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Friday 27 March 2015

Brooks Newmark - IPSO Fail

The disgraced Press Complaints Commission (PCC) was notorious for the way in which it excused dishonesty - Richard Littlejohn got away with it because it was “only an opinion column”, and so he was allowed to lie - and, more seriously, allowed newspapers defending complaints to have their own facts. This last was exemplified by a complaint against Telegraph blogs over the so-called “Climategate” affair.
(c) Steve Bell 2014

The PCC allowed James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole to say that the emails obtained from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit meant what he said they meant. This was most convenient for the Tel and its pundit, but would never have passed any proper judicial process. And, to no surprise at all, the PCC’s successor, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is doing likewise.

This brings us to the “stingoperation on Tory MP Brooks Newmark. Here, IPSO decided to take a pro-active stance after it was revealed that both the Sunday Sun and Mail On Sunday had turned down the efforts of Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, newly anointed teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, before the Sunday Mirror decided to run the story and credit it to two of its own hacks.

The Fawkes rabble, despite their not having signed up to IPSO, and therefore not subject to any judgment it makes, were aghast, and launched a “look over there” exercise. But now that IPSO has duly wiped the Sunday Mirror’s arse, all is changed. All of the Fawkes folks were crowing that what they did was justified.

But then those pesky and inconvenient facts enter: IPSO had allowed the Sunday Mirror its own facts, and specifically on Wickham’s role. IPSO “decided that Wickham did have information that Newmark had approached other women on social media”. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, “Ipso did not interview or communicate in any way with Wickham”. IPSO took “Billy Liar’s” claim on trust.

Because Wickham was not questioned, we were no nearer getting a full and complete disclosure of all the messages passed between Newmark and the fictional “Sophie Wittams”. It gets worse: IPSO effectively investigated no more than what the Sunday Mirror allowed it to. And there was no adjudication, because, after Tory MP Mark Pritchard withdrew his complaint, no-one was complaining.

And what of those photos of members of the public that were used, without permission, as part of the “sting” exercise? No, IPSO didn’t bother with those, either. Instead, it just rubber-stamped the Sunday Mirror article’s legitimacy, while failing to probe the honesty of the Fawkes rabble, and not bothering to ask why two other papers might have had good reason for deciding that the story was worth only giving a wide berth.

Thus another example showing IPSO is the same PCC piss, but in a tastefully relabelled bottle. We know what happened to the PCC, don’t we? IPSO, without drastic reform, will follow it into discredited obscurity with the certainty of night following day.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Here's another IPSO fail featuring the wonderful David Rose!