Our free and fearless press is, mainly, regulated by a body calling itself IPSO, which stands for Independent Press Standards Organisation. This is meant to show unbelievers that this relatively new body is properly independent, unlike the discredited Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which certainly was not. But there is one problem with IPSO, and that is that it is not independent at all.
What's that on the wall? MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN ... What's that all about? Bloody migrants get everywhere
IPSO is funded by the Regulatory Funding Company, which is controlled by that part of the press which signs up to IPSO’s regulation. So if the allegedly independent regulator goes off-piste, it can be brought to heel in very short order simply by having the RFC turn off the money tap. IPSO is a press puppet, and does as it is bloody well told. Worse, its CEO, one Matt Tee, has also shown that his impartiality is non-existent.
Tee, whose latest media outing included the priceless claim that “Migrants as such are not a group that can be discriminated against” - try telling that to the Mail, Express, Sun and several other titles - has been excusing IPSO’s inability to do anything about pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins’ Sun column comparing refugees to cockroaches, offering the suitably lame excuse that the regulator cannot stop bad taste being published.
You see, bad taste is not covered by the Editor’s Code, a document that is in any case not worth the paper it is sometimes printed on, as the press manages to ignore it when push comes to shove, with IPSO then wiping their collective backsides. Yes, Tee was in proper hand-wringing mode, but later became positively Napoleonic when challenged over his clear lack of impartiality - a discussion with a very revealing conclusion.
After Tee had openly advertised an article in the FT which made partisan political comment, Tweeting “Top analysis and writing. Janan is a must read”, another Tweeter questioned his judgment: “why is the head of the ‘neutral’ press regulator sending out supportive Tweets on anti Corbyn pieces?” Good question. Would the IPSO CEO care to respond? “Because I celebrate quality journalism, whatever perspective it comes from”.
Not as CEO of IPSO, you don’t. His inquisitor came back with “Okay, but if I was the press regulator I wouldn’t comment on party political comment”. Privately, yes, but not on an open Twitter feed. What did The Great Man have to say to that? Tee summoned up all of his intellectual reserves and declared “And I am and you're never going to be”. He can be as partial as he likes, and with no risk that anyone will do anything about it.
Indeed, once can almost imagine Tee - another of those immodest men with much to be modest about - attired as Napoleon and declaring “L’IPSO, c’est moi”. There was never a more outstanding example of IPSO’s sheer uselessness, combined with the breathtaking arrogance of its placeman CEO, than Tee’s Twitter outburst, coming on the back of his excuse-making for more of that incitement which masquerades as journalism.
IPSO is the PCC, er, fluid in a differently labelled bottle. That’s fluid, as in the kind of fluid that Matt Tee is so full of. In addition to the wind that goes with it.