The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

29 November
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Phone Hacking And The Police Under The Labour Government – A Question Still Unanswered?

As Alistair Thompson points out the biggest mystery behind the phone hacking scandal that spawned the Leveson Inquiry is why the police and the Blair/Brown Labour government turned a blind eye to this illegal activity. Yet this is a question still largely unanswered by the Leveson Report – and, of course, ignored by Ed Milliband, Ed Balls and Tom Watson who were very close to the levers of power in those Blair/Brown years.

Could it be that from 1996 to 2010 Rupert Murdoch supported the Labour party?

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17 June
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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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19 August
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Moral Panics? At The BBC It’s What We Do…..

Obviously over the last few days the great and the good at the BBC have become rather unsettled as control over the urban mob violence and looting narrative began slipping through their fingers.

Shocked by the tsunami of contempt that hit them when they tried to frame the discussion in terms of “protestors”, poverty and/or race the Beeboids and their allies in the left wing media/academic cultural elite have been desperately searching for a way of regaining control of the issue by shifting the parameters of the debate.

The initial attempt was laughably unsubtle. Making much of a bevy of leading police officers, spearheaded by ACPOs big cheese Sir Hugh Orde, the aim was to portray the Cameron government as being out of touch. “Leave it to the boys in blue” became the watchword.

Unfortunately the evidence of a lack of leadership and control from the higher echelons at the Met over the first 2/3 days of mob rule in parts of London was so overwhelming that the utterances of Orde and Co. had a very hollow ring.

But, as David Vance at Biased BBC noted yesterday, a new editorial line had been adopted by the BBC suits and programmed into the robotic Sarah Montague as she fed the appropriate cues to the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, over sentences handed out to looters. Naturally he came back with the appropriate response – “a collective loss of proportion” This triggered Sarah’s circuitry and produced the key phrase we shall be hearing over and over again at this weekend’s North London dinner parties.

Moral panic.

It’s all out of proportion, you see. There’s no real threat but a lot of opportunists have jumped on this bandwagon to further their own political agenda.

Moral panics allegedly arise when an event is perceived as a threat to society and its values. Those who foment the panic are said to be motivated by a fear of losing control. They therefore attempt to channel potentially disruptive energy by portraying another person or group – “folk devils” – as more of a danger than they actually are. So the Sarah Montague/BBC line appears to be that Cameron is using the riots as an opportunity to demonise the disenfranchised and divert attention from his austerity drive and, strangely enough, that was the angle recently taken by The New York Times…..surprise, surprise….

Heavy stuff, indeed…

But wait a minute – “no real threat but a bandwagon to further an agenda”……”folk devils”…..that seems to ring a bell….

Rupert Murdoch, Anders Breivik, bankers, EDL, AGW deniers, Israelis – now there is a collection of folk devils for you, always presented as the symbols of dark forces ever ready to take us back to some Thatcherite nightmare away from sweetness and light.

Moral panics? At the BBC it’s what we do…..

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14 July
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Obama Signals Move Against Murdoch/Fox – BBC Playing Its Role Perfectly…

The BBC’s Jonny Dymond has been sounding out some of the usual suspects from the US liberal left over their reaction to the News of the World phone hacking affair.

The top brass at the Beeb have obviously got the nod from their friends at the New York Times (“the Democratic Party at prayer”) that the Obama machine is very interested in the possibility of slipping a knife between Murdoch’s ribs and defenestrating Fox News. Dymond, therefore, was temporarily withdrawn from the Tea Party=militias=KKK =racism desk at AgitProp HQ and ordered to link up with the planners at Operation Fox Hunter.

Washington correspondent Jonny Dymond reports on whether any “bad habits have slipped over to the Atlantic”

Jonny isn’t talking about his own bad habits of slipping things across borders… Lithuanian customs officers still have him on file. Nor was he talking about CNN’s Piers Morgan’s habits because, so far, the BBC doesn’t appear to be too interested in a left wing tabloid not owned by Murdoch.

No – we are now reaching what I predicted was the most important item on the agenda…..the preparation of a full frontal attack on Fox News.

Others with noses closer to the DC beltway have also been sniffing the air, particularly the UK Telegraph’s Toby Harnden. He tried for ages to get a feel on the Murdoch/USA issue from Obama apparatchiks in Congress and the White House but kept on getting blanked.

They were all waiting for Valerie Jarrett to tell Obama what his decision would be.

It was a go.

Straight away Sen Jay Rockefeller had new batteries inserted and was wheeled out to transmit the official party line.

SEIU is almost certainly being fed more Soros money to add to it’s taxpayer funded coffers in order to organise “spontaneous” demonstrations of anger outside Fox properties. “Independent” op-ed scribblers at NYT and WaPo have received templates for their thoughtful “fairness” pieces.

I called this Dan Rather’s revenge not because it was Fox that pulled that neat little trick. Fox is too timid to operate behind enemy lines like the right blogosphere. Fox’s importance is to act, like the UK’s Mail and Sun, as a counter balance to the distortion of the news as it is passed through the left wing filters of the establishment media. The right blogosphere’s role is to dig up the evidence for the lies, corruption and hypocrisy of the left’s mouthpieces in New York, Hollywood and elsewhere.

Unlike Chappaquidick and the NYT/Guardian Wikileaks campaign nobody has been killed as a result of News of the World phone hacking. Yes it was unsavoury and seedy – but that is the nature of journalism. It’s a competitive dog eat dog world where you are only as good as your last story – just like Hollywood, politics and drug dealing. So the key to fighting the forthcoming onslaught is not to excuse the activities that took place several years ago under the Blair/Brown Labour government that refused to take action because at the time they were supported by the Murdoch press.

The line to take is to condemn all dirty tricks then follow up with just a representative sample of nefarious activities undertaken by the Democrats and their surrogates over the last ten years….you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Then, as was once suggested by a certain Chicago Light Bringer, get in their faces.

The big question is – what will the GOP political/media”leadership” do over this? Surely it won’t bolt for cover and hide under the table with its thumb in its mouth while the mob is baying outside the door….will it?

Surely there will be someone who will run to the fight – with a smile and a rapier….

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12 July
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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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