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(not satire – it’s UK today)

UPDATE: Willard Foxton and Hugh Muir have both now apologised for not sourcing their original stories properly.

Like many bloggers, tweeters and other social media users – I’ve got countless examples of how the mainstream media is getting more and more behind the curve when it comes to keeping up-to-date with the news.

But could some professional hacks sometimes be deliberately trying to take the credit for news stories knowing full well they were pipped to the post well beforehand by social media?

There are many examples I could have chosen to illustrate this but I’ve picked just two – one from a left-wing rag and another from a right-wing one – just to prove this might be less a case of political bias and more a case of professional argy-bargying on the part of media-industry hacks.

Way back in November, social media users noticed that ex-BNP member Claire Khaw had joined the Conservative Party. This was news because Claire was thrown out of the BNP for being too extreme (!) – and subsequently described joining the Tories as “like coming home”.

Here’s my blog post about it from November:

AK 47s and swastika flags. The face of today’s Conservative Party?

There was nothing in the mainstream media about this story – despite the fact it was news which could have and should have given the Tories a public relations nightmare.

Strange then that two months later, the Guardian’s Hugh Muir berated the Conservatives for taking over a month to get round to throwing Claire out of their party. A bit rich considering the Guardian itself only finally reported on the whole affair after the Tories got rid of her.

But then, in the article Hugh admits that ‘bloggers’ had been “quick to notice her chequered past” – with a link to the blogpost on this blog.

Well, that’s not quite true. Bizarrely, he linked just to the photograph on the blogpost – as if Mr Muir couldn’t quite bring himself to link to an article which quite clearly shows his own and his colleagues’ failure to notice a story which had actually broken months before.

The second example is from the Telegraph. At the beginning of this month, I wrote a blogpost about how 3UK had admitted they had created a new category of website which they were censoring along with ‘adult content’. They referred to this category as ‘mature content’ and they admitted it included political websites like this one.

Here’s the blogpost from January 4th:

Satire like Porn? How 3UK are bringing Chinese-style political censorship of web to UK

The post was widely shared and created a lot of interest particularly from tech websites – whose readers realised the serious consequences of 3UK’s actions more than average people.

Again though – there was nothing in the mainstream media. Until that is, I noticed this article in the Telegraph 3 days ago by technology journalist Willard Foxton:

Smartphone operators are censoring satire, feminism and homosexuality as ‘mature content’. Is that what we want?

In the article, Willard writes eloquently about how serious it is that “phone providers are automatically blocking access to certain websites for mature content, rather than adult content”.

Again he admits he got the information from a blogger but can’t quite bring himself to link directly to the original article. Instead, bizarrely he linked to an article on another website which in turn wrote about and linked to the original blogpost.

So what does all this mean?

It’s simple. It means overpaid hacks are worried sick they’re going to be made redundant by social media users who are doing the job better than they are – but for free.

It’s no wonder professional journalists are all so keen for people like Lord McAlpine to shut us all up then, is it?

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Related articles by Tom Pride:

Satire like Porn? How 3UK are bringing Chinese-style political censorship of web to UK

AK 47s and swastika flags. The face of today’s Conservative Party?

I hope Lord McAlpine isn’t going to sue me for saying this?

The Day Satire Died. Daily Mail to sue blogger for defamation of character!

Oops! The Daily Mail accidentally supports a fascist party. Again.

Sobbing Kelvin Mackenzie to get job as news reader in North Korea.

Daily Mail Apologises To Its Readers After Admitting Publishing Something True

Diet High In Red Tops Increases Risk of Heart Attacks

Met police loaned retired mounted officer to Rebekah Brooks.

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