We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
Safe spaces: Writing in the New York Times Judith Schulevitz takes up the story of university safe spaces, those zones of intolerance where diverse views of a diverse society are banned, where everything is ‘normal’.
She begins by looking at the work of Katherine Byron, a member of Brown University’s Sexual Assault Task Force. In her safe zone rape will be a taboo. No, not illegal. Rape is an abhorrent crime. This is a ban on anything that could upset rape victims.
Have they found a secret Nazi hideout in Argentina? Researchers at the University of Buenos Aires have found old German coins dated between 1938 and 1941 and bits of ‘Made In Germany’ china in buildings deep in a remote part of the jungle. Were these buildings in Teyu Cuare park in northern Argentina near Paraguay where Adolf Eichmann and his fellow Nazis hid out?
Eichmann was captured in Buenos Aires in 1960.
So. What do we know about the attack on a synagogue in London’s Stamford Hill, a building and a place with notable Jewish populations?
The BBC says police have made six arrests following the attack. The BBC says the attack is “what police have described as an ‘anti-Semitic’ incident.”
We don’t get to know what the BBC describes it as – maybe it was ‘an interrupted stroll in the world’s most vibrant city’, ‘football-related violence’ or ‘an incident linked to Israel’s actions in the Middle East’?
Can you poo on demand? They can in Jharkhand, eastern India, where around 60 locals protesting the Narendra Modi government’s land reforms squatted and defecated on demand in front of the Barwadih office block.
To China, for what must be the greatest news pun of the century.
The story involves Wu Hsia, 21, his ex-girlfriend Jun Tang, 20, and his new lover Rong Tsao, 22.
Jilted Jun said that Rong was a moron. Wu should be with her. Jilted Jun went on and on and on. She wanted to woo Wu.
Wu has doubts. So. He thought it a good idea to meet both the women. The rendevous would take place in a park by a river.
When Brenda Leyland was doorstepped by Sky News reporter Martin Brunt, she became the “McCann Troll”, the woman who under the name ‘sweepyface’ had bombarded Twitter with comments about the parents of missing Madeleine McCann.
No longer a real human being, Leyland was monstered by the media until she achieved the status of public enemy, awful enough to be branded a “hate-fuelled” (Times) “twisted, fecked-up bitch” (Daily Mirror). She was the eptiome of “sheer evil“.
We were left to wonder: who was hounding who?
Two days after being ‘exposed’ on the telly for our entertainment, Brenda Leyland was dead. The verdict: suicide.
At the coroner’s inquest at Leicester Town Hall, Martin Brunt says (via the Telegraph):
“At the end of the conversation she said it was a pleasure to meet you. I said I hoped I hadn’t ruined her day which I considered very much a throwaway remark. I was out of the country when I was told that Brenda Leyland had been found dead. I was devastated and I still am and the enormity of what’s happened will always be with me.”
Martin Brunt is a skilled reporter. It would be churlish not to take his upset as anything other than genuine. But his role as trollhunter-in-chief is regrettable. Swept along by a mob-fed eagerness to ‘unmask’ trolls and expose anyone saying nasty things to the glare of publicity and most excitedly court action, Brunt got his popular story.
To the London School of Economics, where students love the place so much they are occupying it. Occupation is good, say the LSE students shut inside the Vera Anstey Suite meeting room, now dubbed the ‘Free University of London’.
(You see Occupiers do guarantee freedom. That point to you members of the monocular Boycott Israel society).
The occupiers demand “a university run by students, lecturers and workers”. They want tuition fees scrapped. They want an end to zero-hours contracts.
They call for “genuine” university democracy—that is, a directly elected student-staff council to make university decisions. Furthermore they demand divestment from destructive companies, including the fossil fuel industry, and those who profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Westminster paedophiles: a look at reporting on the story that children were abused and killed by above-the-law VIPs in the 1970s and 1980s.
Only the Daily Mail leads with the story on its front page. Readers hear news of “Another Cyril Smith Cover-Up”.
Smith is the former Labour and Liberal politican who died a knight of the realm but is now billed as a serial child abuser. Recent news is that he was twice arrested for alleged crimes against boys. He escaped prosecution because, as one retired copper says, police buried the files.
To India, where 40-year-old Bhagwat Singh has been spotted taking his daughter to school in Uttar Pradesh, India.
His youngest daughter wants to say at home. She has an exam and wants to skip school. Having tried and failed to coax her to class with offers of sweets and gifts, Singh opts for force: he ties her to the back of his motorbike with ropes and goes on the school run.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Daily Star, Page 25: “McCanns: Don’t Give Up Hint For Maddie”
Jerry Lawton says the parents of Madeleine McCann – the missing child who became the media’s ‘Our Maddie – are “incredibly grateful to every officer woeking to find Madeleine”.
Disguise of the day: the man dressed as Darth Vader who robbed bank in Pineville, North Carolina.
Unless it was Darth Vader and what with the high price of electrity he’s swapped his light sabre for a gun?
Ashers Baking Company didn’t want to bake a cake decorated with slogans supporting gay marriage. The Northern Ireland bakery doesn’t want to make a statement about gay marriage, which remains illegal in the country. It also goes againt their religious convictions as Christians. So. Thanks for your enquiry but no thanks.
The shop named after one of the 12 tribes of Israel thanks you for your interest.
That would be the end of it. But Ashers, based in Newtownabbey, upset / annoyed / triggered LGBT activist Gareth Lee. He wanted a cake with Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie, the slogan “support gay marriage” and the logo of campaigning group QueerSpace. And he complained that he had “suffered unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination”.
But was he really treated less favourably by Ashers than they would treat heterosexuals asking for the same cake? Was he refused because he was gay? No. He wasn’t. The shop will serve gays.
Westminster paedophiles: how police Sergeant Don Mackintosh and the church saved Cyril Smith in Stockport
Westminster paedophiles: a look at the story of VIP crimes against children during the 1970s and 1980s. The tabloid Press have been hot on the news of corruption in high places. Let’s look at today’s coverage:
Number of front pages covering the story: nil.
The Sun page 11: Rod Liddle says the elite are “shiedling political paedos”.
Liddle says news that gross former Labour and Liberal politican Cyril Smith was arrested for alleged child abuse and his files wiped from history explains why no politican has been treated to the same high-profile raids as celebrities – think of innocent Jim Davidson being arrested at Heathtrow Airport as her flew IN to the country – and police raiding Sunderland FC’s Adam Johnson’s home.
We’d add that no police have been so brutally dealt with, either.
Liddle adds that because the police allegedly abused the Official Secrets Act to busty Smith’s depravity, the “morbidly obese self-publicist” was free to attacked boys in his Rochdale constituency and beyond.
Who now trusts the police?
And what of now?
The Daily Mail has news on page 22:
“Scores of paedophiles, rapists and even killers are being granted bail after being found guiulty.”
Suppose you could call that progress. Unlike Sir Jimmy Savile and Sir Cyril Smith at least they were tried before they dropped dead.
Daily Mirror page 26: “No one ever tipped me off about Savile, says Rantzen”
Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen has denied being told Jimmy Savile was a paedophile decades before he was unmasked.
Pimp my stereotype: an occasional look at subverting racial and cultural stereotypes.
capriciousyouth points us toward these photos of a young Iranian rolling a marijuana joint on a 5000 Toman banknote featuring Ayatollah Khomeini, who in 1979 made Iran the world’s first Islamic republic.
Spotter: Nicola Zolin
Samuel Beckett, eat your heart out. Two men in a barren landscape have not sat around bickering as they wait for nothing; they have planted 10,000 trees over ten years. Jia Haixia is blind. Jia Wenqi is a double amputee. And rather than sitting around doing nothing they have set about enlivening the barren landscape around Yeli Village in northeastern China.
Westminster paedophiles: Cyril Smith, Sidney Cooke and official secrets in Coronation Buildings, Lambeth
Westmingter paedophiles: a daily look at allegations of a VIP sex ring cover-up.
Dead Liberal MP Cyril Smith did not only paddle boy’s bottoms. In the 1980s, he was arrested in London as part of an investigation into alleged sex parties with teenage males. It is further alleged the arrest was kept secret by police, who abused the Official Secrets Act to protect the alleged pervert.
The story was broken by BBC’s Newsnight. That’s the same TV show that spiked the story that Jimmy Savile – a knight of realm, like Smith – was a paedophile on BBC time.
Retired Lancashire detective Jack Tasker told Sky News:
“Other people were rather worried that if Cyril Smith went before a court, he would open his mouth.”
Don Hale was working for the Bury Messenger at the time. In 2014, he said Barbara Castle, the veteran Labour politician for Blackburn, Lancashire, handed him a dossier of VIP paedophiles. She has since died.
Hale told BBC Radio 5 live’s Nicky Campbell:
“In 1984, I started making enquiries to get a response from various MPs I’d spoken to a number of Liberal MPs named in the document. Cyril Smith came into to see me. He came storming in, said it was all rubbish, demanded that I hand everything over to him straight away and he was really aggressive. I mean he was quite a big guy anyway. He was about six foot tall and quite heavy and he was really poking his fingers at me, threatening, spitting at me, all sorts of things. He was a real horror. In the end I refused to give it. He walked out of the office, stormed out the office. And the very next day Special Branch arrived with three plain clothes officers and about a dozen police, you know, raided the place, pushed me against the wall, were very, very aggressive again, threatened to arrest me on the spot for perverting the course of justice if I didn’t hand over the documents to them. I agreed obviously to do that, showed them what the documents were and they took them and then disappeared.”
Are they still around?
Will more police talk?
… the threat of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act would have made the officers concerned fear for their careers.
In 2010GMP Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said:
“This has been a very complex inquiry and I hope people understand why it has taken some time before we were in a position to comment publicly.
“It was very important that both ourselves and Lancashire Police examined all our records very carefully so we could be certain what involvement we had in investigating allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against such a high-profile figure as Smith.
“We are now in a position to say that on three separate occasions, files were passed to first the DPP and then the CPS containing details of abuse committed by Smith, but on each occasion no prosecution was pursued.
“Having now reviewed those decisions, we believe that if the same evidence was presented to the CPS today there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial.
“Clearly that is a bold statement to make but it is absolutely important for those victims who were abused by Smith that we publicly acknowledge the suffering they endured.
“Although, Smith cannot be charged or convicted posthumously, from the overwhelming evidence we have it is right and proper we should publicly recognise that young boys were sexually and physically abused and we will offer them as much support as they need should they wish to speak to us.”
A former detective who worked on the original investigation into Cooke told the Sunday Mirror that the minister was among those alleged to have been photographed in a 1986 police surveillance on premises where boys had been dropped off. Others allegedly included Jimmy Savile, MP Cyril Smith and top judges – though none of them were ever arrested.
Irony overload in the Daily Mail, which brings news that an advert by fashion company American Apparel has had “ANOTHER advert banned, this time for ‘too sexy’ photos of underage-looking model in thong bodysuit”.
So, how does it choose to illustrate this apparent horror? Why, by publishing a photo of the American Apparel advert and zooming on the model’s primary sexual characteristics:
Day 2 of the Sun’s monstering of David Nicholson, the Basingstoke school headmaster accused of using school computers to contact prostitutes. Having read that Mr Nicholson never did have sex or spank either of the women he allegedly contacted on school time, we learn on page 12:
“Hookers head shocks mums”
Are those the mums into 50 Shades of spanking or all mums? Afte rall, it was the Sun that reported: “SEX-MAD Brits can’t wait to watch Fifty Shades Of Grey – so they can copy the kinky moves back in their own bedrooms.”
Jonathan Reilly writes, “PARENTS reacted with shock after a head was suspended for sending X-rated messages to two escorts on his school email.”
Shock that such a small story – a thought offence – could ruin a man’s career?
They spoke of their horror yesterday after The Sun revealed David Nicholson arranged a schoolgirl-themed threesome.
The headline (“MADDIE – CALL OFF HUNT, WE NEED COPS IN UK”) looks at how the £10m spent in finding out what happened to the child occupies 31 Met police detectives. The Star says these resources are “ring-fenced”, preventing the Maddie cops from working on other cases, such as the “14 unconnected killings” across London.
Readers are told that officers are “baffled” why so many police are on one case that has so far turend up not a single clue, no evidence and zero proof as to what happned to the child.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman John Tully says:
“It is time to refocus…we no longer have the resources to conduct special inquiries all over the world which have nothing to do with London… But we have £600m of cuts… It is surprising to see an inquiry like the McCann investigation ring-fenced… there is resentment of significant resources diverted to a case that has no apparent connection with London.”
His grumble is more to do with falling police investment than the McCann case. But £10m is a fortune for a case that has progressed not one inch.
But it won’t stop. Not now…
In “Head hires hooker to dress as schoolgirl – EXCLUSIVE: Top Sir probed over sordid texts”, the Sun zooms in on “married dad” David Nicholson, 48. The front-page story goes that Nicholson, a headteacher at Costello School in Basingstoke, Hampshire, allegedly used his work computer to send “one hooker X-rated messages”.
Readers get to know that one woman is 34DD. And they get to read the alleged exchange:
She: “I like dressing up like a schoolgirl and being spanked.”
He: “I love this and would be keen. I will stay in a hotel. Looking forward to putting you over my knee.”
How does an orthodoxy take hold? When designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana shared their views on love, sex, romance, gay marriage, children, IVF babies and children of same-sex couples the media and celebrity voices united in condeming them, siding with Elton John, who expressed his displeasure with a shrill call to boycott the brand.
The Daily Mirror has carried this news on its front page:
“Elton – I will never wear Dolce & Gabbana again after they dared call my kids synthetic”
Elton, who with his husband David Furnish is father to IVF-conceived sons Elijah and Zach, appeared over two more pages. It was “Elton’s fury” at an “astonishing attack”.
Elton said: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic?”
But they were synthesized? This is how the BBC explains IVF to GCSE students:
If a couple are having difficulty conceiving a child because the quantity or quality of the man’s sperm is poor then IVF can be used. This is where the egg is fertilised outside the woman’s body and then implanted back into her uterus. As FSH can also be used to encourage the production of several mature eggs at once, it is used as part of IVF to increase the number of eggs available for fertilisation.
Some people worry about the ethical implications of IVF. They are concerned that couples may want ‘designer babies’ with ‘desirable’ qualities, so may only want certain fertilised eggs. For example, they may want a girl if they have lots of boys in the family, or they may wish to avoid producing a baby with an inherited defect.
Elton goes on:
And shame on you for wagging your judgemental fingers at IVF… a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people both stright and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.
At which point anyone not laughing or thinking Chris Morris was writing the news should dash out and buy armfuls of D&G schmutters. Do they do a kids’ range? If they do, buy that, too. Elton John wants people who are judgemental banned. And – irony of irony – many voices on Twitter, that paragon of intolerance and incoherence, agree.
When 17-year-old Australian Islamic State fighter, Jake Bilardi, died in a suicide bombing attack, we all saw the photo. There was Jake in his Chelsea kit.
Cheslea’s marketing men must have been delighted by the repeated exposure Bilardi has given their brand.
Fans of other clubs can only smirk when they see a miscreant wearing a rival team’s kit.
When Craig Meehan was arrested during the Shannon Matthews affair, he was photgpahed in his Manchester United kit. Meehan was subsequently convicted of possessing indecent images of children on a computer found in the home he shared with Karen Matthews.
If you see an embarrassing endorsement, please let us know at @theanorak on twittter.
Westminster paedophiles: a look at reporting on allegations that VIPs abused and murdered children in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Daily Mirror brings news: “VIP paedophile scandal: Police pinpoint ‘dungeon’ flat linked to abuse parties and child murder”
Keir Mudie and Mark Conrad report that police have “identified a luxury flat in Pimlico, London, which is connected to a large cellar believed to have been used as a ‘holding area’ for abuse victims”.
The Australian Daily Telegraph calls Furkan Derya.
Tim Blair’s story “Jihadi Bilardi spreading the hate in his own way” focused on the Australian teenager who relocated his angst to ISIS, one Jake Bilardi.
You can use it if you like. We double derya.