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Sunday 10 June 2012

Tabloid Troll Gets Creative

[Update at end of post]

Following the unmasking of the periodically abusive Tabloid Troll by the serially tenacious Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame, there were at first yet more abusive comments, then counter accusations, and now there is smoke and mirrors. Because the more gullible are now being informed that there is, like the villain in the espionage thriller The Black Windmill, more than one of them.

His kind of Journalism

Sadly, this time there is neither the lead of Michael Caine, nor the overacting of Donald Pleasence, to lift the tedium, just the continued presence of Dennis Rice, now freelance, but formerly a servant of a variety of titles over the years. Yet the pretence continues, with the launch of a new blog which borrows a well worn Royal habit, using the singular form of “we”.

And this is then used to make yet another lame defence of Rice’s unmasking: “It has meant that in the case of one journalist wrongly identified as being Tabloidtroll we haven't been able disprove blatant lies which have been told about him in an instant - which coming out and saying who we are would obviously do”. We can tell Rice something else right away, and that is that we are not amused by his charade.

But he’s off and running: “Tabloidtroll isn't the work of any one person holding only one set of views ... you'll see that the tweets from @tabloidtroll are too varied and, in some cases, too contradictory to be coming from the keyboard of a single journalist”. So perhaps things are going to move on from the account being used to launch attacks on those Dennis doesn’t like, to a land of make believe instead.

So how creative is he? Well, take the @tabloidtroll Twitter account bio: “Anonymous postings by a number of national newspaper journalists”. Convinced? You shouldn’t be: “a number” does not have to be more than one. I’ll go further: “a numberis in this case one. True, Dennis is being mildly dishonest in that he misses the “ex before “national newspaper journalists”, but old habits, and all that.

But what of the assertion that “without giving too much more away we can tell you that those contributing to this Tweet/Blog come from four very different and distinct tabloid newspapers”? Ooh, easy peasy: Rice has, during his career, worked for the Screws, Sunday Mirror, Daily Express and Mail On Sunday. So the criterion “both Sunday and Daily newspaper staff” is satisfied.

As for “of all colours and creeds, and sexes” (Silly me, I thought “sexes” was “both”, not “all”), that is also easily accomplished by Rice occasionally talking to his former colleagues. And he’s still sore about Tabloidtroll being unmasked: “it would be nice if the bile written by a handful of idiots about it being an Ad hominem account could end now”. You’re a real horse’s arse, Dennis.

And you’ve still been caught bang to rights. Stop wriggling and pretending.

[UPDATE 13 June 1050 hours: Dennis Rice, now continuing to pretend that he is more than one person, has backed down after yet another Twitter row, this time with Mic Wright who uses the handle @brokenbottleboy. Wright had some involvement in the process that led to Rice being outed. But it is the rest of Rice's latest blogpost that is perhaps yet more interesting.

"IP address investigations are only justified when someone has committed a crime" he asserts, thus defining his own law and justifying bullying campaigns against TabloidWatch and Rich Peppiatt (that's the kind of behaviour he now condemns). The fact is that Rice was stupid enough to walk into a well laid trap and is sore as hell about it, because the only person to blame is himself.

He then mounts another attack on Tim Ireland, accusing him of "targeting" agency stringer Nick Pisa, instead of telling that Pisa got ridiculed by rather more than just one person following the Mail using the "wrong story" on the Amanda Knox trial verdict. Pisa would garner rather more sympathy, had he not previously produced slanted and selective copy on the affair which effectively condemned Ms Knox as guilty.

And then, in a superb example of ineptitude, he accuses Ireland of "hounding a former TV production assistant from Question Time" because he was "removed from the show". Tim Ireland has no connection with that show. Rice has, as with all too many hacks, failed to bother himself to do his research. And Tim is as entitled as the next person to chase up information to which he is entitled by law.

Dennis Rice is flailing around, egged on by one or two equally deluded friends, while achieving nothing more than making himself look yet more ridiculous. It is an increasingly sad sight. But it is a situation entirely of his own making]

1 comment:

Tim said...

To be fair, this new blog appeared just a few days after @tabloidtroll bragged publicly about a lunch with @frankiescar (one of the few people who appears convinced that people have definitely got it wrong about Dennis Rice), so it is equally likely that there are up to TWO people involved, with each of them pretending to be more than one person.

Won't be the first time; the comments of the old site of Iain Dale used to be full of people pretending to be more than one person. (As you know, Fale did much to encourage this when it worked in his favour, which is what made it such a fertile breeding ground for sock puppets.)

So Dennis Rice may not be the author of all of the blog's contents (or even all of the Twitter account in recent times), but he still cannot explain the evidence showing that he was the main account holder when that DM was sent to @tabloidtroll. Dennis Rice has not sought to account for the evidence against him in any other way than to make misleading and untrue claims about that evidence and/or on behalf of police.

My favourite bit from the post was this build-up to one of two almighty straw men:

... for those who follow the account closely enough - such as the perceptive talkSPORT radio host Mike Graham - you'll see that the tweets from @tabloidtroll are too varied and, in some cases, too contradictory to be coming from the keyboard of a single journalist

I expect Dennis Rice wants me to get a professional language analyst to check this out. I'm sure he will 'tell @tabloidtroll to say something for him' if he would like this level of investigation to take place*.

My second-favourite bit is the following false dichotomy**...

it would be nice if the bile written by a handful of idiots about it being an Ad hominem account could end now. As we all know such accounts are closed down by Twitter in an instant

1. Yes, I wish those idiots would stop their Ad-hominem attacks, too. The idiots.

2. It is absurd to assert that Twitter closes down accounts of users merely for playing the man and not the ball. Dennis Rice (aka the main account holder for @tabloidtroll) merely broadcasts how shaky his defence is when he relies on false arguments like this.

As for his sign-off, well what can I say?

...and how many Ad hom's have 2,600 plus followers? Precisely.

This next bit may be news to some Twitter users, but not every 'follow' is a vote for you. Plus, there are plenty of purely ad-hom accounts with many, many more followers if this is the yardstick one chooses to be measured by.

I expect that's why Dennis rushed in to answer the question before it could be answered for him. Then again, it may be that Rice's propensity to talk to himself is reaching exciting new heights.

[*Dear Dennis #1: Let me know if you want me to get a cunning linguist onto this, and I will see what I can do. Personally, I'm not inclined to take the implied judgement of a talkSPORT radio host; I don't care how perceptive they are. ]

[**Dear Dennis #2: That's not Latin, by the way. It's English. But being a tabloid 'journalist', you can't be blamed for being unfamiliar with some of the bigger words (or how to deploy a simple apostrophe.)]