Category Archives: Announcement

Winterval E-Book published

I’ve spent the last few weeks fully updating, proofreading and finalising my first E-book and am pleased to announce that it has now been published via Amazon. I hope to publish the book with Kobo store in the next couple of days.

It should make a nice digital stocking filler for anyone interested in a good tale of bad journalism. Should it go well I hope to publish a few more books on the media next year.

Thanks, and Merry Christmas.

The New Journalist

Just a short message to let you all know that I’m not sure how much longer this blog will be continued.

As you know I have started The New Journalist and it is taking up quite a lot of my time and I’m not sure whether I should post new content to that site or this one.

In the meantime do please visit The New Journalist website, follow the project on Twitter and do consider contributing to the project – whether it be as a writer or reader – and please feel free to post comments on articles as writers should engage with you.

Many thanks.

PS. New posts will still be appearing below this one.

Holiday

I’m on holiday from 3.40am tomorrow so it is unlikely anything will be posted for the next two weeks and a bit.

Which is a shame in some ways because it is an interesting time to be a media blogger.

As usual, use the links on the right-hand side to find other media bloggers, follow me on Twitter in case I find wi-fi points on my mobile and come back in two weeks – I might even try to put together something over the break that has a bit more thought put into it. I will take a pen and notepad just in case.

A change of pace

So. It appears that I am back writing again, because here I am sat here at 20 to 1 in the morning tapping away at my keyboard. This is just a short blog post to let you know that this blog will be going in slightly different directions from now on because since writing this blog I have maintained a fairly consistent media-watch focus with the occasional bit of politics but I have encountered many topics that I wanted to take a bit further and now is the time to get some of that stuff down before my head fills up too much and starts leaking everywhere. I had considered starting another blog elsewhere, but really, this is my blog so this is where it will go.

Starting soon…

In the meantime, here are two short video clips to watch*:

 

* I get paid for each view these videos get. They have been put there primarily because it was such a short blog post and It’s late.

2 Years on

The excellent Tabloid Watch blog is 2 years old today, which immediately reminded me that this blog is also just over two years old and that I should spend a few words to acknowledge this fact.

Firstly, it is probably fair to say that the media is probably in a worse condition than when I started blogging. The PCC is finally looking as if it will be scrapped and replaced by some form of actual regulation because the media have demonstrated for too many years and in  in too many ways that it is utterly incapable of regulating itself. The defence of media freedom is no longer valid, given that this freedom is currently being abused to bully individuals, demonise minority groups, distort science, mislead on health and destroy lives without any consequence whatsoever. I have never called for any curtailment of freedom for the press, I merely want the newspapers to obey a clear set of rules with clear, firm punishments for breaking these rules. It is not about removing freedom but promoting responsibility and morality. The newspapers have the arrogance to hold others to account, whilst remaining unaccountable. This is not acceptable, it is that simple.

Secondly, today is as good a day as any to recognise the growing numbers of individuals who have started blogging about the media, and the impact that this is having on informal media regulation. Projects are under discussion as to how we can collate the numerous examples of dishonest journalism and publish them to appeal to a wider audience – essentially to preach beyond the converted flock that is likely to frequent media blogs. The Radio 4 programme on Islamophobia in the media has inspired me to start planning some podcasts – utilising the numerous media bloggers – to bring the story of bad journalism to a different format, one perhaps more accessible to new audiences and providing an overview of the worst excesses of our collective media. The media might be worse, but the response of individuals in tackling this has got much better. This is a good thing, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all the other media bloggers for their efforts, patience and commitment to dissecting articles, highlighting hatred and spreading the message that our media needs proper regulation.

And finally I just want to say that hopefully amongst the often rushed, poorly considered and inarticulate posts on this blog I have occasionally been able to rise above such mediocrity to actually write something half-decent on a particular topic. Of late I have been struggling to find the time or energy to write much for a variety of reasons – and I am never sure if I am reaching some kind of conclusion to the blog or whether it is just a lull before the words start to flow easily again.

Anyway, two years on and a good time to remember exactly why I started doing this, and why it is still clear that the media has too much power and too few morals: Juliet Shaw.

Winterval Myth & Islamophobia to be covered by Radio 4

Tomorrow at 12.30 on BBC Radio 4, Face the Factswill be covering the Winterval Myth during a programme examining how the British press is contributing to Islamophobia. I was interviewed for the programme because of my essay on the Winterval Myth and the fact that the EDL (supposedly a peaceful organisation protesting against extreme Islam) threatened to march on and close down any town in which the local council attempted to ‘ban Christmas’. You can find out more about the programme here, and you can read my essay here for a full examination of how the myth started and how it has contributed to the growing problem of Islamophobia in Britain.

The programme should also be available on the Iplayer for a while after broadcast. I tried to get across my points as articulately and concisely as possible, but please bear in mind it was my first (and probably last) appearance on the radio and I left feeling that I hadn’t quite hit the nail on the head.

Winterval

As you may have noticed, it has been awfully quiet round here as late because I was working on another project: The Winterval Myth. It is finally complete. Essentially it is a fairly lengthy essay that explores how the Winterval myth started, what newspapers spread it and how. I hope it is a fairly interesting piece and it is available to download for free from a new blog I have set up. This blog will not be affected by the new blog, I will still post all my everyday media stuff to this blog and hopefully I will be updating more frequently now this project has been finished.

My second blog is called The Disinformed and attempts to tackle certain media issues in more depth than I attempt on this blog. View this blog as a stream of consciousness and my new blog as a place for more considered, reflective writing.

Anyway, do check out my first essay here.

Goodbye for now

Well, it is approaching midnight and I’m getting married in the morning so this is just a quick goodbye as I’ll be on my honeymoon for the next two weeks.

This is just a short post to say thanks for reading, commenting and linking to this blog; and also thanks to all those people who voted for me in the competition I entered. Although I didn’t win, I made it into 5th place for a short time – after joining 2 months late – and finished in10th place, this was a massive achievement. Apparently I might receive some kind of prize for finishing in the top ten, I’ll keep you posted if I do.

Anyway, a huge thanks to all my readers and followers on Twitter for all your support over the past year or so, I will be back in 2 weeks or so. In the meantime you might still find me on Twitter

Angry Mob is One Today

Well, after checking the date of the first post published on Angry Mob it would appear that Angry Mob has now existed for one year. It happens to share the anniversary with the excellent Tabloid Watch who has managed a staggering 579 posts in just one year.

Angry Mob has managed a less impressive 226 posts which have attracted 541 comments. It has been mentioned in the Guardian Guide (print and online) and got to 200 in the overall Wikio rankings for November. I’m immensely grateful to all those that have read, commented on, contributed to and even donated to Angry Mob during the first year. I have been very pleased with the general readership of the blog, even if I’m still surprised at what stories fly around Twitter and generate thousands of page views and which don’t really attract many readers at all.

Often a post that I have lovingly crafted and am pleased with is roundly ignored whilst a post thrown together in a few minutes goes global for a few days and gets infinitely more readers than the one I was really proud of. I imagine I am not the only blogger who feels this, but often just putting a sentiment or idea out there is enough and the readership is more of an ego thing. I am aware that the majority of posts written on this blog are rushed. I work full time, spend two hours commuting (driving, so cannot write / research stuff) and have many other projects on the go, so if things sometimes feel rushed it’s probably because they are because I needed to get to bed.

Anyway, Angry Mob started with a post entitled ‘Left-bashing‘ pondering on what a strange world it is we live in when the word ‘liberal’ is considered a vile insult and anyone labelled as such is blamed for pretty much everything that certain sections of the media think is wrong with the world. One year on and nothing much has changed, the Pope being the latest person to talk about the ‘unjust’ and ‘intolerant’ nature of equality. As I wrote in my first post:

As usual the Mail interprets diversity as positive discrimination, as something negative, rather than simply a greater acceptance of different lifestyles. So, rather than diversity being about acceptance and understanding; Mail readers instead interpret it as an attack on ‘normal’ values or ‘traditional’ families. Mail readers do not seem to understand that families break up for numerous reasons, not because New Labour or the ‘left’ are waging some kind of war against families.

Likewise, a year on ‘equality’ is being labelled as ‘intolerance’, the term is being distorted so that it seems like an attack on certain values, rather than an acceptance of different values. The tolerance of gay people becomes an intolerance of people who believe they hold the right to be intolerant towards gays. Again, the implication somehow seems to be: if we don’t tolerate gays, they will simply cease to exist. This is of course as irrational as thinking that if all ‘liberal’ values were destroyed the ‘normal’ Daily Mail vision of the traditional family would thrive.

I don’t hold out a huge amount of hope that this blog will ever succeed in making a massive difference to the thought-patterns of beliefs of the average Daily Mail reader. However, I do think it helps to point out some of the most blatant lies or atrocious ideas or hatred published by the paper because this blog then forms part of a growing social media that rejects the values of the Daily Mail and the other tabloid newspapers.

The social media revolution has demonstrated one thing: people do have an appetite for the truth. People do seek out websites that exist to demonstrate the everyday lies and distortions published by the mainstream media – whether it is MMR scares, bad science in general, lies about immigration, climate change, banning Christmas and so on. People don’t like to be treated like mindless simpletons and they don’t like to be lied to.

This is what the mainstream media does with its reporting (and also what it does not report), it distorts the world around us until it becomes a scary place full of hatred, paranoia and ‘outsiders’. This world is only sustainable for as long as our main media consumption is provided by the mainstream media. If the PCC is completely overhauled and actually starts to regulate the press and the readership of the many blogs like this one continues to grow, then perhaps their control will start to slip and more and more people will be free to enjoy (and feel lucky to be) living in what is a pretty decent part of the world.


I am also on Twitter, so follow me if you want a few more smaller slices of Angry Mob.

Holiday

Well I’m at a wedding all day today and tomorrow I fly out to Spain for a week, so obviously Angry Mob will not be getting updated for a week or so. I will endeavour to relax away from the Daily Mail and enjoy the sweetness that is reality.

However, should I happen to bump into an ex-pat clutching a Daily Mail and bemoaning the state of ‘once great Britain’…

In the meantime the prolific Tabloid Watch has been on fine form recently, whilst I’m sure you already read The enemies of Reason and Five Chinese Crackers. For an international flavour pay The Polemical Report a visit. Also Stirring Up Apathy for Daily Mail related horrors as well as Mailwatch.

In fact, it would be far easier if you just looked at the links on the bottom right part of the site and went from there!