Posts tagged media

Press gets it wrong – again

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If there’s one characteristic of the English Empire’s free and fearless press and the news media in general that’s immediately apparent to anyone with more than one brain cell, it’s their usually remote relationship with the truth.

In the last week or so a new word has emerged – pingdemic – in relation to the coronavirus pandemic to describe the large volume of self-isolation warnings issued by the Covid track and trace app (aka pings (pl.), as derived from the computer networking utility of the same name. Ed.).

Thus the terms ping and pingdemic have become part of normal newspaper and news media vocabulary, as shown in this typical example from yesterday’s London Evening Standard.

Headline reads Ping threat to our food, tube and bins

Whoever wrote the headline Ping threat to our food, tube and bins has clearly not thought the matter through.

It’s not the pings that are the threat but the viral plague which is giving rise to rocketing Covid, aided and abetted by an apology for a government that has removed restrictions far too soon and relinquished – in exemplary Pontius Pilate mode – all responsibility for safeguarding people’s health in the rush to let all their rich mates resume making Loadsamoney again.

All news is to a certain extent manipulated, but if those that right it cannot even get the basic details correct in a headline, is it any wonder that there is deep mistrust in the media?

Still, never mind with all this gloom and doom. Immediately adjacent is a prime example of look over there in the form of the current 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

The staff of the Standard clearly seem to have adopted the comment by Juvenal, the 2nd century Roman poet famous that the common people are only interested in bread and circuses (Latin: panem et circensis. Ed.) as editorial policy

Hidden exclusive: HGVs carrying agricultural vehicles now illegal

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The Ipswich Star is not believed to be widely read on your ‘umble scribe’s home turf of the West Country.

Indeed, your correspondent would not have looked at it at all had his attention not been drawn to a report of a local Tory councillor spouting denialist nonsense about racism.

However, checking out the paper’s news section resulted in the discovery of another of those hidden newspaper exclusives that seem so prevalent these days.

This hidden exclusive came in a piece about the successful start made by the constabulary’s new commercial vehicle team, which, since its inception in November 2020, has stopped 969 vehicles, dealt with 1,436 offences and issued £181,950 in fines.

Suffolk Constabulary's Commercial Vehicles Unit

Suffolk Constabulary’s Commercial Vehicles Unit. Photo credit: Suffolk Constabulary

The hidden exclusive can be found in the paragraph below, which details the team’s work.

A total of 189 vehicles were prohibited from the roads, 80 were immobilised and 222 given warnings, for offences including being overweight, mechanical reasons/condition, insecure loads, tachograph infringements, carrying dangerous goods, abnormal loads and agricultural vehicles.

Yes, you did read that right: within the context of that sentence, commercial vehicles carrying agricultural vehicles is now an offence.

Normally at this juncture in a post such as this, your correspondent would be castigating the journalist responsible for this gaffe. However, the sole thing for which I can criticise her is churnalism, i.e journalism based on press releases, rather than the journalist’s own investigation and research.

In this particular instance the sentence in question has been copied from the original police press release without scrutiny of its content and pasted directly into the Star’s piece.

So, now the workplace of the guilty party is known, one can say in conclusion someone in Suffolk Constabulary’s newsroom clearly needs to get hold of a dictionary and consult the definition for ambiguity.

Daily Mail – east Bristol comments

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Seen today at the junction of Clarence Road, West Street and Trinity Road where Easton meets Old Market.

No further comment is necessary apart from reminding readers that Wikipedia classified the Daily Mail as an unreliable source in 2017, a move which was confirmed in 2019.

Poster of Daily Mail masthead with bullshit emoji beneath

Court interpreting service – no longer Crapita, but still crap

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Ipswich Crown CourtThe contract for the provision of interpreting services in courts and tribunals may have been removed some time ago from the dreadful Crapita to thebigworld Group and any news of it has mostly disappeared from the newspaper headlines, but the quality of the service remains as dreadful as ever, if yesterday’s East Anglian Daily Times report is to be believed.

According to the EADT, the presiding judge, Mr. David Pugh, criticised thebigword after a case involving defendant Dudel Pitigoi had to be adjourned due to the failure of a Romanian interpreter to attend court.

Ipswich resident Pitigoi is accused of violent disorder and possessing a golf club as an offensive weapon during an incident in Norwich Road, Ipswich on November 23 2019.

Adjourning the case until 16th July, Mr Justice Pugh is quoted as saying:

I will stress the importance of ensuring an interpreter will turn up.

Behind that mild-sounding rebuke, there is a very angry man in a horsehair wig and a violet robe with lilac facings.

Whilst the judge managed to use the correct terminology – interpreter as opposed to translator – I recommend the author and any other passing EADT hacks peruse my handy illustrated guide to learn the difference between the two. 😀

Boats grow legs

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Since the widespread dismissal from newsrooms of sub-editors, the very people who would have spotted and corrected any inaccuracies and/or anomalies, many more hidden exclusives are being reported nowadays by our free and inaccurate press, provided one knows where to look and reads carefully.

Last week, the Shropshire Star had a hidden exclusive buried deeply in a piece on towpath repairs to the Shropshire Union Canal and local traders’ fear of loss of footfall in my home town of Market Drayton.

Shropshire Union canal in Market Drayton

Betton Mill on the Shropshire Union Canal in Market Drayton. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Canal & River Trust, which manages the waterway, is planning to close the towpath through Market Drayton for repairs lasting two months. This will also entail a loss of moorings during the works.

The fact that is has chosen do these works in the ten weeks from July 5 to September 10 hasn’t gone down too well with the director of one local boatyard, who is quoted as intimating that the closure would be a hammer blow to the summer trade, preventing visitors from mooring in the town and visiting shops and restaurants.

In a quotation in the report, she said the following:

It is basically the full length of the canal that goes through the town. Boats that would normally moor up and walk round the town, they won’t be able to do that.

Boats that would normally moor up and walk around town?

These two actions surely would be consecutive and not concurrent?

When did boats evolve the means of locomotion to be able to walk round the town?

Why have the national and international media not picked up the Star’s exclusive? After all, it is not every day that aquatic craft evolve enough to generate limbs.

If you have an answer to any of the above questions, please leave them in the comments below. 😀

GBeebies rinsed by Welsh soap

The new right-wing TV channel GB News (affectionately known as GBeebies by some. Ed.) seems to be getting off to an even worse start than had been predicted.

Today Nation Cymru reports that the channel is achieving worse viewing figures than some content on S4C, the Welsh language free-to-air television channel.

The latest figures revealed that a maximum of only 32,000 tuned in on Thursday last week. whilst a mere 31,000 could be bothered to turn in for Chairman Andrew Neil’s own flagship show.

No wonder he announced he was taking a break and flounced off back home to the south of, er, France.

In particular, Nation Cymru notes that GBeebies’ viewing figures were lower than those of S4C shows such as the long-running Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm, which attracts an audience of 44,000 viewers, according to S4C’s latest statistics.

Pobol y cwm logo

Moreover, there are other Welsh language shows produced by S4C that attract even higher figures, such as Patrol Pawennau (the Welsh language version of Paw Patrol. Ed.), which draws audiences of 161,000 people.

With the channel being boycotted by advertisers, the amateurish broadcasting and technical expertise on display and Brillo scarpering back home to Grasse for an indefinite period, one might expect GBeebies’ days as a broadcaster to be numbered.

Lovers of live disaster viewing had better get the popcorn in…

Electrifying

One of the staples of local news reporting is the activities of the emergency services – police, ambulance, coastguard, fire service – and in this regard Bristol Live – formerly the Bristol (Evening) Post is no exception.

Yesterday’s online edition reported on the fire service’s attendance at a possible incident on Colston Street (soon to revert to its original name of Steep Street after the city’s Victorian great and good renamed it after a slave trader. Ed.).

However, once again the reporter’s poor English is disappointing to read.

In the second paragraph readers are informed that

The alarm was sounded after what was believed to be an electric fire in Colston Street at around 8.22pm.

Where was the said domestic appliance left? In the roadway? On the footway/pavement?

Clarification was helpfully supplied by the fire service, whose spokesperson commented as follows:

Upon investigation, the issue was determined to be under the pavement and originating from an area of recently excavated electrical works.

So the fire, if it ever existed in the first place, was electrical, not electric.

As an aid to passing hacks wishing to improve their vocabulary, there follows below a handy pictorial guide to the difference between the two. 😀

An electrical fire

An electrical fire. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Electric fire

An electric fire (aka electric heater). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The art of the studied insult

G7 2021 logoThe outcome of the now-concluded G7 summit in Cornwall was to have been so different. Flying in the Red Arrows to impress the forrins with high-speed aerobatics, wheeling in Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor and her family in to schmooze and press the flesh; even the notoriously fickle English weather behaved itself.

Yes, the impression part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his organising committee wanted to do was show a reinvigorated English Empire, confident and occupying a major place on the world stage now Brexit had been done and the country had broken free of the shackles ostensibly imposed upon it by the Brussels Eurocrats.

However, what has emerged is the English Empire’s diminished role and importance in the world as a consequence of Brexit. The G7 media headlines have been dominated by the problems caused by Brexit and in particular the UK’s failure to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol, a binding international treaty signed as part of the divorce agreement between the EU and the English Empire, a matter which earned the part-time alleged prime minister a rebuke from US president Joe Biden.

However, Biden’s was not the only reprimand earned in recent days by Johnson’s government of none of the talents. On social media David Frost, the English Empire’s chief Brexit negotiator, who is also known as Frosty the No Man on account of his negotiating style, earned the displeasure of those on Twitter who can see further than the White Cliffs of Dover for turning up to a crunch meeting with the EU wearing tacky Union Jack socks.

In addition, Frost and other members of the alleged government have been widely quoted in the right-wing British media as calling on the evil EU to be less purist in its interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol. Consulting an online dictionary, one of the definitions of purism is a strict adherence to particular concepts, rules.

That’s right. The EU is and always has been a rules-based, whereas Britannia has long preferred to waive the rules.

The above-mentioned meeting between the EU and the English Empire did not end well, with EU officials clearly exasperated by the attitude of the English Empire government.

In particular, the words attributed to on EU official quoted have been interpreted as patronising by the Daily Brexit, which some still call the Express.

According to the Daily Brexit:

An aide to the EU chief told Channel 4 News that the tweet “was in English so that the British can understand it”.

This anonymous quote clearly falls into the definition of a studied insult.

In this context studied denotes an insult that is either the result of deliberation and careful thought or is based on learning and knowledge.

The quote is clearly aimed at the monoglot Brits’ ages-old reluctance to learn foreign languages (apart from Latin and classical Greek.? Ed.), even though a properly global Britain will need all the linguists it can get, but shows no signs of producing, with both the number of British universities still teaching degree modern language courses in decline and the number of undergraduate linguists also in decline.

Maesteg remembers Tryweryn despite council

In 1965 the village of Capel Celyn in the valley of the Afon Tryweryn valley in Gwynedd was flooded to create Llyn Celyn reservoir to supply water to the towns of Wirral peninsula and the city of Liverpool in England.

Needless to say, this act of colonial vandalism met with almost universal condemnation in Wales, represented a pivotal moment and event in Welsh nationalism and gave a huge boost to the Welsh devolution cause.

In addition, the drowning of the Tryweryn valley had a wide cultural impact.

In response to the impending flooding of the Tryweryn Valley, author Meic Stephens decided to paint “Cofiwch Tryweryn” (sic), Welsh for “Remember Tryweryn“, on a rock. Eventually he settled on the wall of a ruined cottage named Troed-y-Rhiw for his artwork. Because the original Cofiwch Tryweryn is grammatically incorrect, subsequent restorations of the wall have repainted the message correctly as Cofiwch Dryweryn, adding the consonant mutation.

Cofiwch Dryweryn mural after 2019 restoration

The original mural in Llanrhystud after 2019 restoration. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The mural has since gone on to be reproduced on T-shirts, pitchside banners at Welsh international football fixtures and replicated at other sites in Wales.

Which brings us to Maesteg and Bridgend County Borough Council.

Today’s Wales Online reports that Maesteg resident Sian Thomas-Ford’s Cofiwch Dryweryn, painted in 2019, had incurred with displeasure of Bridgend County Borough Council, which, in that accommodating manner peculiar to all local authorities, had ordered the mural’s removal.

original Bridgend Cofiwch Dryweryn mural

Picture courtesy of Yes Maesteg

Since 2019 the Bridgend mural has undergone some changes. Firstly, the two dragons – one red and one white – of Welsh legend have disappeared, whilst the Welsh independence slogan “Yes Cymru” has been added.

Bridgend Council took the attitude that the mural was an advertisement and notified Ms Thomas-Ford last summer that she could be prosecuted if she did not paint over the mural. Furthermore, the council told Ms Thomas-Ford that their highways department found the mural is a “distraction to drivers”. The council’s planning fees for advertisements range from £120 to £460. Ms Thomas-Ford’s response to the council was defiance, stating she did not intend applying for planning permission because the mural is not an advertisement, but rather a celebration of Welsh history and a reminder of an event that should not be forgotten.

Ms Thomas-Ford told Wales Online that the mural had sparked lots of conversations locally about Welsh history and culture.

Some 3,000 people signed a petition in support of keeping the mural.

The council has now dropped its bureaucratically absurd position of regarding the mural as an advertisement. In a bit of municipal face-saving, a council spokesperson is quoted as saying:

From the council’s perspective, advertising consent is required to protect the householder, but we do not currently intend to take any further action. It remains open to the owner if they wish to regularise the matter.

Old Corruption and young Alexander

Part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Never trust a man who combs his hair with a balloon

Corruption and the part-time alleged prime minister of the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.), one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, are often closely entwined.

Disregarding the current crowdfunded litigation against the government's awarding of PPE and other contracts during the pandemic, which was frequently characterised as less than transparent and evidence of a chumocracy, due to the frequent involvement of Tory party donors, I am reliably informed by Keith Flett’s blog that Johnson and his third bride Carrie Symonds recently spent a mini-honeymoon at Chequers, the grace and favour country house in Buckinghamshire provided at public expense for the use of prime ministers, alleged, part-time or other.

Keith Flett’s blog post also comes with the interest fact that William Cobbett, the pamphleteer, journalist, Member of Parliament and farmer, referred to such sinecures as Chequers as the “Old Corruption“.

Further delving into the topic of the Old Corruption took me to the website of St Stephen’s Chapel in Westminster, which reveals that, before the 1832 Reform Act, the “Old Corruption was a system by which the elite benefited from selling of offices, sinecures (jobs which paid a salary for little or no work) and pensions. Patrons also influenced the small electorate, often through monetary incentives, to secure election for their friends and allies to parliament“.

However, the sale of offices and other abuses did not entirely die out after the enactment of the so-called “Great” Reform Act of 1832.

Honours continued to be sold throughout the Victorian era, culminating in the actions of David Lloyd George when Prime Minister. Lloyd George made the practice of selling honours more systematic and more brazen, charging £10,000 for a knighthood, £30,000 for baronetcy and £50,000 upwards for a peerage, and by so doing prompting the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925. Furthermore, practically every single prime minister since has repaid favours with honours such as a seat in the House of Lords, knighthood or such like.

More evidence of corruption, neither ancient nor modern, but extremely blatant, emerged this past week and once again involved a certain Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the other members of the cast being one Peter Cruddas, billionaire, and the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

In December 2020, it was announced that Cruddas, a former Tory Party treasurer, would be made a life peerage after a nomination Johnson, despite the contrary advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

As reported by the Mirror, a few days later Cruddas made a donation of half a million pounds to the Tory Party.

The Old Corruption is perhaps not so old at all, but surprisingly contemporary

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