Mar 13 2013

Daily Express propaganda trashed by the European Parliament

A typical front page of the Daily Express

I’ll be carrying on my series of reviews of the James Bond series either later today or tomorrow, but for now I wanted to share a quick link that tickled my ticklish parts.

I hate the Daily Express newspaper. I genuinely think it plays a huge part in making the UK a much less pleasant place to live, because it demonstrates that there are people—a hugely vocal minority—who are stuck in a vitriolic mind-set of utter hatred towards anyone who isn’t the same colour, race, class, creed or, often, gender. Having spent 4 and a half years working in a press clippings agency, I think it’s fair to say I’ve read more than my fair share of Express articles, and if I never have to touch Richard Desmond’s dirty organ again it’ll be too soon.

The Express have printed an article claiming that a website built by the European Parliament, set up to educate kids as to the workings of the EU and the democratic process, is “’sinister’ Soviet-style propaganda”. It contains a quote from Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP, stating that “Political propaganda on vulnerable kids is a form of child abuse”.

Unless we really believe that informing the next generation about how their world works is a Bad Thing, this is ludicrous even by the low standards of the Express. In what is clearly a golden age of information, the more we tell our kids the better we arm them for their future.  Sure, we might disagree with someone politically, but it is nonsensical to flat-out lie in order to keep people from making up their own minds. The Express has not been known for its adhesion to the truth for a long time, but it is baffling that there is apparently no limit to how far they are allow to push the boundaries of fiction in the name of “news”.

In the absence of any legitimate legal response or agency that might actually be able to do something about this kind of thing, I’d normally recommend doing what I always recommend doing with stories from the Express: just ignore it. However, the response from the European Parliament’s Information Office, reproduced below, is utterly brilliant and displays a sense of humour previously unheard of in Belgium.

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May 13 2010

Article published on Freelance:UK

My previous post about writing for the web has been published by Freelance:UK, a website for creative freelancers.

Many thanks to Simon Moore of Moore News Limited for his help with getting it published, and thanks to Freelance:UK for the opportunity.

Wording it well: a guide to writing on the web – Freelance:UK

May 13 2010

Public not private: how to lose £1,000 in 140 characters

Paul Chambers: fined £1,000 for single tweetAh, Twitter. To some, it’s the best way of keeping abreast of the latest developments round the world; to others, it’s a nuisance site filled with reprobates with too much free time on their hands. Whichever way you think of it, it is certainly popular, with around 19% of US internet users logging into the service to share updates about themselves and to catch up on news from friends and celebrities.

Pity, then, poor Paul Chambers, whose innocent tweet about his frustrations with the Robin Hood airport in South Yorkshire, UK, has led to a guilty verdict and a £385 fine, a £15 victims surcharge and £600 in court costs, not to mention the loss of his job. So what did Chambers do to be branded a potential terrorist and invoke a fine that would put most petty criminal punishments to shame?

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