Posts tagged ‘media’

Virgin Media Thinks Net Neutrality Is “Bollocks”

Found this by way of the Something Awful forums, a post in the TorrentFreak blog gives an interesting view of Virgin Media’s plans.

Basically, their aim is to throttle the bandwidth to services that don’t pay a premium to Virgin Media.

In an interview with the Royal Television Society’s Television magazine, far from covering up their intentions, Virgin Media’s new incoming CEO Neil Berkett – who joined the Virgin Media Board just a few days ago – has launched an attack on the ideas and principles behind net neutrality.

“This net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks,” he said, adding that Virgin is already in the process of doing deals to speed up the traffic of certain media providers.

So, if you are in the UK, do your bit by either not using Virgin Media or by moving to a different ISP. If you are a content provider, show your displeasure by capping and throttling Virgin Media customers. Lest we forget, as consumers we already pay for our bandwidth, if ISPs think we aren’t paying enough they need to fix this. of course, we’ll all just move to a different ISP then – ain’t competition great?

It seems to be a ploy to make the BBC pay up because it’s iPlayer service (which allows licence payers/UK residents to view BBC shows up to 5 days after they are shown on TV via the internet) is extremely popular. So yes, part of their argument is legitimate, things like iPlayer do mean that there’s more traffic through ISPs. But, and this is a big ‘but’, that’s what an ISP does: they are supposed to be Internet Service Providers, which says to me that I pay them to adjust to this sort of thing. Why the hell would I want to pay a licence fee to the BBC and then pay a further fee to my provider to get BBC products? What next? Will Virgin go to Television Centre and smash the place up unless they get some money in a envelope?

Flat Earth News

Thanks to the Private Eye for running excerpts from this excellent book in the magazine. To step away from my main story, you should try to read at least one copy of the mag, it is the only real satirical magazine in the UK and the only publication which investigates and attacks all the parties and all the people who shape our lives. It has long had a history of hard hitting investigative journalism and prints the stories the papers and TV don’t want to or dare not.

Flat Earth News is a book about the media and written by a journalist. Nick Davies explains, throughout, where the once proud tradition of journalism has now become “churnalism”. Where once a journalist may spend weeks tracking down and verifying a story, they now rewrite PR pieces, government pieces and whatever they can get from the newswires. He takes us through the means by which outright and blatant lies can be placed on the front page of every newspaper and why they are never challenged. And the book is somewhat frightening.

If you get your world news and views from the media, you are being very subtly (and not so subtly) manipulated to think the way “they” think you should think. This is the sort of thing that would be at home in a Cold War thriller or science fiction story, and yet is happening right now and has been for many years. Welcome to the future.

What can we do about it? Depressingly, and in my opinion only, not a great deal. The lack of journalistic integrity is a massive by product of the new rise of the media barons who cut staff and demand ever more product, governments who think less of doing the right thing than getting away with it and PR companies who will do whatever it takes to make us think in an approved manner.

We are all aware of the manipulation – how many thought the “limited” number of Wii console stories were put there just to make us panic and buy one? I know I did. But it doesn’t stop there, the rush to war on Iraq is covered, the supposed Al-Qaeda operatives are covered, methods of winning elections and many other stories. The links page on the Flat Earth News website has links to sites that cover this sort of thing in more depth.

If you care about public manipulation, media integrity and about how the world is viewed, you should read this book. In my view, this is one of the more important books of this decade to be published.

About the Author:

Nick Davies has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year for his investigations into crime, drugs, poverty and other social issues. Hundreds of journalists have attended his masterclass on the techniques of investigative reporting. He has been a journalist since 1979 and is currently a freelance, working regularly as special correspondent for The Guardian. He also makes TV documentaries; he was formerly an on-screen reporter for World In Action. His four books include White Lies (about a racist miscarriage of justice in Texas) and Dark Heart (about poverty in Britain). He was the first winner of the Martha Gellhorn award for investigative reporting for his work on failing schools and recently won the award for European Journalism for his work on drugs policy.


Every time the media mentions some sort of surprise runaway bestseller you can almost feel the palpable shock that something succeeded on it’s own merits. As an example, look at Disney’s High School Musical. Disney put out a number of low (for Disney) budget films every summer. These films have little advertising and use the Disney stable of actors. See also Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior with the excellent Brenda Song.

Despite the low key introduction, High School Musical was massively popular. So popular that Disney released a sequel with the same cast, more money and far, far more advertising and hype. As one would expect, High School Musical 2 was also hugely popular. But how much of that was down to advertising and how much down to the fact the first one was so enjoyable?

The fact is that the media and media companies absolutely do not trust us to know what we like. This is why so much is spent on annoying the life out of us with incessant ads. But when left to our own devices we, the public, know what we want to see and what we don’t. That’s why many big budget films fail despite the ads and why a simple, enjoyable musical with catchy songs and a fun script do so well. And, by the way, if you’re wondering why a grown man is watching this sort of thing, well, I have a daughter who is 10 tomorrow. It’s hard to avoid them.

And A New Rant

Madeline McCann. I have to say that I never thought I would be ranting over coverage of a girl of 3. In truth, I’m not really, i’m having a pop at her parents and the sheer level of bandwagonnery from the media and even the fucking Pope. That’s right, the fucking Papal Father.

Story is that the McCanns went on holiday to Portugal, left their 3 children in the holiday apartment and went out for dinner. Despite returning regularly (how regularly? once an hour, every ten minutes??), their edlest child went missing. Ever since then Europe has picked her as the only important child – all other missing children get no coverage or help. What’s worse is that the parents are still dumping their kids – it wouldn’t surprise me if the two youngest don’t end up resenting Madeline and their parents because of this. They get dumped at Kids Club while their parents go swanning around meeting the media and the Pope. They even have a Press Officer.

Why are they not being castigated by the media? The British press are not known for holding back when parents are stupid and yet the McCanns seem to have been elevated to sainthood. Let’s remember how they got this status – they dumped their kids in a hotel room while they went out to dinner. And all in a foreign land.

Why do they get this free pass? Why? Nobody else would have this treatment. It really makes me sick. There are posters we can download in multiple languages to try to help identify her. I am a father and I couldn’t pick a strange 3 year old in a line up. Small blonde children look alike. The fact is that these parents were careless one too many times and their daughter is reaping the reward of this carelessness.

I’m not callous and I would love it if she were to be found. What I hate is how these people have taken over the media and Europe with their self-centredness.

And i still can’t work out what the Pope was thinking when he joined in.