The enthusiasm of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog for putting the boot into truly independent press regulator IMPRESS, in order to improve the chances of their true masters, the press establishment, throwing them a biscuit, has already been noted here on Zelo Street. But The Great Guido has now moved from merely cheerleading to becoming a conduit for more Fake News.
Max Mosley went on the Radio 4 Today programme yesterday to discuss press regulation, which was the cue for the Fawkes goons to do what they do so well: tell packs of lies, while accusing their target of doing the same. A classic Fake News ploy.
Under the heading “Max Mosley’s Today Programme Porkies”, readers are told apropos a regulator recognised under the terms of the Royal Charter “That ‘recognised regulator’ would be Mosley’s own Impress, which due to its public pronouncements ranting bile and invective against newspapers and journalists, no mainstream newspaper will join”.
Let’s take this nice and slowly, shall we? One, IMPRESS is not Mosley’s regulator. Two, any regulator can apply for recognition, so it does NOT have to mean IMPRESS. Three, IMPRESS has not made any public pronouncements “ranting bile and invective”.
It gets worse. “Impress and Section 40 would have newspapers bankrupted by corrupt MPs, dodgy traders, and c-list celebs pursuing vexatious cases free-of-charge”. One, IMPRESS is a press regulator. It has no power to progress legal actions, and certainly not to bankrupt anyone. And two, vexatious claims would be struck out and Section 40 costs rules would not apply, as I pointed out yesterday. More Fake News.
And worse still: “Cheap and accessible out-of-court arbitration is already available through a pilot-scheme run by current regulator IPSO, a key Leveson recommendation implemented”. One, it does not implement a key Leveson recommendation, as it is not available by default, and in all cases. Two, it’s not cheap. And three, as it is a pilot scheme, it allows IPSO to pick and choose. More Fake News.
And even worse: “IPSO also has the power to fine newspapers up to £1 million through its parallel complaints and mediation process, force them to print its adjudications and dictate the wording of corrections”. One, as I told yesterday, the “£1 million fine” is mere window dressing. IPSO has been in existence well over two years and it hasn’t fined anyone anything. Two, the adjudications are tucked away out of sight of all but the most diligent reader - as they were with the PCC. And three, the dictation of wording ain’t happening.
Then it’s on to Leveson 2, where the Fawkes rabble claims “Mosley means jack-booted probe Operation Elveden, the failed crusade against popular newspapers. Elveden coppers dragged 34 innocent journalists from their beds at dawn to the dock without resulting in a single conviction, costing the taxpayer £15 million”. Oh dear.
We’ll take this one nice and slowly, too. One, Elveden was not a crusade, and it only happened because the Murdoch management shopped its own journalists and their contacts to the Met in order to stave off the prospect of a corporate prosecution. Two, more than 30 of the contacts thus betrayed had their careers ruined and were jailed. And three, Leveson 2 is not about that anyway. Think Daniel Morgan murder, Mazher Mahmood, and more Police-press corruption. Yet more Fake News.
But the Pièce de Résistance in this particular Fawkes Magnum Opus was at the beginning, and it is this which qualifies the post as sub-Breitbart Fake News dishonesty of the most blatant kind.
This is the opening passage: “Max Mosley appeared on the Today programme to claim the regulator is ‘completely independent of me’. Untrue: Mosley has donated £4 million to Impress. It wouldn’t exist without him”.
Again, let’s take this nice and slowly. One, Mosley has made no personal donation - this has come from the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust, and was not donated to IMPRESS directly. This is important. It means Mosley cannot exert any leverage, or other influence, on IMPRESS. And two, IMPRESS existed before the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust took its decision to donate funds.
IMPRESS was formally launched at a gathering in central London during the week before the referendum on Scottish independence, in 2014. I can say this with some confidence, as I was there, as a contributor to the initial crowdfunding of the organisation. And I can also say that Max Mosley was not there. Because, although IMPRESS was by this point most certainly in existence, Mosley was not connected with it, linked with it, or associated with it in any way, shape or form.
The Great Guido could have checked this critical detail quite easily - at least one of those the Fawkes blog has already gratuitously slagged off in their previous attacks on IMPRESS was present at the gathering, and could have put them straight.
Where that gathering took place I am not at liberty to say, save to tell that it would not take long to walk there from the IPSO offices.
So The Great Guido went wrong in the very first paragraph of his latest attack on Max Mosley and IMPRESS. Correct journalism protocol was not so much abandoned, as not even considered. No attempt was made to stand up any of the claims made. Yet Staines and his pals call themselves journalists - which they most certainly are not.
The Fawkes rabble may have earned themselves brownie points and biscuits from this latest shameless pack of lies, but only at the expense of whatever credibility they had left. The Great Guido is now reduced to peddling Fake News in an attempt to curry favour with the establishment that it claims to be outside. Another fine mess, once again.