Hacktacular: The Guardian adapts The Daily Mail’s online strategy

Radiohead

What prompted this headline? One throwaway line uttered as a joke to an interview to another publication: [1]

“I can’t say I love the idea of a banker liking our music, or David Cameron,” the singer told Dazed & Confused. “I can’t believe he’d like [2011’s] King of Limbs much. But I also equally think, who cares? … As long as he doesn’t use it for his election campaigns, I don’t care. I’d sue the living shit out of him if he did.”

I know the discovery of adulterated food, a helicopter crash and a kidnapping in Western Africa mean today is a slow news day, but does this really need to be on the front page?

Sean Michaels has bills to pay I’m sure, but this is a new journalistic low. And is, in case you were wondering, precisely the Daily Mail’s online business model but replicated for a Guardian audience.

Look at it this way. The Daily Mail may have a reputation as a conservative hate rag, but online it is a font of celebrity gossip and paparazzi shots, this has made the Daily Mail the biggest English language newspaper website. The Guardian attempting a similar technique here. But instead of an almost completely fabricated account of Kim Kardashian’s view of the Chipotle restaurant chain, you have a completely misleading story about Radiohead’s view of the coalition. It is the same form but with different content.

It’s quite cute in a way.

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[1] Link works but with http:// replaced with hxxp:// because you shouldn’t reward linkbait with links.

The Worst Review I Have Ever Read

I like Laurie Penny’s writing, but its not subtle. Laurie’s recent review of a Game of Thrones was so poor that it has driven me to write a review of her review. Necessarily, here be Spoliers, beware. Superficially Game of Thrones appears like a normal, goodies versus baddies fantasy adventure. Were it my job to write about it though, I might bother to gain more than a superficial understanding of the stories plots and themes. This is over a thousand words of take down, which is relevant to hardly anyone, so I’m putting the rest below the fold. Continue reading

The Uppance Cometh

Mwahahaha. Remember, schadenfreude should be thoroughly enjoyed before policy analysis. It is good when people who professionally jeer at civil libertarians and cheer at heavy handed policing get a taste of poetic justice. This may have a chilling effect on free speech, but I doubt some mean bobbies will cause a rupture in over 100 years of boisterous British press history.

By the way, I was at the LibCon editorial meeting for this and this is an exact transcript:

Sunny Hundal: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?

Hopi Sen: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.

Sunny Hundal: Wrong! Don! What is best in life?

Don Paskini: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Sunny Hundal: That is good! That is good.

The Financial Times was once a paper of record – Elizabeth Rigby and Helen Warrell seem unhappy with that

So we have a profile of Theresa May, Home Secretary…

Theresa May is the head girl of David Cameron’s coalition. Famed for never putting a kitten-heeled foot wrong, the home secretary barely batted an eyelid this week when Ken Clarke rounded on her for claiming an illegal immigrant had avoided deportation because of his pet cat Maya.

It was a cat fight that the liberal justice secretary was doomed to lose, against a woman who has always done her homework and has the prime minister’s full backing to bear down on migrant numbers. Within hours, Downing Street had rallied to her defence, delighted at her crowd-pleasing attack on perceived abuses of the Human Rights Act. Mr Clarke had the backing of the Lord Chief Justice’s office, but he was still told to pipe down [my emphasis].

This spat is not interesting because two politicians had a difference of opinion, as is presented here by Elizabeth Rigby and Helen Warrell. This spat is interesting because one politician told the truth and one politicians made things up (or copied things made up by others) and the politician that made things up (or copied things made up by others) won the power struggle.

Ken Clarke was right to criticise Theresa May because she said something that was demonstrably untrue. It was, in fact, demonstrated to be untrue by her own department. The cat was “immaterial” to the reasons a certain Bolivian student was given leave to remain rather than reported.

Rigby and Warrell do not see fit to include this detail in their hagiography of Mrs May. They actually make light of the situation by closing with a pun that this is “just the sort of cat fight the party needs to keep the grassroots content.”

Real journalists would have pointed out that if the grassroots need falsehoods to keep the content then something is amiss at the Tory party conference. But it seems the Financial Times has decided it doesn’t need to employ real journalists anymore.

Life Neutral Solutions for the World’s Largest Arms Fair

We, well this country, is currently hosting the world’s largest arms fair at the ExCel centre down the road from me. Lots of lovely dignitaries from vile and autocratic regimes are browsing all the best cluster bombs and torture equipment money can buy. It disgusts me but it is good to see something worthwhile proposed: Life Neutral Solutions, the photo atop this post was taken outside my house.

Based on a modest proposal to emulate carbon offsetting programmes to tackle the unfortunate side effects of weapons use. For every life lost Life Neutral Solutions make sure that a new life flourishes! I hope those working in the arms industry take note of Life Neutral Solutions’ message.