Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coming soon to a shopping centre near you!

Actually they're almost certainly all about Internet distribution these days, plus modern shopping centres are notoriously closed retail environments that for the most part no longer allow any sort of public activity like selling political newspapers. But nonetheless, AW is plugged in Socialist Worker today, thanks to comments section regular Mr Kitty's review of "Voodoo Histories", which is well worth a read.

43 Comments:

Blogger Mr Kitty said...

Cheers BB. To be honest it's a one-eyed tirade and condensed version of this. VH is actually a good book in many respects, but he has unwittingly drawn focus to the elephant in the room with regard to his posture on official lies.

6/24/2009 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger paul said...

From a recent promotional event

In fact the only retraction from David came from my own question to him about whether he still advocated the position he held concerning weapons of mass destruction when he said,

“If nothing is ever found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again. And, more to the point, neither will anyone else. Those weapons had better be there somewhere. They probably are.”

David’s response was the epitome of humility. “That was probably the most stupid thing I have ever said.”


Humility or the ne plus ultra of presentation management?

6/25/2009 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I think we have remarked here many times that it would fit the subsequent facts 100% if the infamous quote had been not 'never believe another' but instead 'always believe every'.

Maybe the subs changed it?

6/25/2009 07:48:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

not sure that I understand this conclusion:

In contrast, a conspiracy theorist would have found some way of justifying that remark. So my hat goes off to David Aaronovitch for holding unpopular views, sticking to his principles, admitting when he is wrong and not being worried by someone shitting on his stage.

But Aaro doesn't actually admit he was wrong, does he? stupid, maybe...

6/25/2009 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Yes, I was going to mention that in the post two below but those bloody subeditors cut it out (by which I mean I forgot).

Actually, of course, it wasn't a stupid thing to have said. Given the information he had and the way it had been presented to him, it was perfectly reasonable. The problem was not with Aaro, it was with Mr Tony.

6/25/2009 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Well, not entirely. There were plenty of other people at the time who preferred to invoke Jimmy Hill.

6/25/2009 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

I thought gullibility was confined to 'conspiracy theorists'?

6/25/2009 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Well yeah, but in order to be suspicious of the WMD claims, you had to be prepared to believe that the UK government was lying. If you didn't have that predisposition, then it would be perfectly sensible (rather than "stupid") to assume that the WMD were there, and indeed to say that the UK government had staked its entire credibility on the subject - Aaro did in fact believe this, as is clear from That Bloody Prediction.

The puzzling thing is why, when they turned out not to be there, his reaction was "how stupid of me" rather than "Oh my god they were lying", given that he'd specifically entertained the possibility that they might be in the BP.

Why would you retrospectively say that TBP was "stupid"? Several possibilities:

1) Aaro just means it was "stupid" of him to have believed the government and is speaking loosely.

2) He thinks now that it was "stupid" of him to leave such a hostage to fortune, given that he actually intended to keep defending them whether they were lying or not.

3) He was "stupid" to think that any such investment of credibility was being made, and not to realise that governments can be totally wrong about such important issues without any implications for their future credibility.

1) isn't really consistent with his other statements and 2) is ludicrously uncharitable. I think he means a version of 3) - Aaro at the time believed that the govt were telling us that they had definite and specific information (and so, revelation that they didn't would make Mr Tony a liar), but actually with the benefit of hindsight, he can see that all they were talking about was Blair's personal subjective feeling of certainty that the WMD were there (which subjective feeling means that Blair can't be called a "liar" no matter what the objective facts), so the embarrassing revelation was just one of those things.

On this reading, what was "stupid" of Aaro was to fail to take a sufficiently close reading of the 45-minute claim etc, and realise that actually the claims being made weren't actually, in a forensic sense, quite as concrete as everyone believed them to be at the time.

I think Aaro is being much too hard on himself here; drawing a comparison to Enron, it's like an investor blaming all of his losses on his own "stupid" failure to read and correctly interpret 10,000 words of ambiguous disclosures hidden at the back of an obscure SEC filing, while exonerating Lay and Skilling completely.

I'd note also that this interpretation is all very dependent on a lot of relativist and postmodern stuff about the relationship between Blair's internal states and the world, while on the hard-nosed objective facts of the matter, the government said those weapons were there and they weren't.

6/25/2009 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

2) is my interpretation of that gorgeously ambiguous response.

Uncharitable perhaps, but his honi soit qui mal y pense attitude is as well.

Still, I'm glad he took time out from playing cobllers tennis with janet daley to bust the 'protocols of zion' wide open.

6/25/2009 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

Which all in all is what is so distasteful about the book.

Particularly the chapter on David Kelly. He waltzes around the subject like a fucking detective. Examining the evidence of foul-play forensically, ridiculing Norman Baker.

Bottom line is Kelly had the decency to fall on his own on sword. Something you could never accuse Tony and Aaro of doing.

The, literally, last words in the book are:

"I have written this book because I believe that conspiracies aren't powerful. It is instead the idea of conspiracies that has power".

He might as well have signed it DA aged 13. My homework for Religious Studies next week.

Sorry for the sarcastic rant, still in SW table-thumping mode.

6/25/2009 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Although I think that aaro probably would justify the 'stupid' comment with something akin to 3), I'd go for a modified 2), as I do think the problem was partly with Aaro.

He thinks now that it was "stupid" of him to leave such a hostage to fortune

What made TBP so ridiculous at the time, even more so now, is the arrogance and aggression of it - it was genuinely stupid of him to phrase it in that manner, and he knows it, which is why he doesn't even bother to defend TBP itself while remaining happy to support everything else about Iraq - as we saw only this week. It was the staking of his reputation to something so obviously questionable that was so stupid - as you say, a lot of people did believe that Blair wouldn't lie over the WMDs, and they weren't necessarily stupid - though I do think Aaro's level of belief demonstrates, again, just how removed columnists are in general from the general public, since even among the people I knew who were in favour of war with Iraq, the WMD claims were generally treated with several large pinches of salt.

so I'd go for a modified 2), because it's a bit too uncahritable to say this:

given that he actually intended to keep defending them whether they were lying or not

the prediction in itself is an utterly stupid profession, because it was obviously totally unworkable. Even if we're more charitable and say 'given that he actually believed in the Iraq war with or without WMDs, and was likely to remain a Labour supporter', it's the phrasing that's the problem - for me, at least. And I do think that's what Aaro might mean when he says it's stupid - but that in itself is not really a get out of jail free card.

What's most worrying, if you listen to the Editorial Intelligence debate, is that Aaro still believes that it's his job to hobnob with the glitterati and then justify their ways to men. Given jsut how badly that went over Iraq, you'd have hoped that there might be a bit more humility there...? but no, he writes a book about the evil of conspiracy theories and just ignores the ones he believed in and engages the 'cough, cough, mumble' approach when he eventually, reluctantly, tackles the subject.

6/25/2009 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

"I have written this book because I believe that conspiracies aren't powerful. It is instead the idea of conspiracies that has power".

As he subscribes to the official 9/11 conspiracy I don't understand how he can say that.
An event that prompted two invasions, sanctioned rendition with torture and ushered in a host of repressive laws is pretty powerful stuff.
Not bad for nine first timers.

6/25/2009 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

Er, nine?

6/25/2009 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

paul's a 9/11 truther... click his name for more (so it doesn't end up posted on here).

6/25/2009 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

Sorry, nineteen.

I'm not sure I'd choose the term 'truther' for myself, bit vague and often used pejoratively.

Not sure I believe a conspiracy theory relying so heavily on torture either.

Specifically, the NBC News analysis shows 441 of the more than 1,700 footnotes in the Commission’s Final Report refer to the CIA interrogations. Moreover, most of the information in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Report came from the interrogations. Those chapters cover the initial planning for the attack, the assembling of terrorist cells, and the arrival of the hijackers in the U.S.

6/25/2009 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous magistra said...

Even if you didn't believe initially that the UK government was lying, then surely logical thought should have guided people at the time of the 'dodgy dossier' (Feb 2003). The publication of that proved a) that the UK government recognised that the previous September dossier was not enough to justify the war and b) that they had no additional evidence (which was why they had to plagiarise other documents). If the government knew they didn't have convincing evidence of WMD, why on earth did anyone else believe they had?

6/25/2009 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

It was the one time a 'load of stuff from the internet' was good enough for the portly scourge of conspiracy theorists.

6/25/2009 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

As a complete aside, and sorry for a minor hijacking of the thread, I was discussing public engagement in science, and was about to recommend the Little Atoms radio show as one outlet. I had heard a little about the show, and went to look it up.

The founders describe themselves; "they were also both slowly becoming disillusioned with what they saw as a malaise amongst sections of the progressive left*."

Er... where's this going, skip to the asterix...

"*For an excellent distillation of this argument see Nick Cohen's book What's Left?"

How can people who claim to be gung-ho for the Enlightenment see any value in What's Left?

Okay, I did look down their list of previous guests and saw Aaro and Cohen, Norm, Kamm, Newkey-Burden, Brett Lock, Douglas Murray...

6/25/2009 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Yes, I've remonstrated with them a couple of times. They do have science people on sometimes, but far too many Decent mugs, and with ludicrously poor quality control on the calibre of person they allow on (particular nadirs given that it's nominally a science show were Brendan O'Neill and James Delingpole, both of whom are borderline global warming deniers)

I think the progression is science - evolution - creationists - antireligiouses - anyone who doesn't like Muslims. Plus a big dollop of the mindless antirelativist rhetoric that the Decents often like to use to convince themselves they're still on the side of the Enlightenment.

6/25/2009 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Entirely OT. Is Aaro in the last segment of the video in this Clive Davis post? I think it's probably not (I don't recall him wearing glasses), but if it's not him, I've no idea who it can be. (NB whoever he is, he's only visible for a few seconds. And video contains swearing, so probably not safe for work.) Bonus question related to video: what do people see in Howard Jacobson?

6/25/2009 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I've really no idea why people read Jacobson. And he gets given so much space, too... the 'Seven Jewish Children' pieces aren't just boring, they're utterly incomprehensible. Beloved of HP Sauce, obv.

The Aaro interview is up on Little Atoms now. He considers his book to be as good as 'Bad Science'. the interview is pretty crap however as they all agree, and they're not interested in really countering Aaro, they even set up the difficult questions on a plate for him to devour. Most peopel in that baggy 'pro-enlightenment' coalition have a tendency to avoid difficult questions.

On Gulf of Tonkin he says: The Americans genuinely thought they had been shot at - and he says this is just like WMDs, because they're both things that realistically happened before, and thus are based on 'confirmatory bias'; but Aaro then goes on to decry this kind of bias. He's not challenged on it, though.

He says that TBP being brought up in reviews is 'irritating' because he was 'an agnostic on WMDs' (unchallenged). He is then mistakenly told that he wrote 'if no WMDs are found then nobody will believe the govt again' - Aaro responds 'and they didn't' and then goes on to say that it was 'the stupidest thing I've ever written' - but again fails to clarify that it wasn't 'nobody' in the piece, it was 'David Aaronovitch', and he did go on believing. He seems to blame the WMD thing on the intelligence services, which is odd because the dossiers were so self-evidently crap, and equally, he exonerates the intelligence service in his most recent piece.

This is the problem with Little Atoms isn't it - they're far too chummy with guests, and seem to get people on based on their affection for Harry's Place (having googled Newkey-Burden and LA it seems this is a point that BB has already made to them). I mean what kind of 'pro-enlightenment' radio show would give Chas Newkey-Burden or Douglas Murray an hour of airtime? Listening to the Newkey-Buden now, the interviewing is utterly dire.

6/25/2009 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

On Gulf of Tonkin he says: The Americans genuinely thought they had been shot at

He doesn't does he? That's hilarious. Even the official historian of the NSA concluded that the NSA distorted the intelligence on this one; the only interesting controversy is whether they did it off their own bat, in response to pressure from the Army, or in response to pressure from LBJ.

6/25/2009 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't believe in rationalists who rave. That's not the power of reason, it's evidence of obsession. That's one of the things about A Certain Website, you look at it (if indeed you can, and I don't think I have since the Owen Hatherley Affair) and you think Christ, they're off on one again. It's part-OMG part-And-I'll-Tell-You-Another-Thing and I think the tone tells you something really important about it.

The funny thing is, by the way, there's quite a few of the HP fan club who think they're experts on how one should go about the business of discussion and argument in a reasonable way, despite the fact that they manifestly do not do so themselves. I might get into this next time we do The Roots Of Decent Rhetorical Method In Far Left Polemics: I'm starting to ask myself whether a lot of the people concerned aren't not ex-far leftists, but rather people who would have been attracted to the far left a generation or more ago, but are now attracted to pro-Israel and anti-Trotskyite polemics of the same tone, but in the opposite direction, to what might previously have been (say) anti-Stalinism and unconditional defence of whatever.

6/25/2009 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

(The idea, by the way, that Dougie Murray is some kind of rationalist, as opposed to a very clever upper-class poseur with the usual set of prejudices, makes me laugh.)

6/25/2009 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Agreed re: Murray.

This is entirely consistent with aaro's approach on that show - 'the war against stupidity' as he calls it:

there's quite a few of the HP fan club who think they're experts on how one should go about the business of discussion and argument in a reasonable way, despite the fact that they manifestly do not do so themselves

In general, the 'enlightenment fundamentalists' clustered around A Certain Website are almost entirely unreasonable, to a man, in both the way they debate and in their beliefs. as you say, the tone is important, and for me what is also important is that when they decide they've got another enemy, they immediately publish that enemy's email address on their website.

Incidentally, for future Decent-tolerance-of-Racism-and-alliance-with-racists post: on the Little Atoms interview with Newkey-Burden and Burchill, the former says 'when Israel have taken the gloves off [with Palestinians], they've done it because they're trying to not be... wiped out, whereas the Arab people just do it out of general everyday evil'.

Gulf of Tonkin - it's about 2/5 of the way in. Verbatim: 'it's pretty clear that actually the Americans did think that they'd been fired on- they were wrong, but they thought it'.

6/25/2009 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

for me what is also important is that when they decide they've got another enemy, they immediately publish that enemy's email address on their website.

I should say it's not that crowd I'm thinking of. I'm thinking rather more of the crowd who link to HP, who are Labour and trade union, tend to be Engageniks, stop-the-racist-boycott, probably signed Euston, have difficulty in hearing criticism of Israel without engaging in aggressive whatabouttery, tend to have the usual hate figures (Milne/Chomsky/Galloway/Bunting) and - which is the point a very large tendency both to rhetoric about The Left and to comments boxes full of screaming and denunciations.

I happened to look at some of their blogs recently because some of them seemed to like a piece I wrote - without noticing how much of it could easily be applied to them, if you just changed the names a bit.

6/25/2009 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

'it's pretty clear that actually the Americans did think that they'd been fired on- they were wrong, but they thought it'

it's very clear that they didn't. One sonar operator mistook the sound of his own propellor for a torpedo and sent off a cable. This was followed about an hour later by a cable from the ship's captain saying that it was most likely a mistake. By the time the NSA were putting together their report for the President (which included some "intercepts" of North Vietnamese radio traffic which were wholly dishonestly manipulated), nobody can credibly claim that they didn't know what they were doing. The man's bullshitting. Aaro even admits in his book that the GoT was an example of official lying.

6/25/2009 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I'll keep rowing on this side while BB rows the other - anyway, a couple of developments of my general idea would include:

(a) there's a lot of obsession with Trotskyites in Decency. Toube/SWP and Cohen/WRP are prominent manifestations, but it's a fairly common phenomenon ;

(b) in historical terms a lot of this grows out of the Labour Party battles of the Eighties and their playing-out elsewhere in the labour movement, where quite a lot of people got very, very bug-eyed about the "Trots" (you'd get people with pickaxe badges at union conferences and so on) and made combatting them the major theme of their political life ;

(c) people who become obsessed with something often end up resembling it.

6/25/2009 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Iraq propaganda offensive began in August 2002, it struck me pretty quickly that there were a lot of dodgy assertions and dodgy logic. Subsequently I noticed that a lot of reasonable questions weren't being answered by the proponents of the invasion, and the logic and assertions were getting dodgier. On the eve of the invasion some of the statements made no sense whatsoever ("France is making war more likely by voting against the resolution authorising a war!)

I suspect, however, that in our two main political parties there isn't really a culture of rational political discussion. People's minds have been addled by spin and petty conflicts. As Jack Straw said about Saddam Hussein (trying to argue that a denial by Iraq that it had WMD wasn't worth anything), there had been so many lies that he wouldn't recognise the truth if it was plonked down in front of him. The same seems to apply to a lot of members of political parties: they live in a diet of spin so they have difficulty in noticing the lies.

Aaro should perhaps look back at some of the Blair speeches from the period and wonder why he believed them.

Guano

6/25/2009 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

I think this from Guano "Aaro should perhaps look back at some of the Blair speeches from the period and wonder why he believed them."

And this from BB "The problem was not with Aaro, it was with Mr Tony."

Would be a not incorrect summary of my feelings.

IIRC prior to the Afghan escapade Tony was pretty much being begged into using the diplomatic semaphor he'd effectively sculptured in his fine work on the Good Friday Agreement.

And, I'm paraphrasing from a conference I attended at a WI meeting (not that one!) but the gist was that "You've talked to the IRA, why can't you talk to the Taliban?" His response was on the lines of "Well, the IRA are human, you can engage with them, it's not possible to engage with the Taliban".

Which is what shattered those on the left that felt he could open up back-channels of diplomacy instead of standing side-by -side with Bush.

That Aaro has (understandably) not backed down from his support, is fine, in a sense re Iraq. He has been trapped my that initial deception and I would do the same.

But to try and cover his tracks by whacking conspiracy theory as a concept is foolish and he's just muddying waters.

6/25/2009 07:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may already be obvious to you all already, but there was at least one conspiracy to plant false stories about Iraqi WMD in the British press involving US (and to a lesser extent UK) intelligence. We know all about it because one of participants, the hoodwinked journalist, David Rose, has told us all about it (apart from the name of the CIA agent who "confirmed" the stories for him). Rose tells the story at length to Nick Davies in Flat Earth News, but there is a shorter version here

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2007/09/mi6-mi5-intelligence-briefings

Thanks to this intelligence operation, (and of course their own credulity), the Observer printed a fantastic conspiracy theory story on their front page, about Saddam giving AQ training to hijack planes and secret supplies of anthrax to send in the post. As Colin Powwll was actually waving bottles of anthrax around the UN and referring to the anthrax-in-the-post business in his UN presentation, this was quite an important propaganda operation

Solomon Hughes

6/26/2009 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(apologies if I am going on a bit)
I did write to the Observer on this obvious point following a review of Voodoo Histories - they printed an edited version of the letter in the review section (it doesn't appear online).

the full letter read
******
"Raphael Behr says David Aaronovitch’s “Voodoo histories” provides a “lively debunking” of conspiracy theories. Strange there is no mention the most successful conspiracy theory of recent times – the supposed conspiracy where Saddam developed weapons of mass destruction to pass on to his friends in Al Qaeda. This had all the features of a classic conspiracy theory: Enemies who are secretly friends; a hidden plot against society; undercover meetings between Iraqi agents and 9/11 hijackers in Prague ; Iraqi’s training hijackers on a grounded plane ; Iraqi anthrax spread by Al Qaeda agents in America; Smersh style underground bases and mobile bio labs. But none of it was true: No WMD, no link between Saddam and Osama, no Prague meeting, no terrorist training at Iraq’s Salman Pak compound, neither Iraqi nor Al Qaeda involvement in the US anthrax attacks. David Aaronovitch’s “caustic rationality” does not attack this particularly conspiracy theory. It was not peddled by “small time hustlers” , but by leading politicians and national newspapers in the UK and US, with some support from David Aaronovitch himself who he promised the Iraq war would stop “a future conjunction between anthrax and terrorism”. Those speculating on the Kennedy assassination or Marilyn Monroe’s death might waste ink. Those who peddled the Iraq-WMD- Terrorism conspiracy theory helped waste hundreds of thousands of lives in the war they promoted

********

note that while David A was not the biggest pusher of the WMD tale, his "agnosticism" did not stop him waving around the metaphorical vial of anthrax every now and then.

Solomon Hughes

6/26/2009 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

That brings to mind the roly poly contrarian hitchen's sour pre war valedictory to the nation before leaving for pastures more lucrative.

It was, I was told (and this by someone very sceptical of Plan Bush), "Seventy per cent likely" that Atta came to Prague to meet Al-Ani. Seventy per cent is not conclusive, but nor is it really tolerable.

If you are a modern rationalist, it would 70/100 is the benchmark ratio. It sounds better than saying you don't know

6/26/2009 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

http://standpointmag.co.uk/nick-cohen

6/27/2009 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

http://standpointmag.co.uk/nick-cohen

On Jackson

"there was not that much to say about him"

Depends on one's POV Nicky. If you're interested in racial transmogrification, black music, cult of personality, cycles of abuse, American legal systems, and a wide variety of other issues, there's a fair bit to get your teeth into.

6/27/2009 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

Ha ha.
Jackson was never an important musician

A rather lofty verdict from nick korsakoff, but one that reflects the philistinic, life hating nature of his milieu.

6/27/2009 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous dsquared said...

A nasty little dig at Al Sharpton I see ... but the hilarious bit is

The blanket coverage is a sign of how the new elite of populist media managers of the Greg Dyke generation is losing what little sense of proportion it had as it enters late middle age

[...]

Drinksoaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War have more as does Oliver Kamm

6/27/2009 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Furedi's reviewed the Aaro book at Spiked , if you can stomach it (I couldn't face it).

So Cohen's moved his 'blog' to Standpoint... presumably this is what he meant when he wittered on about speaking truth to power - he's now writing anti-leftie guff in an anti-leftie magazine. great stuff. But since he won't be edited I expect some fireworks, and more and more philistinism, and the first post is a good example of that.

Tamla Motown will be remembered for as long as people care about 20th century popular music. He was one of their better artists, that’s all.

Did Nick sleep through the 80s? Jackson is not being so wiedly-mourned because of his work with the Jackson 5. And they left Motown in 1975. Michael Jackson was never signed as a solo artist to the label.

Cohen lambasts Today for getting Al Sharpton on, (and also - 'ethnic machine politician' - an entirely un-serious phrase) without thinking to wonder why the two might be linked.

Jackson was not a second Presley, merely a “famous pop star”.

So why does Nick compare the coverage of the two deaths? And secondly - i think I'm allowed to get away with this - wtf? Does Nick have any idea of how popular Jackson was?

But more to the point, I can't remember Nick ever writing anything about pop music before this.

The link he provides to the drink soaked trots is truly hilarious - compare their 'online journalism outline', an object of mockery, with the layout of a certain Standpoint redesign... the place Nick has just joined looks exactly liek their idea of what a website should not look like.

And Kamm complains that the Times news blog has a piece on what people's favourite Jackson song was. Of course the same blog has in the past hosted a chat between Finkelstein and Kamm about their favourite pop stars.

6/27/2009 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

It surely can't be long before Nick starts posting It were all fields round here when I were a lad and Youngsters these days don't have no respect. They should bring back national service and such.

I surely can't be the only one who has noticed the prominent role of middle-aged farts expounding a load of intolerant, cynical bumwipe in Decent discourse.

6/27/2009 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

“. The blanket coverage is a sign of how the new elite of populist media managers of the Greg Dyke generation is losing what little sense of proportion it had as it enters late middle age. The newspapers of 17 August 1977, had Elvis Presley’s death, on the front page – you can see the front page of the Times by putting in 17-8-1977 to its "one day at a time" search engine here – but it was one story among many, and not the lead item.”

The keyword is “proportion”.

In some ways I actually sympathise with Nick’s current vocational black hole.
His credibility is in pieces and his bunker mentality is pretty much evident. Proven by the examples he uses in “proportion” in a newspaper. The Times front cover on the day of Elvis’ death leads on “Disputes at Heathrow may disrupt flights”. The Elvis story is tucked nearer and smaller to the right of it.

In what sense is this more proportional than the Times today leading on Jackson. Or does he want us to retire to a day when popular culture stories were the lifeblood of late 19C tabloids?

Is he really trying to defend a time when news coverage has been proportional? Or was he thumb twiddling and thinking “well, I’d better mention this Jackson business. Oh I know I’ll do the classic Diana and/or /911 disproportionate news coverage one”.
He either has no idea about how media works/ has changed in the last 100 years or is fending for himself and surrounding his ideas/thought/colleagues by yes men and/or his blogs and writing.

As OC says: “he's now writing anti-leftie guff in an anti-leftie magazine.” Nuff said.

6/27/2009 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

The link he provides to the drink soaked trots is truly hilarious - compare their 'online journalism outline', an object of mockery, with the layout of a certain Standpoint redesign... the place Nick has just joined looks exactly liek their idea of what a website should not look like.

Oh, it's worse than that. Much, much worse. Seriously, go to Nick's blog and look at the ads.

6/27/2009 07:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

Jackson was not a second Presley, merely a “famous pop star”.

Perhaps my wingnut-to-English translator is playing up here, but what does Nick think Elvis was if not a "famous pop star"? Round-the-world yachtsman Elvis Presley, perhaps? Nobel-prize-winning biochemist Elvis Presley?

6/28/2009 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

Well, NC doesn't seem to have a particularly sound judgement when it comes to popular culture, so perhaps he thinks Elvis was a good actor.

6/28/2009 08:43:00 PM  

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