Tag Archives: the sun

BBC acknowledges Clarkson omission

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Laura Kuenssberg should have questioned the editor of The Sun, Victoria Newton, over the paper’s publication of a horribly misogynistic column about the Duchess of Sussex.

But what really annoys me is that Laura Kuenssberg had the editor of the Sun sitting right there in front of her on her show this morning and she didn’t challenge her on why she had allowed such a piece of violent misogyny to be published. And nor did any of the other panellists. No wonder the right wing press get away with so much when they know that they will not come under any scrutiny.

Instead, Kuenssberg chose to ask the editor of The Sun whether Harry’s claims about the collusion between the royals and the media were true. She took the obvious denial at face value but didn’t take it any further. It was a valid question, but she should have followed up with something on this article.

Harry and Meghan says that the racist and misogynist attacks on Meghan in the British press, and the failure of the Royal Family to protect her, led to them basically fleeing the country. Clarkson’s article, published by one media outlet unscrutinised by others, makes their point for them.

Since then, the Sun has removed the article and apologised. 

At the time, I complained to the BBC in a bit of a triumph of hope over experience. I have complained many times over the years (usually about under-representation of Lib Dems) without getting a satisfactory outcome.

However, this week, I was surprised that their reply acknowledged the omission:

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The question Laura Kuenssberg should have asked the editor of the Sun

Late on Friday night, the Sun published a column by Jeremy Clarkson.

You wouldn’t expect him to say anything nice about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to be honest.

Most of the article was merely his opinion on Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary. I think he’s wrong, but, again, no surprise there. He’s allowed to be.

But there was one part of that article which didn’t merely stray over the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, it stuck two fingers at them from outer space.

He described his hatred of Meghan as being deeper than his hatred of two other women, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and serial killer Rose West. These are not two women you would normally compare. Then he said that he dreams of the day when Meghan is paraded naked through the streets of every town in Britain while people chanted “Shame”at her and chucked crap at her.

Words matter and too often in the right wing press, they fuel a toxic culture which makes life less safe for every marginalised group in this country, from disabled people, to immigrants to women to trans people. This vivid description of humiliating violence to a woman, presented as an aspiration, has no place on the pages of a newspaper in a civilised society.

Most reasonable people will think that Clarkson is just being a twit again, but it will intensify the hatred of a few. We just have to hope that nobody takes his words too literally.

Jeremy Clarkson has always been obnoxious. It is what he does. The first time I wrote to him was in response to an article he wrote on women drivers a quarter of a century ago. I actually got a quite funny and self-deprecating reply from him. But that was a world away from what he wrote about Meghan.

Harry comes in for criticism too, deliberately misnamed for comic effect and portrayed as Meghan’s puppet. It’s a typical misogynist trope to assume that any woman you don’t like is somehow controlling those around her, usually with some sort of sexual temptation. And in this case there is no somehow about it. Clarkson says that explicitly.

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Ed Davey calls on Government to make it easier for retired health professionals to work

We’ve all seen some pretty scary things on social media and the news about the strain that some hospitals, particularly in the South East, are under.

In the past few days, I’ve seen accounts of a friend’s relative waiting hours for an emergency ambulance and then spending more than a day in A & E before a bed could be found in a ward.

Just on my social media, I am seeing several people each day testing positive. I’m aware of people having the virus, too, although, thankfully, nobody I know has been seriously ill with it. However, the so called “mild” version is extremely unpleasant.

With all this in mind, you can just imagine the stress that front line health workers must be facing. Exhausted already by the first wave and the race to catch up with the backlog of things that didn’t happen during it, the intensity of the second wave is at times overwhelming for them.

And that’s before any of them catch the virus and have to take time off themselves.

They need reinforcements, so it would help if retired health professionals could take some of the strain, even if it is covering things away from the front line.

But apparently the system makes it difficult for that to happen seamlessly.

Our Ed Davey has got himself into the Sun today, calling on Matt Hancock to sort this out. He said:

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Who’s this Tim Fallon guy?

Just in case you missed it…


Tim cheekily replied: “It’s my pen name.”

The article itself was about the Government’s policy of criminalising parents who take their children out of school for a holiday during term time. Tim has spoken out against this several times recently. He said earlier this week:

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Opinion: Let’s look at the harm caused by Page 3

Given that Page 3 wasn’t in The Sun this week, it sure took up a lot of media space, especially among Lib Dems. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that loads of us want to wade into a fight that was framed as free speech and sexual expression vs gender equality and quality news reporting. But that’s not actually what’s going on at all: so here is a rundown of what Page 3 is, and why it’s harmful.

Page 3 is normalising objectification of women. The Sun makes printing nude women for the sole purpose of titillation in a national newspaper, which would otherwise be totally weird, normal. Images of nude women and breasts are perfectly normal and widely available in a sexual context (see, 80% of the internet), but a daily national newspaper is not the place for it, because it’s supposed to be for news. “Women have breasts” is pretty much the oldest story there is. Unless, like my mother, your breasts make it into the paper because they are testing the new mammogram machine at your local hospital they don’t need to be in there. If the Guardian decided to swap Polly Toynbee for a massive naked man next week, I’d find that equally inappropriate, because quality reporting is not about getting your rocks off (unless you have a particular fetish for bad photos of Ed Milliband).

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Another Lib Dem website brilliantly topical error message – a pity it’s out of date so quickly

I wish I had seen this yesterday.

Page 3 error message

 

A brilliant response to the debate over Page 3.

The party has been doing this a few times with its error messages recently. It’s very amusing and it also directs people to relevant policy on the website.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all found out, the Sun was trolling us all along. Former presidential candidate and new member of the Diversity Engagement Group Daisy Cooper said this about the Sun’s behaviour on Facebook:

So, pretending to stop Page 3 was just a bit of fun. Raising expectations then crushing them in a humiliating way. Classic abusive behaviour.

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The Sun: “Nick Clegg makes a powerful case for reform of our drugs laws”

The Lib Dem website says this: “Nick Clegg has announced that the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to end imprisonment for possessing drugs for personal use, so that no one is sent to prison, where their only offence is one of possession. Under the proposals, users would instead receive non-custodial sentences and appropriate medical treatment.”

That’s not so surprising. The Lib Dems have long argued for a more rational approach to our drugs laws, with Nick making the point before that “If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform.”

More surprising is that The Sun newspaper says this:

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The Sun calls for a VAT cut on UK holidays

stephen gilbertAfter the energetic debate in these columns over the photo of Nick Clegg holding the free World Cup edition of the Sun, it is, shall we say, interesting to be able to report a Lib Dem MP praising that newspaper for a campaign it is running.

Stephen Gilbert, the MP for St Austell & Newquay, in the holiday county of Cornwall, is quoted as supporting the Sun’s petition to cut VAT on holidays in the UK. He says:

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Phone hacking trial: Coulson found guilty, Cameron apologises

andy-coulsonThe long-awaited trial of David Cameron’s former director of communications, Andy Coulson, concluded today, with the jury finding him guilty of a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails as part of the phone-hacking scandal. All Coulson’s co-defendants, including former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, were all found not guilty of various conspiracy charges.

It’s just over 7 years since Cameron appointed Coulson as the Conservatives’ communications director – we noted in May 2007 his connection to what became known as the phone hacking scandal but which back …

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Nick and The Sun – a missed opportunity

Nick Clegg and the SunI know I am coming late to this, having been out and about for most of the day. It’s only a few minutes since I logged on to Facebook and saw a picture of the leader of my party holding up The Sun. It was not a good idea for him to do this, especially given the renewed pain that relatives of those who died at Hillsborough are going through with the new inquests taking place at the moment. Nick’s picture can only be seen as a support for their unprecedented marketing initiative in delivering a free copy to every home in England at the start of the World Cup.

Now I don’t think for a moment that Nick Clegg has anything to prove when it comes to standing up to Rupert Murdoch. Let’s be clear about that. He instinctively did the right thing on press regulation. He has pandered to nobody unlike some others I could mention. Nothing can take away from that.

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LibLink… Jo Swinson: Our children shouldn’t grow up thinking looks are the most important thing in life

I remember the genuine distress suffered by a teenage friend of ours. Her hair straighteners had broken and we don’t possess such implements. She was actually frightened and anxious at the thought of leaving the house and being seen by her peers with unstraightened, but perfectly tidy, hair. I had to source another set of straighteners before I could get her to school.

That, sadly, is the tip of the iceberg. The pressure on particularly girls to conform to a very narrow standard of beauty, dictated by the likes of Heat magazine and the pornography industry, is excruciating and can lead …

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LibLink…Nick Clegg and the SunEmployment campaign

Nick Clegg has written a piece for the Sun about jobs and helping people finding work. They have a Sunemployment campaign which aims to match people up with jobs in their area through a series of roadshows.

Every year, the Sunemployment campaign helps thousands of people find work. The roadshows that take place in the summer offer a chance to get advice and find out about opportunities.

Since 2010, the Government has helped to create over 1.3 million jobs in the private sector, across all sorts of sectors – from science to IT, communications to manufacturing.

These are jobs that have been created

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The Sun story about Chris Huhne that was a total invention (and which the other papers happily copied)

Remember that front page Sun story from 13 March? On the off-chance Voice readers missed this exclusive, let’s refersh your memory of the splash:

Disgraced MP Chris Huhne was ridiculed on his first day in Wandsworth jail yesterday — after a warder called him to breakfast by yelling “Order! Order!”

Only one small problem with the story: it was a complete fabrication.

sun huhne lie

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade has the story:

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The Sun refuses to back the Tories, says ‘Vote local’ (Aka: The Sun hedges its bets)

The Sun_Kinnock_1992Does what The Sun says matter?

In its own terms, of course not. Its own self-promoted myth that it was ‘The Sun wot won it’ for the Tories in 1992 with its anti-Kinnock front page belies the reality: it backs the party it thinks is most likely to win.

It’s in that narrow sense that it’s interesting The Sun has declined to back either the Tories or Labour today for the first time in its 44-year history:

Who you choose today must be a local decision, not a national one. Read

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LibLink: Danny Alexander – Bedroom blockers and tax dodgers will pay

Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander has published a robust defence of the Coalition’s welfare reforms in The Sun on Sunday. Here’s how it starts:

Last week a young woman came to talk to me about her housing situation. Her frustration was obvious. She was working hard in a low-paid job and was stuck in an overcrowded home with a young family and desperately needed to move to a bigger home. She couldn’t understand why she had to wait so long to get a home that was the right size for her and her family. It’s a story

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LibLink..Lord Lester QC: Five days to save free speech

Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Lester writes in today’s Sun about amendments which could derail the long awaited reform of England’s libel laws. He says that Labour’s Lord Puttnam is leading attempts to introduce a “draconian version” of the Leveson proposals. He warns that if these amendments are passed, the whole attempt at libel reform could fall when the Bill reaches the Commons.

First, he set out  what the Bill is trying to do:

The Bill creates a Serious Harm Test to prevent frivolous claims. It makes user-friendly the defences of honest opinion, truth and qualified privilege, and introduces an important public interest

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Nick Clegg: Time to rethink drugs policy

The Sun running a story about the attitude of politicians to drugs reform is fairly commonplace. A Liberal Democrat politician calling for the drugs laws to be reviewed is fairly commonplace. What is however rather less common – and so all the more significant – is for the former to feature the latter in a positive light as LDV mentioned earlier today:

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Nick Clegg is The Sun’s Hero of the Week… again

Perhaps it’s a pre-Leveson softening up exercise. Or perhaps we’ve activated a Lib Dem sleeper agent at the heart of Wapping. Whatever the explanation, Nick Clegg has been awarded the accolade — for the second time in three weeks — of being The Sun’s Hero of the Week. I’m not sure the reasons for which the paper has saluted him will do him many favours with all Lib Dems, but (simply in the spirit of sharing) here goes anyway…

The Sun, 12th October, 2012

Notwithstanding the fact that he was our Hero of the Week just three weeks

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Opinion: “The Lib Dems will be crushed at the next election” – Busting the biggest lie in British politics

We’ve all seen poll after poll regularly showing a massive drop in support for our party since the general election – most have us on 8-12% (with the exception of ICM suggesting 14-15%). The president of YouGov claims 10% would reduce us from over 50 MPs to just 10 in 2015. Many of us (myself included) have accepted this as fact – it makes sense. It’s what the polls say. It’s true.

Except, it isn’t.

Last week I heard a new “Wisdom Index” ICM poll had us at 18% and I was stunned. Such levels of support have been unheard of …

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Featherstone and Crockart slam Page 3

A petition calling on the editor of the Sun to withdraw the Page 3 feature has gained more than 13,000 signatures in the last 2 days. I’m supporting this campaign because I strongly believe that a national newspaper showing half clothed women is a significant background note in the cultural melody which stops women from being treated as equal citizens.  How am I supposed to convince my daughter that she’s an equal member of society when she sees women portrayed as little more than window dressing for the express entertainment of men?

Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West Mike Crockart …

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Opinion: The Sun has clearly boobed on this issue of free speech

I’m frankly disgusted that The Sun has decreed that I have a right to see Prince Harry’s penis, but not Kate Middleton’s nipples. I fail to understand how my being unable to see Prince Harry naked is somehow a disgusting breach of the freedom of speech of the UK press but my being unable to see Kate Middleton naked is completely correct because this is a hideous invasion of her privacy.

Let us briefly review. Prince Harry was happily naked in a hotel room where he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, someone took photos of him from a short distance …

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Liblink: Danny Alexander to tax dodgers – we are coming to get you!

Following all the publicity about Jimmy Carr’s tax arrangements for his multi million pound fortune which means that he pays just a fraction of the amount the rest of us have to shell out, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has written for the Sun newspaper about Government measures to clamp down on those who avoid tax.

Frankly, I think people who dodge the tax system are the moral equivalent of benefit cheats.

Both sets of people think they can bend the rules everyone else lives by for their own benefit.

The Coalition are already cutting income tax for

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LDV Caption Competition: Ed Miliband “Basking in The Sun” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

Ed Miliband The Sun

Here’s Labour leader Ed Miliband proudly bathing in the reflected glory of The Sun (before Rupert Murdoch’s fall from grace, natch) — what do you think might be being said or thought by or about him?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Clegg, Cam & Lansley “You can hear the white coats flapping” Edition.

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News International tried to bully the Lib Dems, says Observer. It didn’t work.

News International ‘bullied Liberal Democrats over BSkyB bid’ is the headline in today’s Observer, with the paper reporting:

Rupert Murdoch’s News International launched a campaign of bullying against senior Liberal Democrats in an attempt to force through the company’s bid for BSkyB, high-level sources have told the Observer.

Lib Dem insiders say NI officials took their lobbying campaign well beyond acceptable limits and even threatened, last autumn, to persecute the party if Vince Cable, the business secretary, did not advance its case.

According to one account from a senior party figure, a cabinet minister was told that, if the government did not

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Hughes, Farron and Foster write to Rupert Murdoch – full text of letter

Simon Hughes, Tim Farron and Don Foster have written to Rupert Murdoch about the proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International.

They ask Murdoch to respond to public opinion by changing his commercial strategy in the UK: withdrawing his News Corporation bid for BSkyB and concentrating all his efforts on cleaning up News International.

The letter in full:

Proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International

Ever since the report of our Information Commissioner ‘What Price Freedom?’ and the conviction and imprisonment of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2006, there has been growing concern about the policy and practices of UK newspaper titles owned

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Has Nick detected the emergence of ‘shy Cleggites’?

‘Shy Tories’ — the term applied to those planning to vote Conservative, but too embarrassed to admit it publicly — was a phrase used to help explain the pollsters’ failure to predict John Major’s 1992 election victory. An anecdote told by Nick Clegg in his interview in today’s Sun suggests the Lib Dems might also have our own share of abashed admirers:

Mr Clegg said: “Of course some people come up to me and say, ‘Oh we don’t like the Government doing this and doing that’. But more people come up to me and say, ‘I think you are doing

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Positive coverage in The Sun for anti-airbrushing campaign

Over the weekend The Sun ran this:

KAYA Cheshire may have only recently turned 18, but she’s got far bigger things to worry about than boyfriends, make-up and A-levels.

The aspiring journalist has turned her compassionate personality and hard working skills to a global issue in the fashion industry – whether airbrushing in magazines is really right.

The student from South Wales used London Fashion Week this week to promote her Natural Beauty: Keeping It Real campaign that she launched via Battlefront, a Channel 4 funded project that helps 14-21-year-olds platform charity campaigns…

She says: “When I started studying media at school, my eyes

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The Press Complaints Commission: dealing with individuals or dealing with journalism?

A common thread running through the Press Complaints Commission’s defence of its work is that it has been primarily created to deal with individual complaints, rather than being a regulator whose role is to improve the press overall. That’s why, for example, the PCC emphasises the proportion of complaints made to it which are concluded with the complainant happy with the outcome rather than, for example, focusing on how widespread certain practices are and whether they are increasing or decreasing.

To give an example: if a blogger were to complain to the PCC about a newspaper taking their work and reusing …

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It’s The Sun what made us snort with laughter

Yes, folks, truly this is The Sun’s election day front page …

It is, to put it politely, woeful. Not only does it make the assumption that Sun readers will instantly recognise the Obama imagery – by no means a certainty – but it fails the crucial credibility test.

The famous Kinnock light-bulb front page of 1992 captured, cruelly but brilliantly, the nation’s last minute doubts that the Labour leader was prime ministerial. But is there anyone who really looks at David Cameron and thinks, “There’s our Obama”? No.

I was fully expecting a full-tilt Sun attack on either/both Clegg and/or Brown: as they showed 18 years ago, going negative can work. I guess I should be grateful that Murdoch’s rag has thrown away the opportunity to lash out at their opponents in a way which might inflict damage.

By drawing the ludicrously hyperbolic Obama/Cameron comparison, it does almost seem as if The Sun is over-compensating: this arty-farty front page invites derision. Indeed it’s already started …

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What the public thinks should happen in a hung Parliament

Only one in five voters think David Cameron should try to form a minority government if his party is the largest but short of an overall majority after Thursday’s general election.

The finding comes in a YouGov poll for The Sun which finds that 37% think in such circumstances Cameron should try to form a “grand coalition” with Labour and Lib Dems and a further 24% think he should “seek to work with the Liberal Democrats”. Only 20% said he should “seek to form a minority government, without doing any deals with any other party”.

Although The Sun has previously …

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