David Thompson


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July 19, 2011



It’s always a good thing when politicians become involved in the workings of the free press.

Step forward Neil Kinnock…



“Step forward Neil Kinnock…”

Poor Neil. He’s waited so long for payback.

He’s not alone, though. Last week, George Monbiot was suggesting that the state should have much greater control over the media. Apparently, the way to “hold power to account” is to surrender enormous power to the state, because if politicians had more influence over the media nothing bad would happen. And Sue Marsh, another contributor to Sunny’s Liberal Conspiracy, recently told her readers: “I’ve never understood why we allow our print media to support a particular political viewpoint.”

Why “we” allow, indeed.

Aside from the revenge fantasies, what’s interesting about the NoTW saga is the level of displacement. There’s an assumption that Murdoch’s businesses have somehow – in ways never quite defined – corrupted the viewing and reading public, who now, presumably, suffer from false consciousness and vote The Wrong Way. But as Christopher Hitchens noted, “When reporters speak so easily of the great influence exerted on politicians by Murdoch's papers, what they really mean is by Murdoch's readers. His only real knack lies in knowing what they want.”

However, blaming Murdoch’s customers – for their appetites and choices - wouldn’t sit so well with claims of false consciousness and egalitarian pretensions. Instead, it’s better to depict them as dupes of dark forces and in need of saving through greater state control. By people who care and who know what’s best.


"Because if a handful of people who don’t buy the Sun anyway declare that henceforward they’re not going to buy the Sun, the effect on News International’s global domination might be less than catastrophic, however psychologically satisfying."

There's a glimmer of self awareness there, don't you think?


There's a glimmer of self awareness there, don't you think?

That's not Sunny, that's HC.


Why “we” allow, indeed.

There's never been much liberalism at Liberal Conspiracy.

carbon based lifeform

“When reporters speak so easily of the great influence exerted on politicians by Murdoch's papers, what they really mean is by Murdoch's readers. His only real knack lies in knowing what they want.”


"Could it be that the left is predisposed to exaggerate the power of the press because doing so provides a comfortable explanation for what is an otherwise unpleasant fact – that the British people don’t share our beliefs for some deep-seated reasons?"



Now there’s a glimmer of self-awareness. Though I wouldn’t call that particular fact unpleasant.

[ Added: ]

Again, it’s the assumption that the “rightwing” – i.e., popular - press somehow corrupts or befuddles people who would otherwise embrace leftist thinking, and that without the wicked interference of the Sun and Daily Mail their readers would be volunteering to pay more tax. People who assume this presumably imagine that leftwing ideas are by definition natural, inarguable and self-evidently correct, and any reluctance or deviation must be due to enemy action.


"...any reluctance or deviation must be due to enemy action".

Isn't it usually put down to mental retardation and moral depravity? Or is that assessment just reserved for those of us who are not responsive to the left-wing propaganda but do not read the red tops?



“Isn't it usually put down to mental retardation and moral depravity?”

Leftwing pundits and activists often have trouble with this. The contempt and condescension tends to jar with egalitarian pretensions.

For instance, Sunny Hundal waves aside those who dislike airport “occupations” by unhinged activists as merely “Middle England,” a term that conjures images of pearl-clutching Daily Mail readers. But a dislike of Plane Stupid’s ambitions and methods isn’t confined to uptight ladies of the shires. Readers of the Sun - hardly a paper of choice for the bejewelled bourgeoisie – were emphatic in their disapproval of the “morons” and “wasters” who, they said, deserved “six months in jail.”

And so an interesting question arises: At what point exactly does the Sun readership – the noble proletariat - become “Middle England” and worthy of contempt? Is it the point at which they start to disagree with Mr Hundal and his fellow Guardianistas? Is that when the working class becomes the enemy of the left?

“Or is that assessment just reserved for those of us who are not responsive to the left-wing propaganda but do not read the red tops?”

Ah, well. We’re just congealed evil.



What makes you think that any member of the proletariat is ennobled in the hearts and/or minds of the Guardianistas?

Listen to a Radio 5 live phone-in on any given day and you might notice the open contempt in which all working class phone-in contributors are held; unless, of course, they are either a) unquestioningly towing the BBC line on any given subject or b) young, disabled, muslim or a member of some other 'victim' group in which case they (and I mean you Victoria Derbyshire!) fawn over and patronize them as if they are a favourite pet.

That's what I pay my licence fe for!



“What makes you think that any member of the proletariat is ennobled in the hearts and/or minds of the Guardianistas?”

I’m not entirely convinced by their claims of altruism and respect, let’s put it that way. At times, the relationship seems more like that of a pet and its owner. I must’ve quoted at least a dozen Guardian articles that are premised on a belief that other people – non-Guardian readers - don’t know their own minds and don’t really want what they say they want or choose to pay for with their own money. People, we’re supposed to believe, are mere dupes of social expectation and canny advertisers, with no real volition or responsibility for their actions.

Tanya Gold, for instance, blamed her alcoholism (and overeating and smoking) on capitalism, advertising and supermarket discounts – and on dieting, pornography and glossy magazines - everything except her own choices and incontinence. According to Laurie Penny, women who vajazzle are victims of “consumer culture” and playthings of big business, driven by shame, insecurity and self-disgust. They, unlike Ms Penny, can’t see through advertising. They, unlike her, don’t know their own minds. Meanwhile, Bidisha merely denounces those who disagree with her as “lazy and complacent” - as people who “have no politics.” There being no legitimate political views except her own. Anyone “with politics” must, simply must, agree with Bidisha.

If you dig through the archives, you’ll find plenty more. It’s a standard Guardian template. And for all the egalitarian pretension, it doesn’t exactly suggest a relationship of equals.


(and I mean you Victoria Derbyshire!)

There could and should be a thorough fisking of the reprehensible VD. I for one would enjoy seeing her supposed reputation being torn to shreds, though it would not make any difference to the lady of course. She would still be free to spout the approved line on her shows, nurture her pet likes and bank her salary no matter what anyone says.



Sadly VD is not the only 5live presenter who's reputation as a 'balanced' and 'intelligent' presenter beggars belief.

Step forward Richard Bacon.

Here is a rough transcript of a recent conversation with Louis Theroux, who had apparently made one of his smug documentaries; this time high-lighting the lives of 'extreme' Jews living in arab areas of 'Palestine'...

Bacon: How do the Jews end up living in such dangerous situations

Theroux: There is a Jewish organisation that buys up Palestinian property when it becomes available and moves Jewish families into it.

Bacon: How do the Jews get away with stealing Palestinian property?

Some days I think I am going mad.


The BBC doesn't have a 'hegemony'. Get your facts straight.



So you don’t like Janet Daley’s choice of the term hegemony.

But still, the BBC – the nation’s state broadcaster - runs 10 domestic TV channels, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations, numerous publishing and ancillary operations and a vast online presence, the largest of its kind. The BBC regularly defines the national news agenda in ways few newspapers or cable stations could hope to achieve. If Mr Murdoch’s products aren’t to your taste, they’re fairly easy to avoid – just don’t buy them. The BBC, however, in effect has its own tax, non-payment of which is a criminal offence. Some estimates suggest that every week 97% of the British population consume some product made by the BBC. And given the corporation’s uniquely privileged (and obsolete) funding structure, its institutional status, its global branding and its relative immunity from market pressures, what term would you prefer?

See also this.



Actually, though the word 'Hegemony' usually refers to countries it is also perfectly acceptable to use when making reference to the leadership or predominance excercised by a large institution, organization or even a perticularly powerful individual. It seems, therefore, that the word was perfectly well chosen.

In fact the word was used as follows: "...I had been invited to speak on a favourite subject: the BBC hegemony in broadcast news...". It is then quite possible that Janet Daley was merely quoting the title of a speaking event that she had attended and it is not even clear that she herself can be criticized for the choice of that particular word.

Remind me again, who is it that needs to get their facts straight?


"Some estimates suggest that every week 97% of the British population consume some product made by the BBC"

Add to that the fact that the BBC has a well-known left-wing bias and has much to do with the Guardian. Some people joke that the Guardian doesn't sell so well because everyone has tuned into the radio version on radio 4 every morning, where an oft heard refrain in the review of the morning's newspaper is:

"And the Guardian leads with the same story as us again..."

Lo and behold!

And now the BBC are going for Cameron with everything they've got.


sorry that's review of the morning's *newspapers, my bad

sackcloth and ashes


Jonnie Marbles - the clown that pied Murdoch - has tried to justify his actions on CIF. He's getting an on-line beating in the comments, despite the efforts by Rusbridger's daughter to get everyone to play nice.


See also this.



Re: S&A's link...I found this comment quite precious:

Guys, believe it or not..."

"Suburban Homeboy:
...And I am quite sure that the readership is not all "Guys" - you aren't down the pub with your mates at the moment."


As if he wasn't in enough trouble.


I feel it only fair to reveal Johnny Marbles true identity via Adloyada


He calls himself Johnnie Marbles, though he’s clearly lost his. His real name is something rather posher–Jonathan May-Bowles.

sackcloth and ashes

A selection of comments from the CIF thread:

20 July 2011 3:43PM

Jonathan May-Bowles, putting aside that it was entirely pointless and unhelpful and tarnishes groups like UKuncut by association, it wasnt even funny. Maybe if you had actually hit rupert murdoch, or didnt get lamped, and wasn’t pictured outside with more foam on you than on anyone else, or having your bloody nose wiped by a policeman, then maybe your this great practical joke would have made for a laugh that wasnt at your expense.
Was this why you didnt look particularly happy as you were being carted off by OB, or are you a deadpan pie-thrower?

20 July 2011 3:10PM

Jonnie Marbles – just stop digging.
You, my friend, are a shameless self-promoting opportunist. I guess your stunt worked because now the Guardian has given you a platform.
The fact is that you handed the gutter-press the perfect leftie stereotype, distracted attention from a vital commons hearing, generated sympathy for Murdoch and admiration for his latest wife. The only thing that is not certain here is wether you really were self-absorbed enough not to have forseen the consequences of your “direct action”.
Actually – there’s a parallel here between you and Paul McMullen – tabloid hack who keeps popping up to insult victims of phone hacking.
Both yourself and Mr McMullen have sought to exploit this whole saga for your personal gain, but both of you have failed utterly – and neither of you seem to recognize this.
You do not represent anybody or anything apart from your own narcissistic interests.
Just go away. Don’t give any interviews, don’t write anything, stop commenting, stop tweeting. Your ridiculous “activist” affectations are not welcome. You have humiliated yourself. Just leave.

20 July 2011 3:11PM

Jonnie, in what way did you “strike a blow for justice”? In what way, even if Murdoch is guilty of all the things you accuse him of (and I could agree with you on many of them), does a pie in the face constitute “justice”?
Jonnie Marbles – once a nobody. Now a has-been.

20 July 2011 3:12PM

Jonnie Marbles, have you heard of Nathan Barley?
That’s you, that is.

20 July 2011 3:13PM

It’s not that we don’t understand. We do. We understood everything the moment you stood up in the committee.
We understand that you’re a massive pillock with all the comedy talent and political insight of the breeze from a kebab shop.
Now bugger off into your hard-earned obscurity.

20 July 2011 3:02PM

One puerile act and you handed the Murdoch media with the perfect excuse to deflect attention from what was said – today’s headlines are completely changed from being about the actual issues to focussing on some twat with a pie.
And, thanks to you, the Murdochs left the room with the apologies of the committee and its appreciation of their “braveness” to continue

20 July 2011 3:45PM

Hey Jonnie – let me know when your next gig is!
Maybe if I jump on stage and pie you, everyone will forget how talentless you are and feel sorry for you.

20 July 2011 3:45PM

“To be honest, I had not expected to get so far, but parliamentary security, with its machine-gun toting cops and scatter X-rays, is apparently no match for a man with some shaving-foam covered plates in his bag”.

Why should it have to be? It’s an area for discourse, not 6th-form pleasing stunts.
Yesterday was about holding him to account and making him answer questions – something he seemed totally unable to do.
Anyone with concerns about Murdoch’s power would have let him continue dismantling his own image in front of a worldwide audience.
It’s a shame you couldn’t see that as you sat giggling and tweeting before the piss weak finish. and you couldn’t even pull that off properly.

20 July 2011 3:46PM

Jonnie you shamed UK Uncut, you shamed the Labour Party which you are a member, by attacking an 80 yr old man. Now you have shamed and soiled the Guardian.

20 July 2011 3:06PM


No, and I completely disagree with what he did. But I don’t want this thread to turn into an abuse fest”.

Then why is it even here?
Murdoch is right up against the wall and what happens? We send in the clowns.
As far as I’m concerned this thread represents the stocks, and Jonnie Marbles is the village idiot caught masturbating in public. Let the abuse fly.

20 July 2011 3:04PM

@IsabellaMackie… bearing your warning to play the ball, not the man.

Why on earth did the Guardian choose to post this particular ball?
It is a shit ball.’

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