As the deadline for submissions to the Government’s “consultation” on Section 40 of the Crime And Courts Act, and Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, draw evers nearer, so the rhetoric coming out of the Fourth Estate - and its hangers-on - is becoming ever more desperate. And for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes, that means only one thing - dispensing a little forthright dishonesty.
And when it comes to the Fawkes goons and dishonesty, there is only one name in the frame when it comes to doing the job properly - Staines’ newly anointed teaboy Alex Wickham, who lies when he draws breath. Wickham’s chosen target for dispensing smears and dishonesty was former footballer, and Match Of The Day lead pundit, Gary Lineker, who had committed the heinous crime of not taking a Sun editorial seriously.
After Sun Says tried to slag off Max Mosley, but instead shot itself in the foot, Lineker commented “This is too funny: 'no democracy should tolerate press freedom being in the hands of a vindictive tycoon.' Must be irony”, and all hell broke loose. A number of press establishment backers piled in, and ultimately so did “Billy Liar” Wickham.
And so it came to pass that the Fawkes blog published a superb conflation of defamation, speculation and misinformation - as well as the obligatory pack of lies - as they brought their readers “Lineker Reveals Naivety And Personal Vendettas Of Section 40 Lobby”. And went wrong - seriously - with the very first sentence.
“Gary Lineker is a Hacked Off backer and high profile supporter of Section 40”. Lineker is not a backer of Hacked Off. Nor is he a “high profile supporter of Section 40”. He merely does not see what the press is getting so het up about. His reward is to be gratuitously defamed by a desperate press establishment wannabe (who really wants to be called a proper journalist, which he certainly isn’t).
That is not to say that Lineker won’t become a Hacked Off supporter as a result of Wickham’s ill-judged hatchet job, of course. “Billy Liar” is one of their most effective recruiting sergeants. Ditto Section 40. But on with the Fawkes post.
“Section 40 is so dangerous … because it will charge newspapers costs when corrupt, powerful people make vexatious legal claims against them”. It won’t charge newspapers when ANYONE makes vexatious claims against them. Such claims would be struck out before progressing to court and would not be subject to Section 40 cost rules. Memo to Alex Wickham: try and get yourself some proper legal advice for once.
Then comes another baseless smear: “Lineker then called for collective punishment of the national media, local newspapers, the entire magazine industry and student papers”. Wrong, wrong, and thrice wrong. Wickham wrongly CLAIMED that he had called thus. See the difference there, Alex? Projection, coupled with your customary dishonesty, does not equal fact. It only equals projection coupled with dishonesty.
Milk, no sugar, thanks Alex - now run along
It gets worse: “These three exchanges show the issue with Lineker, Max Mosley, Hacked Off, Impress and the Section 40 lobby”. As Lineker isn’t connected with any of the other four - except in the febrile imagination of “Billy Liar” Wickham - it shows nothing of the sort.
And worse: “They are rich celebrities with personal vendettas against the press”. Gary Lineker and “personal vendetta” do not sit well together. He doesn’t do them. Unlike the vindictive SOBs at the Fawkes blog, eh Alex?
Then comes the equally dishonest conclusion: “Lineker revealed a lot about the people behind Section 40 last night”. As he isn’t one of them, and he isn’t connected to any of the others Wickham dreamed up, no he didn’t.
Still, there’s plenty of tea orders to deal with, eh? Another fine mess, once again.