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Month: July 2011

‘Boycott all News International products. It’s the only way they’ll learn.’ – Nah I don’t think so…

Some people may call me a hypocrite – some may call me worse. As someone who has been a Sky customer since 2001 (bar a year when one of my landlords wouldn’t let me put up a dish) I can say that I’m completely happy with their service. I know Rupert Murdoch is the man behind Sky and whilst I do not like him – I do like his product. I am not going to leave Sky or stop watching any FOX programming just because Murdoch is the man behind it.

However if my twitterfeed is to be believed that whilst not being alone on this island (one person did tweet me to say she felt the same – rock on) the rest of my feed have all left Sky because Virgin Media are better (they aren’t) have quit their Sky Sports package because ESPN are better (in the UK – they are not) and have all stated that they have never read a single page of The Sun, The News of the World or The Times. One person even claimed that she had ‘never even seen Sky TV and was therefore clean‘ (that says clean even though it doesn’t look like it in italics – weird…) This is the same person who has never read any story from a Murdoch newspaper but is also a journalist. Well I think it’s safe to say that she’s a pretty shit one if she refuses to read stories from certain newspapers – certainly The Times as I think it is fairly safe to say that you only learn how to write by reading all the newspapers when you are studying journalism but hey – what do I know?

Look I know people are upset. It is pretty clear that I am too considering what I wrote yesterday but lets not go crazy here folks. Saying that ESPN in the UK is better than Sky Sports for live sport is quite frankly crazy talk. If I’m being perfectly honest I could do without ESPN fine but I have it for the ESPN America channel. PTI, Around the Horn, College Football Live, College Gameday and then of course all the actual live sport is easily worth £9.99 pcm of my money. ESPN UK probably – no definately – isn’t.

As for saying Virgin Media are better than Sky – well there is only one scenario where that is true – in heavy rain. In every other way Sky is just a better service. More channels, more HD channels, better installation service, better engineers, better phone service. Just an all around better company. I love Richard Branson and I loathe Rupert Murdoch but I’m a customer and the head honchos at both companies will not dictate whom I get my television service from. I go for the better service to suit my needs and that is clearly for most people it will be Sky.

So some of these claims are outlandish but just before I went to bed last night I saw a campaign by people to stop buying from companies who advertise in the News of the World. You what? Are you freaking serious? You want to boycott these companies because it will make you feel better then fine. Putting together a campaign to do so though is sheer lunacy. Do you want these companies to start losing money and lay off workers? You want to see more people on benefits just because the company has a loose connection with Rupert Murdoch? What next – any company with a TV advert on any Sky television channel should be boycotted too?

Some people have totally lost their perspective but hey – when don’t people? Is everyone at a Rupert Murdoch company evil? No. Is everyone who worked for the News of the World evil? No. Is everyone who worked for the News of the World at the time of the Milly Dowler phone hacking evil? No. I once went for a job at The Sun – had I got it would I suddenly have been evil and persona non grata? Well that’s up to you to decide I suppose but I’m heavily leaning towards no.

The main problem I suppose is that if I was to decide they were all evil and withdrawn my funding of around £70 pcm to them (I have the full package, HD, multiroom etc…) then all I would be doing is cutting off my nose to spite my face. My few quid a month does nothing for the company. Why would I want to do such a thing to get an inferior service and it not make an impact to old Rupert? If I was to act like many on my twitterfeed last night and stop watching any programme that is tainted by Murdoch then bye bye The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy, Futurama, Hell’s Kitchen USA and that doesn’t even touch upon all the live sport I’d be missing out on – the NFL, World Series, College Football (although the BigTen is mostly on ESPN/ABC) and then of course mos of the UK sport I watch is broadcast on the Sky Sports platform so I’d be missing out on all that too. Even if I got Virgin Media and had the Sky Sports channels some money would go to Rupert.

I’m not cutting off my nose to spite my face. I freaking love my Sky TV package and will continue to do so. I can watch Sky and still loathe Rupert Murdoch. I will continue to buy what I want from where I want and not care about their possible past or present links to any Murdoch product. I think that Michael Atherton is the best darn cricket writer we’ve had in ages but he works for The Times – should I now disregard and not read his work? It just stinks of reactionary idealists not living in the real world.

So go ahead and call me a hypocrite. I know some out there are dying to say so. I know it’s not populist but it’s just the real world. Now if we were to organise a boycott of News International to get Tim McCarver out of a job then I might sign up for that – actually I know I’d sign up for that. Get Tim McCarver off Major League Baseball telecasts! (that is what we were talking about right?) To see why Tim McCarver is so bad please watch the video below but to sum up – yeah some people at the News of the World deserve to see an inside of a jail cell for what they did but large scale boycotts of News International services and anyone even associated with the company is pathetic. Pathetic.

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Rebekah Brooks’ job is safe – as long as she doesn’t go down

The title is pretty self-explanatory.

Rebekah Brooks will not be fired by Rupert Murdoch unless she is charged and subsequently found guilty of perverting the course of justice. That is the only way that she’ll lose her job at head of News International. Rupert Murdoch is said to be backing her 100% according to sources and that is no surprise. This is the woman who pursueded Murdoch to ditch his support of Labour for the Tories believing that Gordon Brown was done and that they wanted to be seen to be supporting only winners and not losers.

Whilst it is not clear just how much direct influence Brooks had in this whole affair there is no way that Murdoch will pull the trigger on signing off her p45. Murdoch and Brooks have spoken according to BBC’s Robert Peston and the first woman of the British media industry is under no pressure to resign and Rupert is sitting back and will let nature take it’s course.

I have noticed a campaign on twitter about this and I shall address it in another blog post to stop buying his products and stop buying from companies that advertise in the News of the World. Sometimes I despair at human kind I really do. However this is for another blog post. This one is to say that Rebekah Brooks is safe as long as the police don’t find that she had direct knowledge of the situation. If she did well then that is another matter altogether but for now she’s dirty but not dirty enough for Rupert to wash his hands of her.

As for David Cameron I bet he regrets hiring Andy Coulson but I’m also positive he is delighted that he is already gone. If he had still been in his position now then boy the pressure would be on.

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Milly Dowler’s voicemail intercepted and deleted by the News of the World. Can the newspaper get more disgusting?

I spent three years at university studying how to be a journalist. I was apparently half decent but life took me elsewhere. One thing I would never do was cross that moral bridge to the other side. There are always limits. However it seems as though the News of the World under Rebekah Brooks nee Wade and Andy Coulson didn’t just cross that moral bridge – they crossed it, blew up said bridge then jumped in a fast car and drove so far that they disappeared over the vanishing point on the horizon to ensure that they couldn’t even see the moral bridge that they had blown up.

Today The Guardian has revealed that Missing Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked by News of the World. If true – and I stress the if – but in all honesty I have zero – absolutely zero reason to believe that The Guardian is wrong – then it might just be the most disgusting thing that I have ever witnessed in the media. Yes hacking ‘celebrities’ is bad enough but interfering with a missing persons case – someone who in fact had been brutally murdered is just beyond low.

Whoever did this must not be able to look themselves in the mirror each morning and night. The editors of the newspaper are a disgrace not only to the profession but to mankind itself. I know that sounds strong – and maybe it is – but really how can you oversee someone not only breaking the law but interfering in a serious criminal case just so that you can get ahead with a story. Talk about throwing not only justice – but also potentially stopping the successful recovery of the victim – which at the time was only a missing person and not a murder victim. Had Dowler still been alive but the NotW’s actions hindered her successful recovery then I just don’t know. I’m sitting here shaking my head is disbelief.

I am fuming that the scum of the Earth could sink just so low. I knew the newspaper was bad but really this is just on another level to anything that we had knew they had done. The people in charge should face criminal charges and if the world was fair then Murdoch would get rid of Brooks as fast as possible. However as we all know this won’t happen and the most powerful woman in the UK media will survive and carry on uneffected.

I don’t believe in heaven or hell but in a way I hope that it is true so people like her and everyone else directly involved in this can spend the rest of eternity thinking about what they have done in excruiating pain.

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Channel 4 announce Athletics commentary and presenting team – I’m not impressed

I know Channel 4 will be distraught that I’m not giving them the thumbs up but heck I’ll write the blog post anyway. Channel 4 have taken over the rights for the World Athletics Championships in both 2011 and 2013. It is a bold move by Channel 4 and might give an insight into these constant swirling stories that the channel are interested in Formula 1. So last week they announced who they had signed-up and apart from one or two good moves – the rest are distinctly meh.

The front man will be former CBBC and The Gadget Show presenter Ortis Deley. I know over on the BBC Jake Humphrey was given the prime job of fronting the F1 coverage having come from a Children’s TV background but his track record had been in live television – Deley’s has not been. It just isn’t grabbing me. Obviously they couldn’t bring in Sue Barker but Ortis seems uninspired. When Channel 4 brought in the cricket they went with Mark Nicholas who was an inspired choice and their commentary and pundit team was first rate. Maybe I should move on to the good moves.

They begin (and nearly end with) Michael Johnson. Johnson is a freelancer and will work with the channel for this event but will return to the BBC for athletics events at London 2012. Johnson is the supreme pundit out there so bringing him in seems like a slam-dunk move. I also like Katherine Merry. Think she’s an excellent pundit. Iwan Thomas and Dean Macey less so. However this might not be ideal but then we get to another disappointment.

The BBC have a first-rate commentary team on athletics. Jonathan Edwards, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Paul Dickenson, etc… but none of them hve been loaned out to Channel 4 for the Athletics and they have instead gone with John Rawling and Rob Walker. Rawling is a safe pair of hands but that is about it. Best known for being ITV’s voice of boxing when it was involved in the sport in the last decade and is now involved with Sky’s boxing coverage. Walker is best known for announcing the snooker players into the arena at major BBC snooker events. He does have a background in commentating on IAAF events (I’m presuming for a world feed) but it’s not the voices you’d expect to hear. I have no idea if they channel approached the BBC about their commentary team and a loan agreement but if they didn’t then I’d be disappointed.

The trackside reporting will be Sonja McLaughlan who has performed that role on radio for several years.

All in all I’m not inspired by these choices but heck who gives a damn what I think. I do think that Ortis might be in a trial run for the F1 job should the channel take those rights as Jake Humphrey is not leaving the BBC with Olympics and World Cup opportunities ahead of him at the Beeb.

Edit August 31: Ortis Deley has been removed by Channel 4 as lead presenter. Read the full story behind this link

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I’m an idiot – official

I believed in David Haye. I believed his hype. I believed that it wasn’t just trash talk to sell a fight. I believed that he’d really go for it and try and knock Wladimir Klitschko out. Instead what we were served up with on Saturday night was a pathetic limp performance from a man who had said so much but delivered so little.

Had I spent £14.95 on the fight then I’d have been pissed off (I didn’t – I watched for free on Al-Jeezera 3) but had I spent serious money to follow Haye to Hamburg then I’d be absolutely fuming. At least when Hatton was outclassed in Vegas to Pacquiao and Mayweather he tried and went out on his shield. Haye went out with in a shambolic limp-wristed excuse-ridden display.

David Haye was a great cruiserweight and an undisputed champion but at heavyweight he has done very little. He won a paper title and defended it twice against guys that he should have beaten easily – neither of which in all honesty deserved to be in a ring with a World Heavyweight Champion.

The 30 year-old has said he’d retire at 31 for an eon. We all know boxers say they are going to retire but rarely do. Haye though has nothing to box for except money. His career defining fight is behind him and his career is in tatters. Who else is out there and more importantly who wants to watch him anymore?

Boxing needed a showman but it needed a showman with the heart to go with the words. Boxing does not have that with David Haye. For all the vitriol hurled at Audley Harrison by the public and David Haye himself after their fight in December, Haye should get the same. A broken toe is an excuse but a pathetic one.

Where does David Haye and Boxing go from here? I am not sure but the former is done and the latter is on life support,

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Haye-Klitschko – The Official The Rambles of Neil Monnery Pick

David Haye talks. He talks a lot. He sells the fight well but he hasn’t done a lot at heavyweight level. Wladimir Klitschko has 49 KOs at heavyweight and has been Champion for years. Looking at this you’d think I’d be going for the Ukrainian but you’d be wrong.

This fight reminds me a whole lot of one of the biggest domestic superfights of the modern era – Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank. Eubank was brash and whilst having faced a decent calibre of opponents he didn’t have a record that showed he was in Benn’s class. However he had talked his way into the fight and when it came to fight night it was Eubank who won by stopping Benn in the 9th.

Haye was the champion down at cruiserweight and he was the undisputed champion. He went to France and stopped Jean-Marc Mormeck and also battered a shell-shocked Enzo Maccrinelli in the second round at the O2 Arena. We know Haye has power but we’ve also seen at heavy he can be hurt. Monte Barrett hurt him. Yes Monte Barrett and in his last three fights he hasn’t fought anyone who can hurt him. Wladimir can.

I don’t see this one going the distance. I see the fight ending with someone on their backside. Who well I’m not sure. Wladmir is rightly the favourite but I’m going to stick my neck on the line and say Haye tags him early and stops him in the mid-rounds. It wouldn’t stun me if both fighters hit the deck at some point in this fight. The interesting thing is Haye seems to have a very good plan for every fight he’s been in and if that plan is as good as usual then he has a real chance.

The Official Pick: Haye by KO – Mid-Late Round.

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That Ed Miliband interview…video and comment

Ed Miliband is pretty poor at his job in my opinion. I have said it before and will probably say it again. Some people agree and some people disagree and that is fair enough. However what I don’t think too many can honestly disagree with is that Ed Miliband is not great in front of the camera and when videos like the one embedded into this blog post come out then you can see why.

To read the full story please click here as ITV’s Damon Green recounts the full tale. In short he was doing a pool interview for ITV, BBC and Sky yesterday morning with Ed Miliband to get his viewpoint on the strikes. As you’ll see in the video Ed has one formulaic answer and whatever he is asked he always drags it back to the same answer he has clearly rehearsed and had been approved by his advisers.

Where I think Ed Miliband falls down is that people can see through this. Yes in this world of spin we have come to expect answers to have been practised but with the leader of the Labour Party you fell that everything has been rehearsed and nothing is off the cuff and conversational.

That is how I see it and if Ed Miliband ever went up against David Cameron and/or Nick Clegg in live TV debates then quite frankly he would be taken to the cleaners and the public would not vote for him. Being good at your job is important but in this era being able to show to the country that you would be good at being PM is just as important and unless Ed M learns quickly then he’ll never look or sound like a man who could lead this country and the public know it.

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