The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for the ‘media’ tag

On a (very) small example of why the British written media is a cesspool of lazy propaganda…

with one comment

Who would have thought that a footballers religious views would be noteworthy of a story? Well today four of our newspapers decided that it was. The Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express and the Daily Mail all wrote articles about how new Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku couldn’t accept a Man of the Match award because of his religion. You see the Belgian is a ‘devout Muslim’ and therefore ‘unable to pose with alcoholic gifts’.

Two things. Firstly, why would this ever be a news story of any interest to anyone let alone worth all four newspapers written specific articles on it. Maybe they know any story on Manchester United and football will get a few clicks, which is always good for advertising and those all important ad rates. Maybe they felt it was important to educate their readers on why this happened as many had been confused. Maybe they just thought it was time for someone to tell it how it is and make a noble point about religion and how it ruins everything. Or maybe, just maybe, they are lazy fuckwits who want to inflame religious tension. Who knows eh?

Secondly, one teeny tiny issue with the story. It is a load of bollocks. Lukaku is actually a devout Catholic. The Sun themselves actually wrote a story about it in 2014 when the striker went on a trip to Lourdes and posted about it on Instagram. The article entitled Luk-ing to God is still available for all to read on the world wide interweb. Anyone who has ever watched the front man score will have seen he does the Christian symbol of the cross when celebrating. So why on Earth did these newspapers all write inaccurate articles about his religious faith?

It is either a genuine case of someone informed a journalist inaccurately of what happened and a case of Chinese whispers spread like wild fire throughout the media covering the event and no-one thought about fact-checking. Either that or someone heard the story, thought it would play into the readership of said publications and they all ran with it thinking it would be a nice little story about religion and football that wouldn’t ever make them look like idiots.

At the time of writing the articles are still live on three of the four websites. The Sun have already removed it and 301ed the article with the new URL including the words ‘legal removal’ but the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Mail are all still happily living with their respective pieces even despite the quite scathing story in the Independent showing up the four newspapers for writing outright lies. This isn’t fake news because that term has been watered down and is now a punchline. This is just an outright lie that isn’t even a story if it were true but the lie interest some of the readers and further inflame religious tensions to a small degree.

I know this is only a tiny story and not really of any importance but it is a great example of how spreading a small lie can go unchecked unless more vigilant journalists and media publications call them out of it. The fact The Sun have already removed the offending piece says a lot. Unless people call bullshit when bullshit is spread then it leaves us in a state where the media can control the news and that is not somewhere we’d ever want to be.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 27th, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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On tuition fees and how the Tories and Labour both love this issue…

with one comment

Oh tuition fees. The millstone around the neck of the Lib Dems. We all know what happened. The Lib Dems pledged not to vote for an increase in tuition fees. They then joined in a coalition and part of the deal was tuition fees would go up. Everyone got mad and hated Nick Clegg and his party and then they voted en masse to evict the party from parliament in 2015.

Everyone rejoiced. The Lib Dems were cast in the wilderness and it allowed the Tories to seek a hard line right-wing agenda. You see there are many universal truths but one is that people don’t care if others are arseholes. They just don’t want those they trusted to betray them.

For example, we all know about the bad boy stereotype. Some women gravitate towards bad boys. They know exactly what they are getting into. The highs will be high but the lows will be low. He’ll wine and dine them but suddenly not be available when needed. This is the the Conservative Party is a nutshell. We all know what they are like but we’ll let them get away with a lot because we knew what they are like.

When the Lib Dems joined with the Tories to provide a strong and stable government. Yes I used those adjectives on purpose. It was like the Lib Dems were a bad boy but we thought they were one of the good ones. We didn’t like the fact that they pretended to be a good boy and turned out to be bad. So to punish them we took them to sling their hook and got together with that bad boy once again. We know they’ll screw us over but so be it, better to be screwed over by someone we knew was going to screw us over, right?

I used the word screw three times in a sentence. I don’t think that is good English.

So even though the Tories were the driving force behind putting up tuition fees, they skated free on the issue because we knew what they were. The electorate expected them to do bad things and as long as they do what we thought they were going to do, we are happy to let them do it. Tuition fees was a huge win for the Tories and it was also a huge win for Labour.

Labour were able to act all pious, forgetting the fact it was Labour who first introduced and then trebled tuition fees when they held massive majorities and weren’t a junior partner in a coalition. The media swept that under the carpet. No-one needs to know political history. Instead they decided to was time for Lib Dem pinata as they were an easy target. The fact the Lib Dems put more of their manifesto into law than the Tories did was a mere footnote. n one issue they were forced into a u-turn and that was enough for five years of lazy journalism before all but three national newspapers endorsed another Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

Yeah.

So after five years of saying how terrible the Lib Dems were, editors and media owners were all saying, ‘you know what, we were a bit harsh on the Lib Dems, they actually did a pretty good job and kept the Tories in check. They weren’t so bad. Maybe if they did this for another five years it wouldn’t be so bad. Honest.’

Even today the BBC News had two headline stories on the Lib Dem manifesto. One was on the Brexit Referendum (fair enough) and the other was the fact the Lib Dems weren’t calling for tuition fees to be culled. So one of the two stories was about something not in the manifesto. Why did the BBC decide to run this story? Is it because it was pertinent to today’s news? God no. It was all to do with lazy and easy journalism. The media had built up a narrative about the party. Just attack the Lib Dems for tuition fees. People like that story and aren’t sick of it so its an easy win.

You see these days journalism isn’t about getting to the heart of the matter. Not about finding out the truth. It is about getting eyeballs and page clicks. Give the people what they want. People want to say the Lib Dems are bad so lets give them that. If like me you often watch old episodes of Mock The Week on Dave when falling asleep, you’ll see the comedians falling over themselves to make Lib Dem/Nick Clegg jokes. It was easy and would get laughs. The fact many of them are naturally not exactly right-wing had to get thrown away. Easy laughs above personal feelings.

Now we have a right-wing government that is only going to drift further right. The reason for this is the media have decided we know what the Tories are so just leave them to it. Smash the Lib Dems because it is funny. Attack Jeremy Corbyn because he’s different and there we have it. So simple. So easy. It reinforces what the public think and the more those thoughts get reinforced then the more people’s opinions will get hardened.

The Tories loved tuition fees because it allowed the media and public to go off on the Lib Dems. Labour loved tuition fees because it allowed them to pick up Lib Dem voters. The fact it allowed the Tories to pick up more than them is by-the-by. They didn’t care. As long as they crushed the party that dared become part of a government then who cares what happens next?

Tuition fees was a small issue in the Lib Dem manifesto which was blown out of all proportion because both the major parties thought it would help them long term. Are people right to be angry over the tuition fees issue? Sure. I can’t tell people how to feel and what to be mad over but all I would say did you vote for a political party based solely on one aspect of their manifesto?

If you did then fair enough. I’d prefer to read through all the manifestos to find which party would overall do what I think would be best. Do I agree with every single aspect of the 2017 Lib Dem manifesto? No. No I don’t but I won’t say that because one paragraph goes against what I think, I’ll sit on my hands or vote for someone else. That seems very short-sighted. I know of a Lib Dem member who calls himself a passionate saboteur and cares deeply about stopping Brexit, who is considering voting Tory because the Lib Dems want to legalise cannabis. I mean really…?

Political parties stand on a wide and varied platform. If they win, they’ll attempt to get as much of that manifesto done as they can. Sometimes they fall short on many issues but just because they don’t tick every box, it doesn’t mean they are awful and untrustworthy. Yet if you listen to the narrative that is true of the Lib Dems and tuition fees. It isn’t true of the Tories or Labour because well, who cares? Lib Dems are untrustworthy and the media keep reminding us of that so it must be true.

The media allow the Tories and to a lesser degree Labour fall short of manifesto pledges because it won’t fan the flames as much. Tuition fees was an easy open goal for five years. The fact they are still going to that well in 2017 says everything about the media. They want two party politics. It makes their lives so much easier. The quicker they can get rid of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens and the Lib Dems the better. As for the medias view of UKIP, it is similar to the Lib Dems, they are an easy open goal so happy to keep going to that well. UKIP bring eyeballs and clicks. That is all they care about these days…

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Written by neilmonnery

May 17th, 2017 at 1:02 pm

On a Lib Dem saying something offensive and dumb, a petty Tory and local journalism…

with 8 comments

Sometimes I come across a story where literally everyone involved in it comes out badly. Today I saw such a story that the more I looked into it, the worse the secondary characters looked. sadly for the main characters, they just never looked good.

For those who don’t know anything about the story to which I can referring then you can read the write-up in the Portsmouth News. The long and short of it is a ‘rising star’ in the Lib Dems apparently said something stupid whilst drunk, well lets be fair, something beyond stupid, something flat out disgusting. She should learn to deal with alcohol better, tell her friends not to post her stupid remarks on social media or to be frank have less vile words spilling from her mouth. The words she used were, ‘joining the Tories is like joining IS.’ Yikes. You can’t defend it so I won’t but lets look at the rest of the players in this story.

She had a friend who shared the comments online, first things first, don’t share such crap. It is wrong but will also come back to bite you in the bum and make you look stupid. It isn’t a bit of fun. In this era where all our communications on social media can be scrutinised with a click of a button, learn to be careful about what you share online. If people (and I actually know activists from other parties have done so looking for dirt) went through my timeline on twitter or my Facebook books or my instagram pictures, whatever, they would find that I love Nadiya from GBBO maybe a little bit too much, I love George from Masterchef Australia maybe a little bit too much. I talk a lot of sport and talk a lot of politics but plain offensive things, no siree bob, a) it isn’t on and b) your online identity is rightly or wrongly a part of you. So don’t share things that will get you into trouble.

So he has some fault for sharing the comment (or should I say alleged comment Mr. Lawyer?) but whatever. Next up is the Tory councillor in Portsmouth who saw it and instead of looking at it and thinking, ‘oh what a foolish young woman’ instead decided to tweet the local media alerting them to the Facebook status. I mean for real. Cllr. New, you are a grown man, act your fucking age (yes I said fucking, I’d edgy and uncouth like that – big up my Portsmouth upbringing under a Conservative council – or I should say Havant Council if I’m being strictly accurate). Some 17 or 18 year-old girl apparently said something fucking stupid whilst drunk, someone who heard it thought it was either funny or true so posted it online and the adult response is to go crying to the local media? Fucking hell.

So Cllr. New has some blame and then the Pompey News itself. Oh I love the Pompey News. I have had several friends pass through those doors. It was my hometown newspaper but what on Earth are you doing giving this story the time of day? The person who said it doesn’t live in Portsmouth, the person who shared it doesn’t live in Portsmouth (although either studies or studied in Pompey). So where is the Pompey angle? No fewer than three Tory councillors in Portsmouth are quoted in the story about it. I mean come on. I know local newspapers are dying and the written media as a whole is on life support but when you are calling up or e-mailing multiple Tory councillors for a comment on a story about a drunk girls comments who doesn’t live in the area then boy that is a tenuous link for a story.

So I think a lot of people come out badly in this. Both young Lib Dems need to learn not to say (or be amused by) offensive stuff (let alone let it be shared on social media). I suppose in the old days (of you know – ten years ago) a person says something to friends when drunk and no-one else hears of it. This desire to share everything on social media is something people need to curtail (and I say that as an avid social media user). The Tory councillor who squinnyed like a fucking baby (see I am from Pompey – I used the word squinny) needs to grow the fuck up and if the local newspaper is going to react to every story where someone says something offensive when drunk then the Pompey News is going to be the main reason for the rainforests to die out.

Just maddening. The lot of it.

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Written by neilmonnery

October 1st, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Media,Politics

Tagged with , , ,

On BT Sport blowing Sky out of the water for Ashes Cricket in 2017/2018

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I wrote this blog but by the time I went to publish it, Charles Sale had revised the fee to £80million over five years – I thought I’d leave in the original figure in the blog post just to show how much Charles Sale changed his report after publication. My fury is not quelled by the amount being a lot less but the money certainly isn’t completely insane. If indeed Sky walked away from the rights at that figure then fuck me did they overspend for the EPL and have dropped a right bollock on this one.

I was going to have a bath. Well I was thinking about it anyway. A way to soothe my aching limbs on a Sunday evening but thought I’d watch the end of the baseball first. My phone beeps, I wander over to it and I see a tweet with a link, so I walk over to my PC to investigate and the story is how BT Sport have reportedly won the rights to show all matches from Cricket Australia in a five-year deal worth – now don’t fall over or faint here – £70million per year. That is £350million over the next five years.

Now whilst this deal is for 32 test matches, for us in reality it is all about five, the next Ashes series down under. For the past two plus decades we’ve had all live England Test matches overseas on Sky Sports and whilst some of those matches haven’t been a full Sky Sports production, they have all had some of the Sky guys in the commentary box.

The thing is, Sky’s cricket coverage is the best coverage of any sport in the UK. I can’t really write that as fact but is merely my opinion – and indeed that of many avid sport watchers. The mix of voices in the commentary box is first rate. I have written about it before in a blog entitled, Why mess with nigh on perfection? and I very much stick by what I wrote in that blog post.

The joy of the Sky box isn’t just in the commentary and the presenting but also the chats during rain delays and the like. The level of voice they have is just second to none. From Michael Atherton to Nasser Hussein to Bumble to Lord Gower to Sir Ian Botham and of course to Michael Holding. Michael Holding is quite simply one of those people you wish you could just sit down with in a pub for a drink and a chat because he is quite amazing and Michael Atherton is the next Richie Benaud, he is that good. They get the right voices from overseas (both Ian Smith and Ricky Ponting just knocked it out of the ball park this summer) and to be frank, there is no way on Earth BT could even get close to the quality of coverage Sky do and do you know why we know this?

Because they cover football these days and there is no-one out there saying they want to see more Jake Humphrey presenting or need to listen to more Michael Owen butcher another co-commentary. Sky again outshine BT in football coverage and it is no surprise, they have been the best for a number of years so they know what they are doing. Yes sometimes a change can revolutionise a sports coverage (see Cricket, BBC to Channel Four – another thing I wrote about) but at best all this deal will do is mean for one tour BT will have to put together a second rate team to cover these matches as al the top dogs are signed up to Sky and indeed will stay with Sky considering all the other matches bar one England series are still with the corporation. Although it could mean that Geoffrey Boycott could return to live TV commentary but that is a long ways away.

As you can tell I’m not happy but it isn’t just the fact that BT will be showing the Ashes in 2017/2018 but look at the money they are paying. I have a friend who always says, ‘well its not my money so who cares?’ but as customers we should care. £70million a year (again if the report is true – it is Charles Sale) is just insane. Flat out insane for what they would be getting. The previous deal was for £50million over four years and this is £350million over five years. Cricket rights have not gone up that much and yes whilst I agree The Big Bash is worth a few quid, it is paltry compared to the Test matches and if BT really think that the value of these rights have gone up by 600% in four years well then, those that said Sky overpaid for EPL rights must be looking at BT and thinking there was an ink issue with the fax offer sheet.

The loser in all of this is firstly the cricket fan, a) they’ll lose the best coverage of the sport for five extremely important Test matches and b) will have to shell out yet another subscription fee to watch cricket but there is also c) the average BT customer who will likely have these exorbitant rights fees passed on to them with rises in their subscription costs, even if they don’t want to watch cricket.

We’ll see if this story is true but if it is, the next Ashes series might just be the host broadcaster coverage (and I don’t hate Channel Nine’s coverage but lets be honest, it is not what it once was with the passing of Greig, Benaud and the retirement of Lawry) but they aren’t Sky and of course if BT put together their own list of broadcasters then expect the 2017/2018 Ashes series to have commentary from the likes of Matthew Hoggard, Darren Gough and who knows, maybe they can get more value out of Michael Owen and put him in for a few stints just to brighten all our nights and early mornings in three winters’ time.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

August 23rd, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Media,Other Sport

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On Alex Dyke’s comments on breastfeeding…

without comments

Sometimes folks you have to laugh because if you didn’t then you might cry. Alex Dyke is a virtual nobody to anyone outside of the Isle of Wight and latterly the wider BBC Radio Solent region. He fronted the call-in show on Isle of Wight Radio from 1991 until his dismissal from the station in late 2008 and spent the next short while if I remember correctly working on a web based radio service on the IoW before uprooting to the USA for a bit and returning to the UK and being a staple on BBC Radio Solent.

Alex Dyke and the BBC was never a marriage made in heaven. Dyke has always courted controversy and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you want to be a talk in host. Those that are the most confrontational and walk the thin line between good taste and being a douche often do well because they try to get people riled up enough to call in. This leads to people saying things that they either believe in but aren’t the widespread viewpoint or they may even say things they don’t believe in to get a reaction. Sometimes they go too far but many times a talk in host will say things that they don’t really think.

I have no insight into what Alex Dyke’s real views on breastfeeding are, I have met Alex and indeed back in the day I even spent a short stint at Isle of Wight Radio when Alex was presenting there. If you told me that his Neanderthal approach to breastfeeding were his real viewpoints then I wouldn’t be surprised one jot but on the flip side, if you told me that his views were just to inflame the listeners and piss people off enough to get them talking about him and his radio show then that also wouldn’t shock me one jot.

The fact that his comments made to a wider audience such as The Last Leg on Channel 4 have only done one thing though and that isn’t bring attention to his comments but bring attention to him. I doubt he is that upset by this. I doubt he is that upset by this at all. His only apology was to those who felt offended by his comments, he didn’t apologise for making said comments. Looking at his twitter feed he seems to be enjoying the limelight.

These were some of his comments on the issue:

“Couldn’t mums just stay at home and do it? I’m not offended by it, I’m just made to feel uncomfortable about it.

“You wouldn’t get ‘yummy mummies’… breastfeeding in public. Those kind of women wouldn’t do it because they’re very image-conscious and they know it’s not a great look.”
Breastfeeding mother

“I blame the Earth mothers, you know the ones I mean, the ones with the moustaches, the ones who work in libraries, the ones who wear hessian, the ones they’re always on Radio 4 on Women’s Hour, they are always pushing the boundaries and making us feel uncomfortable.

“Breastfeeding is unnatural. It’s the kind of thing that should be done in a quiet, private nursery.

“It was OK in the Stone Age when we knew no better, when people didn’t have their own teeth… but now I just think a public area is not the place for it and fellas don’t like it.”

Now whilst some of these comments are ridiculous, the final sentence says a great deal. People didn’t have teeth in the stone age…yeah ok then Alex…he clearly either knows naff all about evolution or is just talking out of his rear one to try and inflame the listeners to ring up his show so they could call him names and point out what shit he was peddling, yet again the classic signs of an attention whore or what we’d more commonly call them – radio talk-in presenters.

Whether Alex Dyke really believes his comments isn’t really the issue, what is, is the fact that the media are playing right into his hands by keeping him in the news. What have we noticed about the likes of Katie Hopkins? Those that pedal bullshit will always find a home within some spectrum of the media. Alex Dyke’s name is now being bandied about in the media and he now has more klout than he ever has done before.

His name is known beyond the confines of the BBC Radio Solent region and should the station not bring him back after his suspension then I’m sure they’ll be larger commercial stations lining up sign him up. If the BBC do bring him back then he’ll return to record audiences as people listen to those they disagree with just as much (or even more so) than those they agree with.

All we are doing by keeping talking about him (and I myself in this blog am guilty of this – but no-one reads this so who cares) is fanning the flames of Alex Dyke. We can all call him names and point out how stupid and moronic the things he said are but we don’t need to, it is obvious they are stupid and moronic, by doing so all we are doing is play into his hands.

I have no idea if this was a calculated move by the presenter but even if it wasn’t, he couldn’t have bought personal publicity like this and in the end it’ll be him laughing al the way to either larger RAJAR ratings or a larger bank balance or possibly both. Sometimes it is better to ignore those who say stupid stuff because at some point they’ll either stop saying stupid stuff or just go away completely.

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Written by neilmonnery

August 17th, 2015 at 11:15 am

Posted in Media

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On the Independent’s response to Clarkson, Hammond and May’s move to Amazon Video…

without comments

Oh the Independent, why do you have to be so foolish? The Indy is renowned for being a pretty good newspaper that doesn’t let personal opinions get in the way of a story. Well today after it was announced that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May would be taking their talents to Amazon Prime on a three-series contract, the aforementioned newspaper decided that the appropriate story to cover such an event was entitled, How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service – the piece was penned (well typed) by their technology reporter Andrew Griffin.

Reading the piece and you get the sense that Mr. Griffin isn’t a fan of the boys and he of course is fully entitled to that opinion, heck many many people share his opinion. I know I think Jeremy is a bit of a douche but I also quite like Top Gear and think the three of them make a very good light entertainment show. I know I’ve written about it before that whilst I was disappointed in the BBC letting Clarkson go, I fully understood it and believed they didn’t really have much of a choice.

I wasn’t shocked that there was a clear market for the trios talents and whilst I am personally disappointed with their move (as I don’t have Amazon Prime) and had hoped they would emerge on netflix (as I have that) I certainly don’t think the lead story on the matter (and indeed several hours on) it would still be in a prime position on the Independent’s home page was about how you can cancel Amazon Prime.

If a newspaper really believes one of the top stories of the day is about how to unsubscribe from a TV streaming service then I think that newspaper needs to take a long hard look at itself in the mirror. The fact there are essentially no positive comments on the piece says a great deal.

Still you wonder why they posted this story, was the writer asked to do it or did he do so on his own volition? Well when the writer has written on the issue before stating, If anyone thinks Jeremy Clarkson is anything but a racist bully then that is a bad opinion and you are probably a bad person. (I know this is a late response but I didn’t realise that people — actual human beings — thought it was ok to punch a man because he didn’t bring you a cooked steak.) I think we ascertain what the writers thinks and he is using his position at a newspaper to write an Anti-Clarkson story. Man isn’t that the dream of all journalists to use their position to push their own personal opinions on the readers?

Look he may not like Clarkson, that is a pretty fair position to be in but honestly is one of the biggest stories in the world today really about how you can cancel from a service? For those who can’t be bothered to read the piece but want to know how to end a subscription to Amazon Prime well I can help, you just click on ‘End Membership’ on the ‘Manage Prime Membership’ screen. I know, shocking eh? It is that level of insight that makes the Independent one of the leading media outlets in this country…

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Written by neilmonnery

July 30th, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Media

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UEFA stick their middle finger up to UK Football fans as BT wins Champions League rights

with 4 comments

Head of UEFA Michel Platini is no doubt cackling to himself this morning. He is probably the happiest person in the world that UK football fans have been screwed over apart from Jake Humphrey. This morning they announced that after a long and profitable business relationship with Sky Sports and ITV, UEFA have walked away and gone with the biggest bidder, the company who know they’ve paid money that they can’t afford to get the rights to broadcast all Champions League and Europa League matches from August 2015 to May 2018.

BT Sport are paying £299m a year for the right, which is around £100m more than Sky Sports bid and have made the splash that they were determined to make. They’ve made it clear what their strategy is, they want to lose money in the hope that a few years of losses will lead to profit down the line when everyone is getting their broadband via BT.

It is a massive gamble but they have worked out one thing – that live sport is the only television that people will still watch live. Other shows are often recorded and watched at a later date, but sport is still watched live. Coupled with BT’s approach to dominate the broadband market then they see it as a big long-term goal to couple the two. With two million subscribers already it sounds like a strong start for the company, but the truth is the majority of them are not paying for the BT Sport channels, instead they are getting them for free. This is not exactly great.

However this blog is about why it is sticking it to the UK football fan. With now no games live on terrestrial TV (although BT Sport do say they’ll put some games on FTA television) it means that the biggest European club competition now doesn’t have a home on FTA television. With the Europa League also out and the Premier League having never had a home on FTA television then football fans will be forced into paying for a pay TV if they want to watch any club football.

If you want to watch all the games though, you are now firmly pushed into getting not one, but two pay TV subscriptions. Now as it stands I already pay for both Sky Sports and BT Sport because I get my fibre optic broadband through Sky. So my bill just to watch all the sport available is already through the roof. After tax, national insurance, rent and food, my next largest monthly outgoing is on my TV/Broadband packages. I spend more each month on TV than I do on electricity and gas and we all know how much they cost these days!

If I didn’t have to pay extra to watch all the sport then I’d easily be able to have a fortnight in a 5* resort every year. The thing is I don’t mind per se paying extra for sport but I don’t like paying extra twice, that galls, it really does. At the moment though BT Sport is I think £9.99 a month, so its basically the cost of a Chinese take-away every month but they’ll have to put up prices to cover the insane cost of this deal surely? So will they double the cost?

At what point do I just say enough is enough? Will Sky scale down their charges when they don’t have Champions League football? So many questions and none of them I expect to be answered positively. At this point I think all we can hope for is some football tips to help pay for all the extra money we’ll be shelling out to watch all the live games we want.

The biggest issue though is BT Sport’s coverage has been shocking so far. Genuinely awful. They have spent so much money and all they’ve got right is Ian Darke is the commentary box. Darke is a fantastic commentator and is without a doubt a first-class lead. Darke, along with Martin Tyler are clearly a notch above anyone else commentating on football in the United Kingdom at the moment. So adding Darke’s voice to the Champions League isn’t a problem. However they’ve partnered Michael Owen will him so far and Owen just isn’t up to it. They have Steve McManaman in the studio twiddling his thumbs whilst Owen is alongside Darke, why? McManaman and Darke built up an excellent pairing at ESPN (USA) and would be a first class pairing for BT Sport.

Next up is the Mark Halsey situation. I like Mark, I like him a lot, but he’s really not comfortable in the gig that he currently has. Having a former referee in the booth isn’t a bad idea. It works well in the USA on the NFL but Halsey has no confidence. BT will surely look at this and maybe having him in the studio for Half-Time and Full-time analysis would work better.

Then we get to Jake Humphrey. A man so self-assured that he makes Russell Brand look like a shy cherry-blossom when he approaches women. Jake has that ‘matey’ approach to TV presenting, which isn’t bad per se, the problem is you get the feeling that it doesn’t work when the experts don’t seem to like him. When David Ginola called him a wanker behind his back after Jake delivered a cheap shot about his trousers then it said everything.

‘This is how we do it on BT Sport’ exclaims Jake at every possible moment, what Jake? You mean you do is a lot worse and in a far more unprofessional manner than Sky, ITV or even the BBC? I know the BBC is often castigated for being a bit matey, but at least you know they all actually get along. ON BT Sport is just seems like Jake is hanging out with the popular kids and wanting to be their mates and they just laugh and snigger behind his back. Jake should watch how well Ed Chamberlain fronts Sky’s Sunday and Monday coverage, he knows Gary and Jamie are the stars of the show and lets them talk and doesn’t jump in with nonsense. It allows the show to flow and Jake needs to learn this.

So basically the fans are getting screwed by having to pay out yet more money to watch European competitions from after next season but they will also be forced to watch inferior coverage of the Champions League. Sky’s coverage is first-rate and BT Sport will get nowhere near that in terms of quality. Only Ian Darke as lead play-by-play will not see a big reduction in quality and unless BT make a radical decision by giving James Richardson the gig as the front man, football fans will be forced to groan through Jake’s candor far more than anyone should have to.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 9th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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Why the media have yet again shown they just don’t get it on Lord Rennard and Nick Clegg

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This blog post with not look at the specific allegations but just at how the media are reacting and what priorities they are showing.

I shall state this at the very beginning. Lord Rennard has serious allegations to face about his behaviour. The Liberal Democrats as an organisation also have serious questions to answer about how they dealt with allegations from the women against Lord Rennard. However as it stands Nick Clegg does not face any serious questions despite the weight of media that states that he does. In fact the Telegraph report today actually backs up Nick Clegg’s claim that, ‘my office only received concerns indirectly and anonymously.’

The Telegraph has published a letter that it sent to Jonathan Oates in April of 2010. At this time Mr Oates replied and told him that Nick Clegg was not aware of any allegations against Lord Rennard on the same day. In fact the reply was quite terse. The Telegraph put forward several allegations that they believed Lord Rennard had acted inappropriately towards several women. These women at the time had not gone on the record. It is not clear if these are the same women who have since gone on the record.

The narrative of this story is not about the actual allegations themselves. The media do not give a crap if women were victims of a sex pest. They couldn’t give a monkey’s and that pisses me off greatly. The only thing the media care about is whether Nick Clegg knew and if he did then why didn’t he do anything about it? That is the only story because it holds political weight.

Well let me tell you this Fleet Street (channel four didn’t seem to focus on this in what was a reasonably fair and clearly well researched story) but fleet street need to understand what is important here. Nick Clegg’s knowledge – or lack of – is not the story – the story is whether several women were victims of inappropriate behaviour at the hands of a Lib Dem peer.

The thing is the media can smell blood. They have a story that can take down Nick Clegg. It has the power to crush him and finish his political career. The only problem is they don’t have the evidence to back up their hypothesis and they are desperate to find the smoking gun. They aren’t desperate to find the truth but the smoking gun. There is a distinct difference.

So far they have published a letter from Mr Oates actually stating that Nick Clegg did not know of specific incidents. They claim this proves Nick Clegg was lying when he said he hadn’t heard of any specific complaints regarding Lord Rennard but had heard indirectly and anonymously. Well The Telegraph says that because they sent a letter to someone that wasn’t Clegg with allegations that proves Clegg lied.

Now let us look at this with a clear head. The letter – which can be found on this article gives four encounters where allegations have been made against Lord Rennard. The only problem is they are anonymous and cannot be investigated because quite simply they are anonymous. How are they meant to investigate an incident that happened ‘in 2003 or 2004’ with someone they couldn’t even speak to for example?

You can make allegations against anyone and the moment you do then there will be whispers surrounding that person. No doubt Nick Clegg heard on the grapevine that Lord Rennard had questions to answer but unless someone makes a complaint then how can it be properly investigated?

Now of course the problem is that seemingly people did make complaints and they were not properly investigated and that is where the Liberal Democrats have to look internally at what exactly happened but at this juncture we still have no credible sources that Nick Clegg actively knew of any specific incident involving Lord Rennard and inappropriate behaviour against women. What we have is a letter that states he didn’t know know anything, an anonymous comment in a personal Facebook chat from 2009 of a victim saying she believed Nick Clegg knew and another anonymous official who said the following in 2009 and apparently stands by his comments today:

“I was at an event with Nick Clegg and said, ‘Nick, you need to know that we have print journalists, which I believe were, I think the Telegraph were chasing it, the Mail was chasing it and the News of the World was chasing it.’

“I said, ‘I believe there are three papers that are actively pursuing the Rennard story’ and he knew exactly what I meant, there was no ‘what are you talking about?’

“As the party leader he knew exactly what I meant when I said it to him. He said, ‘Thank you very much, I will go and deal with it.’ And again nothing happened.”

Those quotes are from this story in The Telegraph.

Now I’m trying to see where in these quotes Nick Clegg said that he knew of specific allegations against Lord Rennard. Could it just be more gossip that he had heard? The quotes – as the Italian pizza maker Luigi in The Simpsons would say – they prove nothing.

So far all we have are anonymous people stating that they thought Nick Clegg knew. That is it. However the media – and specifically the right-wing media have decided that anonymous sources – single anonymous sources – without any evidence and just on their beliefs and feelings are actually credible enough to write a story and state it as fact. Some might question the timing – certainly considering they have been sitting on it for years – but I don’t.

What I’d like to see is an investigation to find out what happened between Lord Rennard and these women. That is the most important thing. What I’d like to see is for one of these women to go to the police with complaints to initiate a police investigation. However sadly the media’s fixation with the possibility of taking down a senior politican – certainly one they don’t like – will always overshadow the real issue that potentially there was a sexual predator working from a position of power high within the Liberal Democrats.

That is the biggest story and not whether Nick Clegg knew or not. So I throw down the gauntlet to fleet street (as if they read nor care about me) but if they have any courage of their convictions they’ll get busy getting to the bottom of the allegations and speaking to the women who have made these claims and try and get them to go to the police. That would be progress and that would be a worthwhile use of time.

Remember at the moment they are only allegations as well – people should remember that. I would say the media should remember that but they don’t care and Lord Rennard’s name is only ever said in passing to set up why Nick Clegg is all sorts of evil and a liar. It is a sad state of affairs that these allegations are now just the back story – certainly when the story now front and centre has nothing going for it (as yet) but heck that is how the media works – sexual predators are not the story when you can get a bigger fish to fry who is accused of knowing about allegations and not stopping the predator.

I saw it with the Jerry Sandusky case. The fact he was an evil monster who sexual molested boys for at least over a decade was merely the last line in the story. The fact that Joe Paterno may have known and not found a way to put a stop to it. Now that is a story that kept the American press busy for weeks and months.

The fact that the monster basically got a pass in the media really got to me. In this case the fact that Nick Clegg’s reputation is being tarnished in the media every day with flimsy facts in an attempt to prove their hypothesis whilst the actual alleged monster is merely an afterthought really really hacks me off as well.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

February 25th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Media,Politics

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Boots Christmas Adverts 2012 – Let’s Feel Good…

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I’ve been thinking for a few days to do a post on Christmas Adverts but I will do a quick one now just for the Boots adverts. They have done one main advert with clips of several stories which is 1m long and then they have done shorter 30s ads delving slightly deeper into all of the stories which I happen to think has been most spiffing. I really enjoyed the housemate finds love one as it reminded me of a situation I was in not that long ago. I also really fancy the ginger girl in it but then can someone point out a ginger girl who I know that I don’t fancy? Answers on a postcard…

So anyway here are all the Boots Christmas adverts for 2012 starting with the main one and then working our way through the other stories. I hope they bring a little smile to your face just like they did to me.

Main Ad.

Getting mum back out on to the dating scene.

Perfume for mum.

Girls go travelling.

First Shave (short)

The awesome one – housemate finds love.

Behind the scenes.

Well I know they made me smile and for a brief moment become less of a grinch. Don’t worry I’ll be back to my grinchy ways soon enough.

PS: If any advertising executives are reading I am available to star in TV adverts alongside women of the ginger haired persuasion. I probably wouldn’t haggle too much over fees just FYI…

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Written by neilmonnery

November 27th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

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Phillip Schofield and his Producer are lucky to still be in a job today after his stunt on ‘This Morning’

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We’ve all seen the news. We’ve all seen the clip and we all saw Phillip Schofield decide that the internet was a legitimate source for ITV1’s This Morning and a legitimate enough source for him to decide to potentially throw away his career. How insane?

Look Phillip Schofield is about as inoffensive as you can get. Reminds me a bit of Will McAvoy from The Newsroom before his meltdown at Northwestern. Someone who doesn’t rock the boat who people trust. However that all changed today when he decided to show the Prime Minister a list of names that he had found on the internet that are linked to a paedophile ring within government over the past three decades. Firstly just doing this is dumb and secondly he flashed it to the camera so that everyone could actually read the names. Yes the names are out there but it should also be pointed out that these names (bar one) have not faced any accusation from an accuser. They are just people saying they are ‘in the know’ and anyone can be ‘in the know’ on the internet.

I’m old school and don’t like witch hunts. If any of these people are accused of a crime then the police will investigate and they will be tried within the legal system. That is the way we work. We don’t try people in the court of public opinion as the court of public opinion would prefer to kill an innocent man on the off chance that they might have touched kids. Yes I’m more than happy to write that sentence. A large proportion of this country would happily take an anonymous accusation as fact and act as such.

This is why we have a legal system. We don’t have act without evidence. At this moment in time only one man has been accused of any crime and all the other names that Phillip Schofield showed on national television are not accused of any crime but now people think they are paedophiles. Mud sticks folks and you can’t take back what you do or say. These people are now smeared and that will never leave them and people will always think worse of them even if it comes out that the internet rumours were completely made up.

Lets look at what actually happened though as this wasn’t done on the spur of the moment. His producer will have known what he was planning to do and had clearly ok’ed it instead of telling Schofield that if he dared he’d be fired the moment the show went off air. It was a planned attempt to corner the Prime Minister and a planned attempt to take the moral high ground as being the man who had the balls to get the names out there and see how the PM reacted. He (and his producer) knew that would play out well amongst the public and would give the show a huge boost as it would make head line news.

The only drawback though is of course this behaviour is kinda not on. Malicious gossip is what they call it. Accusing people of crimes with no evidence in an attempt to smear them. He has of course since apologised – not for doing it but for doing it in such a way that the viewers could see the names. So he has no problem confronting the PM on gossip but he is apologetic that everyone else saw the name. No doubt he’ll be more apologetic if any of those people named decide to sue the network and/or him personally. I have always found being sorry is not an adequate defence in either a criminal or in this case a civil court.

I hate to call for someone to be fired for a mistake but as this excellent piece in The Telegraph says – it is a very legitimate argument to make. Schofield and his producer and seriously erred and a simple apology really isn’t good enough. ‘We’re sorry we have defamed several people. We have no evidence to back up the internets claims that they are linked to a paedophile ring but we decided to run it anyway on national TV because we thought (as this current juncture) baseless rumours were in the public interest.’

It doesn’t really fly does it> I suspect he’ll keep his job but he’ll get a serious bollocking and never do something so stupid again but if they want to fire him for that one mistake then I couldn’t argue too much with it. It was such an egregious error that it would be justified.

We shall see how it plays out…

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Written by neilmonnery

November 8th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Media,News

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