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Reviews | Anorak - Part 6

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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.

Denmark stages blasphemy trial after man burns the Koran

If you burn a book in Denmark you can be hauled before the Beak. In the fourth blasphemy case in Denmark’s entire history – the first in 46 years – a 42-year-old idiot who filmed himself burning a copy of the Koran in his back garden and posted it on Facebook is to have his moment in court.

The burning, which took place in Jutland in December 2015, was published on a Facebook page called “Yes to freedom – no to Islam”.

Forget Islam. Freedom’s already gone when you can get arrested or burning your own book in your own garden.  Prosecutor Jan Reckendorff  explains why this bellend is in court. “It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in certain cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion,” he opines.

You can’t mock religion in Denmark. What horror!

The courts have turned a fool who seeks to cause offence into a martyr.

Is the West so fragile, so lacking in direction and authority that a minor incident is deemed a threat to society? Or is the assumption that if this mentally negligibly anti-thinker is not censured there will be riots and anarchy? The Danish authorities’ sad attitude to a sad act tells us something: they fear the people. In the dust of one local oddball they see a trigger that unleashes anarchy and legitimises a typically unhinged reaction from Islamists. Intolerance from one side serves and feeds off intolerance from the other, leaving the West and its enemies locked in a deathless embrace, each mouthing the same mantra at the people they don’t trust: ‘I’m doing this to keep you safe.’

* As for the other cases hear in Denmark’s law courts: ‘The Local reports the other three cases involved four people distributing posters mocking Jewish religious beliefs in 1938, two people partaking in a fake baptism in 1946, and two radio presenters airing a song which mocked Christianity in 1971.’ The ridicule we can take. The criminalising of thought we cannot.

Posted: 25th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bad PR: Helen Bailey’s killer is an Arsenal fan

Unwelcome endorsements: a look at brands being associated with negative news.

After Ian Stewart murdered his lover Helen Bailey and plotted to steal her fortune, he lied and lied to make the police believe his innocence. He also, as the Times notes, ‘spent her money on Arsenal tickets’.

More bad PR when we see it.

 

Posted: 25th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho laments sacking of Claudio Ranieri – the man he called old and useless

How did Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho respond to news that Leicester City have sacked Claudio Ranieri, the man who just nine months ago led the Foxes to the Premier League title? Mourinho was keen to show his support for the defenestrated manager.

 

jose mourinho Ranieri

 

Not so very long ago Mourinho was deriding Ranieri as a thick, useless coffin dodger:

 

Jose Mourinho ranieri

 

Transcript:

I am very demanding of myself and I have to win to be sure of things,” he said. “This is why I have won so many trophies in my career. Ranieri on the other hand has the mentality of someone who doesn’t need to win.

“He is almost 70 years old. He has won a Super Cup and another small trophy and he is too old to change his mentality. He’s old and he hasn’t won anything. I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans. Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’.”

At least Jose Mourinho’s consistent in one thing: it’s always all about him.

 

Posted: 24th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Stoke-on-Trent demolishes UKIP and the Brexit lie

Following the by-elections in Copeland  – the Tories won a seat Labour has held since it was created more than 80 years ago – and Stoke-on-Trent – Labour won with just 7,853 votes, seeing off UKIP leader Paul Nuttall who got a meagre 5,233 votes – we know three things:

  1. Brexit killed UKIP.
  2. Labour are doomed.
  3. A vote for Brexit was not a vote for UKIP’s Little Englander politics

And then there is voter apathy. Just 36.7% of the electorate bothered to vote in Stoke-on-Trent. In Copeland the figure was 51.27%.

When the people were asked to vote on Brexit, 65.7% of people in Stoke-on-Trent voted – 81,563 people wanted out of the European Union.

These people did not vote because they were nativist UKippers. Brexit voters are not, as one notable director put it, “a load of UKIP c**ts”. A vote for  Brexit was not a vote for Nigel Farage.

The Brexit vote was a victory for democracy, a glorious cacophony of noise created by the ignored and dismissed. A political party attuned to what what the people want will thrive, although what that is needs articulating. But the myth that a vote for Brexit was a vote for UKIP can be put to rest.

 

Posted: 24th, February 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: finding hope in Cairns, Jodie Marsh’s dog and looking for ‘my Maddie’

Madeleine McCann: a reporting review on the missing child.

As we must, let’s begin with news of the English child who went missing in Portugal by looking at the Australia’s Cairns Post, which features a message for Kate and Gerry McCann: ‘Maddie McCann’s parents need to move on, for their kids’ sake.’

Louise Roberts kicks off her heartfelt advice to the parents of a missing child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing children by telling her readers: ‘Only Madeleine McCann and her presumed abductors know what really happened the night she went missing, but none of them are available to reveal the brutal truth.’

You can wrestle with what ‘presumed abductors’ know and don’t know, being as they are unnamed and, as Roberts suggests, possibly unreal. As for that ‘brutal truth’, it’s delivered after Roberts imagines the teenage Madeleine McCann. ‘Maddie should be 13 now,’ she calculates, ‘armed with an iPhone and cocooned in family love and the carefree discoveries of teenage life in middle England.’  She then adds: ‘There isn’t a single clue as to whether she is alive today but the lucrative whodunit industry dogging her parents Gerry and Kate, who deny any part in her death, rumbles on.’

Having slammed the armchair detectives who spin the single fact – child vanishes – and confusingly told us that we don’t know if Madeleine McCann is alive but her parents are not to be blamed for her ‘death’, Roberts advises: ‘But it’s time for the McCanns to turn off the legal tap and focus on the family life they have left.’

Mawkish much. ‘The time they have left” suggests new horrors lurking around the corner. What they are Roberts doesn’t say, so she harks back to the night of May 7 2003 and tells us: ‘Maddie was asleep in the holiday flat alone with her twin siblings while their parents ate tapas in a bar 50 metres away. It was a spring evening in May 2007.’ May is in Spring. Fact! ‘She disappeared and the guilt and the blame game began for them. There is no doubt they were remiss in leaving her alone — even Gerry said it was a mistake.’

She adds: ‘Former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral claims in his book that Maddie McCann’s parents faked her abduction, but they’d be better off ignoring his terrible claims.’ Terrible’ but worth repeating to the good people of Cairns. And then Roberts tucks into the parents, who we’ve been watching in the media for nearly a decade. She writes:

‘The couple are emotionally paralysed not only by her disappearance but by their consciences, never shaking off the sick feeling that they were not there when Maddie needed them. And the public has never let them forget it.’

The public, of course, are not journalists, who occupy a higher level. Roberts is here to inform. Not for her amateur sleuthing and a tawdry ‘whodunnit’. ‘The McCanns faked the abduction, according to Goncalo Amaral,’ she says in the spirit of enlightenment and moving on, ‘to cover up the death of their eldest daughter in their holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the country’s south.’

And:

‘Maddie’s legacy has gone from a relentless search for clues to a ruinous, exploitative and mind-blowingly expensive war between her parents and anyone who challenges their steadfast belief that a stranger abducted her.’

And after the speculation, Roberts reaches her ‘brutal truth’: ‘It’s time for Gerry and Kate, trapped on a grief and reputation treadmill, to change focus. Time to get busy living, ditch the reputation management and let the chips fall where they will.’

As their spokesman Clarence Mitchell begins to file a ‘no comment’ comment, Roberts delivers the time-honoured media motif: Maddie & Me. ‘I speak with more than a passing interest in this case,’ she says. ‘I was a reporter in London when the story broke and my son was the same age as Maddie.’

There but for the grace of god.

She then speaks up for the McCann twins, who ‘have some right to fade into the background and find some kind of a normal life away from the glare of scandal and innuendo’. As the twins dream of a life away from the media spotlight – tip: they know who you are in Cairns –  Roberts returns to her own ‘Maddie’. ‘I could never imagine giving up hope to find a missing child but I would not sweat over what was said about me either,’ she says, knowingly.

But before she goes to check on her child, Roberts, who told us of the ‘presumed abductors and mused on whether the child is alive or dead, opines: ‘None of it is going to bring Maddie back. Only the perpetrators know where her body is, who took her, where they took her. And why.’  The parents really can move on because Roberts’ ‘brutal truth’ turns out to be that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped and is now dead.

She signs off: ‘The only “winners” here are lawyers and so-called authors still making a buck from the blonde preschooler with the signature blemish on the blue iris of her right eye.’

And the media, right, who get to press f9 on the keyboard and churn out another ‘Our Maddie’ story?

And now for a few words from the fragrant English rose, Jodie Marsh.

Closer Magazine: ‘Jodie Marsh goes on a bizarre Twitter rant about the McCann’s after This Morning interview.’

You can read about that interview in which a to-deadline Madeleine McCann expert told mid-morning telly watchers he thinks she might have wandered off here.

Closer magazine’s Emma Dodds says ‘former glamour model Jodie Marsh’ was watching. She ‘vented her frustrations at the case, shockingly even blaming Maddie’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann for her disappearance, despite there being no evidence that they were involved… Jodie angrily tweeted that they “should concentrate on finding Maddie,” rather than being “concerned with all this legal action.”‘

Advice is coming thick and fast for the McCanns. It’s all well-meaning, of course. And before long Jodie is delivering her own ‘Maddie & Me’, tweeting: “I must admit, if it were my child I’d be on my hands & knees digging up the earth with my bare hands! Nothing else would matter…” With no children to hold tight, Jodie scouts around for something to make into her own Maddie. She finds it. “My dog went missing for 10 mins the other night & I was running up the street screaming her name like a lunatic. I was beside myself,” she reveals. “And if I was so hysterical over my dog, the hysteria would be ten fold if it were my child. I wouldn’t be suing people. I’d be SEARCHING.”

Having heard a missing child likened to a non-missing dog, we turn to the Sun, where the headline runs: ‘FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE Kate McCann offers support to missing persons charity just hours after top cop claims new theory to Madeleine’s disappearance.’

Kate McCann is the ‘brave mum’ who ‘put aside her own anguish over snatched daughter Madeleine to help a pal raise money for charity’. As people ‘continued to heap more misery on her family, she has spared time to consider other missing children and adults.’  The charity is called Missing People. You can find out more here.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: TV expert reads missing child’s mind and un-solves crimes

Madeleine McCann was not kidnapped, says a ‘top investigator’. ‘MADDIE “WENT LOOKING FOR HER MUM & DAD”,’ announces the Star’s front-page headline. This is, says the paper, an ‘astonishing claim’. When investigators make claims you wonder if they understand the rudiments of investigations, which are about gathering evidence.

The story begins by billing former child prosecution officer Mark Williams-Thomas as ‘an investigator who unmasked pervert Jimmy Savile’. Those are some credentials. And were it not for the unhappy fact that the depraved BBC DJ was branded the ‘man who groomed the nation’ after he’d stopped polluting the airwaves and started to befoul the soil, it would be useful.

 

Madeleine-McCann-This-Morning-Mark-Williams-Thomas-ITV

Watch Unsolved – the TV show with no ending whatsoever

 

The Star notes that Williams-Thomas was on TV’s This Morning when (continues on Page 7) he says: “We know the twins did not wake up on days prior to her disappearance.” The Star refers to the claim that on the morning of her vanishing Madeleine McCann had asked her parents: “Where were you last night?” He continues: “I think as a result of that, Madeleine was clearly aware they [her parents] were in the tapas bar that was in the resort. Now the interesting element is that in order to get to the tapas bar bar you had to actually come out of the premiss – walk on a public road – to go back in again. and that raises a concern I have…”

Still there? He’s getting to his point. Having told us what the missing child was thinking, he adds: “Madeleine, I believe…

Yep. What a man believes is front-page news. As ever, the single fact – child vanishes – is stretched out. Anyhow, what he believes is that the child woke up and went looking for her parents. And then..? And…? And Philip Schofield, the show’s host, steps in and declares: “Legally we have to leave it there.” He did not add, “Come back next week to find out what an expert thinks happened next!”

As ‘Our Maddie’ continues to entertain the folk back home, the parents’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, issues a wordy no comment comment. “This is pure speculation,” he notes “and as such  Kate and Gerry will not be dignifying it with any sort of comments whatsoever.” But their spokesman will. And so too will a “family pal”, who offers: “When did he [Williams-Thomas] become an expert on this high profile case?” This is a rhetorical question because the unnamed source swiftly answers, “Never.”

As the Star listens to speculation, the Mirror reports ‘Maddie “went to find parents in tapas restaurant”‘ below the bigger headline: “We ARE innocent – McCanns slam judges who says they haven’t been formally cleared.” Their lawyer, Isabel Duarte, states: “There is no evidence they have committed any crime.” Please don’t speculate on what if any crimes have been committed. To do so would be potentially libellous. Stick to reading the missing child’s mind via a TV expert and imagining what she did. The media has pointed the finger before and been found wanting.

This latest legal episode centres on the McCanns’ failed court action against Goncalo Amaral, the ex-copper who wrote a book on the case and having been ordered to pay the McCanns libel damages for things he claimed in it, saw the ruling overruled on the grounds of his “right to freedom of expression”. The Mirror says Amaral could now sue the couple. In making its ruling the Portuguese Supreme Court said nothing more should be read into its words, whether it be innocence or guilt. To what is moot. The McCann’s arguido status was lifted in July 2008, and the judges said nothing can be deferred by it. The McCanns’ complaint, notes the paper, ‘said the archiving took place because “sufficient evidence had been collected to show they had not committed any crime”.

Over in the Mail, we learn that Williams-Thomas was on This Morning to plug a new telly show about unsolved crimes. So that bit about Schofield saying ‘stay tuned’ was only half in jest. It really is that ghoulish.

Posted: 22nd, February 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Vogue for having a hissy fit about cultural-appropriation

Hard luck on punks, skins (the Trojan music ones), rockers, mods, Goths, Teds, people who take part in battle re-enactments, hipsters, anyone in a Nehru collar, cross-dressers, the Trustafarians in Notting Hill who dress like Redneck truckers, schoolgirls in kilts and Boy George, the singer who spent part of the 1980s dressed an Hassidic Jew. Cultural approbation is out. Unless you or your ethnic tribe or countrymen invented that look, you’re not allowed to adopt it. When American supermodel Karlie Kloss dressed as a geisha –  black wig; white make-up; bound feet – for a Vogue magazine shoot in an issue about – get this – cultural diversity – a shitstorm erupted.

 

Vogue yellow face

 

Kloss and Vogue were guilty of ‘yellow-face’, the offence of a white woman dressing up as an Asian. Kloss saw that wearing clothes had caused a stir. She said sorry for “these images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive.”

Wikipedia tells us that Kloss has German and Danish roots. She can wear a dirndl and itchy jumpers – or both together, perhaps topped by a baseball cap in honour to her US roots – but never a kimono. Cultural cross-overs are out.

Vogue should have been more savvy and allowed the models to pick their own outfits. As soon as the magazine began to harp on about diversity and cultural identity it was exposed. That it failed to adhere to its old PC stance is lame-brained.

But, then, as NY Mag notes, fashions change. The spread, we read, was ‘likely an homage to Richard Avedon’s shoot of German model Veruschka von Lehndorff that appeared in Vogue in 1966′.

That was a bit of fun, a bit of fluff and creative nonsense to enjoy. Dressing up is fun. Playing around with fashion is also fun. When did it become a deathly dull issue? How can you be fashionable and stand out from the crowd if you’re only allowed to wear the same as everyone else?

Conformism is the new fashion. Adhere to it and your bang on trend.

Posted: 20th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Ted Health: what the police believe

Was Ted Heath a paedophile? The Mail says it’s been told that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale ‘regards the allegations as “totally convincing”‘. An unnamed ‘source‘ tells the paper:

“Mr Veale believes in them 120 per cent and thinks they are totally convincing.”

What Mr Veale believes is now fact? Not too long ago police on Operation Midland said the words of a man known only as ‘Nick’ were “credible and true”. They weren’t. Whereas once the police response was to undermine the alleged victim’s credibility they now accept claims at face value. So much for evidence-based police work. The police arrested known faces at the airport as the cameras clicked and the BBC televised police raids on empty homes. The hunt for child abusers began to look like a PR drive to support the police and media, two pillars of society that had let down victims.

While we’re on the matter of moving your organisation to the right side of history, the police once supported laws that made homosexuality a criminal offence. That’s relevant because at the time of his alleged offending, Heath was a ‘confirmed bachelor, a euphemism for what TV light entertainers, the Press and the police in the 1970s termed ‘poofs’. Heath was not out and proud. He was very much in, giving organ recitals to his enthusiastic mates.

 

ted heath

ted hath paedophile mail

 

 

Back then to the source who knows Mr Veale’s opinions:

“There are very close similarities in the accounts given by those who have come forward. The same names used for him, the same places and same type of incidents keep coming up. What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail. It contains disturbing stuff. Investigators have been shocked by what they have learned.”

With the copper’s thought aired, the media pile in. The Sun (Page 14), thunders: ‘PM TED HEATH “WAS A PAEDO”.’ The ‘Cop is 120% certain’. Who needs all those barriers to justice, like evidence, proof, courts, charges and lawyers. The copper is more certain than certain can be. The trouble is that the man he knows to have been a paedophile is stubbornly dead.

The Sun says Heath’s supporters view the police investigation as a ‘witch hunt’. Seventeen police work on the matter. We’re told that the ex-PM’s supporters ‘say he did not have a car. Cops are thought to have proof that he did.’ This is relevant because one claim is that he picked up a 12-year-old boy and took him to his Mayfair flat.

 

9th January 1979: Edward Heath, British Conservative politician and prime minister (1970 - 1974) playing the piano to the amusement of Kermit the Frog and Paddington Bear. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

 

Back in the Mail, we see Heath ‘standing by the driver’s door of the Rover 2000 he bought after Margaret Thatcher ousted him as Tory leader in February that year… The Mail on Sunday has learned that Wiltshire Police has also obtained photographic evidence of him driving.’

 

daily mail ted heath

 

The Mirror, which featured Nick on its front page, covers the story on Page 4. The report is short. The final line says the police reports, ‘may reignite the case against Sir Edward’. Consider the flames lit and the smoke fanned.

The Express features the story on Page 2. ‘Tory outrage as police chief claims that Edward Heath was paedophile,’ runs the headline.  ‘Tory grandee’ Malcolm Rifkind calls the new “despicable gossip”. He adds: “Until you know the facts you no in a position to judge.”

You can’t judge it in a court of law, but you can make a judgement in the court of public opinion. We are free to wonder why 12 years after he played his last note, Heath is in the frame? Are accusations easy when the target is dead? Or is 12 years the time it takes for coppers, editors and politicos who were around at the time of the PM’s alleged crimes to retire, succumb to failing memory syndrome and die? Of course, as the adults accused of heinous act wither, their alleged victims mature into adulthood. One argument is that they’re speaking out now because they can. If they’re dismissed because their alleged abusers are dead, the message to deviants is that so long as your victim is much younger than you are by the time they get the confidence to point the finger, you’ll be polluting the water supply and out of harm’s way.

Which leaves only prejudices and gut feelings. Ted Heath, eh. Always thought he was a wrong ‘un.

So let’s end with this short extract from the Michael Cockerell documentary Westminster’s Secret Service broadcast by the BBC in 1995. Tim Fortescue, a Whip under Edward Heath between 1970 and 1973, told the cameras:

“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the Whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”

 

 

And Ted? In Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership Since 1945, Donald Shell writes:

The most significant changes in the role of the whips appear to have taken place during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Heath as chief whip from 1956 to 1959 brought a new professionalism to the job; he was the first holder of that position to routinely attend cabinet meetings,although neither he nor his successors have been full cabinet members. More significant was the way he systematically gathered information about every member of the party, and developed the art of using this to maximum advantage. He was after all responsible for piloting the Conservative party through the Suez crisis and its turbulent aftermath. When Edward Short became Wilson’s chief whip in 1964 he found that it ‘had been the practice to keep a “dirt book” in which unsavoury personal items about members were recorded’, and he immediately ordered this to be discontinued. It is probable that such stories arose simply out of the thoroughness with which Heath and his successors had gathered information. Heath himself explained his professionalism: ‘I acted on the principle that the more you know about the people you are speaking for, and the more they know about you and what you are being asked to do, the better.

‘Nuff said.

 

Posted: 20th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: all aboard the ‘Our Maddie’ charabanc for a ten-year anniversary tour

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the vanished child.

The Sun picks up the news that sleuths can book a place on the ‘Our Maddie’ charabanc. Armchair detectives can go mobile. The paper tells us:

The trips to the apartment – named Luz Tours – where the missing three-year-old was last seen alive has been slammed as “appalling”.

Why are they not named Maddie Tours or something equally to the point? Luz Tours seems a tad cryptic.

The paper then repackages old news: ‘The McCann family were staying in an apartment at the Ocean club, Praia Da Luz, Portugal, when she vanished.’

And since May 7 2007 that has been pretty much the entire story. As facts go, those are them. But the single thread story has spun out and out until we get news of an ‘unnamed’ tour operator who apparently wrote about his trips somewhere – the Sun doesn’t say where:

The tour organiser wrote: “Luz Tours are for people with considerable expertise in the Madeleine McCann case.” He added: “I don’t think there is a way to commercialise Luz Tours and I wouldn’t want to even if it was possible. However, I find it ironic that I get keel-hauled for trying to progress the Madeleine McCann case, for free, and Scott Michaels gets lauded for running a business based on dead celebrities.”

Far from being ‘ghoulish, the Maddie Tour is a public service. As for Scott Michaels, well, he ‘founded the now infamous Dearly Departed Tours in Hollywood 15 years ago’. Book a seat and Scott will show you where famous people croaked.

Is this news or is this marketing? The paper hears from ‘one expat’. They’re upset and aghast. “I don’t know what’s worse – running this sick tour or pretending it’s doing it to find Maddie,” says the unnamed source. “I think the organisers are twisted and the people that go on these ghoulish tours are not much better. It’s totally uncalled for and needs to stop.”

Best leave the Madeleine McCann sightseeing to the journalists and the cops.

The Mirror calls the tour ‘sick’. It adds:

The trips also take in the nearby tapas restaurant where her parents Kate and Gerry were dining when she vanished and wasteland spots where British cops have dug for her body.

And you thought you wouldn’t have any fun on holiday.

Tourists on the excursions – named Luz Tours and dubbed the “Luz Challenge” – are reportedly then invited to speculate on what happened.

When it comes to speculation best leave it to the Mirror, which helpfully produced its six theories in May 2010. The paper told readers of the “PAEDOPHILE GANG”, the “LONE PAEDOPHILE”, the “JEALOUS MOTHER”, Madeleine wandering off and “DROWNED”, the “OPPORTUNIST PAEDOPHILE”, the “CHILDLESS COUPLE”. You can print it out and use it to kick stat chatter on the tour bus.

 

mccann amaral mirror

 

In other news, the Mirror says:

Kate and Gerry McCann lodge complaint after court ruled couple were ‘not formally in the clear’ over Madeleine’s disappearance

You can read more about that here. The Mirror then says, in the interests of sound reporting and fact: ‘Detectives are said to be working on a theory that she was kidnapped by a European trafficking gang.’ No need to spend your cash on a tour when you can debate the vanishing at home.

The Mail has more. And it adds a new word to the Madeleine McCann Glossary:

Correio da Manha reported today: ‘The McCanns have requested the annulment of the Supreme Court decision, terming it frivolous for saying it ‘had not been possible for public prosecutors to obtain sufficient evidence of crimes by the appellants.’

The newspaper said the McCanns had described the ruling as ‘leviano’ in the complaint lodged through their Portuguese lawyer – which in English translates as ‘frivolous’ but can also mean ‘sloppy’ or ‘rash’.

Leivano could be used to describe much of the repotting on this matter – reporting that libelled the parents and Robert Murat, pointed the finger at gypsies, demanded dying paedophiles make death-bed confessions and made Madeleine McCann into ‘Our Maddie’, the benchmark for all missing people.

 

raymond hewlett mccann

mccann libel

mccann the sun

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eds19p001-1ST

 

To prove how little the case has progressed the Sun asks:

MCCANN COURT BATTLE Who is Goncalo Amaral? Ex-Madeleine McCann cop whose claimed Gerry and Kate faked her abduction

Question asked. Question answered.

Over in the Star, the paper produces news from nothing.

Maddie McCann parents blast ‘cash-in’ claims ahead of 10th anniversary of disappearance

Ten years of this. When Anorak first started to cover this tory we told you it would run and run. In place of news, the Star oozes:

KATE and Gerry McCann have blasted claims they plan to make a fortune from the 10th anniversary of daughter Madeleine’s disappearance.

How? Are there to be commemorative mugs, tours, newspaper retrospectives – ‘Maddie: 10 Years of Guessing’?

Spokesman Clarence Mitchell denied allegations in the Portuguese press that the parents were taking fees for interviews. He said: “They want to make it clear they are not making any money out of Madeleine’s disappearance. Any claims are spurious nonsense but fit in with the Portuguese agenda.”

The Sun adds:

As interest increases daily to clinch the sought-after decade deal by broadcasting and publishing giants, the family have admitted: “It’s crazy!”

You might even call it ‘sick’.

Posted: 19th, February 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Calls to ban anti-vaccination video portrays people as thick

If free speech is the freedom to make an arse of yourself, the story of moves to ban Andrew Wakefield’s video is one we should baulk at. The Times has ‘discovered’ that Amazon and Apple ‘are profiting from an anti-vaccination documentary directed by the discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield’.

They’ll profit if anyone’s dumb enough to download the thing. But buyer beware and all that.

The film, which backs his fraudulent research linking vaccines with autism, is available for customers to watch for 99p on Amazon Instant Video and £6.99 on Apple’s iTunes. On Vimeo, a popular YouTube-style streaming service, it costs £3.17.

How’s about that for price difference. If you want to watch this video you need to go to Amazon Instant Video, where you can buy seven versions of the thing for the price of one on iTunes. Give it to your friends. But don’t give them measles, Best to get the jab.

The paper says, ‘Scientists and autism campaigners urged the web companies to remove the film.’ They want it banned. That’s weak.

The Times hears from Edzard Ernst, professor emeritus of complementary medicine at Exeter university, who warns: “Any company or person trying to make money by alarming people and thus endangering public health is not just unethical and immoral but also despicable and irresponsible. Wakefield’s data has been shown to be wrong. That he still insists on discouraging people from getting vaccinated is disturbing and a risk to public health. I just hope that the British public recognises a charlatan when they see one.”

Chances are that the kind of person who lashes out good money to watch a documentary on vaccinations and follows its advice without consulting doctors, voices in a raucous media or other jab videos – think of the fun nights in – isn’t all that interested in reason. What’s concerning is when experts sure of the science seek to save the stupid people from themselves by banning things with which they disagree.

Spotter: Times

Posted: 17th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Cambridge student who burned cash saved homeless man’s life

Helping us know why an 18-year-old set light to a £20 note in the streets of Cambridge is a delighted Press. Above a picture of a £20 note – so helping Guardian readers know one should they encounter it lit or otherwise – the paper explains from the off that the berk ‘burning cash’ was a member of ‘Cambridge University Conservative Association’, an organisation the paper calls ‘prestigious’ but which I’d brand ‘ghastly’, in keeping with all student politics.

The Mail tells its readers the money burner was ‘drunk‘. No blood test needed. The paper knows a drunk when it sees one on a Snapchat video. The Mail soon names the wally as one Ronald Coyne, who now only ‘tried to set fire to a £20 note in front of a homeless man’.

Like the Guardian, the Mail politicises the pillock’s antics by telling its readers in the third paragraph that Coyne is a ‘relative of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’. Brother? Son? In the 30th paragraph, readers learn: ‘He is believed to be the nephew of the First Minster’s sister-in-law’s ex-husband.’

 

cambridge student cash burning-6

 

As you work out if that makes Master Coyne closer in blood to Sturgeon than Kevin Bacon or a bacon bap, the Telegraph tells its readers in a shouty headline: ‘Cambridge University student who boasted of being related to Nicola Sturgeon filmed burning £20 note in front of homeless person.’ So keen is the Tele to work the Sturgeon angle into its story that whilst her name features in the opening line – ‘Cambridge University student who claims he is a direct relative of Nicola Sturgeon…’ – you have to wait until paragraph two to hear of Coyne. Sturgeon is name-checked five times in the article.

There’s no mention of Sturgeon in the Tab’s report, although it does note: ‘It has been rumoured that burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person is one of the initiation ceremonies of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon club.’ Whether that’s before of after they defile a dead pig and toss a pot through a restaurant window is left un-investigated.

Having gone off on a fact-free tangent, the Tab notes that the ‘motivations of the student, other than odiousness, are unclear’. Helpfully an unnamed source is on hand to call Coyne an ‘arsehole’.

By now you’re wondering about the video. Here it is.

 

 

Over in the Sun, we get to hear about the other man in the frame, Ryan Davies. The rough sleeper says Coyne first offered him the note.

Ryan, an unemployed crane operator who has been homeless for three months, thought his luck was in – until the Pembroke College student, who has distant links to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, set the money alight.

He said: “There were some people going past and I was asking them for spare change. I’m homeless. I asked one man for spare change. I was polite about it as I always am. I couldn’t believe my luck. But then he pulled it back and lit it and said ‘I’ll give you some change, I’ve changed it into fire.””He says let’s see what I’ve got and pulls out a £20 note and went to pass it to me.”

Is the Sun on the side of beggars? In 2016, the paper told its readers:

Revealed: Just one in 5 beggars are homeless… as one boasts she’s using cash for new kitchen

SUN INVESTIGATION: Just 1 in 5 on our streets are homeless and one office worker even admitted to begging after work … to buy a new kitchen

 


cambridge student cash burning-2

 

cambridge student cash burning-3

 

cambridge student cash burning-4

 

Can bad press turn people against a certain type of person? The Sun says it can:

 A CAMBRIDGE student was attacked on his bike in suspected retribution for Nicola Sturgeon’s relative goading a homeless man. One college has even warned students against wearing gowns in public – in case they inflame further violence.

 

cambridge students cash burning

 

And what of the argument that says it’s wrong to give beggars money? The Sun reported in 2016:

Charities last night urged people NOT to hand out money in the street.

Jeremy Swain, chief executive of London-based homelessness charity Thames Reach, said: “The evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets spend their begging money on crack cocaine, heroin and super-strength booze.

Nottingham Council advised:

 

PRess

begging

 

The Mail reported:

Thames Reach, a large-scale organisation with more than 350 staff, said that most people who beg on the street have some form of accommodation to go to.

Its spokesman Mike Nicholas said: ‘Giving to people who beg is not a benign act. It can have fatal consequences.
‘Many people asking for your money are caught up in a desperate cycle of begging from the public, buying drugs from a dealer and then taking these drugs.’ He added: ‘There are many services seeking to help people sleeping rough. Please work with them, not against them.’

Can we sympathise with Coyne? After all, it’s not as if beggars, people more likely to sleep on a newspaper than buy one, enjoy a favourable Press. No, say bleeding hearts. As the Standard reports:

Calls to have him kicked out of the university have quickly gathered momentum with more than 19,000 people signing a change.org petition by 5pm on Sunday.

Students always did have too much time on their hands.

 

Posted: 16th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


New Espionage Act says journalists are enemies of the State

What is the point of journalism if it can’t publish things people don’t want to be published? A new Espionage Act drafted by the Law Commission would, says The Register, make it a crime to report on big date leaks. Reporting on leaks would be viewed in the same legal framework as spying for foreign powers. Break the law and face 2 to 14 years imprisonment.

You’re not a journalist. You’re a traitor.

The Law Commission’s consultation paper Protection of Official Data says espionage is something ‘capable of being committed by someone who not only communicates information, but also by someone who obtains or gathers it’. There is ‘no restriction on who can commit the offence’.

And, no, reporting on a leak would not be in the public interest. The paper says the public interest is not a valid defence. The State will decide what the public is allowed to be interested in. Their own defence is that it’s a matter of ‘national security’. But what is and isn’t covered by that term is undefined. You get the impression it could be anything – although not a need to hold power to account, a key tenet of any secure and democratic society.

So, if you know something is amiss in your arm of the State – if you want to blow the whistle on corruption and waste – handing data to a journalist will land them in prison.

And it gets worse.

The Register says places will be deemed to be off the news grid: ‘British Embassies abroad, intelligence and security offices, and data centres not officially publicised by the government would be designated as “prohibited places” or “protected sites”, making it an offence to publish information about them or to “approach, inspect, pass over or enter” for any “purpose prejudicial” to national security.’

So who was consulted by these State-approved consultants?

David Ormerod QC is quoted in the Telegraph: “We’ve scrutinised the law and consulted widely with… media and human-rights organisations.”

Oufits like the Open Rights Group (ORG) , an NGO listed in the report. But the ORG’s chief executive Jim Killock tells the Register: ‘There was no consultation. There were some emails with our legal adviser about having a meeting, which petered out without any discussion or detail being given.”

Worrying stuff.

 

Posted: 15th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool bans the Sun but the elite escape and fans remain suspects

What are we to make of Liverpool Football Club’s ban on Sun journalists attending matches in an official capacity and press conferences? The Sun is also banned from conducting exclusive interviews with Liverpool FC managers or players.

The ban is rooted, of course, in the Sun’s infamous front-page coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which the paper amplified the State’s and the police’s lies that the 96 people killed at the match were architects of their own demise. The dead were framed and defiled when the media and police colluded in the State’s assault on football fans.

 

hillsborough the sun the truth

 

A spokesman for Total Eclipse of the S*n – the group states ‘It is our belief that the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster should never be forgotten. It is our belief that The Sun newspaper should never be forgiven’ –  tells the Liverpool Echo: “Further to conversations with LFC directors we are happy to inform you that S*n journalists are no longer enjoy access to all club premises.”

The Sun behaved badly. But did we swallow its lies? Did we believe the police? Did the ‘working class scum stuffed into cages’ by the State, paying for a “slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums” take it as fact that police had been urinated on, the dead had been robbed and the Liverpool fans were guilty?

 

Hillsborough-daily-star

 

In 2012, a Guardian its told readers:

There is no bitterness on my part that the public took 23 years to wake up to our nightmare. Their ignorance was their faith in the media and in the police. This has suffered a huge blow and the fact surely cannot go unnoticed by Lord Justice Leverson. I also hope, as a southerner, that the people of Liverpool will no longer be subjected to the lazy, callous stereotypes peddled off the back of the Sun’s lies.

Lies become reasons for censorship and to slap the tabloids down. Tabloid readers must be protected from their own ignorance. And – irony of ironies – the Guardian is happy for the State to police the liars it fed. Hillsborough did not happen in a bubble. The Sun was appalling but it did not have a hand in the killing. It did not send for the dogs instead of the ambulances. It was not the coroner declaring people dead before they were dead.

The deaths were accidental. But they were the result of a top-down policy that portrayed and treated football fans as scum.

 

The Sun the truth Hillsborough

 

Margaret Thatcher’s Government wanted fans – what one Tory called “the yob class” – to carry ID cards. (One doctor present at Hillsborough said the only difference ID cards could have made that day was to make it easier to identify the young corpses.) In June 1986, Thatcher gave ‘thanks to the police’ for ‘bringing good behaviour and good crowd behaviour to football over this last year’. Baron Peter Hill-Norton, admiral of the fleet, said football was “a slum game played by louts in front of hooligans”. Football fans were the Untermenschen on which all new methods of control could be tested. The police and State presented football as a public order issue.

One week after the horror The Economist told readers that the ‘common view’ of football was of a sport ‘irredeemably tied to the old industrial north, yobs and slum cultures of the stricken inner cities – everything, in fact, that modern Britain aspires to put behind it.’

Knowing that Hillsborough happened in the context of so many wrongs, you still want the State and its police force to control the Press, to dictate the message?

 

Hillsborough home

 

Have the elites apologised for demonising football fans? Did you think it odd that the United Nations – no kidding – voiced its worry when Chelsea fans stopped a black man from boarding a train in Paris? On the day that story broke, the Guardian produced nine stories on it. One of the Guardian’s myriad reports on the nastiness said it was typical of football and football fans because it’s  ‘all about feeling that you’re part of one group and are opposed to another group, [which is] the mentality of the racist’.

Bash the Sun by all means but ask yourself what’s changed? Why are football fans still treated as suspects?

In 2012, the Sun apologised for its ‘blackest day’. But it failed to put the results of the inquest into the disaster that cleared the dead of blame on the front page. The victims had been “unlawfully killed”. A mere 27 years of campaigning for justice by their families, the victims had been forced to prove their innocence. Hideous. They still await justice in any true sense of the word. All the dead, the injured, the hurt and their loved ones got was to see the police lies demolished in a court of law. Time ticks on and still no-one has been placed in the dock.

As we await justice, maybe Liverpool FC should ban the police and all politicians from the ground, the people who ask not what they can do for Hillsborough but what the disaster can do for them? Maybe Liverpool should ban the Sun’s publisher’s, too? That would mean banning News Corp., the company that owns 39.1% of BSkyB, which in February 2015, successfully bid £4.2bn for a package of 120 premier league games across the three seasons from 2016. News Corp wants to take control of BSkyB. If it does, will Liverpool ban it, too?

Banning the Sun is easy. It costs nothing. Banning the cameras costs big.

 

hillsborough

 

A Sun spokesperson has responded to the ban: “The Sun and Liverpool FC have had a solid working relationship for the 28 years since the Hillsborough tragedy. Banning journalists from a club is bad for fans and bad for football.”

Banning things is par for the course at football grounds today. Don’t sing that. Don’t stand up. Put that down. The cages are gone but the fans are watched even more closely.

Posted: 15th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, News, Reviews, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Stephen Lawrence: The Daily Mail V ‘Murderers’ was huge but the ITV interviews were extraordinary

Twenty years ago today the Daily Mail published one of the most eye-grabbing front-pages in recent history. It accused five men of murdering Stephen Lawrence, the black youth killed in a racist crime covered up by an incompetent and racist police force.

In February 1997, one day after an inquest jury ruled that Stephen Lawrence was unlawfully killed “in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five white youths”, the Mail produced its front page.

The Mail challenged Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight, to sue for libel. They didn’t.

Today the paper revisits its sensational front-page headline.

 

daily mail lawrence murderers

 

daily mail luke knight

 

The paper accuses Luke Knight of being ‘The Murderer Who Got Away’. Wow!

The Mail’s allegation is undermined by its own teaser, which says of the self-styled “loveable rogues”: ‘Two have been convicted, one’s in jail on a drugs charge and a 4th is on the run.’ If the Mail claims the five are murderers and only two have been convicted, how can there be only one who got away?

In 1999, the accused men spoke with ITV news. It was compelling television. And a word before you watch: I was in the crowd when they swaggered from court. One thing struck me as remarkable: the restraint shown by all those who saw them.

 




Posted: 14th, February 2017 | In: Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Epic typos: When ISIS shaved bears to avoid airstrikes

In readiness for Donald Trump’s assault on ISI, we remind him of news from year ago, when Islamists were ‘shaving bears’.

 

ISIS bears typo beards

 

 

Spotter:  @FelicityMorse

Posted: 14th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Student ban free speech on campus: the University crisis

Great work from Spiked, which has released its annual survey of free speech at universities. Using a three-tier traffic light system, where red indicates that free speech stops here, nearly two thirds of student unions and one quarter of university administrations earn a red light.

When did students become such prudes?

Bans include:

Oxford University – a ban for No Offence, a magazine devoted to celebrating free speech

University of East Anglia – banned a restaurant from handing out free sombreros lest it offend Mexicans.

Newcastle University –  a ban on dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner

London South Bank University – a ban on blasphemy

It’s all pathetic. The next generation of know adult politicians, councillors and administrators are even bigger fear-mongers and censors than the current crop.

Read it all here.

 

 

Posted: 13th, February 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Oh Do Fuck Off: Piers Morgan is not Trump’s Goebbels

piers morgan hitler

‘Guten Morgan Britishers’

 

When Piers Morgan was told to ‘Fuck off’ on the telly by Australian comedian Jim Jeffries, right-thinkers on twitter loved it. Morgan, who identifies himself without invitation as Donald Trump’s mate, pointed out that there is no ban on Muslims entering the USA and that Trump is not Hitler.

Morgan’s correct. To say so does not mean you like him or Trump, it’s just to acknowledge the facts. Trump is not Hitler. Piers Morgan is not Trump’s Joseph Goebbels, the Reich’s Minister of Propaganda.

This anti-reason shrill denial of basic facts normalises the Second World War and diminishes the Holocaust into a routine event. If Hitler is the now and the everyday, the actual Hitler, the man who wanted to make Germany greater again and triggered the murder of 6 million Jews is not all that extraordinary. Isn’t this what anti-Semites say in their effort to denigrate the great crime, that the Holocaust was not that big a deal? In pointing at Trump and yelling ‘Hitler’, history is subverted. The innocent dead are demeaned and their guilty murderers exonerated.

For the infantile Hitler shriekers, engaging with Trump and, in turn, listening to the 62 million who voted for him means ushering in the embodiment of human evil’s reincarnation. People who protest the illiberal, kak-handed and cruel attempt to ban people from seven Muslim majority countries as something Hitler would do think they are making a principled suppression of Trump’s prejudice. They’re wrong.

Trump, the authoritarian and illiberal enemy of free-speech, is not rounding up Muslims, transporting them to ghettos and concentration camps in a plot to kill every last one them, as Hitler did with the Jews. To use that monumental crime in order to give any campaign against Trump some weight is hideous.

Encouragingly for Trump and any other modern-day Hitlers, things can turn around pretty fast. The New Statesman, which in 2013 branded Angela Merkel ‘the most dangerous German leader since Hitler’, now in the post-Brexit world – it wanted the UK to Remain – calls her ‘the defender of liberal values in the post-truth age’, while the Independent, Raw Story, the Daily Beast and The Australian call Frau Hitler the ‘leader of the free world’.

The ‘free world’ being the undemocratic EU, purveyors of the Germany-biased euro currency, whose technocrats colonised the mismanaged Irish and Greek economies, belittled and harried the Irish for rejecting the Nice Treaty and made second-class Europeans of Romanians and Bulgarians who having joined the EU in 2007 had rights to work and claim benefits limited for their first seven years of membership. Merkel the evil or Merkel the great hope? Everyone gets to decide but her.

As for Jeffries, well, he was playing to the crowd and hitting a soft target. Disliking Morgan’s to-deadline pomposity is easy. When I worked as a reporter one way to get people to talk was to ask them not what they liked but what they disliked. People are far more comfortable listing and detailing their pet hates than their loves. They will tell you don’t like the phrase ‘Oh My God’, when someone with whom they disagree says they’ve been ‘owned’ and the sound of a stranger’s sniffing. Ask them what people they dislike and the flood gates really open. Right now it’s safe to say in public that you dislike Trump. Disliking him – and, boy, is that an easy task – is the quick and easiest way to define yourself and be ‘on the right side of history’. It’s much the same with Morgan. Say you don’t like him and you’re playing to a sympathetic crowd.

And that’s what struck me about Jeffries’s negating of reason and debate in taking a verbal pop at Morgan. It was safe. No-one on the TV show was going to hound him for calling out Morgan, much less Trump. In his rules of modern comedy, Jeffries told us: “You can’t do jokes about black people or Asian people, but you can do a rape joke onstage now and there’s not a problem.”

And you know who was really good at playing to the crowd and hitting soft targets who couldn’t hit back?

Let’s not make the world a safe space, where dissent is censored, disruption mobbed and naysayers shackled. Let’s debate, consider the details, listen and hold things up to the light.

Posted: 12th, February 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Police accidentally raped a man when his trousers fells down and a truncheon went up

To France, where ‘Theo’, a 22-year-old black man, claims he was raped when police inserted a truncheon in his anus. An internal police inquiry found nothing untoward. But Theo was showing severe anal injuries.

Police now says the wounding was an accident. In a video of the incident, police see a copper  ‘applying a truncheon blow horizontally across the buttocks’. Theo’s trousers ‘slipped down on their own’. As such ‘there are insufficient elements to show that this was a rape’.

But an investigating magistrate disagrees. They’ve charged one of the police officers with rape.

French President Francois Hollande has taken the time to visit Theo in hospital and Prime Minister Bernard Cazenueve says their is an official state of ‘solidarity’ with the alleged victim.

 

Posted: 10th, February 2017 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Zakaria Bulhan: the tabloids’ favourite Somali-born Muslim terrorist who wasn’t

Zakaria Bulhan, 19, stood in the dock at the Old Bailey and admitted killing US tourist Darlene Horton and wounding five others – Lillie Selletin, David Imber, Martin Hoenisch, Bernard Hepplewhite and Yovel Lewronski – (all strangers to him) on 3 August 2016. Yesterday Bulhan pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding. Bulhan has been handed an unlimited hospital order.

Mr Justice Spencer told Bulhan:

“It is quite clear that when you committed these dreadful crimes you were not in your right mind. You were in the grip of mental illness. These were crimes which caused enormous public concern because, from their timing, it was feared initially that they might be the work of a terrorist fanatic. As it turned out they were not, although that is no consolation to your victims.”

So how does the media report an unusual crime that was front-page news? Is it a tale of knife crime, ‘broken Britain’ or mental health care? No. Parts of the media make Islam and otherness central to the story.

 

zaakria bulhan

 

The Star (page 5) says Bulhan ‘mumbled “Allah, Allah, Allah“‘ after he was Tasered by police and bundled to the ground.

The Mail doesn’t mention the story at all.

The Sun doesn’t report on Bulhan.

 

zakaria-bulhan daily mirror

 

The Mirror mentions the story on page 10. ‘Crazed killer is locked up,’ runs the headline in the fourth story down in a sidebar. Bulhan is ‘a teenager who killed a US tourist’. It does not mention what the man of ‘Somali origin’ with paranoid schizophrenia ‘mumbled’.

The Express covers the story on page 10. Bulhan is the “knife rampage killer’. The story begins: ‘A paranoid schizophrenic stabbed an American tourist to death…’  In the third paragraph, the paper says Bulhan is a ‘Norwegian-born Somali Muslim‘. You might say he’s a Norwegian. But his nationality had nothing to do with his crime. So why mention his religion, which also had nothing to do with the case?

Whereas the Star heard Bulhan ‘mumbling’ the Arabic word for ‘God’, the Express says, ‘They [Armed police] heard him chanting Allah! Allah!” as they Tasered him and found an Islamic leaflet in one of his pockets.’

Mumbling or chanting? And what was on the leaflet? We’re not told.

The tabloids got it wrong with Bulhan. Islamic terrorism played no part in his crime. His religion, place of birth and roots all played no part in his crime. A cynic might think the Press is disappointed by this. But surely papers will get face the problem that writing about mental health lacks the punch and pull of Islamic terrorism, stick to the facts and correct any mistakes made? Surely papers won’t manipulate the story to fit an agenda?

But they do. And it’s ugly.

On August 9, the Mail reported:

Was ‘devout Muslim’ Russell Square knifeman radicalised? Police to trawl ‘impressionable’ attacker’s PC for links to ISIS as neighbour claims mental illness is a ‘scapegoat’

Answer: no. He was not radicalised. He was not in ISIS. He was not a devout Muslim.

The Mail continued:

Counter-terror police will today forensically study computers belonging to the Russell Square knifeman as a neighbour claimed the ‘impressionable’ teenager could have been inspired by ISIS.

He wasn’t.

The Mail called him a ‘migrant‘ on its front page.

daily mail islam

 

The Sun called him a ‘Somali’. He isn’t. He’s Norwegian.

 

zakaria-bulhan-killing

 

daily-mail-bulhan-islam

 

daily-mail-bulhan-islam-jihad

 

 

The Sun wondered if Bulhan was a jihadi who had read books.

 

 

zakaria bulhan

 

He wasn’t. He isn’t.

It’s worth looking at Justice Spencer’s sentencing statement in full, lest we missed the Muslim angle. Express readers get an insight into why Bulhan had ‘Islamic literature’ in his pocket.

4. You are 19 years of age, with no previous convictions. Your parents emigrated from Somalia to Norway in 1994, and that is where you were born. In 2003, when you were 5 years old, your mother came to the United Kingdom and you have been living in this country with her ever since, with your brother and sister.

Bulhan was five years old when he arrived in the UK. His family entered the country legally.

Although your mother and father had separated you saw him regularly too. You left school at 16 but retook your GCSE examinations at college and did well in your studies. You became concerned yourself about your mental health and consulted your general practitioner from 2015 onwards. You were referred for assessment by psychiatric services and you were seen by your local early intervention service on 20th April 2016. You were diagnosed with an anxiety and depressive disorder but it was not thought at that time that you were presenting with any psychotic symptoms.

Can we have a discussion abut mental health services?

5. Sadly your mental state deteriorated sharply over the next few months. You started hearing voices frequently and became convinced that you were possessed by devils, that people were conspiring against you, and that that your life was in danger.

At the end of July 2016 your mother and younger brother went to Holland to visit family members which meant that you were living alone at the family home in Tooting. You became convinced that your neighbours wanted to kill you. You went to stay with your father and he tried to look after you. He took you to the mosque on successive days up to the evening of 3rd August, hoping you might receive some form of counselling.

Did Bulhan pick up that aforesaid leaflet at the mosque, the one the Express delivered fully loaded?

When you were at evening prayers that day and a phone rang you got up and ran out of the mosque. Your father waited for you to come back and tried to find you, and tried to contact your mother in Holland for help, but all
to no avail.

6. Your movements thereafter that evening have been traced to a degree. It is clear from the CCTV clips that you were moving around the streets in a distracted and bizarre way. At some stage you acquired a large kitchen knife. You probably took it from a shop counter. At about 10.20pm you entered Russell Square. It was busy with pedestrians heading home after an evening in London’s West End. Among them were many visitors to London from overseas.

13. You were chased by members of the public. When you stopped in Bedford Place one witness described you as standing aggressively, holding the knife, uttering sounds in what appeared to be a form of incantation, although your voice and expression were not aggressive. An armed response unit attended very soon afterwards. You were told to stand still but instead you screamed and ran away. Eventually you were tasered and brought to the floor.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 8th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Superman addresses Donald Trump in 1950

superman 1950 Trump

 

In 1950, Superman, a refugee from a distant land, had this message for American youth.

…and remember boys and girls, your school – like our country – is made up of Americans of many different races, religions and national origins, so…

if you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin – don’t wait: TELL HIM HAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN.

KEEP YOUR SCHOOL ALL AMERICAN

Spotter: flashbak

 

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Buddhist Monkey arrested with 4.6 million methamphetamine pills, a grenade and ammunition in his car

In what officials are calling ‘not a normal case’, a Buddhist monk has been arrested in Myanmar with 4.6 million methamphetamine pills, a grenade and ammunition were found in his car.

“This is not a normal case, and when we were informed that the monk was arrested, we were all shocked,” says Kyaw Mya Win, a township police officer.

“It is not a very common case, but not impossible to happen. What will happen to the monk is that he will have to give up his monkhood right away and face trial as an ordinary person,”  adds Myanmar’s director general of the Religious Affairs Ministry, Soe Min Tun.

It’s unlikely the pills were for personal use. So was he buying the pills for his mates or selling them for other mates?

Myanmar has a history of persecuting the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. In 2012, ‘Buddhist extremists drove tens of thousands of Rohingya out of their homes, many risked their lives to escape in smugglers’ boats; more than 100,000 others are living in squalid internment camps’.

The Strait Times reported this month:

The UN report issued on Friday said Myanmar’s security forces had committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya Muslims and burned their villages since October in a campaign that “very likely” amounted to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar has said it is conducting a lawful counterinsurgency campaign.

Is the army marching on methamphetamine?

 

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Guardian seeks unpaid BAME workers for its ‘society of journalism’

“Young BME people! We know you need help getting into journalism. Come work for us for free!” tweets Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian). She spotted his great advert in the Guardian. The paper wants to give BAME journalists the chance to be unpaid workers. Although you BAMEs do get BFH – Bus Fair Home.

 

 

The Guardian BME jobs

 

Previously.

‘Join the fight against unpaid internships’ – say the Guardian.

Posted: 6th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fake News: Bosnia attack survivor Chelsea Clinton recalls the Bowling Green Massacre

Compare and contrast the following news about the Bowling Green Massacre and Hillary Clinton landing under enemy fire in Bosnia. Fake news is big news right now.

Sat at the top of the new cycle is the idea that pimply Putin supporters pumped out fake news stories which swung the election for Donald Trump. Amid reports that the great unwashed don’t trust journalists is news that fake stories were taken as fact and influenced people to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton.

These people have trouble separating fact from fiction. It’s these slack-jawed people for whom health warnings appear at the end of soap opera.

A few years ago I was invited to talk on a BBC radio show about a story on British soap opera Coronation Street. A fictional child had gone missing. Fictional police and fictional people – actors repeating the words penned by scriptwriters working to replicate slice-of-life stuff to the fourth wall – were frantic with worry. The show ended by assuring viewers that everything they had seen was not real. Similarities to actual events were coincidental. If they had been affected by the heartbreaking story, they should call a number, where they would be given assistance but sadly not advised to stop watching the magic box, get a grip, get out more and get your head tested.

Such warnings suggests broadcasters have a pretty low opinion of their viewers.

 

 

Post-Trust.

A British poll in late 2016 found that 25% of those polled said they trusted journalists. Oddly, journalism is much more widely trusted – up to 65% – when the report is read aloud by a TV newsreader.

Politicians are trusted by just 21% of the people.

The assumption is that the people who fall for fake news – the stupid and gullible who read only one news source and don’t talk to people in the street (68% trust rating); who think Dallas was a documentary and Picasso a martial artist – are Trump voters. Clinton supporters, so goes the theory, are too knowing to be so easily duped.

 

Bosnia, 1996.

Hillary Clinton is on a visit to the war-town country. She tells media in 2008:

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

Utter balls. Hilary and her daughter Chelsea Clinton landed at Tuzla Air Base. Local and dignitaries met the Clintons at the airport. They gave them flowers, a poetry reading and at least one hug from a well-placed photogenic child.

In The Des Moines Register, said Hillary:

“We landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don’t remember anyone offering me tea on the tarmac there.”

Called out on her balls, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told reporters in 2008:

“The facts are clear from contemporaneous news accounts that she was entering a potentially dangerous situation… is it possible that in the most recent instance in which she discussed this that she misspoke, with regards to the exit from the plane…”

Not a lie. Not fake news. A misspoke.

 

Bowling Green Massacre. 

President Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway tells media:

“I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

There was no Bowling Green Massacre.

Conway says she misspoke. She meant to say ‘Bowling Green terrorists’.

In 2013, the Justice Department announced the sentencing of two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to federal prison after they confessed to attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq and tried to assist al-Qaeda in Iraq by sending money and weapons.

Massacre. Nothing like it. Utter balls. A lie? No. A misspoke.

 

Cue Sniper survivor Chelsea Clinton.

 

Chelsea clinton fake

 

Fake news is a big issue. But it’s nothing new. Why is one news item leading the TV news? Why does Israel and not Brazil or Pakistan top the BBC’s news show? Newspapers appeal to their readers’ prejudices. Bias is all around.

Facts can be checked. Claims can be disproven. You can read more than one newspaper or online report and watch more than one TV show.

So what changed?

Whereas once journalists were expected to be objective, they now emote, signalling their opinion and taking sides. The journalist’s report becomes just another opinion. It is no more valid – no truer – than any other opinion. Trust has been eroded by a desire to show all sides of an argument; to present the ‘facts’ from all angles; to be seen as impartial and in search of not one truth but of multiple talking points; to show views over verifiable fact.

If there’s no truth, all we get is fake. Hillary, Trump and Putin didn’t invent and encourage fake news. The mainstream media did.

Posted: 5th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Censors, babies and fools burn Milo Yiannopoulos out of Berkeley

‘Out of Berkeley Nazi Scum,’ demands a placard held high at University of California Berkeley. Intolerance will not be tolerated! So goes the protests against to deadline polemicist Milo Yiannopoulos, who having been banned from the virtual world – Twitter suspended his account – is now branded too outrageous for the Berkeley brains’ trust to cope with.

 

free speech milo

 

The screeching, fires, placards and – irony of ironies – calling out people as ‘fascists’ as you smash windows and light fires by the college bookstore worked. Fascists, eh. If you want to call out a fascist, copy their methods and become one of them. The college that once championed free speech, where students campaigned for the right to hear from Communists and agitators buckled. Trump supporter and Breitbart news mainstay Milo Yiannopoulos had his appearance cancelled. The censorious, violent, angry prudes won the right to stymie and curtail free speech.

 

free speech

Wrong

 

On CNN the post-truth, fact-free news mandarins got wind of the story. UC Berkeley professor and former Democratic Secretary of Labor Robert Reich suggested Trump and his fans were behind the protests.

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”

“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event. So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth…. I saw these people. They all looked very– almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”

You want facts? No need when you have feelings.

If you don’t think free speech is worth protecting, you are not for progress. You cannot counter ideas and foment new thinking without free speech, the sound of free thought.

 

Posted: 4th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Seb Dance says don’t trust politicians and the media – and Nigel Farage agrees

seb-dance-lying

 

There are so many things about President Trump to be concerned about. His illiberalism. His attitude to free speech – he’s against it. His cruel and arbitrary ban on people visiting the US from seven counties. But dismissing his supporters, people who want freer lives, more money, better job security, jobs, opportunity and recognition as thick, ‘low-information’ fascists is not in the least bit helpful.

This disdain for the concerns of 62 million voters who backed Tump over Hillary Clinton – the patrician who wanted a “barrier” between the US and Mexico, who called vast numbers of voters ‘deplorables”, untermensch to be despised by the knowing and – irony of ironies – who know fascism when they see it, and has caused so much suffering in majority-Muslim counties – is contagious. And what goes for Trump’s supporters goes too for the majority who embraced democracy and voted in favour of Brexit. Writing in the Guardian, Labour MEP Seb Dance has much to say.

Earlier this week, while UKip MEP Nigel Farage was addressing the European Union chamber, Dance held up a sign. It featured an arrow aimed at Farage and the message ‘He’s lying to you’. Phew! Good job that Seb Dance was there to tell us thickos what was untrue.

On his website, Sebastian says why he did it:

“Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.

“Nigel Farage is regularly treated to free coverage by virtue of being leader of the EFDD [UKIP’s European Parliamentary group] and UKIP often use these clips in isolation on social media. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”

The New Statesman calls Dance ‘the best MEP ever’.

The FT says:

The motive was a smart piece of sabotage, aimed at making it more difficult for UKIP’s former leader to go viral.

And so to Dance, who tells Guardian readers:

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. On 8 November 2016 Donald Trump won the US general election. Both events were seismic, in and of themselves, but it has been the reaction to them that is the most extraordinary part of the story so far.

No, not people in the streets shouting down debate with cries of ‘Hitler’ and fascists, nor MPs decrying democracy.

From having been the rebel outsider positions in their respective countries, both have now risen to a new kind of status that leads online Twitter eggs gleefully to announce the end of liberal democracy and welcome the impending arrival of a new world order.

Democracy won. Both results were established in a free and legal vote. I’m no Trump supporters, and was delighted when Farage failed to win a seat at the last General Election, but the millions who voted for Trump and Brexit are not all twitter eggs. The voters are not passive no-marks. They mobilised for change.

Dance then tells readers:

There were many fine and erudite contributions before Farage spoke. The values this place represents do instil a real sense of pride. But some of the comments focused on the need to have a constructive dialogue with Trump, as if he would somehow listen to reasoned and impassioned pleas from MEPs, an organisation he has repeatedly indicated he would want to be destroyed.

MEPs are not an organisation. They are representatives. Dance’s note positions him as the politician who knows politicians cannot be trusted. A placard held up for the cameras apes the protestors who want to make their voices heard but have no arena save for the street in which to do so. Dance is elected to speak on their behalf. He is not passive. He is active. He’s not one of ‘us’, He’s one of ‘them’. Disparaging politicians and their motives puts him squarely in the same camp as Trump and Farage. Both say politicians and the media cannot be trusted.

Dance agrees.

 

Posted: 3rd, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0