07 March 2008

The Evening Standard - Untrustworthy, Corrupt And Not Fit For Purpose - In Fact It Is Just Like Boris Johnson!

The Evening Standard has a monopoly as the only paid-for daily London wide newspaper and as George Monbiot explains a growing reputation amongst those in the know, for distorting and making up stories.

It is owned by the Daily Mail Group, who also own the freesheet Metro and London-Lite. This means they control three of the four most widely read daily London newspapers. Add in, that, thelondonpaper - the other freesheet, is owned by Rupert Murdoch (who owns the Sun newspaper that referred to Ken Livingstone as 'the most odious man in Britain') and you can appreciate the opposition that Ken Livingstone is up against. In response Livingstone has a council produced, once monthly newspaper called the Londoner (which will not be delivered in the run up to the election - the last copy was in February), which has to be strictly non-party political.

The Evening Standard and...
more subtlely other newspapers are running a vicious daily campaign of distortion against Ken Livingstone's re-election. After having failed to dig any dirt on Ken in the last 20 or so years, they turned their attention to his employees and have managed to get the scalp of Lee Jasper - one of his advisors. All the accusations against him are unproven and some have already been investigated and dismissed. Despite this, Jasper has felt it necessary to resign, in a vain attempt to stop the damage that the Evening Standard is doing to Ken's re-election chances.

The only reason an idiot like Boris Johnson could be neck and neck with someone with Ken's impressive record in running London, is because of this scandalous distortion of the facts and negative campaign against Ken. The daily Evening Standard front page headlines and boards across London slagging off Ken Livingstone as corrupt, must be worth millions in advertising for Boris's campaign. Boris has little to offer Londoners and knows the best way to get elected is to say as little as possible and rely on smearing Ken and putting off Ken's voters, especially any second preferences that Ken will need.

Boris now pretends he is Ken-lite, saying he wants to keep improving public transport, keep the congestion charge and is in favour of Ken's environmental policies, equal gay rights policies and policies to fight racism.

Boris has been scathing about all of these things, opposed Kyoto and the Lawrence reports, called gay marriage unnatural and never shown an interest in London while an MP (except to defend the unpopular PPP of the tube that Ken fought against), but people will not find out Boris's true policies until after the election when (if he has won) he has scrapped the popular £25 charge on gas guzzlers, eroded the usefulness of the congestion charge, abolished free travel for under 18s and half-price travel for those on income support, destroyed community relations and clogged London with more traffic and pollution.

It is difficult to argue against someone like Boris, who is so eager to lie about everything to get elected. And it is difficult to get the truth across about Boris, when all the media are so on his side and spinning negative stories about Ken every day.


  1. Do you ever wonder why so may Londoners pay out their hard earned cash to buy such 'rubbish'!?!

    Maybe most commuters are right-leaning when they live in South East England, work in the City and enjoy reading it as they head back to their Conservative constituencies in the home counties!

  2. Snafu: They don't have any choice if they want to buy a London newspaper. The ES has a monopoly, it is too expensive for any left-leaning paper to establish itself in London.

  3. The Evening Standard is not a monopoly. It has at least six direct rivals: The London Paper, London Lite, the Metro, LBC, BBC London radio and TV, ITV London News. The Evening Standard's circulation is around 300,000. The combined circulation of its direct newspaper rivals is approaching 2 million. The ES is influential out of all proportion to its size, but that's only because it's the only one of the newspapers that's any bloody good.

  4. Anon, And who owns the Metro and London Lite? Oh, yes, the owners of the Evening Standard. You are having to bring TV news in to suggest the ES has competition on what people read on the train in the morning. As I stated, the ES has a monopoly as the ONLY paid-for daily London wide newspaper and it's owners control most of the freesheets (right-wing Murdoch owns the other). As much as you try to deny this, it is true (and a very sad state of affairs for London commuters).

  5. Neil, maybe there are simply not enough left-leaning workers in South East England to merit a left-leaning evening newspaper.

    The market would not ignore a gift-horse in the mouth!

  6. I will say one thing in praise of your hero, Neil (but don't tell anyone:-) ) he is true to his cause. Ken is a Socialist who says he is a Socialist. So many politicians are liars who claim to support an ideology when really their only ideal is power and money.

    Anyway, Ken needs a far stronger opposition than he is getting on the GLA (are the "One London" guys scrutinising him well?) and he needs someone to stand up to his bellicose attitude. I say bring on Richard Barnbrook.

  7. Snafu: I think there is an inertia to any market, it takes time to establish a new entrant. The reason the ES has the London paid newspaper market sewn up is because there simply isn't a new competitor with the financial muscle and stamina to enter the market that would offer anything greatly different. It doesn't necessarily mean there isn't demand.

  8. Neil, if there was demand, an entrepreneur would have tapped into to satisfy demand and make a profit.

    That's how the free market works..

  9. Harding:
    "I think there is an inertia to any market, it takes time to establish a new entrant. The reason the ES has the London paid newspaper market sewn up is because there simply isn't a new competitor with the financial muscle and stamina to enter the market that would offer anything greatly different. It doesn't necessarily mean there isn't demand.

    "[no] financial muscle and stamina"

    Are you referring to yourself Harding?

    Of course there is no demand.
    Nobody in England, let alone London, wants to buy some depressing, chip on both shoulders, victim mentality rag!

  10. Anon: "Nobody in England, let alone London, wants to buy some depressing, chip on both shoulders, victim mentality rag!"

    They buy the Evening Standard, so I beg to differ.

  11. Hi Neil this is Katrina Anon...

    No doubt from my other posts you know that I likely lean to the right. I am not sure how that equates in GBR, that is to say, does someone who leans to the right in America lean as far to the right in GBR?

    I do not have near the problem with bias in the media as many of my conservative friends do. My belief is that if you know they are biased, and what direction they typically lean then you know whether to take them seriously or not.

    In America we have left leaning news organizations like NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and the infamous NYT. Towards the right, there are very few like Fox and Clear Channel Radio.

    Now my background is that I grew up as the son of a locally famous newscaster. His father before him was either new editor or asst news editor for an east coast newspaper. My mother wrote fir a newspaper and was a photojournalist at one time before she became my fulltime mom.

    I got to watch the evolution of journalism from is greatness through the late 60s until its demise in the early 80s. It was that demise that kept me out of journalism. The pursuit of truth, the community of journalism was quickly being replaced by 'spin.' Reporters became more concerned with the own celebrity then getting at meat of story. They loss their sense of history, and like politicians felt their other purpose was to guide the populus to a preceived goal.

    I saw that happening back the mid-70s. My front row seat was in the news room re-writing wire copy for the evening news and filtering wire stories for the managing editor. I was just a teenager at the time.

    The best sources I have found for news are the Internet, NPR, Fox (Round Table with Brit Hume).

    NPR requires a lot of filtering, but it is easy to filter. Since NPR presents collects the actual facts you quickly learn when to discard their analysis.

    Most of Fox is wasteland except for their evening news. I find it very refreshing. Their single best segment is the Round Table with Brit Hume. No one else puts multiple journalist with left, right, and center views. My personal belief is that since Juan Williams and Margaret Lyinson (spelling is wrong I am sure) of NPR have been on this show their skills have improved. They can no longer say something dumb and get away with it as they would on NPR.

    The real problem today has little to do with Murdoch. Murdoch sells papers, etc. that is mostly all he is concerned about. The bigger problem is that we are not teaching kids to think anymore. They are no longer taught how to read and understand facts. How to identify propaganda, etc.

    I find incredibly surprising that the left wants to silence all critisms of its views. That leads to weakness encourages violence.

    When groups have to express their ideas and have them refuted that better more refined ones move to the top.

    Even if you don't like Rush Limbaugh, as a journalist you need to listen to his observations on journalism. The reason Limbaugh is so popular on the radio, is that there is so little tolerance for conservatives in other media. If you are conservative you have only a few places to go. If you are a liberal, heck you can go darn near anywhere.

    Journalism is evolving. It will not be what it once was anytime soon. Society just does not have the bedrock of simple truths anymore and will not press to have any installed.

    Without those truths journalism will continue to wander in the wilderness.

  12. Anon: As you know, I lean to the left. I don't want to silence any views - but political comment should be just that - it shouldn't be presented as news. Also balance in the media is crucial for the health of a democracy. I disagree with you about the US media, I believe it is overwhelmingly right-wing (and this can be demonstrated e.g. during 2004 there was something like nine times more negative stories about Kerry as Bush), especially Murdoch owned Fox news.

    While it is possible to digest any news and 'filter' for whatever bias it has, it is a fact that those people who watch Fox are more likely to believe stuff that is demonstrably untrue - such as - Saddam had links to Al Qaida or that there were Iraqis amongst the 9/11 suicide bombers. It is this level of misinformation that leads to poor choice of elected leader, couple this with the dysfunctional electoral system and you end up with less than 20% of voters having a real say over who governs them. The higher the number of informed voters, the better for democracy, I believe the media controls in place in the UK that reduce TV and Radio news bias work extremely well and in no way reduce diversity of opinion (the opposite in fact) and this improves democracy. Proportional representation I believe would increase this number of informed voters even more but crucially give them more choice as well. It is time we stop being controlled by politicians and start controlling them.

  13. Hi Neil, this is Katrina Anon...

    Right wing press in the US?!?!?!

    That is too silly to be believed. Since you believe US media hangs on right, name them. The US press has even carried stories on hard they lean to the left, so they are not ashamed, but proud of being left.

    The reason why so many listen to Fox, is it is the only outlet that does not lean or falls to the left. When they first started I thought CNN was going to kill them. CNN did not because Fox leaned right. It only leans right, it does not fall over right.

    To be fair about Fox, I really only listen their news segments between 5-7PM CT. In particular, the Fox roundtable is amoung the best anywhere on the planet, and is as their trademark says "Fair and Balanced."

    Fox has a lot schlock on it too. I don't like O'Reilly or Hannity & Colmes (the latter fairly divides the time between left and right) and most of the rest of the news ops is poor.

    That's being fair.

    Being unfair is doing something like Dan Rather did trying to unseat a President by unwittingly using forged documents. The idiot (Dan) still refuses to believe the documents were forged. I am sure all the other reporters that were unfairly torpedoed by Dan finally feel vindicated.

    Anyway, if all you come up with is Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or a collective talk radio, then you do not know what you are talking about.

    If you think I am angry, its not directed to you. I am really angry at the press for being a pale shadow of what it was when I was a kid.

  14. Chris Horner20/4/08 11:37 am

    It's weird to think (a) that there are people who think that there is a free market in the UK media, not dominated by monopoly, ideology etc, simply reflecting demand which is just 'there'. (b) that the US media is somehow left wing. Yet some of these posts actually claim that. It's amazing. As for the ES: I wouldn't buy that poisonous propaganda at any price. Just like I wouldn't take the same nasty stuff in the form of a 'free' newspaper like the Metro or London Lite.