Wednesday, 15 April 2015

An Aside About the Indie's Attack on UKIP

A brief aside before I go back to drawing tomorrow's cartoon...

The worst thing about this election is not the leaders who refuse to mix with real people. Nor is it the Tories announcing cynical spending plans after years of 'austerity' (thereby proving, I think, that 'austerity' was merely a word which helpfully disguised the natural instincts of Thatcherite conservatives to reduce the significance of the state).  No, the worst part of this election is the crass attempts by the media to swing public opinion.

The Telegraph have perhaps been the worst for this, which barely a day passing without some headline screaming out about the virtues of the Tories and the horrors of Labour. Yet the left leading papers are also as guilty and the following is perhaps the worst example I've seen so far.

I would not, myself, vote UKIP, but I think if you're going to disagree with them, then you have to disagree with them on substance. You don't start running the kind of entirely risible story The Independent currently have at the top of their website.

I've done a fair bit of Photoshopping in my life and I can tell when a picture have been doctored in order to make it fit a composition. I've done this kind of job myself many times, making a bookcase stretch further. It's done to make the picture fit the page and not, as the Indie claim, to make Nuttall look 'more educated'.

They even claim that the book he's reading is an 'illustrated picturebook', which I guess is meant to suggest that he's reading a children's book. Thirty seconds of research shows it's actually 'a brief well illustrated history of British Rebels and Reformers from the medieval period and the Peasants Rebellion of 1381 to the Industrial Revolution and the 19th century and Anti-Slavery, the Luddites, Chartists, and other reforms to the turn of the century with the Fabian Society and others.' It just happens to have illustrations.

Now, I know that in the grand scheme of things this is a nothing story. I know it's a small thing. I guess that I'm the only person this annoys. Yet I don't see how anybody can complain about Putin manipulating people's fears through the media in Russia, whilst we in the UK are currently experiencing exactly the same on a daily basis. Aren't we supposed to be better than this? And if we can't believe something as trivial as this, how on earth can we trust them about the more serious matters?


  1. Thank you for this decent example of proper journalism, looking at the facts and finding and publishing the truth.
    If you want to do an expose, take this thing further, you'll find enough similarly slanted anti -Ukip bias to fill the library behind Nuttall.
    and not to mention the number of times Ukip are Not mentioned, whilst the greens and the Libs and the SNP and DUP are.... Another hundred volumes
    oh, and when May 8th shows just how wrong all the polls turned out to be and Ukip surprises (no, make that shocks) the MSM, you can present your factual expose, Pulitzer stuff....
    Thanks again for a sensible article, it's appreciated.

  2. Thank you, Ian. Never considered myself a proper journalist or, at least, not for a piece knocked together in two minutes on my way out the front door. However, glad to see that I'm not the only one who hates this kind of journalism. The point of an election is that we debate and choose sites based on facts and reasoned arguments. I hate lies of any kind and this was, I think, just pure lies meant to elicit a snarl from readers of the Indie. This election really has been poor but this proves that it's getting poorer. This election actually makes me more ashamed of our establishment than ever before.

  3. The Independent has been going downhill for a few years now, they've cut the number of journalists and the last time I bought a copy I was alarmed by how few pages it had.

  4. Years since I bought the Indie but what you say comes as no surprise. The website is horrific and scarred by those horrible Taboola ads which mix the worst of the web with the best of the paper. To be honest, I deserted the Guardian but I find myself going back to it. Horrible in many respects but still the best for the arts and live news coverage. The Times is pretty good when I remember to have a look at it. Telegraph just horrible.

  5. I still buy a Guardian on a Saturday mainly for the Review section and the entertainment guide but during the week I read it online on my lunch break. I haven't bought The Times in ages, some of their columnists like Matt Ridley and Melanie Phillips I really dislike. Despite being fairly left of centre myself I used to like getting an honest conservative perspective on issues but it's lately become too Thatcherite for my tastes.
    What did you make of Peter Oborn's resignation from the Telegraph over the HSBC stuff? I always saw him as an honourable man and his principled actions really impressed me. The Guardian should hire him.

  6. Sounds like we're of the same mind. I was only saying yesterday that The Times is on a bit of an edge for me. I adore Peter Brookes's cartoons but I absolutely detest seeing Caitlan Moran all over it. They almost cancel each other out except I think I love Brookes' cartoons that little bit more. The news coverage is good and they have the huge advantage of their website not having of those awful Taboola ads. Agree with the Thatcherite thing. I like (and in a sense even admire) the old school One Nation Tories but hate this new modern radical lot who were raised at Thatcher's withered teat. (I guess I find myself moving more to the left, having witnessed the NHS and how cruel the government are to anybody who isn't fit to work. That's what shocks me about the current election. The Tories genuinely seem to hate anybody who is incapable of working 40 hour weeks for minimum wage. They don't seem to comprehend that there are people who spend 40 hours a week in agonizing pain for which the NHS does bugger all.)

    I agree about Oborne. I read his long article over at one of the independent journalism sites. Always like him as a journalist but admired him more for that. He surely deserves some press award for that alone. I don't see why he couldn't write for the Guardian except they have the constant problem of always hiring commentators of a certain type. It's the only real problem I have with the Guardian though, in fairness, I think they've improved in the past few months. There seem to be fewer days where the site is dominated by women explaining why Top Gear should be replaced with a series about spanking.