Leveson: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question 192

I am with David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch in one respect on the Leveson report. British mainstream politicians are still more repulsive and self-seeking than the British mainstream media, and state regulation of the media, however modulated, is not good.

But Leveson was answering the wrong question.

The real problem is the ownership structure of UK mainstream media. Newspapers and broadcasters function as the propaganda tool of vast and intertwined corporate interests, shaping public opinion to the benefit of those corporate interests and ensuring popular support for politicians prepared to be complicit with those interests.

The only answer to this is to break up the corporate structure of the UK mainstream media. The legislative framework to do this is not difficult. What needs to be changed are the criteria. I would propose something like this; no organisation, state or private, should be allowed effective control of more than 20% of the national or regional newspaper market or the television market, or more than 15% of those combined markets.

The extraordinary thing is that Leveson specifically states that plurality issues do fall within his terms of reference, and that he must address them. He then completely fails to address them. At pages 29-30 of the executive summary of his report, he acknowledges that the current situation is unsatisfactory but makes no recommendations for change, only urging “Greater transparency on decision making on mergers”.

Leveson has provided us with the distraction of an argument about a regulatory body to look primarily at invasion of privacy abuse. The important factor for Leveson is not what Cameron or Clegg think of that idea. It is what Murdoch and the media corporations think of it, and the truth is that they could live with it, after huffing and puffing, because it would have zero effect on theirfinancial bottom line.

But what Leveson has totally failed to do – and doubtless never had the slightest intention of doing – was anything that hurts the corporate financial interests. Leveson’s failure seriously to address the question of media ownership and its use in the nexus of commercial and political interests is itself an appalling act of establishment collusion. Very successfully so – in all the “debate” going on about the regulatory body, the media ownership question has completely vanished. Brilliant.

192 thoughts on “Leveson: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question

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  • DUNO

    What we need are breakaways. A bunch of (potentially) good journalists and writers just get together and say we are going to try this…

    It’s quite annoying to a very poor person like myself, seeing theses quite well off and well known journalists lapping around the the same old centres of power. If a few of them just clubbed together i’m sure they could create a significant alternative.

    I have some hope with the mass of young people now entering this filed at this time will see the opportunity to expand the craft that’s more like good journalism used to be, it will get it’s meaning back and will be a far more rewarding practice.

    I often worry about the path i’v chosen as an artist, but the point is i’m doing something I really do care about. And despite the issues I am doing it.

    @Mary, well it was just an observation based on quick research. I was not trying to be specific.

    Glad you posted that info though. I wonder if there taught about Iraq now, or the slow genocide we are going along with Israel in. IMO what they should be learning is how the US and the UK have done arguably 10 times more killing and destruction than the Nazis ever could.

    I found John Taylor Gatto’s work interesting on education, and I do now know more just how “balanced and broadly based” it all was. I’m still getting over this now.

    Like why for instance should I feel it wrong to say something potentially bad or something that may suggest a bias agenda, conscious or not, that a Jewish person may have? Are they not the same as the rest of us?

    I can happily slag off Americas, British, Christians etc but them Jewish indaviduals are just beyond reproach.

    Well right or wrong i’m allowed to think what I want about anyone, and I will say it. And if the ‘Jewish’ (Israel) state is anything to go buy there actions of murder and calling for murder (war) are far beyond what I would even consider really doing against individuals I may find issues with.

    It really shows just how manufactured our society is, the difficulty we have even talking about some things, Yet the state that manufactures it is the antithesis of justice. And it does it in the name of justice.

  • nevermind

    alltogethernow, not too difficult same melody as Quantanamera.
    one Holoooocauhaust, there’s only one Holocaust, one Holocauuuuhaust, there’s only one Holocauuuhost.

    Its simple, not many other words needed like Armenian, Cambodian, or Rwandan, or Japanese nuclear Holocaust.
    Has Israel applied to the EU yet, to have their Holocaust protected by consumer rights? like Parma ham and Eccles cakes.
    Do they have a Holocaust protection and development programme? a Gaza Holocaust research and activity centre?

    What of an Iranian Holocaust, or a Syrian one? I’m sure there are some financial incentives to be gained from the Holocaust specialist and arms dealers, buy one Holokill get another one completely free.

    What of the speciality, the applied child holocaust, the near kill through the mouth and the burn em’ alive Holoroasti, I’m sure our children must surely want to learn that one. If not, then they will be told or…..

  • davidb

    I tend to agree with your comments viz limits on media ownership. It should apply to the BBC too. I also think that it should be universal. It should apply to banks and car companies, Gas Utilities and ISP’s. 15% or 20% of any market should be plenty for anyone in such a huge economy as Europe.

    I too wonder how it is that the law applies to ordinary folks, but not to MP’s or to giant corporations, or to journalist hackers. Scales of Justice, open up your eyes.

    We really shouldn’t be starting from here.

  • Phil

    “Newspapers and broadcasters function as the propaganda tool of vast and intertwined corporate interests, shaping public opinion to the benefit of those corporate interests and ensuring popular support for politicians prepared to be complicit with those interests.”

    Exactly. Very well said. However, simply passing ownership to a broader corporate base will not even interrupt the mechanisms that result in propaganda.

    A more radical solution is required.

  • A Node

    Way back when the phone-hacking scandal kicked off, Brian Gerrish (of UK Column) warned us to keep an eye on the Media Standards Trust. They are a self-elected media watchdog, composed of the usual suspects (eg Julia Middleton, head of Common Purpose) and funded by the usual suspects (eg Rothschilds).
    So keep an eye on them I have done. They have been making the correct noises throughout, positioning themselves as “honest brokers” and establishing themselves as an authoritative voice in the proceedings. Indeed, their chairman even ‘resigned’ his post to join the Leveson Enquiry.
    Every word they utter oozes secret agenda and ulterior motive.
    If they end up being the backbone of the new “independent body” which Leveson recommends the media should set up to regulate themselves, then I will suspect that that was the purpose of the entire sorry saga.

    You too can keep an eye on them here:

  • DUNO

    Thing is, there are some good lessons from the German experience we should be learning about, I don’t agree with the hoax idea but it certainly seems overblown in comparison to the many other wars, most which contain some form of ethnic ‘cleansing’, after all that’s why they are waged, to divide..

    It does seem all the ‘education’ about the Jewish holocaust is overblown, maybe it’s less conspiratorial and just the fact that we know so much about it and the evidence is overwhelming, It’s repellent to people, understandably, but that leads to ( or influences ) this exception idea. But just because we don’t see the other atrocity’s it does not mean there not just as bad…

    And if you think about it, these lessons not being learned is a disservice to Jewish people as well as to the ongoing victims of the same basic thing.

    It was the same basic idea of the exceptional that Tony Blair used, that the British are ‘special’, ‘I know it, they know it’ etc etc. I have not been able to find that video but I think it was broadcast around the time of the invasion of Iraq, It has lots of flying shots over the white cliffs along with his sickening rhetoric.

    It gets me that many people have this kind of attitude in the uk, and don’t think there strange. It’s not about saying Britain is worse overall, or that we should feed down on ourselves as a culture, it just means we are just the same and just as susceptible under certain circumstances, as Tolken noted, in many cases it’s not a matter of that you may be corrupted, it’s saying this kind of (perceived) power WILL corrupt anyone.

    I think as a society (certainly me as an individual) are still coming to terms with Iraq.

    I was thinking earlier, considering things like Lord Gilbert’s recent rhetoric (along with other things were learning about our elite lately) that such arrogance will lead to a big slip up. But reflecting on it I think the big slip up was in 2003 and it is still sinking in. The worrying thing is for some it clearly has not stared sinking in. they seem obligated to screw people over, ‘deafening the realm’ no doubt…

    Maybe we could make the UK like a theme park, “Walking with Dinosaurs!”. ‘Come and see how nothing has really changed after all these years’, ‘where strange beings from another age still live as they did centuries ago’. I think it’s just the kind of tourism boost we need…

  • Mary

    That cute little QC from Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, ex Home Office barrister and an alumna of the British American Project is on Marr giving us all the inside info on Leveson. She was on his panel of course.

  • Mary

    We are told.

    Leveson report proposals ‘would be illegal’ Shami Chakrabarti was one of six advisers assisting the Leveson Inquiry

    The Leveson report
    Report at a glance
    Victims react
    After Leveson – what now?
    What papers say

    A key adviser to Lord Justice Leveson says his proposal for compulsory press regulation would be illegal because it would breach the Human Rights Act.

    The judge’s report recommended an independent self-regulatory body for the industry, backed up by legislation.

    But Shami Chakrabarti, of civil rights group Liberty, told the Mail on Sunday she could not support such legislation.

    She said the press was “being coerced in being held to higher standards than anyone else”.


    Now Huge Grant (pressure group Hacked Off) is on Marr plus John Whittingdale on a link.

    See {http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/07/whittingdale-wades-in/}

  • nevermind

    o/t sorry
    I might have given the wrong impression to some that I deny the Holocaust, I don’t, but its is a horse that has been ridden to death, an industry and convenient label to pull out.

    Its priory over any other massacre/genocides is out of all proportions and the worldwide establishment of ‘Holocaust centres’ is equally macabre, you do not need these to teach children of politicians mistakes, all it achieves is to divert attention from all other nastyness that has been festering societies for decades.

    It has happened alright, but humanity made sure that it happened everywhere., it is not a problem only centred on the jews.

    Try googling what happened at Cow Tower, Norwich in 1411 and you know that this progrom started early and was a European disease, to teach children that the bad ol’ nazi’s did it, is taken history in bits.

  • Vronsky

    There seems to be a desire among politicians to talk of *The* Holocaust as a means of firewalling this sort of thing, relegating it to the realms of an ugly, never to be repeated history – except it is being repeated daily. Similar hypocrisy surrounds the Cenotaph service and all the other hooptedoodle around Poppy Day.

    The Nazis are proposed as some sort of limiting and exceptional evil: nothing can ever be that bad again, nothing now is that bad. This bogus relativism is sometimes unpleasantly obvious.

  • Clark

    DUNO at 1 Dec, 4:45 pm

    “Surly if the police really wanted to look they could find out if they are hacking phones etc, hard to believe they did not know. I think it seems in many cases it’s more that people don’t come forward because they know these are powerful forces.”

    There was no technical skill required in “phone hacking”. No security was broken. It should never have been referred to as “hacking”. The victims’ phones were never involved.

    Mobile phone accounts are supplied with a voicemail facility, whereby messages are recorded and stored at the phone company on their equipment. Your voicemail messages are not stored in your mobile phone; that wouldn’t be possible if the call went unanswered because your phone’s battery was discharged or because you were in a place with no signal. So messages never reach your phone; they just get stored at your phone company.

    To retrieve your messages, your phone calls a number supplied by your phone company, connecting to the voicemail equipment. This equipment identifies the number of your phone, and makes any stored messages to that number available from an audio menu system.

    However, you can also retrieve your messages from any other phone. In this case, you call a different number supplied by your phone company. The first step in the menu system asks you to key in the number of your own phone (rather than the number you are calling from). You are then asked to key in your Personal Identification Number (PIN), after which your messages are made available just as if you were calling from your own phone.

    The problem was that phone companies issued the same PIN to all their customers, so anyone who knew how could listen to or delete the messages of any other phone user who hadn’t changed their PIN, just by calling the right number, keying in the victim’s number instead of their own when asked, and then entering the default PIN.

    So there was no suspicious activity to detect. Each instance of “phone hacking” looked identical to a person legitimately retrieving their own messages from someone else’s phone.

  • Mary

    Our friendly ambassador to Israel was at the unveiling of a statue of Winston Churchill in Jerusalem earlier last month.

    ‘British Ambassador Matthew Gould, speaking both as Her Majesty’s representative in Israel and as a proud member of the Jewish community of Britain, said that it was “absolutely right” that the memory of Winston Churchill be honored in Jerusalem, when he stood so firmly for the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland.

    “He stood up for the rights of the Jewish people to a Jewish homeland long before it became fashionable – if it was ever fashionable,” said Gould, who noted Churchill’s passionate stand against anti-Semitism.

    Gould was also critical of the fact that Churchill has not been honored sufficiently in Israel, that his story is not told enough, and that his contribution to the Zionist enterprise is not sufficiently well known.

    Daniel Taub, the British-born Israeli Ambassador to the Court of St. James, referred to the esteem in which Churchill was held by Israeli leaders.’

    Jerusalem unveils bust of Sir Winston Churchill
    Former British leader remembered as friend of Jewish people at ceremony in the capital

  • Kempe

    “One of the biggest nails in the coffin in recent years is the advent of ground penetrating radar which was eagerly deployed in it’s early days to locate the various reported mass graves (containing both ashes and bodies) at the camp sites. This was done out of a desire to formally mark the areas out as a permanent memorial to the victims. After extensive searching at multiple sites no evidence of ground disturbances of the scale expected could be found.”

    I don’t know where you’re getting this stuff from but it’s totally wrong.


  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “Strauss had studied ancient Greek texts, which emphasized among other things that “within democracy there is good and bad, free and slave,” and that “democracy can produce a slavish mind and a slavish country.” The political task before every generation, Mr. Mansfield understood, is to “defend the good kind of democracy. And to do that you have to be aware of human differences and inequalities, especially intellectual inequalities.”

    “American elites today prefer to dismiss the “unchangeable, undemocratic facts” about human inequality, he says. Progressives go further: “They think that the main use of liberty is to create more equality. They don’t see that there is such a thing as too much equality. They don’t see limits to democratic equalizing”—how, say, wealth redistribution can not only bankrupt the public fisc but corrupt the national soul.”


    Even with minimal outside interference, our Republic has evolved in baby steps. A hundred years after liberty was staked out, African slaves finally received their paper freedom, which did not provide fruit until a century later (1964).

    As my namesake said when asked what the Founders had produced: “You have a Republic, if you can keep it”

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said.

    The project is aimed at transforming the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars, into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.”


    Some have asserted JFK was assassinated for threatening to break the CIA into a ‘million pieces’ after they screwed him on the Bay of Pgs. His intent was to make the Pentagon sole proprietor for covert operations.

    Now we have CIA, NSA and DIA as competing agencies with all the sectored, territorial squabbles to further the Fog of Intel. Nice.

  • DUNO

    “This story could be a mortal threat to the holocaust orthodoxy”

    Well I haven’t even looked into these specifics. And i’m not going to. I know there are many living people with relives who where killed. You want you argue about how and just what happened. ?

    This is not a threat to orthodoxy, let alone a mortal threat.

    Yes, as I said before, it has been comparatively overblown IMO. It’s the kind of thing we should expect, this being the England..

    Sometimes I wonder if these people who seem to want to downplay this to a large degree aren’t in fact just working to get the opposition going so we can lay out all the stuff to make it seem exceptional…

    I think part of the reason it seems exceptional is the Germans like the British and other powers never dreamed the internet would come about as it has. They did things without to much worry, states had tight control of media and I think they thought they could hide it from history, like many things they did hide quite well before.

    So though there are few of these events today, mass shootings etc, like in Spain and many other places back then, the murder is just as bad now except it’s not done as obviously.

    The thing I think there still getting wrong is the plausible dependability they think they have in these more modern cases. They still live in this fantasy land where they can control the narrative, where they still have real power. IMO they don’t, they have a monopoly of force and that’s about it. A discredited press is not really helping them either.

    The rest of the world looks on and it’s like they haven’t noticed.

  • Kempe

    Well first you claim no graves have been found and then when one has been found it’s not big enough.

    The pit described was only one of several and clearly from it’s shape was not a bomb crater. At 4 metres deep it could contain the ashes of 500,000 people.

    More reading for you:-


  • Vronsky

    It’s a tremendous relief to discover that perhaps only one million Jews were murdered. There was silly old me thinking that there had been some sort of unpleasantness! Whew!

  • Vronsky

    “There was no technical skill required in “phone hacking”. No security was broken. It should never have been referred to as “hacking”. The victims’ phones were never involved.”

    I worked for a wee while as a penetration tester, which I’m sorry to report is much less exciting than it sounds. Circumventing firewalls, intrusion detectors and other digital gadgetry is a hobby, not a profession. You have to be very clever to pursue this hobby, and it helps if you don’t mind failing. But if you seriously want to get to the information that an organisation holds then you don’t bother with any of that silly stuff. You walk through the front door (or that unattended door nearby, which is always there) browse through the offices, cabinets and cupboards, collect what you need and leave. You will be out and away with the goodies before the acne-faced nerd with his port scanning tool has even figured out which firewall he is dealing with. It’s a matter of fact that most organisations have poor physical perimeter security. The hacker who is paid by results goes always for the simple physical and human, not the complicated games of the techo-freak hobbyists, although such creatures have their uses.

    A primary entry of the technical hacker is the unpatched operating system: known software weaknesses which have not been repaired, or ‘patched’. Working your way into an organisation through people and their ordinary failings is called ‘social engineering’. I have a T-shirt which says: ‘SOCIAL ENGINEER – BECAUSE THERE IS NO PATCH FOR HUMAN STUPIDITY’.

    So I think yes, what they are doing is hacking, and it’s hacking of the most effective sort. Very professional, very results orientated, not at all interesting technically.


    Answered your question about facial recognition software on the other thread.

  • Clark

    I’ll bet that “Heretic” = “Holohoax” = “Hasbaric hissy fit”, busily sock-puppeting, busily denying the Jewish holocaust; a familiar figure in this comments section who used to go by “Apostate”, “Steelback”, “Freeborn”, etc. etc. etc..

    Look, anonymous coward Puppeteer, your theory makes no sense. Fascism was popular before WWII. Not just in Germany but in many countries. In the UK, the Daily Mail openly supported Oswald Mosely’s Blackshirts. Hitler declared his hatred of Jews long before he attained power. Eugenics was respectable. Hitler’s troops wore the Death’s Head insignia.

    The thing that makes your viewpoint so repulsive is that it contradicts so much personal testimony. All those people would have to be conspiring to support the lie. That is why your assertions imply that you also believe Jews in general to be unprincipled to the point of being evil.

    Just fuck off from this blog. How many times do you need to be told?

  • Vronsky

    “Just fuck off from this blog.”

    His case is that only one, or perhaps a few, million were killed, and it’s no big deal. Six million (by some maths he doesn’t explain) would be a problem, so he doesn’t accept that number, but somewhere between that and one million the moral function passes through a point of inflection. To one side of that point it’s a crime, on the other it’s pretty much OK. It seems to me (narrow in experience and perspective) that this is an optimisation problem. How many Jews is it OK to kill? (give your answer in millions, please). And does this rule generalise to non-Jews? There are people in London (called politicians) who are instrumental in the murder of hundreds of thousands, almost none of them Jews. Can you suggest some kill rate at which we ought to become concerned at this behaviour? Show us the maths, factoring in Judaeism if you can.

    Oh, almost forgot. And then fuck off.

  • A Node

    I have very strong views on the history of the Holocaust but I’m not going to explain them here. It’s not the topic of this thread, and besides, this subject has been thrashed out on this blog many times without anyone changing their minds.

    What will happen is poor overworked Jon will have to take the time to slap your wrists and delete some of the comments and explain yet again why he’s doing so. If this keeps happening, measures will have to be introduced to control it which will place restrictions on all of us that enjoy this blog. I like things the way they are. It’s up to us all to exercise some self-restraint. If you want to continually rehash this subject, find an appropriate forum. There are many.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    A Node; Change is the archetype of human beans. Of the three; Opinions, attitudes and Beliefs…..Beliefs are the granite of change.

  • Mary

    This article makes an assumption that Osborne possesses the ability to deal with the situation.

    ‘Fall in consumer confidence hits the UK

    New research today also reveals the extent to which the squeeze on households is having an impact on the wider economy. The fall in consumer confidence, since the start of the recession, has resulted in a loss of consumer spending of £8.4bn – enough to buy half a million new cars. In the last year alone, low consumer confidence in their own personal financial situation, has cost the economy £420m.

    The latest Which? Consumer Insight Tracker has also found:
    A third (32%) of people are finding it difficult to cope on their current level of income.
    Consumers’ top worries are the price of food (85%), energy (85%) and fuel (78%).
    Two thirds of people are worried about future tax levels (68%), interest rates on their savings (68%), the value of their pension (68%) and public spending cuts (64%).

    Ahead of the government’s Autumn statement, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘With 10 million households feeling the squeeze and consumer confidence low, it’s more important than ever that the Chancellor is doing everything possible in his Autumn Statement to boost consumer confidence, which is vital to our economic recovery.’

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    I eschew the hedonism of those who equate ‘austerity’ as though equivalent merit for those to whom a 1% reduction in income results in a choice between meds and food=another income strata which sees equanimity in sacrificing to the extent of giving up a few Cuban cigars and a 5th of Louis XIII cognac….

    Quid Pro Quo.

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