The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

17 June
Comments Off on The Leveson Inquiry into Infinity…and Beyond..and stuff…

The Leveson Inquiry into Infinity…and Beyond..and stuff…

Lord Leveson, the big legal cheese heading up the Inquiry into media behaviour and, it appears everything else in infinity and beyond, had his bewigged fronds bruised by the audacity of a member of a government duly elected by a majority of British voters who said

the Leveson Inquiry had created a ‘chilling atmosphere’ towards freedom of expression and any attempt to tighten regulation of newspapers could result in ‘a cure worse than the original disease’.

It is alleged that the noble lord was deeply aggrieved by such abusive language and perhaps he almost considered referring the matter to his unelected mates at the European Court of Human Rights. But, instead, he took the UK Establishment route. The unelected judge complained to an unelected civil servant, no less a figure than Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary and Britain’s pen pusher supreme.

Memos obviously went back and forth. Quiet words were probably whispered into certain ears. Attempts to unruffle feathers were made. No doubt the golden mantra of avoiding a “fuss” could be heard in the corridors of power. So when Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, the minister who had so rattled the Levesonian cage, was summoned to give evidence to the Inquiry himself it was expected that, still smarting from rapped knuckles, he would, like Henry II in 1174, crawl on his knees in penance across the room, clothed in sackcloth and covered with ashes.

Instead the noble judge was shocked to find Mr. Gove not only defiant but openly aggressive in his attitude towards the Inquiry in general and His Levesonianship in particular.

Mr. Gove, the Education Secretary, gave an impassioned defence of the right to offend people as he gave evidence to the hearing on media ethics. Mr. Gove clashed with the judge several times, as he warned against knee-jerk decisions to put new restrictions on newspapers and broadcasters. “The cry, ‘Something must be done’ often leads to people doing something which isn’t always wise,”

Moreover he actually had the nerve to rebuke His Legal Lordship

The judge said he was concerned that the Education Secretary was prepared to put up with “unacceptable, albeit not necessarily criminal” behaviour from journalists because of the right to freedom of speech.
Mr. Gove said some cases of press misbehaviour were “deplorable” but argued that these could be punished under existing laws, such as defamation. “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean anything unless some people are going to be offended some of the time,” the minister said. Defending the “rough-edged” trade of journalism, the minister said it “twas ever thus” that reporters are unpopular. “Politicians and journalists have always tended to be held in relatively low regard,” he said

Politicians and journalists have always tended to be held in relatively low regard
He might easily have added lawyers and judges…….

Mick Hume at Spiked sums up this farce in his usual straight from the hip style

We are faced with an almost medieval spectacle of a judge and his top lawyer acting as priestly men of wisdom, apparently drawing their authority from some higher power, to interrogate and pass judgement on elected politicians and other public figures from the mortal world. That might have seemed strange and worrying enough. Stranger and more worrying still, however, is that so many rational and liberal-minded figures have chosen not merely to kowtow to the unreasonable power of the inquisition, but to cheer on the inquisitors

Cameron’s attempt to hit this hacking affair into the long grass by setting up the Inquiry has been a signal failure. Instead of allowing the courts to decide if actual laws had been broken by examining evidence he merely provided an additional trough into which well heeled lawyers and celebrity weasels can plunge their snouts.

Full marks. then, to Mr Gove for pricking the Levesonian balloon. However, even more satisfying, it seems clear that the general public have already filed this as a circus of relevance only to the Westminster village. With the Eurozone imploding and the UK economy at ground zero the noble lord and his underlings are prancing around the sawdust to a rapidly dwindling audience.

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12 July
Comments Off on Murdoch v The Media Elite Lynch Mob = Dan Rather’s Revenge?

Murdoch v The Media Elite Lynch Mob = Dan Rather’s Revenge?

In the old Soviet Union one tool Kremlinologists used to forecast shifts in the political climate was to peruse the inside pages of Pravda and spot the apparently insignificant article that they could identify as a marker for any forthcoming reconfiguration.

The articles were placed as signposts for mid level Communist Party members to prepare for changes in direction in their party “work” which, for the CPSU, as with any other totalitarian party, was almost exclusively agitprop –agitation and propaganda.

The BBC in very many ways can be seen as an agitprop arm of the British liberal/left cultural elite, a group which usually manages to direct the UK’s political and social agenda even though much of it (EU membership, unrestricted immigration, political correctness etc etc)is deeply unpopular with the majority of the population.

Moreover, with the globalisation of information media ,the lack of any patriotic affinity in the mindset of this elite allows it to integrate seamlessly with its equivalents in the USA and elsewhere

So the appearance of this article by Tom Geoghegan on the BBC website “Rupert Murdoch:Could his US empire be affected?” should be ringing alarm bells for conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. For this is not really about the rather shady ethics of a few phone hacking tabloid journalists. Indeed, while the story only appeared to involve celebrities and politicians it never really gained traction. Moreover, because the hacking took place several years ago under a Blair/Brown Labour government that at the time was very cosy with Rupert Murdoch and his tabloids meant that it remained low key with Milliband, Balls and co. Besides News of the World staff had been jailed and the editor at the time had resigned so heads had rolled.

But what has given it legs in New York and London is the revelation that the paper’s staff had hacked into a murder victim’s mobile phone. This has, quite rightly, created immense public anger – and given the liberal/left media elite, so often out of tune with popular opinion, a golden opportunity to spearhead a lynch mob.

It’s not about Murdoch and his papers – after all the dead tree press as a vehicle for news is a dinosaur on its way to extinction. The real target is Murdoch the TV baron with Fox News in the USA and Sky News in Britain. Note how Geoghan slips “right wing” into the mix. It’s a standard adjective that is permanently attached to any comment about Fox News in the UK and, it must be admitted, a brilliant example of the effectiveness of well organised agitprop. The fact that every other US network/cable news platform is imbued as deeply as the BBC in the liberal/left metro mindset is always studiously ignored.

It is no accident that the long buried phone hacking story was disinterred by the New York Times last autumn and quickly picked up in Britain by the Guardian and the BBC just as Murdoch’s bid for the whole of Sky. the BBC’s only meaningful TV competitor was about to go under public scrutiny. All three have a keen interest in undermining Murdoch and emasculating Fox because they know that Murdoch is the only player in the game who threatens the dominant position of the liberal/left cultural elite in the UK and the USA.

A perceptive piece in The Commentator reads the runes with chilling accuracy. This is not about journalistic ethics. It’s a fight to protect the authority of the great and the good against the upstarts of the new media – and, at the moment, the right wing establishment is doing what it does best….running for cover.

It’s the revenge of Dan Rather.

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