. Peace was made between Fatah and Hamas, and the Palestinians were thus able to present a single negotiating team.

The negotiations were complex, but people worked hard not to lose their tempers. Remembering South Africa, they knew that yelling and denouncing would not accomplish anything. The agreement took less time than expected, as happens when people are serious. Then the occupation — disastrous for those in both countries, physically and morally — was over, and Palestinian independence was declared. A mutual defence pact was signed, along with a trade and development pact. As Israel had realised that it could not rest its foundation on international law while violating that law, the borders reverted to those of 1967, with a few land swaps along the edges. Jerusalem was declared an international city, with both an Israeli parliament building and a Palestinian one, and access to the various holy sites for believers.

Gaza was joined to the West Bank by corridors, as in the East/West Germany of old; ports were opened and fishing boats could sail once more. Development money poured in, creating full employment. Fair-access- to-water agreements were signed, pollution cleaned up, and more fresh water created through a new cheap solar-driven desalination process.

What about the difficult matter of the settlements? Settlers could stay in Palestine if they wished, under lease agreements. The leases and taxes paid by the settlers were a source of income to the Palestinian state, and as their products were no longer boycotted, the settlements did better. On the whole, peace reigned. There was even a shared Memorial Day, in which all those fallen in past wars were honoured.

The seventh future is within reach — the stars favour it — but the stargazer knows that many prefer the status quo; there can be advantage as well as profit in conflict. However, change often comes abruptly, as with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the storming of the Bastille, or the end of apartheid. The amount of blood shed in such transitions — from none to a great deal — depends on the wisdom of the leadership.

How to promote such wisdom? It’s a prophet’s traditional duty to lay out the alternatives: the good futures and also the bad ones. Prophets — unlike yes men — tell the powerful not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. “How can I put this?” thinks the stargazer. “Something beginning with the handwriting on the wall . . ?”

© O.W. Toad Ltd. 2010

Now I Understand Why I Hate English Football

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Whinging, Whining Loser

I’ve hated football for 20 years or more now.  With the World Cup I’ve finally come to understand why.  English football is rubbish.  It’s been corrupted and destroyed by an incurable cancer of money and venality.  English football players are overpaid ponces, whores and playthings for foreign potentates.  They cannot play the game anymore.  They stand around worried that they’ll make a mistake, that they’ll bruise their poor little knees, fracture some obscure little bone in their foot or that their orange-painted slag will run off with their best mate while they’re training.   They seem much more concerned about getting their name in the newspaper than on the scoresheet.

I do remember a rare glimpse of sanity in this crazy world when a year or so ago the great Bobby Charlton apologised for the £80 million pound transfer fee for Ronaldo and described it as “vulgar”.  He had that absolutely right.  Screaming and curling into the top corner from 40 yards in the last minute of extra time right.

Talent. Honour. Pride.

I’ve just watched the most riveting, scintillating, magical game of football between Spain and Germany.  It reminds me how much I used to love the game and how much I and other British sports lovers are losing out.  It was a joy.  I saw beauty there in the poetic movement and interplay.  There is nothing beautiful about the English game.

In 1970-71, when I was 13, I was lucky enough to attend every home game at Highbury stadium.

My Hero

Arsenal won the double that year and Bob Wilson was my hero.  I played in goal too and even today I still treasure that special camaraderie between goalkeepers.  Even as I’ve lost interest in the game I’ve still retained that love hate relationship with the most important position on the pitch.  I’ve been angered and bemused once again at the inane remarks of commentators.  Only occasionally do they compliment a goalie or even understand what it involves .  Usually it’s either a “blunder” or an “easy save” or  “straight at him”.   Don’t they realise that it was “straight at him” because he was in the right place to begin with.  There’s no such thing as an easy save.  Bob Wilson used to have a reputation as an “unspectacular” goalie – because he was almost always there before the ball arrived!  There are no excuses when you’re a goalkeeper.

There isn’t any passion in the English game anymore.  I don’t think they know what it is.  Passion for that bunch of losers is what you get in a lap dancing bar – innit bruv?   There’s very little pride either.   Even at its very best football can never compete with rugby as a real sport so when the BBC had the audacity to hijack Invictus and try to apply some of it’s wonderful, uplifting qualities to the English football team – well, I was just disgusted.

The Spain Germany game was wonderful and I expect the final will be too.  The Spanish were inspired and fluent.  The wonderful Xavi is a powerful symbol of how useless the English chavs are.   The multiracial German team was a redemptive lesson for us all.  They were proud, positive and every colour of the rainbow.  Schweinsteiger, the archetypal aryan stormtrooper, strong, fearless and utterly reliable.  These players are so talented they don’t need to feign fouls or injury.   They just get on with the job – beautifully.

So the World Cup has been a very big but very pleasant surprise for me.  I’d fallen victim to the propaganda that the Premier League is the best football in the world but that’s been proven to be a great big lie.   It might be the richest league but that’s exactly what has ruined the game.

As a Welshman, for me nothing will ever come close to rugby. I’m glad I’ve found pleasure in football again but English football has finally proved itself to be the very worst football in the world.