M&S discussions (that's morons and scaremongers)

Newsnight - 5. , parisJetlack wrote:

'Would it not be more sensible for the Newsnight team to invite more pragmatic ...'

Surely, you jest? This is not about a sensible debate with intelligent opinion and well-balanced, if often subjective analysis... this is a Newsnight debate... about BBC ratings.

Please don't go putting ideas in their heads:

'Why not invite some [choice of vocal extreme on any topic on booker's speed dial] nutter on while you are at it and they can shout at each other across a table ..'

It's called the 'Newsnight twofer'. Best conducted with a 'moderator' who supplies feeds and either doesn't know enough or care to slap down gross inaccuracies.

Though, to be fair, all the rest of our 'fine media estate' do the same thing too.

Pot, meet kettle

I do find it truly hilarious, if a little depressing, when one 'major' (not sure what definition accords them that status) sees fit to decry another.

The trashiest of tabloids

It can only end in tears.


Relative values

I noted today yet another vague law is being trotted out on driving.

Seems that where once you were careless, you are now dangerous, and proceed straight to jail.

Unless of course it's pretty hard to prove, I guess. So having mown down a bunch of nuns at a bus stop whilst reaching for a Mars bar, I'd err on saying you had no clue how it happened.

Then it would, if innocent 'til proven guilty still holds true, remain an accident. Not very ethical, moral or fair, but there you go. And, in some cases, maybe the best of a bad job as, sad to say, and despite the best efforts of those in denial of this, accidents do happen.

Yabbering on a mobile, doing your lippy... throw away the key. Those are conscious choices in the face of all logic. Checking the kids in back... I'm not so sure.

However, talking of conscious choices to break pretty clear laws...

Uninsured drivers get lower fines but are killing more people

Hmnn, how many end up in jail?

Dangerous Driving

BBC - Careless drivers set to face jail

Two rights spin a wrong?

I can't best this comment on a blog about the new 'A level' figures, the government's interpretation of it, and the BBC's sharing of same:

'I finally got around to reading the BBC report on the miraculous increase in A grades, and I noticed a perfect bit of [legal reasons deletion] from Schools Minister Jim Knight:

"More pupils are now passing maths A-level than at any time in over a decade. It's crucial for society that we have talented mathematicians and maths is essential for science and innovation."

Both sentences are true, yet the latter does not follow from the former. But I have to admire the brilliance of it.'

As a potential employer in the real world, while the paperwork may say one thing I think I might now seek other proof of competency if presented with an A level cert. In fact a mate last night told me his C grades 20 years ago now would be A's.

So, what actually counts as a decent qualification? An A with a star and a cherry and sprinkles?

Gaurdian - A-levels: elitism for everyone

Gaurdian - Closing students' minds


That's what now?

A while ago I signed a Number 10 'e-petition' on the Lisbon Treaty

The reply arrived today. Now, that makes it all clear.

Interestingly, so did one on bees (over on Junkk Male RE:view).

I guess they do 'em in batches.

If you read one thing today...

... and don't mind getting depressed:

Do we need to review public procurement rules?

'I've been amazed to discover that there is almost nothing that I, or indeed any MP you vote for, can do to find out if the money public contractors receive is being spent wisely.'

And there, in a nutshell, is why my democratic vote is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Well, there's a surprise

The Beijing Olympics is bringing the IOC into disrepute

No, not that fact that the author has pretty much been universally slammed (nothing to read into that, really. I rather depends on who is trawling and trolling that day)... in the Telegraph!

It was this bit that, though only by one person's word, caught my wistful attention 'I imagine that for those watching in Britain through the misty-eyed lens of the BBC, the Beijing Games are living up to expectations. The view from the pressroom, however, is altogether gloomier.'

Not so much for what was written, but that there was no real sense that it was odd that our national, publicly-funded broadcaster, especially its news-bearing arm (quite big and well funded, not to say represented there, I'd imagine) is 'different' to those others in the press room, and oddly capable of bearing to its paymasters a different 'alternate reflection of accuracy' than all others. Quite makes the licence fee look worth... what... again?

Addendum - Well, another, though confirmatory voice, this time from Ch4 (and suggsteing the Gaurdian too)...

Hail from The Jing. It’s been a weird kind of day with, on the face of it, rather a lot by way of heats at these Olympics and rather less in the way of finals and particular ones of British interest.

So I went off to the BOCOG/IOC press conference this morning – that is, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee.

Sounds impressive eh? And in its way it is. Though not, sadly, as a press conference. It is, for instance, a sensational situation comedy. Or a rare example in the modern world of truly Ruritanian politics. Or perhaps it is the nearest you will get to an extra-terrestrial out-of-body experience without taking a vast whack of acid.

Because these two bodies very obviously inhabit a different time-space-continuum to you or me.

This morning's edition was mint. First off, Mr Wang Wei took us through statistics about how many officials, journalists and athletes had been at the different venues and ended, as ever, with the weather forecast for the various Olympic sites.

Then a radical shift, as his colleague then took off on addressing cultural affairs. The man from The Guardian in the row in front of me wrote THIS IS A DELAYING TACTIC on his notebook and passed it to me.

Well, perhaps it was. Whatever the truth of it, we needed to talk about whether or not the IOC is embarrassed in any way about throwing in its lot with a government which has so patently failed to keep promises on press freedoms and human rights. This lies at the heart of these games since assurances on this were one of the reasons China got the games in the first place.

You can see what happened tonight when we tried to find out. And what happened when the Chinese allowed protesters to make legal demonstrations in three parks in the city. You need permits to do so. And guess what, nobody seems to have got one.

Evasion and untruths: an everyday tale from the land of the Chinese Olympics. Cheers, Alex T

Alex Thomson takes on the IOC: http://tinyurl.com/6pwjlf

Alex Thomson’s Beijing blog: http://tinyurl.com/67zsm5

Danny Vincent’s blog: http://tinyurl.com/5lzwqg

The Register - Olympic Committee wins gold for foot shooting - Oh, and ITV

Aunty's muscling in on my 'hood

As one whose site has postcode recognition capability to serve local topics, I declare an interest.

BBC internet plans 'will kill off local papers'

And a certain amount of frustration.

Is there nothing their bottomless pit cannot be used to fund?

Hold (that thought), please

Just following procedure - that's the mantra of cost-cutting Britain

Yes, this in the Guardian.!

'Only obeying orders - that's the mantra of target-obsessed, agenda-meeting, dodgy bonus driven, tunnel-visioned beancounter Britain
The misery of the call centre experience shows customer and employee alike are dragged down in the name of efficiency'

It might be in efficiency's name, but I don't see much of it panning out that way in practice.

What first attacted you to the millionaire celebrity Paul Daniels?

One of my favourite witticisms, coined I believe by the Mrs. Merton character whilst 'interviewing' the girlfriend'/wife of the above TV person.

I was reminded of this when paying vague attention to some 'political storm' (note what I did there as it becomes pertinent quite soon) over some report by a 'thinktank' (whatever that is)... um, make that 'David Cameron's favourite right wing... thinktank'.

It seems these day there is almost nothing that gets written about, and hence identified by name, without some qualifier that can add, or detract from the thing (or person) it refers to.

What that is rather depends on what the entity doing the writing wishes to confer.

In this case I must say I have long since to notice or even care what actually may or may not have been written in this report, but like most have ended up being caught in the juicy furore associated not with the report itself, but some rather artificially created subsequent affiliation spun around the authors' relationship with another.

The actual merits, or otherwise, have become irrelevant, and the level of relationship, or indeed what Mr. Cameron's views are on one thing or other, have been totally swept aside.

Another sorry metaphor for the state of politics and media today.

Indy Letters - Fighting for a bright future in the North - Interesting to note (with eyebrow cranked) how even 'ordinary' letter writers can get caught up...'I read with amazement that David Cameron's favourite think-tank, the centre-right Policy Exchange,...' But I am sure the paper would not publish anything if it did not believ it to be objective :)

Telegraph - Policy Exchange now David Cameron's least favourite think tank - He does tend to fire folk for what people think they've said rather than what they might have, doesn't he?

Telegraph - NEW - That Policy Exchange report was written by Lib Dems - Rather makes my point. Odd that Mr. Prescott was not brought up on this when given free rein by...oh... the BBC

Olympics 2.0

Faster. Higher. Stronger. Just hope it doesn't also all end up in ER.

I love the Olympics. For 3 weeks my dear Mum can watch something moderately healthy that isn't News 24.

I really can't get too excited on a personal level about the 'sport' for a few reasons, from an aversion to narrow nationalism to a loathing of media hype. And frankly my idea of an athlete was Alf Tupper in the Victor, and he didn't really exist either.

Let me just post this quote from Ch4:

It is the day of the Baltimore Bullet. Michael Phelps somehow almost owns competitive swimming right now. He has won 11 Olympic gold medals in his lifetime, four of them in this year’s games, and he could win three more in Beijing.

Phelps has surpassed every other athlete in the modern Olympics. He routinely smashes world records etc by, er, Michael Phelps.

So fair play to him, good going for a lad diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in his formative years.

He is someone who appears to shun the limelight and work hard and give something back to his local swimming club in Baltimore and young people there. He has no plans to move to Malibu.

But out here in Beijing there is a growing debate about what swimming has been turned into by the LZR suits, on the one hand, and the special fast swimming pool here. Yes, it seems pools can be faster or slower, as I will explain tonight to people who do not know. Put the two elements together and records are being ripped up like confetti. But does that mean they are now winning swimming medals or swimming technology medals? Is all the techy stuff in a traditionally low-tech sport, messing with the essence of it?

Put it another way, what would happen if Phelps took the Spitz Test just wearing Speedos, in the Munich pool and swam the distances Mark Spitz swam to win his golds back in '72? There are three possible outcomes -

1. Phelps swims slower than Spitz (unlikely)
2. Phelps swims faster, but not as fast as he does in Beijing (almost certain)
3. Phelps swims as fast as he does in Beijing (almost impossible)

Well, how would the Beijing gold haul look then?

Not a chance of course. The last thing sponsors are likely to do is expose the young man they are making seriously rich to this particular challenge.

Indy - NEW - So is Michael Phelps really the greatest athlete in Olympic history? - Or, and here's a funky notion, is trying to compare anything on any basis when you are talking such different skillsets, rules, etc simply plain silly? Or just a good way to sell stuff?


Just one, small, wafer-thin correction...

The media's addiction to controversy can seriously damage your health


The media's addiction to controversy is seriously damaging everything

There, now that's more like it.

First to be second

I'll credit my ex-partner for this one.

It was as a result of our frustration of an all-to-prevalent attitude we kept encountering in our marketing clients, at least at certain levels: 'We may not win, but at least we won't get in trouble if it doesn't work'.

Thing is (and I have noted this over on the Junkk Male RE:view today about retail in the UK), it doesn't work.

Guardian - Clinton memos lay bare indecision and rows that doomed campaign

Need to know

I log this for a few reasons.

Jeremy Paxman, the BBC, Impartiality, and Freedom of Information

The workings, or not, of the FOI act seem convoluted at best.

Though pertinent in many ways to Junkk Male RE:view this is more about how our news gets served up. I am always intrigued as to who constitutes an 'expert', and what goes into getting the best chance of an objective opinion from any source.

And finally, the curse of the over-common moniker strikes again. Yet another namesake!

Whatever else, in this information rich, Internet age, I would hazard that clamming up, especially on issues where you are required to be open, is not the smartest play. Mind you, if you do have something to hide you are screwed both ways. Best not to do things using public money, in the public's 'best interests', if you don't think the public might react well to hearing about it.


Ma... rtin the knife

Many years ago I rather famously tried to board a plane at Changi with my Leatherman still in my bum bag.

The Singapore Airlines lady at the X-Ray machine held it aloft and asked out loud: 'Is this your deadly weapon, Mr. Martin'.

Oops. At best, £60 down the drain. At worst, nicked.

But then she then popped it in a Jiffy bag and handed it to the flight crew to return upon my arrival back in the UK.

Where, it would seem, I would indeed now be at best relived of it and/or nicked.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse I know, but I now have to ask just what the hell it is illegal to carry on one's person or not, and in what circumstances.

What will next be ... possibly... illegal (at whim of our knee-jerk, fine-addicted, target-obsessed justice brigade) for how it might be used?

BBC - Youth crime plan to be unveiled

I have written to the Home Office*:

As a keen outdoorsperson and DIYer, I often have had occasion to have such as a Leatherman and indeed other sharp objects (that could be used for violent purposes) about my person or in my car or luggage when out and about.

To avoid at best losing a valued tool and at worst falling foul of the law, please can you clarify for me what I am allowed to carry in public, when and in what circumstances.

Newsnight -

As initiatives seem to become law - and vague ones at that (whim and 'interpretation' now being be the best way to fine for revenue or incarcerate to meet targets - at the drop of the hat, I have been moved to write to the Home Office: (above)

Or maybe our national broadcaster might be able (or at least be the unwitting vehicle) to assist me in not remaining ignorant of our ever-evolving (daily) legal system?

Indy - Addendum - Mr Stanley (letters, 15 July) should have gone armed with – as well as his Swiss Army knife – section 139(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. This contains an exception for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding three inches. The blade of my Swiss Army Explorer is just under two and a half inches.

Newsnight addendum: 13 & 17..

FWIW, this from today's Indy:

'...should have gone armed with – as well as [their pocket knives] – section 139(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. This contains an exception for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding three inches.'

I remain unsure as to how all this plays out, however, especially with the state of this country and the reactions, and over-reactions of those tasked to 'run' it.

Especially as, playing Devil's Advocate, I have a vague notion that the distance from the exterior of a person's chest to a fatal part of the heart might fall within 3".

Or the length of a screw driver... or...

If someone has the intention of hurting another, if one means of doing it is removed I rather suspect they will just find an alternative.

So with the brainpower be deployed at senior levels of government these days, and the levels of challenge they get from the media, I anticipate we shall soon be glazing with sugar panes and required to only wear flip-flops on building sites.

CH4 Fact Check - NEW - FactCheck: knife crime U-turn? - I don't real care much on U-turns, but in this case it seems to matter more to those who obviously handbrake-turned that they spin they didn't... which is no way to run a government.

*Who have now kindly replied:

Thank you for your e-mail of 15 July about the carrying of sharp objects about your person. Your e-mail has been passed to the Direct Communications Unit, and I have been asked to respond.

Many people carry knives for legitimate purposes. Some people no doubt need to carry knives for their work; people who have bought kitchen knives need to get them home. Sometimes knives are worn for religious reasons - for example kirpans worn by Sikhs – or as part of national costume – for example the Scotsman carrying his skean-dhu in his kilt stocking.

There are two offences under which someone carrying a knife in public can be prosecuted.

Section1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 makes it an offence for a person to have an offensive weapon in a public place without reasonable excuse of lawful authority. An offensive weapon is defined as any article, which is made, adapted, or intended to cause injury.

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, it is an offence for a person to have a bladed or sharply pointed article - other than a small folding pocket knife - in a public place without good reason, with the onus on the knife-carrier to show that he has good reason. While “good reason” provides the main defence, the Act also provides certain specific defences for those who have knives with them for use at work, as part of a national costume, or for religious reasons.

Clear enough... as far as it goes, but also still awfully vague IMHO, and riven with ways a devious miscreant could use to weasel through. As a half-Scots, secular white guy, I am hoping 'middle-aged, middle-income, middle-class and middle of the road' will be a good enough excuse. Mind you, I can think of a few exceptions already...

Telegraph - NEW - Prison for Prince Charles if knife in sock passes into England

Interesting. Amongst others I asked the Home Office. It would appear that no one knows what is legal or not.

Great way to run a country.


Quote of the day - Quoting Douglas Adams

He knew a thing or two, especially about humour and pricking pompous bubbles:

New ways of doing

Aug 11 08, 9:50am
I just think: Golgafrincham B Ark.



It is fairly obvious that I have some 'issues' with our national broadcaster.

But even in using that term I am falling in to the same generalist's trap as many others do, somehow morphing the individual aspects and persons that are the parts and tarring all with the brush of the sum.

Of course it is much more complicated, but it is hard not to let frustrations seep through, especially when you are paying for a service you have no control over and is frankly too often working against everything you hold dear, from common sense to objectivity to efficiency to even your business... I could go on.

I don't know if it was always the same and I have just noticed abuses more of late, or if things simply have gone down the drain. It is certainly a unique institution (like the way it is funded), and a very British one at that. But is also a strange mixture, being an anachronism that has moved with the times, only in all the wrong places and directions.

In my life I have met only a few of the several tens of thousands who enjoy its multi-billion budget and use it to provide 'services' to the UK public... and beyond.

Frankly I'd say the experience has been no different to any in one's daily activities, social or business. For every delightful local reporter who was a joy to chat with and helpful, there has been one who somehow thought lobbing up in a Peugeot radio car bedecked with BBC Radio Whatever meant that the natives should have fallen down and sacrificed a virgin. For every journalist who has risked life and limb to expose a real story, there has been ... a few... who think swiping one off AP and running it by the diversity czarina is all that's required to swing a gong at a rigged awards do, and blag a better salary from executive levels too dumb or lazy to negotiate.

As with all things, we seem to be heading to a situation of extremes.

In the comfy corner is a small but totally isolated (it seems) group of folk in the upper echelons of the BBC, who think they are God's gift, and that the money that comes their way, for both programmes, paycheck and pensions, is nothing to do with those they in theory serve. The abuses are too often, and too many, to ignore. It was a nice Little number, but as other areas encroach on what was their monopoly, they seem to have decided the only thing to do is either close ranks and expand the empire even further. Sadly they have got away with it pretty much across the board, as there is, as with all 'public services', no culture of accountability. Or sense of value for money. People may bear responsibility, and the salaries to go with that, but when it comes to carrying the can...

In the other corner is an equally small, very vocal but growing (in both) minority who have just about or totally had it. I am pretty close to erring this way, but while I can empathise with much I see emanating from them, many are doing themselves, and the cause, no favours by so dogmatically calling for the crushing of this entity.

We're talking a £3B+ organisation, with tens of thousands of staff, bearing the name (and reputation) of this country far and wide. A brand that goes back decades. You are no more going to see any politician simply strike that from the balance sheet than you will PM Brown, or any successor, unhire the extra 800,000 beholden voters (ain't democracy grand?) he has put on the government payroll in the last 11 years.

But something must be done. There are simply too many reason for change, yet to almost all the best that can be said is that there has been a bunkering down, with at worst an near wilful 'Last days of the Reich' orgy of excess as those who are still on a very good gravy train decide to make the most of it while they can. Hey, what's the worst that can happen?

Well as, belts tighten and excesses and cock-ups and defensive reactions to them mount, there might well be something that starts to happen, and not in a very well managed way. The licence fee is no longer insignificant, and in deciding what one can and can't... or won't... afford might tempt some into making the powers that be face up to supporting an already rather tarnished institution or having to kick out a few rapists from jail to make an example of those not keen to fund £800k salaries from social engineering aspirants who mistake shaping news for reporting, editorial for agenda, and see no problem with not bothering to negotiate market rates with their star buddies.

A lot doesn't add up, and time is running out. Ask such as Carol Vordeman.

Your licence fee at work

Reporting the Games & Friday, 8 August, 2008

'...allegations by the Georgian President that 150 Russian tanks and other vehicles have entered South Ossetia.'

I know everyone is on holiday or at the Games 'reporting' sports, but it would be awfully nice to get some news of value from elsewhere?

Perhaps if there was a suggestion that the Russian synchronised invasion team was using steroids to help lift the shells?

I'm sure it's on the BBC somewhere, but I clicked on just now for an update on what I thought was the news channel, and ended up with wall to wall prancing ponies who, apparently, 'The hosts had spared no expense to put in a/c stables'.

The world can rest easy.

pps: Meanwhile, this from SKY, my new source of actual News: 'Russia On Verge Of All-Out War'

ps: Speaking of cutting edge news gathering, reporting and editorial, looking top right on this page* is there something I don't know?:

Reporting the Games
ADMIN USE ONLY Fri 8 Aug 08, 06:23 PM

'This is the Newsnight editor's blog, where editor Peter Barron, and some of his colleagues, will discuss issues affecting the programme.'

Peter BarronWed 30 Jul 08, 01:39 PM
Ok then, I'm off.
After four years at Newsnight this is my final editor's blog. I'm off to Google

* I know the temp (sweet, isn't it. It's summer hols so news is in the hands of the work experience guys) has mentioned it in the first line of her piece, but one might have thought a week was enough to adjust the template to reflect reality:

'This is the Newsnight editor's blog, where there is currently no editor, so some of his inexperienced, rudderless colleagues will discuss issues affecting the programme and certainly nothing of world-shattering importance.'

Addendum: I find it 'interesting' that after 24hrs there is nothing to follow my comments. It's a pity wars don't take the weekend off.

Gaurdian - These two appalling sets of old waxworks utterly deserve each other

'By the time you read this, world peace should have broken out.'

I have been beaten to the punch much earlier and much more subtly, but may I repeat the unfortunate irony of this as I look at my SKY news:

'Russia On Verge Of All-Out War'

Indy - Georgia: Russia steps up 'peace enforcement' - Now that's a new one to add to my collection of interesting double speak.

BBC - Olympic overdose? - Well, she asked.

Well.. you asked.

It's a major international 'sporting' event that probably deserves a decent level of coverage for those who give a flying fig for contests between those whose sponsors can afford to tune them to ever greater micro-improvements in human endeavour.

Not the only thing on the planet. And certainly not worth draining a £3B+, tens of thousand-strong, publicly-funded national media entity of staff and money to the exclusion of all else.

However, this inconvenient war in our own geographical and economic backyard has at least highlighted that even though we knew the tea-lady was running the show at the weekend while editorial was on 'don't lie to the public; it's bad' training at a Cornish retreat, at the moment the entire BBC is in the hands of a security guard and a work-experience activist from Kingsnorth while all the rest are 'reporting' from the next 'fun' location in Beijing.

You are... the weakest link. I'd like my money back.

Feel the love

A few foul-mouthed rants about a piece of coverage that I have to share as it really puts things in a nutshell:

'What's [Mr. Brown] doing writing books about people the whole world already knows are legends when his government and the rest of the country's disintegrating around him?!'

'[Mr. Brown] needs to get back to running the Country.
Why has [he] not done a single interview about another war in europe starting or the mess that [] Caroline Flint and [] Alistair Darling are making of our economy?

So this is what he/they mean(s) when he/they trot out 'meaningless, insincere, sanctimonious, soundtripe platitude #63: 'the people want me/us to get on with the job'?

I feel everyone's pain. As, I am sure, does Dear Leader, 'cos he tells us often enough.

Aunty's deep, dark pockets

ITV is being crushed by a busy, bloated BBC

As one who has found an aspect of their business suddenly competed with by an overstaffed, well-funded (without having to go to any sources of set-up fees or, one suspects, concerns on visitor numbers or ROI) BBC online entity that nonetheless carries advertising, I have to agree with almost every word.

Makes also paying for it... frustrating. How do you spell AK-47?

Guardian - Olympics & the media - So let the great wall-to-wall Games begin - Different, but related. And well, because I can.



I can't speak for the facts or conclusions, but it seems worth sharing:

Regional Development Agencies should be abolished

'The failure of the Regional Development Agencies is a symptom of the severely flawed policy of government by quango. Hiving out responsibilities previously controlled by more accountable bodies to these unaccountable backroom offices, and drawing activities previously left to private business and civil society into a bureaucratic quagmire is a sure recipe for failure... there is no clear chain of responsibility, no real transparency and practically zero accountability. Far from representing power being devolved to local people or groups, they are simply central government agencies with regional names.

And so...

TPA - NEW - The Case for Abolishing Regional Development Agencies

I can't heeear you... la,la,la!

An interesting piece on blogging:

On the importance of engagement in blogging...

It has long struck me that 'real' journalists (which somehow also includes folk papers or TV just pay to write or read stuff out) have been working through some stages of denial.

First was that it wasn't really happening.
Then that no one was paying any attention.
Now it's not the same, not relevant and hence must be ignored.

Good luck with that, guys.

Fingers in ears...'la, la, la..'

Another for the list

John Edwards scandal is about money not sex

'99% honest'.

It's like I tell my kids about Domestos; it may kill 99% of all household germs, but it's that 1% left you really need to worry about.


The house of bitter sweets

Nipping prejudice in the bud

Is this working out the way the authors intended? I doubt it.

Is the total vilification of this outrageous example of trendy PC group think manipulation advocacy by those arrogant enough to think they 'know' better (and horrifyingly in positions of influence) going to make see a blind bit of notice taken by our current 'right-on' unrepresentative govt/minor media establishment? I know it won't.

Pathetic, Tragic. And wrong.

Or specious?

Lots of talk on the BBC about the auspicious timing of the Beijing Olympics

Just wondering, is it 8pm at 08/08/08 on the Chinese Calendar, and in Chinese-related time zone locations East or West of Beijing?

I always wondered when and where the Y2k apocalypse was going to strike first... Sydney or San Francisco.

Maybe Nostradamus didn't have GPS.

Aunty's Marbles

I am watching BBC Breakfast on my PC PiP TV monitor as I type.

First up, a commercial for edf energy as the weather lady reports from a hot air balloon where their logo has been draped over the basket. And for some reason they seem to think it makes outdoor broadcasts more fun if you can't hear a word anyone is saying.

Then about the longest slot I have seen in an age, featuring Michael White of the Guardian, about the critical issue of our PM's possible Pilates regime. Which will, apparently, make him even fitter to command.

And then Evan Davis, who I thought was something to do with economics, 'finding out' about hitchhiking. The theory seems to be that, as a fairly recognisable TV person, he will reproduce what a normal person will experience, thumb out, on the road. Oh, with a producer, camera and sound person. And doubtless big BBC signs. As you do. I am amazed the way such 'reports' and 'shows' all have some wide-eyed numptie trotting out 'and it was amazing how the whole village turned out'. Well D'Uh.

And now a piece, for no reason I can figure, on how lovely it is being rich enough to buy dirty great big yachts.

Maybe actual news is tricky as most of them are in Beijing, um, reporting.

Gaurdian - Why TV news in the US is utter rubbish - The mind boggles


Mirror, mirror

Sometimes what the Gaurdian CiF allows to be posted and what gets served up in reply can be delicious:

Nipping prejudice in the bud

Usually when I see the words '...in our book' in know enough what to expect, but this was worth savouring in all its true car-crash glory.

Wish I could post on this part of the site. I still seem to be unable to register for comment even if my log-in is recognised.

All the lawns are manicured in Polly Toynbee land

Another... 'book'

Lights, camera... er... Gordon... action!

I am sure it will look like he feels our pain. And understands. And has learned...

Downing Street prepping new video website

Let me get this straight...

The idea to help is for us to see and hear more of him trying to avoid dealing with the problems and pitch yet more Brownisms for why they are anyone's fault but his whilst flashing the pearly whites and new buff bod??!

Ooooook. If they say so. Good luck with that.


No dear, this is Aunty's other moneyhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

Kangaroo kicks off digital agency hunt

I know it is not new news, and is all probably tickedy-boo in the ''pure coincidence.. no names no pack-drill', old boys club sense, but I must say that as a licence fee payer the whole set-up just doesn't seem quite kosher in the whole digital carve-up/funding* scheme of things.

* Make that 'unique way the BBC is funded'

The Register - NEW - Project Kangaroo gets more time to defend anti-trust claims

And what's more, it counts...

Over on Junkk Male RE:view, I am currently having trouble figuring out why I keep get served a rather limited number of folk as talking heads on various news issues.

This posting, on a PR/press blog I inhabit, may help answer:

Has anyone on the list ever paid to have themselves/ a client featured
as an Opinion Former on Politics.co.uk

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated - I'm considering putting a
client on there but not sure if it's worthwhile. There seem to be quite
a few high profile organisations on there.

As is my wont, I was moved to enquire:

I am sure I am woefully naive, but what is the value of being on something if it is known that the way you become an 'opinion former' (as opposed to a source of (possibly expert) opinion, which seems different) is merely to have paid enough for it?

Mind you, I am not sure the standards applied to most other talking heads featured in most other political media are that much more objective or professionally derived.


Cheap. Fun. Irresistible.

Well, I thought it was...

' Would you pay to watch a plane crash?'

Cripes, I thought you meant daily... on my licence fee with the BBC's political reporting (the commentators you employ here are at least free, so ta for that).

Actually, it's more of a mid-air collision between that and the government's efforts, so add my taxes into that, too.


Olympian ineptitude

'BBC wastes Olympic opportunity'

Be fair. There's only 400+ odd of them going, and they have to have time to pack and stuff.

I am sure that, once there, should any Brit come within a glimmer of a gong, we will be heartily fed sick of the coverage.

Reporting by Google

No, not the company doing the reporting.

Reporters using Google instead of finding out, from horses' mouths, themselves.

It's a worry, especially as It is getting more and more prevalent.

Just last week a forum group I was on noted how at some point a reporter in London had used Google to measure the distance of Weston-super-Mare from Cardiff to demonstrate the size of the pier fire smoke plume: at 60 miles. It is, but only if you drive. If you look across the water it's more like 15. It was taken as 'fact' from the Indy to the Times.

Then there's this: Late-breaking April Fool prangs snoozing Guardianista

So far, so trivial, but as budgets go down as the need for content goes up, one does wonder if this is not a trend to be concerned about.

I have neither the time nor money to go places and check them out to the extent I'd like, so the best I can do is rely on a bit of common sense, being fairly well travelled... and having an eyebrow ready to crank at just about anything these days. But even so, it is getting harder as what might be considered reliable sources of information are now content to source from what might be a poisoned common well.


Truth is the first victim in more than war

Over on Junkk Male RE:view I have had cause to comment already today that the ratings of 'debate' seem more important than actually getting to the truth... or facts.

But then I look at my morning blogs and newsletters and see that is is pretty much across the entire mainstream media estate.

Guardian - Time to stop criticising China - we've already come so far - An interesting position, with perhaps a few flaws worth exploiting. A poster asks what the writers' background is. Fair question. Not saying there is any merit but, how, exactly, does one acquire the status of main, or even 'guest' blogger, and evidently without the possibility of any editorial concern.

Telegraph - Inquiry into television shows funded by ministers - 'Nuff said, shot, edited and served up as...?

You expect government, and indeed any body with an interest to promote, to try all they can, including porkies, to swing their message past us.

But when there is almost no attempt by those media being so used and abused to cut through to the objective cores, and act as informed modertators, they really deserve no more trust than those whose propaganda they carry so willingly and for such dubious ends.

Telegraph - Why is the Home Office funding TV programmes with your money?

Indy - Guy Adams' US Media Diary: The 'scoop' the US papers ignored

Indy - How the Taxpayers' Alliance is making headlines

Brains, facts... and guts. A novel change.

Pity it is but for one day.

Just caught The Andrew Marr show, and and example of why you don't let go of your slot if you can help it.

From cosy fireside chats with mates to a real interview, but temp Zeinab Badawi.

I doubt it will get printed, but:

Wow... you go girl!

I guess you have not been moving in the 'right' circles enough... and certainly might not get invited to the 'right' cocktail parties, but that's how I like my political interviews to happen... even on a Sunday morning.

And as we're on the subject of changes for the better, though still on moving in the 'right' circles, why is Ms. Toynbee the only default pundit of choice? Her stances and opinions over the last year have been so devalued as to make anything she comes out with meaningless.


Plot loss #101

I just watched Mark Thompson on BBC's Newswatch (the few minutes each week they devote at 7.50am on a weekend to atone for cock-ups over 24/7 programming, especially at priem time).

I have been moved to write:

I have just watched this morning's Newswatch.

So, instead of any detail sharing, answering and addressing all the serious issues of reporting, editorial decisions and diverting money from quality news and programming to tat and bonusses, we get the entire story devoted to a smug senior guy from the classic 'BBC in a blazer' tossing us a bone ('maybe there are too many tricksy graphics!!!!') but then essentially dismissing a few easy serves with the usual 'well, I don't think so... and anyway now it is better'. Heavens above, I even heard the derided 'we should learn from...' platitude over/misused by our political classes gaily wheeled out. Plus the outstanding arrogance of telling the 'public' what we are telling them, when by any measure the accolades claimed must be coming from pretty selective sources. A few minutes a week meant for some introspection and we get a party political broadcast for keeping the gravy train running...because, frankly, what can the public really DO about it.

Good try Ray, but... beyond parody.

News driven

First the disclaimer: there is nothing but horror at the act, and sympathy for all those affected (a term that does not do justice to the primary victims) by the crime in Antigua.

And in the great scheme of global medical insurance and international police cooperation I can see how private jets bring victims back for more specialist medical care and complementary detecting support gets flown out to assist in investigation.

But unless we are talking a very well connected bunch of opportunistic bungling burglars I am having trouble fathoming why the ambulance for the surviving spouse needed a police escort from the airport to hospital.

And here is the news... that we'd like to see

One expects certain newspapers, and their employees, to follow certain paths.

However, it seems these days some can wander so far off the track that they simply fall into a crevasse.

This week, Miliband made winning look possible again

Just look at the comments, especially by those asking why one earth they are being subjected to such blatant propaganda as wishful thinking that simply defies logic and insults intelligence. It is so crass that it almost gives credence to the notion that this is indeed some bizarre set-up.

I have to say it is about time some commentators and reporters were given cause to think before they write.


All that glitters is not golden?

Has Brown's reverse Midas touch upset the British Energy takeover deal?

I was idly pondering, and it struck me the reverse of 'Midas' reads 'Sad, 'im'. Seemed appropriate.