Saturday, January 28, 2006

Scum scraping the bottom of the pan

Simon Hughes opens public toilets in 1994, a plaque is unveiled... in 2006 The Scum reports it as 'Gay MP hangs around loos'.

This is factually incorrect since he's not gay (he's bisexual). It's also misleading since there's no evidence given in the article he's ever been in there since they opened and 'gay MP' refers to a person NOT a plaque (which is the thing 'hanging around'). There's also a somewhat random change of topic/location mid-article:

He performed the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the lavs in Elephant and Castle, South London. Bachelor Hughes, 54, — who revealed he was gay this week — was honoured with the polished plaque on the loos in July 1994. The “facilities” are even painted in Lib-Dem yellow. The Bermondsey MP caused a storm when he told The Sun he was homosexual a week after he denied it. He was left in the dark yesterday during a power failure in Manchester, where he launched his leadership challenge.

Upon casual reading it sounds like he was stranded in the loos in the dark whereas closer inspection reveals that the being left in the dark refers to Manchester whereas the toilets are in London (read the original and see what you think). They've once again used 'limp-dem'.

I think this breaks at least three items in the PCC's Code of Practice:

  • The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
  • The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
  • Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

And debatably a fourth:

  • Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

If persistent pursuit is defined as persistently trying to keep stories about an individual in the news when there is no cause to do so.

The Scum is definitely losing the open season on the Lib Dems. The Screws expose of Mark Oaten was funny (ok, not for his wife). This is just painful, especially since in one of the sweetest Lib Dem revelations this week it's revealed that Simon found it hard to admit to being bisexual because he hadn't told his mum which is just completely "aaawwwww"-inducing.

An e-mail will be going to the editor of The Scum in due course.


  • At 9:00 am , Anonymous David Duff said...

    Quite right! Disgraceful! Anyone can have an occasional lapse of memory, or perhaps a momentary confusion as to whether the snorer next to you in bed is male or female - happens to us all, I'm sure - er, well not to me, yet, but there is always hope ...

    Anyway, it's obvious that the "scum" are incapable of recognising a 'stand-up' chap when they see one in a public lavatory. After all, this was the man who described himself as 'the straight choice' (nudge, nudge!) in his election battle with that odious little shirt-lifter, er, sorry, sorry, that chap with the liberal life-style ... er, sorry, not Liberal, you understand, I meant liberal ... oh dear, I seem to have got myself in a bit of a bugger's muddle here ... oh, sorry, sorry, again ... I didn't mean bugger in that sense, I mean ... oh hell, what do I mean?

  • At 9:12 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    LibertyCat - our prayers are answered! We've acquired a friend!

    Or rather, we've reacquired one of my old friends from when I was doing F&M a few years back!

    Welcome back... and beware of my cat ;)

  • At 10:22 am , Blogger Alan Beddow [Political Blog] said...

    Is that the best they can come up with, a 12 year old story !!

  • At 4:23 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It quite annoys me that people say Hughes described himself as "the straight choice" - which he never did.

    Hughes literature stated "It is a straight choice [between Labour and the Alliance]". I'm not saying this wasn't a knowing reference, perhaps - but this was a statement used on Alliance literature in many elections where homosexuality wasn't an issue. Indeed all parties use something similar these days when trying to convince people to vote for them tactically to keep one or another party out.

  • At 2:57 pm , Blogger Tristan said...

    sounds like grounds for a complaint the to PCC...
    It is disgraceful.
    Its a pity that some people will be swayed by such rubbish...

  • At 11:18 pm , Blogger Paul Leake said...

    Alan: Its the old well known spin trick - keep repeating something and eventually people start quoting it back at you, even if its wrong. And if you manage to get lazy newshacks doing it then you have successfully laundered your spin and can use those quotes in your own leaflets. Ho hum.


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