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Thursday 21 September 2017

Press Gazette Protests Too Much

The shameless hypocrisy of the press establishment and its hangers-on knows no bounds:  whatever the press does, no matter how vicious, how venal, how dishonest, how spiteful, and how damaging, this is beyond reproach. It is, we are endlessly reminded, the exercise of free speech, to which we are all entitled. When those outside that establishment bubble exercise the same right, however, all is, in an instant, changed.
Fighting to be an establishment poodle, more like

Our free and fearless press is, like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach. We should not so much as say boo to revelations of hacking, blagging, burglary, harassment and even the use of the platform given by that same press for some to run campaigns of vilification against those of dissenting view. The asymmetrical mindset of the press establishment is by now well-known. They are more of life’s perpetual victims.

So it should have been no surprise to see Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford go off the end of the pier in no style at all at the news that Evans Cycles have decided - of their own volition - to cease advertising in the Mail and Express titles, as well as the Murdoch Sun. Freedom of expression has suddenly become a challenging proposition for him.

Under the shrieking headlineWhy UK's 70,000-plus journalists should boycott Evans Cycles”, Ponsford tells anyone who will listen “Today I urge [all cyclists] in the news media to boycott the UK’s leading bicycle retailer Evans Cycles”. Why so? “The reason why is that Evans has cast itself as an enemy of free speech by placing the Mail and Express titles and The Sun on a blacklist of advertisers who it will no longer spend money with”.

Think that’s “with whom it will no longer spend money”, Dom, but do go on. “Let’s set aside the fact that a couple of thousand journalists rely on work from these news organisations to pay their rent or mortgages … When advertisers start boycotting newspapers because they don’t agree with what they are saying it takes to a pretty dark place”. Really?

Why? “It is the same place we went to when HSBC notoriously, and apparently successfully, sought to influence Telegraph editorial coverage by withholding advertising”. No it isn’t: Evans Cycles is not seeking any influence. It has merely made a business decision. So when Ponsford bleats “I would rather have a partisan and imperfect press than one which is muzzled by advertisers wielding commercial pressure to influence editorial content”, he is just getting hyperbolic. No-one is trying to muzzle anyone.

And he does his cause no favours by headlining the piece with a photo of Channel 4 News main man Jon Snow - just because he is a cyclist. Nor is the cause of the press served by complaining about groups like Stop Funding Hate, who are also free to express their views. The group does not attempt to browbeat or bully others into making advertising decisions - it is merely a campaign of persuasion.

The reality of the situation is that the press is, indeed, free to publish what it wants, when and where: the Duke of Wellington’s dictum should endure. Also, potential advertisers are free to advertise when and where they want, subject to current codes and regulations. Evans cycles have done so. Ponsford is overreacting, and then some.

But good to see the press establishment sense of entitlement on view for all to see. Free speech, for them, is, as usual, the freedom to please themselves, and others to lump it.


Anonymous said...

“Let’s set aside the fact that a couple of thousand journalists rely on work from these news organisations to pay their rent or mortgages …"

Well I never.

That'll be the same "journalists" who didn't give a shit about the millions of lives destroyed in this country because of imposed poverty, unemployment and destruction of communities. To say nothing of the millions of lives destroyed by British government action or arms deals with foreign countries. The same "journalists" who put the boot into the miners and the Hillsborough victims - in fact anybody who stood up to the horrors of the last thirty odd years.

It may not have been all of them, but it was a sufficient majority to make it the overwhelming propaganda of the age.

And these are the very pricks who want us to have sympathy for their ability to "pay rent and mortgages". An ability not granted to the quarter of our population who live in poverty.

Journalist gobshites are rightly despised for their cowardly refusal to report fairly and decently. And their ready agreement to put the boot in on our most vulnerable citizens. They are the very people who could have helped stop the spread of cultural poison - instead they administered it.

They are condemned out of their own mouths. In short......fuck them. They've got it coming.

Unknown said...

Seeing that a number of newspapers see cyclists as an 'enemy' and deserving of being run over by motorists, it's not surprising that a company that sells cycling products may choose to be more selective in its advertising.

Also, perhaps Dominic Ponsford should consider the lives of journalists and not just their pay packets. If he did, he might remember what happened to Times journalist Mary Bowers.

Ed said...

Ponsford will tomorrow begin a campaign to demand that Waitrose force their adverts on the NME, and berate our local Unicorn Vegan Supermarket for withholding its pearls of commercial wisdom from Slaughterman's Monthly.

iMatt said...

Soooo....if I decide not to purchase the Sun, Mail or Express, I am somehow an enemy of free speech due to my deciding hot to spend or rather not spend my cash? Is this not what 'Evans Cycles' is doing via its advertising spending? Total hysteria driven by fear from the Press Gazette.

Anonymous said...

The British press want regulation - of everyone but themselves!!

Billsmells said...

That's yer beloved Free Market Economy, right there!