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Saturday, November 22, 2008 

Weekend links.

No real overriding theme this weekend, although we must start by mentioning the wonderfully convenient death of Rashid Rauf via a Hellfire missile from a US drone, after his equally convenient escape from his guards around this time last year. Answers on a postcard as to where he was during the missing time period to the usual address....

Elsewhere, Baby P remains a story, not enough emotion yet having been wrenched from his dessicated corpse. Mike P (who also has restarted his own weekend paper-round up, to which this round-up is indebted) directs us towards Spiked's coverage, which as you might expect is better than almost anything written in any of the papers. The Sun is still demanding its pound of flesh while profiting from its noble cause, now having parked a campaign lorry outside Haringey council. The Daily Mail meanwhile is furthering its attempts to take journalism to ever lower depths. Via Anorak, it asks:

How could anyone believe that a woman like Baby P's mother could be entrusted with the welfare of a child?

That she is a lazy good-for-nothing is not in doubt, but there is more to her character than that.

Is she wicked, stupid or just unhinged?

And so begins the dehumanising, the vitriol, the disgust, all of it based on hearsay and rumour, not a single source named or alluded to. It goes on:

To the vast majority, this must seem too sordid to be true. But these people do not follow the normal rules of civilised society; they have chosen to live outside it.

A perfect description of the "journalists" and editors taking part in the witch-hunt which the tabloids are currently pursuing. The Sun, in its leader on the BBC, is similarly hypocritical:

Yesterday’s report by the BBC Trust criticises “a serious lack of editorial judgment and control” at the Beeb.


It talks of several “failures of editorial judgment” over offensive material.

It reveals a culture at the Beeb of no accountability and no responsibility.

The Daily Quail also brilliantly satirises the Mail's outrage at the possibility that Baby P's mother might be given anonymity once released to protect her from the savages that might kill her, helped along in no small part by completely irresponsible media coverage.

Keeping with the BBC, Catherine Bennett points out the irony of the conservatives wanting to destroy one of the few remaining institutions that promotes tradition. Former BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan is having his own problems, having been exposed as being involved in sock-puppeting. Sunny says he's becoming a laughing stock, Justin notes the spread of the disease from bloggers to hacks, while the Tory Troll's piece on CiF is where it's all been kicking off.

The pre-budget report is on Monday, but there's a surprising lack of real comment on it, seeing as we all seem to be far more interested in either dead babies or old men who can't dance. Paul Linford steps into the breach in his usual fine style, Chris asks whether tax cuts will work, while Matthew Parris thinks the Conservative strategy is far wiser, predictably, than Pollyanna T does.

Treasure the following sentence, because it is most likely the only time this blog will ever praise Hazel Blears. She honestly completely gets it over the BNP and how to tackle them. Even stopped clocks do however manage to get the time right twice a day, so let's not get carried away with ourselves. Voltaire's Priest manages to get a shit storm going again, thanks to some rather inane logic over why the left should be celebrating the fascists getting what's been coming to them.

Onto general miscellany, and we have the really rather good Janice Turner on online cruelty, Howard Jacobson considering what the revelation that Hitler actually did only have one ball means, and Robert Fisk compares the Kabul of today to the one of 30 years ago. Speaking of the past, Thatcher was forced out of office 18 years ago today, as Iain Dale, Justin and the Daily (Maybe) all relate.

Finally then to the worst tabloid comment piece of the weekend award, and as much as I'd like to give it to the above Daily Mail Baby P piece, that's stretching the rules a little too far. Instead we'll have to make do with stretching the rules only slightly with this from the Sunday Times:

The plea bargain is intimidation and extorted perjury, an outright rape of any plausible definition of justice

Says Conrad Black, currently begging George Bush to pardon him before he leaves office.

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