Once again, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are desperate to change the subject - away from day to day politics, where their shrieking denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn is having no effect, and to an area which is hitting Don Rupioni and his fellow Mafiosi where it hurts - in their pockets. Yes, web giants like Google and Facebook are back in the Sun’s crosshairs today.
In an intemperate yet mirth-inducing Sun Says, readers are told “Their failure to act has led to mass murder, now internet giants must be forced to eradicate the extremism on their sites … A soft approach won't work: Facebook, Google and Youtube should face fines if they don't remove illegal content”. The thought immediately occurs that someone is having a serious self-awareness failure here, and it’s whoever approved this editorial.
But do go on. “THE arrogant and over-mighty web giants will not eradicate extremism on their sites without being forced to … So the QC overseeing our anti-terror laws is away with the fairies if he thinks it will just take a little more co-operation between them and the police”. Ah, so some tougher regulation might be in order … hang on a minute, wasn’t that the kind of thing the Murdoch press has spent years opposing? It surely has!
The parallel with press regulation doesn’t stop there, as the editorial continues “Facebook and Google have had endless chances. Their failure to act has led directly to mass murder … Through YouTube, Salman Abedi built the bomb with which he slaughtered 22 in Manchester”. Hate speech? And the Finsbury Park attacker? And Byron Williams, stopped on California’s Interstate 580 on his way to kill people at the Tides Foundation?
Williams had been watching rather a lot of the ranting coming out of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Run by the Murdoch Mafiosi. But let’s consider all those “endless chances”. The Press Council didn’t stop press misbehaviour. So the PCC was born. That didn’t have any affect, either. So after the PCC came IPSO, and that has proved an utter sham. Anyhow … what does the Sun propose is done?
“We prefer the German approach - fines of £44million a time for failing to remove illegal content in 24 hours. But why not go further? Unlimited fines, or fines based on a percentage of turnover”. Sounds impressive. But … two things here.
One, what the Sun is not telling its readers is that the German approach to press misbehaviour includes ordering newspapers to publish corrections on the same page as the original article, and in the same type size. Hence German tabloid Bild on one occasion having to publish a correction to a front page splash … as a front page splash. If the Sun wants the German remedy for one, it can take it for all.
And two, as the Murdoch goons know well, IPSO has, in theory, the ability to fine newspapers as much as £1 million for the worst transgressions. Thus far, our allegedly tough press regulator has levied a total in fines of, er, zero. Zilch. Zip. Nil. Nada. Nothing. Not a sausage. Bugger all. One again, if the Sun wants the web giants to be subject to the German régime, it can volunteer for the same thing itself.
Indeed, the editorial seems to agree, concluding “Softly-softly won’t work. Our watchdog must bare his teeth, if he has any”. Yes, Murdoch goons - starting with yourselves.