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.
We love bad album covers. But what about the music behind the photos? YouTuber Jimbo Stephens has matched the covers with the cuts.
Some covers are NSFW:
Debate is dying. Free speech is under threat. We are living in the Age of Comfort. We are the willful blind. Is that new? No, says Margaret Heffernan. She examines what “we could know, and should know, but don’t know because it makes us feel better not to know… the more tightly we focus, the more we leave out.”
We enjoy the peace of mind darkness brings.
She comments on the message:
“[Media companies] know that when we buy a newspaper or a magazine, we aren’t looking for a fight… The search for what is familiar and comfortable underlies our media consumption habits in just the same way as it makes us yearn for Mom’s mac ’n’ cheese. The problem with this is that everything outside that warm, safe circle is our blind spot.”
And it’s neural:
To build that sense of self-worth, we surround ourselves with people and information that confirm it. Overwhelmingly, we prefer people like ourselves – and there is a solid physiological reason why. The brain can’t handle all the information it is presented with, so it prioritises. What gets a head start is information that is already familiar – and what is most familiar to us is us.
So, we feel most comfortable with people and ideas we already know. Just like Amazon’s recommendation engine or eHarmony’s online dating programmes, our brain searches for matches, because building on the known makes for highly efficient processing. At a trivial level, this preference shows up in consumer preference for products whose names share their initials: Carol likes Coke but Peter prefers Pepsi. More seriously, over time our neural networks, just like our opinions and ideologies, become deeper but also narrower.
That is as true for us, when we choose media we agree with, as it is for party leaders who give priority to editors who agree with them. Everyone is biased in favour of themselves; it may be one reason why, despite decades of diversity programmes, women and minorities have made so little progress inside corporations..
As Colm O’Gorman, one of the first people to uncover abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland, told me: “We make ourselves powerless when we pretend we don’t know.” But just because wilful blindness is endemic does not make it irresistible. Roy Spence, a Texan advertising executive, refused to work with Enron even as the rest of the world beat a path to its door. How did he see what others missed? He thought a lifetime of seeing through the eyes of the powerless gave him different perspectives. “My sister had cystic fibrosis and I used to wheel her to school every morning,” he told me. “I could see people pitying us, oblivious to the richness of our relationship. It made me ask, then as now: if they’re missing so much about us, what I am missing about them?” That internal dialogue is what Hannah Arendt called thinking.
Molly Crabapple (seen here sketching the Ferguson protests) is being observed by the FBI. The FBI has a juicy file on the Molly. She should wear it as badge of honour. But first she’s going to read it.
Molly Crabapple tweets:
“Quick correction- I initially mistweeted that they’ll give me 750 pages a month. They’ll actually review 750 pages a month, give me what they feel like, and when I get them all, we can sue if I think they’re holding out too much.”
The FBI now says it has 7526 pages related to me, and will start releasing them to my lawyers at a rate of 750 a month #FOIA
— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) January 30, 2015
Are all students rapsits and absuers-in-waiting? Spiked reports that 26 British univestities banned the Sun and the Daily Star as part of the ‘No More Page 3 campaign’; 21 student unions forbid the student body from listening to Robin Thicke song Blurred Lines on campus; Bristol University’s student union banned sales of Charlie Hebdo – the magazine that became the totem of free speech was banned because it would fail the college’s ‘safe space’ policy.
Eighteen per cent of unions have “safe space” policies, protecting students from material deemed offensive, and more than two-thirds of these were judged to place significant restrictions on freedom of speech.
Sheffield Student Union banned Eminem. Students at Oxford Univesity banned a debate on abortion. The UCL Student Union banned the college’s Nietzsche Club. King’s College Students banned Israel. The University of East Anglia Students banned a UKIP MP. The NUS banned free Speech and refsued to condemn for fear of looking Islamophobic. And our favourite was the London School of Economics, which banned T-shirts.
The assumption is that allowing anything that a loon or agenda-driven censor could decry as ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ or ‘homophobic’ would trigger race riots and convince slack-jawed male students that women’s rights, equality and debate are wrong.
It also assumes that the colleges will be complicit in any resulting crimes, having failed to police free thought they will make victims less aware of the perils to their physical and mental wellbeing. Student are no longer adults with free thhought and passionate ideas. They are idiots how must be coddled.
Ashe Schow is astounded:
For the past several years, activists have been telling us that any suggestion relating to protecting oneself from becoming a victim is victim-blaming. Tell a woman not to walk down dark alleys at night, and you’re essentially telling her that it’s her fault if she ends up being assaulted, robbed or murdered.
But now, outright bans on risky behavior — all in the interest of protecting women — are suddenly coming back into fashion.
First, sorority women at the University of Virginia were banned from attending parties with boys this weekend by their own National Panhellenic Conference. The reason for the ban, which carries undisclosed sanctions if broken, was “safety concerns,” due to sexual assault allegations in the past.
The message is clear: Keep women from partying and they won’t be sexually assaulted.
How is that not victim blaming?
As if the U.Va. ban wasn’t bad enough (it was based off of a discredited rape allegation in Rolling Stone, after all), Dartmouth has decided to ban hard liquor on campus — in part to cut down on sexual assaults.
It was just last year that telling women not to drink so much was considered victim blaming, but now it’s okay?
We seem to be going back in time; telling women where they can go, whom they can associate with — even what they can drink. At least it’s all in the name of protecting us poor, fragile ladies, am I right?
It’s not just the ladies. It’s all student minds.
Men dancing is often a cause of confusion, bemusement and shame. Your writer used to opt for the crowd move, wherebye you wait for the dancefloor at the wedding or Bar Mitzvah to fill before heading into its centre. The human shield makes dancing almost enjoyable. But I say used to do because when the song changes and enough people leave the floor, and you’ve not noticed, you can end up as the only dancer to Animal Nightlife’s Mr Solitaire.
To avoid the pain you need a set manly dance anyone can do. So. Here are two Swedish gentlemen demonstrating ‘The Bear Dance’. The soothing background music only adds to the wonder:
It’s winter. The Daily Express can confirm it on its front page:
The Daily Express has a thing about snow. It’s finds it utterly incredible, reporting on its arrival in the manner of Chicken Licken poiting at the falling sky
Snow might be foreing, blowing in from Siberia, but it can be measured in imperial inches.
If you see snow call the Daily Express. They’ll put the sighting on the front page…
Internet journalist don’t need a union to tell them George Bush had a plastic turkey for Thanksgiving
Anorak has employed journalists for over 15 years. And not one – not one – has been a union member. Why not? The Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis knows:
There are two fundamental forces at work here: One is the loss of leverage, with more aspiring journalists than there are jobs and an environment in which content is becoming increasingly commoditized. The other is a shift in identity, with a generation of younger workers less familiar with unions who’ve built personal brands that they can transfer to other media companies.
But those other media companies don’t pay all that well. And they are desperate. The Daily Telegraph, for instance, used to be a venerable institution. It’s not any longer. These are, at the time of writing, the ‘Most Viewed’ stories on the Telegraph‘s website:
Does any budding journalist still dream of writing for the Telegraph?
Have you been called names online by a mentally negligible with access to the internet? Has some no-mark tweeted something you disagree with? Were you offended? Well, before you call the police and become a nark, take a look at this handy guide to dealing with online abuse:
We’d add ‘ gold them up to ridcule’ to the chart.
But then it was brought to our attention by Brendan O’Neill, who is a*@*£$! !%****t ****!
“I was studying for the test when I started to have unwanted thoughts,” Manny Romos, 35, told MTA police. “I began to touch myself when I felt ill with a headache and stressed, the next thing I knew I was masturbating.”
He was not alone. Not too far away a woman was sleeping on the Metro-North Railroad. She tells the court:
“My daily commute from New York City to New Haven was really tough, and especially, being six months pregnant back then, I really, really felt tired. But after the incident, I never snoozed or slept again on the train, since I was afraid that it could happen again. Considering that this horrible event happened during working time, I really think his future employers should know about what happened … This clearly was a sexual attack, and he should have a record of this.”
Ramos masturbated on her. When she saw him. He zipped up and declared, “It wasn’t me.”
The judge sentenced Ramos to a two-year suspended term, three years’ probation and to sign the register as a sex offender.
The Times‘ “Environment Editor” wants to tell Times readers about religious slaughter of animals. You might think this a religious matter, a story based on Jewish and Muslim covenants with God. But it’s not. It’s about welfare and civilised forms of animal slaughter. It’s about making our country’s environment better. Just as the calls to ban circumcision are not an attack on Judaism or Islam but a sane move to end barbarism. It’s all about being better human beings. Got it?
First they came for the clothes.
Then a court in Cologne, Germany, came for the circumcisisors, “to respect fundamental rights of children”. Sure Genesis says: “And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you.” But the Council of Europe says cicumcision is “a violation of the physical integrity of children”. It says all 47 nations in the Council’s zone will “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards”. Member states should “adopt specific legal provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried out before a child is old enough to be consulted”.
No snips. No Jews. Sever the link between parents and child. Your God is dead.
Jonathan Sacks wrote:
Did the court know that circumcision is the most ancient ritual in the history of Judaism, dating back almost 4,000 years to the days of Abraham? Did it know that Spinoza, not religious but together with John Locke the father of European liberalism, wrote that brit mila in and of itself had the power to sustain Jewish identity through the centuries? Did it know that banning mila was the route chosen by two of the worst enemies the Jewish people ever had, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV and the Roman emperor Hadrian, both of whom set out to extinguish not only Jews but also Judaism? Either the court knew these things or it did not. If it did not, then how was it competent to assess the claim of religious liberty? If it did, then there are judges in Germany quite willing to say to religious Jews, in effect, “If you don’t like it, leave.”
So. Stop it. Stop the Jew.
Then they come for the halal and kosher meat.
Because human spiritualism takes second place to the feelings of a chicken reared for food. Because adults and parents are not as important as the State’s children. One set of beliefs offends another.
But it is in no way racist of bigoted to single out the halal and kosher chickens; it’s an animal rights issue, dummy.
You ban circumcision not because you hate Jews and seek to undo what they believe to be part of an ancient agreement with God; you ban it because the kids are being abused. You look at the Muslim woman in their veil, portray her clothing as a stain on her human rights and you ban it.
Did the Dutch get it right when they banned kosher and halal meat? If these arcane Others will not yield to the culture of goodness, the trusty Dutch will force them to, it being what the dumb animals deserve. It’s not racist. It’s not intolerant. It’s just, you know, correct.
In the film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), the Nazis portray Jews as rejoicing in the suffering of animals. They were not “civislied Europeans”. They did love the cow and the hen like noble Germans. It’s not racism – it’s just doing what’s right and decent.
The Times then trails its story like this:
Muslims calls? Muslim demands are leading to more unstunned animals being killed for meat? It’s an odd headline.
Online readers then get this news of “lambs to slaughter”:
We will save many litres of water if more men were circumcised because there would be less fiddling in the shower to keep it clean.
Stop the Jew and the Muslim and save the children, the animals and the planet.
The Times goes on:
The number of animals killed in halal abattoirs without being stunned first has soared because of campaigning by Muslims for traditional methods of slaughter. Halal and kosher abattoirs cut the throats of 2.4 million sheep and goats without stunning in the latest recorded year, an increase of 60 per cent, according to the British Veterinary Association’s analysis of surveys by the Food Standards Agency.
The agency found that, in halal premises, 37 per cent of sheep and goats, 25 per cent of cattle and 16 per cent of poultry were killed without being stunned, a procedure that renders the animals insensitive to pain before they are slaughtered.
So they say…
Cattle take up to two minutes to lose consciousness after their throats are cut, meaning that they might experience pain for that period. Poultry can take two and half minutes or more to lose consciousness and sheep 20 seconds, according to the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific panel on animal health and welfare.
The increase has prompted leading vets to renew their call for an end to religious exemptions from animal welfare rules. John Blackwell, the BVA’s president, said that the practice “unnecessarily compromises animal welfare at the time of death”.
So says the vet. And then it gets really nasty:
In an interview with The Times last year he called for religious slaughter to be banned if Muslims and Jews refused to adopt a more humane method of killing.
End your traditions. Stop being a Jew and a Muslim. Be more humane. Be less barbaric.
The BVA’s petition on the government’s website calling for a ban on non-stun slaughter yesterday passed its goal of 100,000 signatures, which is the number which the government says may prompt a debate in the House of Commons.
Listen to the non-Jew and non-Muslim and become a better Jew or Muslim.
Mr Blackwell said that the response to the petition showed the strength of public opinion on the issue. “We urge the chairman of the backbench business committee to honour the epetition and pledge that an end to non-stun slaughter will be debated at the first opportunity in the next parliament,” he said.
If this does not strike you as wrong. If this does not strike you as intolerant, illiberal and an assault on Jews and Muslims. If you think the State knows better than ancient religions, parents and God. If you think that then you are a dangerous fool…
Big news in the Plymouth Herald:
As @drbramwell notes:
Nothing like a tragic local news story to make you peckish. Check the small print.
Hey, ma, you know how you love sausage rolls, well, try this…
Jamie Reynolds, 23, murdered 17-year-old Georgia Williams. He was sentenved to life imprisonment.
In sentencing Reynolds at Stafford Crown Court, Mr Justice Alan Wilkie told him he “had the potential to progressing to become a serial killer”.
The Daily Mail notes:
After his arrest, detectives found 16,800 images and 72 videos of extreme pornography on his computer. Some of the images were doctored pictures of girls and women he knew, with ropes digitally drawn around their necks. He had penned up to 40 short stories with graphic descriptions of sexual violence against women and had also written a script detailing a girl’s murder.
Reynolds planned for murder:
After taking a series of innocent pictures of the teenager, Reynolds persuaded her to stand on the box with the rope around her neck. He then bound Georgia’s hands together before kicking the box away causing the pretty teenage RAF cadet to asphyxiate. After she died, Reynolds – who hoarded hardcore ‘snuff’ movies featuring sexual killings – stripped Georgia and abused her lifeless body.
The Mail’s reference to the victim’s look is absurd. The paper adds:
In court it emerges that Reynolds began hunting for clips of women being strangled six years before the attack. When he was arrested police found 16,800 images and 72 videos of extreme pornography on his computer.
Reynolds had previous. It emerged in court Reynolds was handed a police caution in 2008, aged 17, for trying to strangle another teenage girl.
The IPCC has announced that Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating West Mercia’s handling of the case.
But what about the porn? The Mail makes a link between it and Reynolds’ actions:
Lord Thomas, who threw out Reynolds’ appeal against his whole life term last year, said the case ‘left me in no doubt at all that the peddling of pornography on the internet had a dramatic effect on the individual’.
He added: ‘What is available to download and to see is simply horrific and it played a real part in the way in which this particular murder was carried out.’
The Mail then editorialises:
He told the Commons justice committee the crime in May 2013 had been influenced – and intensified – by pornography. It was hard to believe, he said, that Reynolds could have come up with his sickening plan without first reading about similar fantasies or offences online.
But he could have read books, magazines of even the Mail’s report on how he committed his crime:
He even set up a homemade gallows made from an upturned red recycling box beneath a rope which was attached to the loft hatch.
Got that? Ok, now away you go.
Jamie Reynolds is a depraved killer. He looked and hoarded repulsive images. So. Eveyrone who looks at such eimages must be suspected of being a killer-in-waiting. they are guilty in thought. And that goes for Daily Mail readers who can enjoy such stories as:
And that’s if Mail readers aren’t being invited to ogle pre-teen girls.
Jamie Reynolds didn’t just look at porn. He also made up stories. But can only killer be made to represent all of us? If you don’t trust humanity it can:
Michael Ellis, a barrister and Tory MP, said the Lord Chief Justice’s evidence was significant because judges knew better than almost anyone about the driving forces behind offences…
He added: ‘If the impression he has been left with, having dealt with some of the most serious cases, that extreme pornography is influencing some crimes, then I think that is very persuasive.’
It might be persuasive. But that doesn’t make it right. The Mail then adds:
In October 2012, Mark Bridger was jailed for a whole-life term after being found guilty of killing five-year-old April Jones a year earlier. He had searched for images of child abuse and rape.
And in May 2013, Stuart Hazell was jailed for murdering 12-year-old Tia Sharp after scouring the internet for vile child porn using terms such as ‘violent forced rape’ and ‘incest’.
The link between what you see and what you do is flimsy. Do video games make you violent? Did video nasties turn the sane into rapists and human flesh eaters? Those 1980s video nasties are now sold as classic movies. The logic that links viewing with doing is shaky.
In 1930 Sergei Eisenstein was bemused as to why the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) bbanned his Battleship Potemkin, appraising the censors:
“One of them is blind and probably deals with the silent films; another one is deaf and so gets the sound films; the third one chose to die while I was in London.”
So ban it. Ban the video nasties. Ban the computer games that look so real. Ban the porn. Prevent everyone from seeing lest individuals confuse entertainment for reality and run amuck. People are so slack-jawed and empty that watching a film will turn them and you into a murderer. People do not think for themselves. The censors will view it, decide on its worth and ban it.
What a terrible view of humanity we are being sold.
We should tolerate individual fantasies that are not acted upon with harmful consequences. Don’t ban it. Debate it. Hold it up for discussion, mockery, riducle and question.
Well, has a “girl of eight found a cancer cure”? The Daily Mail wants to know on its page 5.
Questions in the form of headlines can be answered very simply with a ‘No’. But let’s look at the Mail’s story:
In most families, dinner table conversation is restricted to what happened at school or whether homework has been completed. But Michael Lisanti asked his eight-year-old daughter how she would cure cancer, and it seems she may have got it right.
Camilla Lisanti suggested using antibiotics, ‘like when I have a sore throat’. Her parents, a husband-wife cancer research team were sceptical at first but tested out her theory in their Manchester University lab. And to their surprise, several cheap and widely-used antibiotics killed the most dangerous cancer cells.
Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Inaugural Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, on free speech:
Hate speech involves people, not ideas. No idea should be sacred in the modern world. Instead, in order for us to progress as a species, every claim, every idea should be subject to debate, intelligent discussion, and when necessary ridicule. Satire is perhaps one of the most important gifts we have to inspire us to re-examine our own lives and our own ideologies. If every other area of human endeavor is open to ridicule, then certainly so should religion. The notion that a cartoon, which presents an image of a historical figure, is so blasphemous to provoke violence is repugnant to anyone who believes that free and intelligent discourse is the basis of a civilized world.
This means that we need to encourage even ridicule of the sacred Qur’an in the public media. The more frequently and openly this appears, the less threatening it will seem, and the more acceptable it will be for believers to actually intellectually engage rather than emotionally and violently act.
They all are Charlie Hebdo. But none want to be him…
You despise Rupert Murdoch. You cheered when the News of the World was removed from the newsagents’ shelves.
Did you cheer when the Metropolitan Police hacked into the phone records of the Sun (it wanted to discover the source of the ‘Plebgate’ story ) and the Mail on Sunday? The Met wanted to discover the source of the MoS story that Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne got his then wife Vicky Pryce to take the blame for his speeding offences.
It’s fine and legal when the police use awful Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to hack newspapers. But it is just awful when tabloid journalists hack phones to find a story they deem to be in the public interest. This is ‘irresponsible’ journalism. The politicians and right-minded gentleman of the Press and the illiberal Hacked Off pressure group prefer ‘responsible’ journalism. The powers that be will tell you what is and what is not ok and mortally correct.
When David Cameron said “while it’s vital that a free press can tell truth to power, it is equally important that those in power can tell truth to the press” did you think the world had been stood on its head?
So. How do you react to news that Trinity Mirror is facing a fresh wave of phone-hacking compensation claims?
Daily Mail scare stories: The Pill gives you brain cancer and the NHS approves sex with 10-year-olds
Health Tuesday: Anorak’s look at news ways to fall ill and die in the Daily Mail’s mid-week illness special.
Page 5: “How popular hayfever pills could raise Alzheimer’s risk”
Or could not.
Page 9: “Contraceptive implants for girl as young as ten”
In the past five years four ten-year-olds, “one aged 11 and 53 aged 12” have been fitted with the devices. Why? Ollie Gillman and Sophie Borland can’t find out, what with ppatient confidentiality. So. They guess..
“…the implant would be fitted only if there were serious concerns over the exploitation and abuse of a vulnerable child”.
So. Rather than removing the child to palce of safety , the NHS just does them up with drugs? Really?
The Mail then quotes a “senior GP from Leicester”, “one area where girls of ten were given devices.” No. Not girls. The Mail found one 10-year-old.
The implant releases progesterone. The NHS explains:
Progesterone (Proh-jest-er-rone) is a medicine which is used in premenstrual syndrome and post-natal depression.
So. The drugs could be salving crippling period pains or acute hormone imbalance, leading to, say, severe anxiety? But who nees facts when news that the NHS is encouraging children to have sex.
Page 32-33: “Why Were We All Misdiagnosed?”
As more and more of us are told we’ve an irritable bowel, how doctors may be missing problems that are evern WORSE
At Newcastle Crown Court the victim of a racist beating tells us:
“I feel shaken and unsafe to walk the streets in my own community. I have never experienced fear and terror like it and I have no doubt I was attacked for being Jewish.”
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite:
“The defendants had deliberately travelled to the area in Gateshead where there were members of the Jewish community with the particular intention of targeting someone from that community. The Crown say the victim was targeted because he was wearing traditional Jewish attire, a black suit and white shirt and a black hat.”
Commandment 11: Never forget.
Commandment 12: Don’t be a bystander.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news.
The Daily Star (Page 21): “McCann Blow Over Cop’s Maddie Book”
The story beings:
“The top police officer in the Madeleine McCann case expect her parents to lose their £1m libel battle against him”
Portugal achieved its freedom of speech laws after a period of brutal dicatorship. And that should be ‘former “top police officer”.
The Daily Mail online reads the Star and adds:
McCanns ‘set to lose £1m libel action’ over claims they faked Madeleine’s disappearance to cover-up her death, says police chief who made allegations in book..
The former police chief who published astonishing claims that Kate and Gerry McCann faked their daughter Madeleine’s disappearance to cover up her death expects them to lose their libel battle against him, it was claimed today.
Goncalo Amaral is reported to have said the early rulings by the judge in the case suggested her verdict may be ‘favourable’ to him.
The 57-year-old told Portuguese television on Friday that Maria Emilia Melo e Castro’s indications so far led him to believe he would win the case, according to the Daily Star.
Are ISIS buliding a football team? Monday’s Daily Star leads with the news: “5 footie aces are secret jihadis.”
A strawl poll of Anorak Towers’ experts reveals the five we think are aiming to destroy Western civilisation:
Robin Van Persie
Transfer Balls: Arsenal wannabe Loic Perrin wants Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpoool, Spurs switch
Transfer Balls: What news on Loic Perrin, the St Etienne player linked in print with a move to Arsenal. He is (at the time of writing) one of the 65 players linked with a moves to Arsenal this January.
The Mirror catches up with Perrin news by telling readers:
Liam Corless has news. Well, the headline above his name does. The story beneath the screamer contains not a single menion of Perrin. The headline is everything. It is utter, utter balls.
One day earlier the Daily Star did have some words from Perrin:
“Arsenal have not contacted St Etienne, so it makes no sense to talk about it anyway. And I haven’t had any news from my side either, which cannot be a good sign. The fact that I have been included in the French national squad has alerted certain clubs. Great.”
Look out for the Mirror hwadline: “Perrin wants Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpoool, Spurs switch” soon*…
* See above.
Right now hundreds of people are scouring dating websites for Jon Venables, one of Jamie Bulger’s two killers. Find the man will nto easy, given that he has new identity and no longer looks like the 10-year-old who sat in the dock.
Go on a date with Venables. Then sell your story.
The Mirror reports that Venables is not on a dating website for ghouls who fancy killers. He’s on a mainstream site open to anyone:
Jon Venables has joined a popular dating website – where women who contact him have no way of knowing they are letting the James Bulger murderer into their lives.
Well, no. He’s not allowed to reveal his true identity. He has to live a lie. The Mirror does not include this salient point. So. Anyone who meets him socially won’t know he’s Jon Venables.
We cannot also identify the website, which has many young single and divorced mums among its users, who will not know his background if they contact – and possibly meet – the killer.
Well, anyone can be anyone online:
* Mary Kay Beckman first met Wade Ridley after the online service paired the two up in September 2010, and knew him for only 10 days before breaking up with him. Four months later, according to Courthouse News Service, on the night of Jan. 21, 2011, Ridley hid in her garage and eventually attacked her, stabbing her 10 times and kicking her in the head…
*45 and date-raped: One woman’s online dating warning…
The Mirror adds:
…but experts told of their shock that he is allowed free rein to trawl the web chatting up young single mums – just five years after admitting downloading and distributing child abuse material, for which he was jailed for two years.
Is he free? Is he not being supervised? Is he not meeting his handler? The Mirror’s “expert” is guessing.
The Sunday Mirror discovered Venables inviting women to contact him online in a joint probe with TV investigative reporter and child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas. He said: “The horrific nature of James’s murder should mean that his killers should remain under constant supervision and be unable to freely roam the internet.”
But we don’t know that he isn’t.
The Mirror then provides clues to help sleuths track down Venables.
In his dating profile, Venables claims his best quality is his sense of humour. He tells of his love of music and football – he supports Everton – and asks women to contact him via his social media account.
So. If we all find out who is is, then he will need yet another identity. How is this helpful?
Venables pays a monthly fee to be featured on the dating site and is able to exchange messages and photographs with any women who choose to contact him. The site also has a feature allowing him to video himself and share clips with any of the site’s thousands of members, some of whom have young children.
There was outrage when it emerged in 2013 that Venables had been released from jail after downloading and distributing child abuse images after posing as a mum on a chatroom online.
Videos he downloaded showed girls said to appear as young as eight being raped. Other images found on Venables’s computer involved children as young as two.
And after that, and the story that he’s been shagging his hander at Red Bank prison, maybe the justice department is being litle more cautious with Vanables.
No story of Venables is complete without a word from his victim’s mother. In the Mail, Denise Fergus is quoted:
Denise Fergus, 47, said it was frightening women may have unwittingly contacted Jon Venables without having any idea of his true identity… “It’s quite disgusting that a child murderer and paedophile can have access to online dating websites. I feel so sorry for the girls and women who do not know who they’re chatting to. He’s capable of anything. Who’s to say that he’s not prowling the internet, looking for mothers and targeting their children? That’s the most frightening thing.”
Well, he’s under observation. He can look at legal material. He can talk to people. He can do anything that does not break the law and the terms of his sentence.
“The Parole Board should have some kind of system where they can watch what he is doing on the internet. He seems to be left to his own devices and getting away with it all the time.”
Seems to be. But isn’t.
Mr Williams-Thomas then adds:
‘The thing about child sex offenders is that their behaviour does not change – he will always be a child sex offender.’
Why is the sex now seen as more notable than the killing? We live in changed times, where child sexual abuse is always the top story.
In other news, Jon Venables is a cottage industry
A prison officer has pleaded guilty to selling information about one of James Bulger’s killers to the Sun newspaper. David Hobbs, 67 and from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to misconduct in a public office between February and April 2010. The charge is understood to relate to a single payment of £750 for information about Jon Venables while he was in prison. No story was published as a result…
Last year, ex-prison officer Scott Chapman was convicted of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office for selling details about Jon Venables to a journalist for up to £40,000…
A former News of the World journalist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for the same offence.
The journalist said:
“He had been taken in by the prison service, given millions of pounds for a new identity and then repeat-offended, and the prison service deal with it by making his life as comfortable as possible. Public interest. What sort of message are they sending out to him that it’s OK to look at two-year-olds being raped?..
“I think I would have been thinking about the public interest of the story rather than the impact on Jon Venables’s mental state.I would have thought the fact he had to live with the fact he murdered a two-year-old would have more affected his mental state than a piece in the News of the World that he may or may not have seen.”
The child who killed a child never moves on…
In “Con Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, the Sun tells how a hoax caller managed to speak with the cheif of GCHQ and David Cameron. The Sun knows this because the – get this – hoax caller called the Sun and told them about it.
The caller, described as “boozy”, managed to contact “top spy” Robert Hannigan, Cameron before calling the Sun “to brag about it”.
He boasted he was drunk and on drugs but still got to speak to the chief of the GCHQ surveillance base.
But it has all been confirmed by a spokeswoman in a, er, phone call:
“The Prime Minister ended the call when it became clear it was a hoax. In neither instance was sensitive information disclosed. Both GCHQ and No10 take security seriously and both are currently reviewing procedures.”
That spokesman, of course, could be a fake. But the anonymous caller can be totally trusted, telling the Sun:
“I’ve just made complete monkeys out of GCHQ. I’ve got the mobile number of the director. What’s more, I am off my face on booze and cocaine. I had some spliffs too.I’ve been up all night. I’m utterly wasted. Hilarious.”
But the best line comes from the Sun:
The man — who sounded well-educated and from the South East…
We’re looking for a well-educated Home Counties man on drugs. Seal the doors at Westminster. This looks like an inside job…
Rod Liddle looks at The Sun’s Page 3, and the prigs who want it banned.
To my mind, Page 3 is is bit naff, a throw back to the say when old the tall and athletic could reach the newsagent’s porn shelf, ‘Continental’ was a euphemism for hardcore and not better coffee and Denmark was the place of adolescents’ sticky dreams.
The Sun could just as easily put one of these Bamforth postcards on Page 3.