Today’s piece by Tony Parsons in the Mirror may come across as a reasonable plea. I’m sure that every newspaper has had its good campaigns over the years. Newspapers may well have embarrassed MPs, public servants and high flying businessmen. (Though let’s be honest, the only time I’m interested in who a politician or public servant is having sex with is when they are a hypocrite. A typical example is the committed voice against equal marriage who is discovered to be having carnal pleasures which demonstrate their hypocrisy. I don’t care if people are polyamorous, kinky, asexual or any other label provided that they are not hypocrites.)
But newspapers have also harrassed, demeaned and offended innocent people who have committed no crime. Newspapers have hacked into the voicemails of politicians, sportspeople and anyone who found themselves in the spotlight, propragating the vile myth of “celebrity gossip”.
Newspapers should have spent their time and resources investigating the corruption in and obscene wasting of money by local councils. That’s where the real stories are. Newspapers could have been forces for good in the community. But they haven’t been.
The total lack of ethics of the tabloid press and the repeated gutlessness of the Press Complaints Commission in refusing to properly police newspapers’ conduct was going to have consequences sooner or later. That has now come to pass. Jane Fae writes how this is the fault of the press themselves. It isn’t rocket science to see why.
Here are two recent examples of extremely poor conduct by the PCC and newspapers:
The PCC’s flawed decision that the recent hate filled outburst by Julie Bindel was not a breach of the PCC Editorial Code. Had Bindel written about people of colour or disabled people in the same way the PCC would not have been so gutless.
The tragic death of Lucy Meadows, outed and then disgracefully monstered by the vile Richard Littlejohn in that obscene rag of hatred the Daily Heil (now withdrawn from the Daily Heil site but archived here). The PCC will invariably find there is no case to answer for Littlejohn and the Daily Heil because they, like the ICO, lack the balls to punish wrong conduct.
There is a petition for the sacking of Richard Littlejohn which has received over 3,500 signatures so far, which I urge readers to sign. Roy Greenslade may be trying to be logical about this when he says no link has been proven between Littlejohn’s vile article and Lucy Meadows’ apparent suicide so one shouldn’t rush to judgement but he comes across as an apologist. I contend that if the Daily Heil and Littlejohn had kept their vile mouths shut then Lucy would still be alive today.
As a side issue, in my response to the Government’s Parental Internet Controls consultation in September 2012 (which was full of loaded questions) I wrote the following:
I contend that the Daily Mail spreads more fear and hatred about transgendered, disabled and non white people than any pornographic title ever could.
It hardly needed Nigel Kneale like prescience to write that but recent events have proven me right.
Parsons portrays the breaking of the MPs’ expenses scandal as the work of the media. It was the tireless work of Heather Brooke that brought the expenses story to light. The mainstream media were slow to pick up on the story so deserve little credit.
Parsons does make a valid point in that the laws of the land had not been enforced against newspapers, leading to a culture of disregard for the law. An indictment of editors’ and owners’ ethics if ever there was one as well as an indictment of those responsible for enforcing the law.
Self Regulation does not work. The discredited and worthless PCC is clear evidence of that. It is unfortunate that the various “governments” over time had not disbanded that waste of money and put something in place that did take names and kick backsides. Had they done so then perhaps there would not now be cries of “Stop the state regulation of the free press!”
As far as this blog is concerned, regardless of what law or Royal Charter is passed, I will not change my tone or content.
My reporting and analysis of Phorm & BT, The Digital Economy Bill and other issues discussed here is based on available facts and failures to answer simple questions. If I see something worthy of highlighting here for lack of ethics, Clue or competence then I will write about it.
If those being blogged about feel wronged then all they need to do is contact me with answers to my questions. It’s not rocket science and is cheaper than bully boy legal threats which will only get the response “I refer you to Arkell v Pressdram”.
I loathe boilerplate bullshit responses. I’m damned if I am going to post them here, whoever they are from.