As I said to the people at al-Jazeera back in December 2015, sham press regulator IPSO is no more than the old PCC “fluid” in a differently labelled bottle. And now that the eyes of the media world are upon IPSO once more, the last thing Matt Tee and his merry men needed to do was to prove me right. But that is just what they have done, and in the process told the world that they are more than happy to validate Fake News.
The confirmation that IPSO has hit bedrock and continued to dig was provided yesterday by Damian Carrington at the deeply subversive Guardian, who has told “James Delingpole article calling ocean acidification 'alarmism' cleared by press watchdog … Climate sceptic journalist’s claim that marine life has nothing to fear from rising ocean acidity levels is not misleading but ‘comment’, says Ipso”. And here I experienced a moment of déjà vu.
This is the same excuse deployed by the PCC back in 2010 in order to rebut the claim by blogger Primly Stable that Richard Littlejohn’s Daily Mail columns contained flat-out lies (one of their most dependable features, then and now). The claim was dismissed because “The article had been clearly presented as a comment piece … [the columnist] was making an amplified statement for rhetorical effect”. Thus the get-out clause.
"Gay marriage ... global warming ... bird-slicing, bat-chomping eco crucifixes ... red-meat Conservatism ... abusive ranting ... fact free articles ... lame excuses ... Fake News reality"
And it was the same this time with IPSO: the complainant was told “The article was clearly a comment piece … The Committee’s role is not to make findings of fact or to resolve conflicting evidence in relation to matters under debate”. As if James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole deals in such wimpy concepts as debate. Del Boy just rants and smears, dispensing abuse - and dishonesty - as he goes.
He, and whoever publishes his uniquely fact-free brand of Fake News, are safe in the knowledge that the scientific community, contrary to Delingpole’s characterisation of them as money-grubbing conformists, are not well-off enough to take them to the cleaners. The article in question is not about debate. It is about smearing responsible scientists by rubbishing their research. It is little more than lying for money.
Fraser Nelson - sophistry, dishonesty, and zero credibility
Which brings us to Spectator editor Fraser Nelson - deploying sophistry in explaining away yet another Fake News article published on his watch - and another who has a tendency to be economical with the actualité. Nelson is well known for going into bat for IPSO, telling anyone who will listen that it is the “toughest press regulator in the Western world”. This claim, which he is unable to stand up (because it is totally untrue) has, it seems, paid dividends for him and his magazine in defending Del Boy’s latest pack of lies.
But all that Nelson has achieved is to commission an article from someone whose day job is at Fake News site Breitbart - to write what is clearly Fake News for the supposedly credible Spectator. And then IPSO has wiped their backsides by citing the PCC “Littlejohn Defence”, thus proving (a) that IPSO is indeed, as I said, the same PCC “fluid” in a differently labelled bottle, (b) that they are now validating Fake News, and (c) that the Spectator’s editor cannot be trusted any further than he can be usefully chucked.
So that’s a perfect storm of self-inflicted credibility down the pan for IPSO, and at the worst possible moment. Hello Matt Tee.