Who started the long trend of fake stories about EU regulations? One Boris Johnson…
Lurking under The Sun's (loss making) website is WordPress VIP.
Links to the most interesting commentary around the arrival of The Sun's paywall.
I should have been talking to News UK this morning about The Sun's paywall. Instead, I'm eating toast.
Some links about our friends in the nationals that have been hanging around in my Chrome tabs for too long now:
- The Independent has switched its blogs from Livejournal to WordPress. Makes sense. LJ always seemed like an odd fit.
- The Guardian is trying a new approach to covering science stories. About time someone tried an alternative – mainstream science coverage tends to be awful.
- The Sun proves that it’s remarkably talented at annoying sports bloggers.
- The Financial Times experiments with paywalled blogs. I think there’s room for paywalled blogs – but I think moving an existing one behind a paywall is an error.
Hold on to your hats. I’m going to do something I don’t often do:
Yes, I just linked to The Sun. Why? Because this is yet another example of people failing to understand the nature of the net – something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to over the last week, for various reasons. Publishing on the internet is not a “get out of jail card” – if anything, it’s the reverse. If you rant about your pupils to a friend in a letter, the chances are that only your friend will ever see it. If you rant about them on a web page, the chances are that your pupils will be able to track it down.
Now, there are way of posting private stuff to the net, well, privately. Facebook and Vox et al have privacy features built in. Until people learn to understand this, and then start using them, then stories like this will keep bubbling up.
Full Hutton details here.
So, the BBC is in trouble, standing accused of poor journalism and worse management. The Sun faces serious repercussions from its decision to publish the leak of the report this morning.
We have some mild criticism of the Ministry of Defence for its handling of the release of Dr Kelly‘s name to the public, so we may yet see Hoon falling on his sword. I suspect we’ll see a whole raft of people throwing themselves on their sabres in the BBC.
I think there are two really significant things to come out of this. The first is the way our national press behaves. British journalism has taken on an increasingly free-wheeling and risk-taking style of late, with quote of dubious veracity, stories of dubious provability and an increasing tendency to let political bias colour the reporting of news. A bout of self-examination may be a very good thing indeed.
Even more interesting is the finding that the 45 minutes intelligence only came in between the two drafts of the dossier, was from a “reliable” source and was approved by the heads of the security and intelligence services, who turned down some suggestions for changes from Number 10.
One thing that has depressed me for months is the way that elements of the media and of the public will shift their ground and make assuming to win their point in the debate over the war. Now debate over an issue as serious as war is a good thing; a vital thing in a functioning democracy. It is not a game, though, a debate to be won or lost, it’s an exercise in testing that what we do collectively, as nations, is right and the best thing we could have done. The more we ignore the facts to make our case, the more we jeopardise that conclusion.
There are lives at stake here. Lives of Iraqis. Lives of British servicemen, and those from the US and from other contries who have now commited troops into Iraq. Live of Government scientists, like the respected scientist driven to kill himself in Oxfordshire woods. Let’s bring the level of the debate up to the level of consequence, shall we?
One of my colleagues thoughtfully left a copy of The Sun is the office loo today. Inside was a quite marvellous article outlining how Lara Croft is destroying relationships because men lust after her and not their girlfriends.
Our favourite tabloid is quite happy to print pictures of the voluptuous Lady Croft, both the live action and digital versions, while condemning her as a cyber marriage wrecker. The article is, of course, nonsense.
Ladies, I’ll let you into a secret. Any man who’d rather waggle away on his Playstation rather than have sex with you is either not worth having any more or has lost interest in you anyway. Consider it a lucky escape.