The rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog must have thought they had hit on a winner last week after discovering the European Initiative on Media Pluralism. Here was a scoop of the kind that the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his pals thrive on: there were hated Eurocrats, rotten lefties and even Hugh Grant, because he once met someone at the European Commission (EC).
So under the aegis of Media Guido, which I’m sure didn’t really rip off its heading style from Private Eye’s Street of Shame section, came the suitably creative heading “EU Lefties Trying to ban Murdoch, Axel Springer and Berlusconi”. The whole project was “a nefarious group of press-hating leftist Leveson lovers”, and, moreover, it was “The EU’s version of Hacked Off”.
Wow. So what was this “nefarious group” up to? You’ll never guess. They’re “trying to have a directive passed by the EC that would have a drastic impact on media moguls”. They are? Well, so the Fawkes folks would have us believe: there are even a list of “demands” that have been made. This is then asserted to be down to Hugh Grant having his meeting at the EC.
By this time, regular Zelo Street watchers will have experienced a certain amount of déjà vu, as this, sad to tell, is not new news. This blog looked at the report that had been made [.pdf] to the “High level group to discuss freedom and pluralism of the media across the EU” on January 23, after a number of press reports had run scare stories about its purpose the previous day.
Note also that the “High level group” was there to discuss freedom and pluralism of the media. That means it is not going to make demands, and far less issue directives. Moreover, the report was not made by the group, but passed to it for further consideration. And it’s a bit of a stretch to pretend that a group looking to uphold press freedom can be called “press-hating”.
But what of the Leveson connection? There isn’t one: this link was asserted by the papers running frighteners about the whole exercise, but was just another lame attempt to slip a whopper into the narrative. And the “Lefties” meme? Also pure invention, as is the idea that Hugh Grant of all people exercises any influence on the EC. It’s a total crock of crap.
And, on top of that, it’s more than a fortnight behind the news cycle. What was all that about Private Eye being two weeks late, Fawkes folks? Well, hey, you’ve managed to be even more than two weeks late on this one. So that strapline should now read “You’re either ahead of Guido, or more than two weeks ahead”.
That’s truly lame: getting the story a fortnight late, and then getting it wrong all the way through. Back to the drawing board, chaps. Another fine mess, once again.