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Thursday 15 December 2016

IPSO Hypocrisy Tees Off

There has been a great deal of spin, creative excuse generation, and a spectacular amount of hand-wringing emanating from sham press regulator IPSO since it was formed as an allegedly effective replacement for the discredited PCC, only for it to become clear that it was, in fact, just the same old PCC, er, fluid in a differently labelled bottle. But now has come a truly jaw-dropping piece of deflection from its embattled CEO.
Matt Tee (for it was he) has given an interview to Global Government Forum, in which he has put on a totally straight face, and told his interviewer to “look over there” at today’s politicians who, he complains, talk well, and lie badly. As the article tells, “The rise of politicians who ‘lie routinely’ has created a problem that journalists ‘just don’t understand how to deal with’, the head of a UK press regulator has warned”.

Really? Do go on. “Matt Tee - chief executive of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which regulates the vast majority of Britain’s press - argued that some politicians lie so frequently that journalists aren’t able to challenge every untruth”. Tee claimed that if a politician “just told you 20 whoppers in the course of an interview, you’ve just not got enough time to go ‘But that’s not true’ of every whopper - and so a proportion of them enter the public dialogue as being true”. Ri-i-i-i-ght.

There was more from the IPSO CEO: “What we haven’t had before is politicians who just lie routinely, and part of the reason I think that some politicians have got away without the scrutiny that we might expect is that the usual techniques we would use in journalism to scrutinise that don’t work”. This deployment of brass neck is magnificent, but it is not difficult to hear the bullshit detector screaming away in the background.

The press knows exactly how to deal with the biggest liars - they lionise them, they publish their lies, and they even give them their own columns. Nigel “Thirsty” Farage is fĂȘted by the Express, Iain Duncan Cough was given a column recently by the Mail, and Dan, Dan The Oratory Man features in both Mail and Telegraph - regularly.

As for those “usual techniques we would use in journalism”, that will come as news to many followers of the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate, which routinely uses IPSO to wipe its collective backsides, and which is more than willing to leave lies unchallenged, provided they fit the paper’s agenda. Hence the likes of Farage, Duncan Cough and Hannan being given carte blanche, even when their dishonesty is well-known.

It gets worse: when the lying that is willingly published by those papers is challenged by its targets, IPSO is prepared to indulge in what is effectively lying of its own, in order to absolve the papers concerned of any blame. Memorable examples include Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan’s hatchet job on Byline Media, which Zelo Street called out, but was still excused by IPSO, who turned down the complaint about it.

For Matt Tee to whinge about others lying, when his own outfit takes a full part in the press’ tsunami of dishonesty, is just coming it. Away with you, Matty boy.


Andy McDonald said...

He might have a point of sorts here, in that the core duty of a journalist these days is not to get the story right, but to get it out. If a reporter is faced by a stonewalling politician repeatedly hammering home the party line, they may not have the time to probe the guy on every point - especially if every other reporter in the room is tapping away, and a press release giving the 'official' version of events is about to be mass-mailed to every main office. Their job, as they see it, is to cover the story then and there, and any analysis can be done later, if at all.

Not that it should be an excuse though. The truth is that all newspapers (online or print) are opinion sheets now, more about pushing the core message than reporting facts. This even extends into non-political journalism - the Amanda Knox appeal for instance.

Alan Clifford said...

About eighty years ago the all-Yank iconoclast H.L.Mencken wrote this in article titled Journalism In America:

“For example, the problem of false news. How does so much of it get into the American newspapers, even the good [sic] ones ? Is it because journalists, as a class, are habitual liars, and prefer what is not true to what is true? I don’t think so. Rather, it is because journalists are, in the main, extremely stupid......The New York Times did not print all its famous blather and balderdash about Russia because the Hon. Mr. Ochs......slaves were in the pay of Russian reactionaries......All around the borders of Russia sat propagandists hired to fool them......the result was the vast mass of puerile rubbish that Mr. Lippmann later made a show of......when [for journalists] such checking presents difficulties......he succumbs nine times out of ten, and without a struggle......victimized by the Russian “news” that made that paper ridiculous......it is rarely that an American newspaper comes out in these days without a gaudy story on its front page, rehearsing all the old lies under new and blacker headlines.”

So......Journalists? I’ve shit ‘em.

And there’s nothing reactionary new, especially under the Sun.