Friday, November 25, 2011

It's mob rule at the Guardian....

(This blogpost should perhaps also be titled - 'What I did/didn't/did say at the Guardian today....')

There's nothing quite like rank hypocrisy to boil my piss. However, to ensure it is fully evaporated in anger, combine rank hypocrisy with crass stupidity, naked opportunism, complete resistance to facts or reason and censorship.

For that was the bread and butter of Leo "bless 'im" Hickman's disgraceful piece of yellow bellied journalism at the Guardian today.

Hickman decided it was time to form a posse comitatus to try tracking down the source of the climategate emails, laughably using the README textfile included in the latest tranche of releases as the primary source of evidence.

This was one of those pieces - especially as it was in the comment is free if you agree section - that really reveals the Guardian's true colours. Numerous commentators including me (prior to the first round of censorship - sorry - 'comment adjustment') attempted to point out the Guardian's and Hickman's rank hypocrisy on this issue. The most striking and obvious example having been the paper's massive support for Wikileaks, however there were many other examples, including the anonymous Enron whistleblower, as another commenter pointed out. As was repeated again and again, it appeared that all leakers were equal but some were more equal than others in the Guardian's eyes.

This was of course brushed off by Hickman and his part-time principle party of followers in the comments section.

Next I pointed out (prior to 'comment adjustment') that claiming it was the work of a hacker was still just an assumption. Hickman replied to me directly on that and similarly brushed it off. He claimed it was irrelevant. The poor dear didn't seem to realise that if he assumed it was the work of a hacker and in fact it was a leaker then his "investigation" would lead him down to all sorts of blind alleys, not least because the MO and levels of access would be completely different (not to mention the trail of evidence left behind).

There were a plethora of delightfully dense comments in support of Hickman et al and stunning leaps of reasoning. These people were also apparently immune to criticism because they "knew" what they were claiming was true, especially regarding the "hacker" claim. Many pronounced completely ill-informed statements about this showing that i) they knew nothing about IT security and ii) that they couldn't even be bothered to use google to check details. After all, The difference between an internal security breach and a carefully coordinated external breach is vast. Pointman gave an excellent overview after the first climategate - here. Moreover they absolutely did not care about their ignorance. What a familiar pattern, eh? No wonder they were immediately supportive of the "scientists" at the heart of the climategate storm - they're just like them!

There were some absolute crackers amongst the received wisdom of this bunch of easily led zealots and I highly recommend you read through the comments - well those that are left - as it is a laugh a minute.

Komment Macht Frei

Speaking of the comments - when the piece first appeared this morning, it was absolute devastation from the moderator. ALL of my comments bar the first one were censored, as were numerous other comments by others. I had no clue why they'd been removed beyond the fact that we all seemed to disagree intensely with Hickman.

Now I should point out something important here for Guardian watchers - they have two types of post moderation. There is the one we're all familiar with - where the boilerplate 'this comment was moderated because it breached our community (puke) standards' but there's also a much more insidious type and I only noticed it because I've been paying a lot of attention to their censorship pattern over the last couple of years - its what I call "nuking". In this case they remove all evidence that the comment was ever there. It's particularly chilling for freedom of speech because aside from the fact that by looking at the comments one can't actually assess the general level of censorship, if it's *your* comment that disappears in this way it's only your word that it was ever there in the first place....

Now bizaarely, after the comments spilled over onto two pages I happened to click back to the first page to see what else had been censored and was surprised to see that most of my previously "moderated" comments had reappeared (except for the "nuked" ones). I don't know if this is a bug in their software or a disagreement between moderators but it adds even more to the general sense of confusion and latent fear of arbitrary censorship that completely fucks any meaningful contribution over there.

Another important point to be aware of is this: One way to guarantee being censored on the Guardian is if you make a reference to your, or someone else's having been censored you will immediately be censored and they often use the "nuke" option too.

The Guardian is  - as a media institution - utterly reprehensible. Most other media outlets are of course too, across the political spectrum. But none outside the BBC attempt to present themselves so often as the default "good guys", nor do their followers similarly regard it as received wisdom...

The climategate 'gait' or the 'out of context paradox'

There's a regular pattern that occurs in any discussion of climategate (1 or 2). It is inconsistent but also entirely consistent with the unthinking nature of many of those who promulgate it:
i) They assert that the emails were "taken out of context"
ii) Responder says that they are not.
iii) A request is then made for evidence.
iv) Responder invites them to read the emails - there are numerous complete email chains, supporting claims against the "scientists" that ONLY MAKE SENSE IN CONTEXT. But the trick is you have to actually read the emails....

A modern day climate "scientist"
Now given how unambiguous some of the exchanges are (in particular those that involve purposefully frustrating FOI inquiries and deleting emails....) one is then prompted to ask exactly what standard of evidence is required. For the evidence before us, if for example we stick with complete email chains rather than individual comments, is a magnitude higher than the typical standard accepted in the vast majority of journalism that we ever read or see. It means that - to be consistent - if one were to completely reject these email chains as sufficient evidence, one would have to throw out almost every received opinion on any quoted person in the press one has ever encountered. Will the zealots do that...no of course they won't. But of course consistency is in the same disused box in their basement as a regard for truth....

One final delicious irony of this of course is that 'The Team' will surely be scratching their heads now, trying to remember what on earth what was said to who. But because they very likely deleted these emails after they had been copied from the mailserver then they have only one place to go to check.....

9 comments:

Katabasis said...

An important addendum also:

The Guardian put this article up at 10.19 this morning. Comments were closed at 5.

What was the point in even allowing people to comment?

Dick Puddlecote said...

I think they realised they've fucked up allowing it to be published. Too many references to their hypocrisy were being posted.

The Graun will never live this down. Their integrity has forever been shot to pieces, on any subject, as any time they try to act aloof and righteous, all that's needed is to refer to this piece.

A glorious day. :)

Anonymous said...

I hate Guardian, I truly do. I hope their believers would open up and start seeing thru their hypocrisies.

Katabasis said...

@Dick

Indeed! Also - as one of the comment "survivors", 'Compton' put it:

"If I was the hacker and I was being hunted by alarmists aka "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight" I think I'd sleep well tonight."

@Anonymous

Couldn't agree more mate. Problem is as you've no doubt seen from the surviving comments - even when such hypocrisy is handed to them on a plate they pretend it isn't there.....

Anonymous said...

One thing possible though, when seeing yours and other comments first posted and appearing, before censorship takes place, particularly the nuking type, if you were to print the page out as a .pdf, then you'd have a saved copy proving the comment(s) were all there and that censorship thus occurred. Then you can take the .pdf'd pages, before censoring and post them to your own blog, so there is at least a record online of what was deleted. In fact, that could almost be the subject of a blogsite in and of itself, just posting .pdf's of comments before censorship from the Guardian and calling itself the Anti-Guardian, or some such thing.

Trooper Thompson said...

That piece is ridiculous. Due to the use of a full stop rather than a comma, they've managed to narrow down the hunt to ... err ... someone in Europe, or Latin America or Africa. The net's closing!

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Just love the last paragraph in your post, glad I didn't have a mouth full of tea/coffee.

The Guardian CiF has been a parody of debate for ages. When my first (very mild indeed) comment was nuked I thought it was like the Telegraph where navigation is (deliberately?) broken.

But I tested them (Grauniad) and fatuous arse licking never got touched - some of the pieces I suspect that the authors were lurking in the comments and liaising with the moderators (Monbiot did protest too much methinks)

Debate ? phewee - not on your nelly.

I only go there if I'm feeling masochistic - and that's not often.

I see their enviro picture library is probably going to be adjusted....

Professor Pizzle said...

My favourite piece of foolishness in that G comment thread was where they started speculating about how suspicious it was that someone had set up a searchable database of the email in such a short time.

My God! Smoking gun!

Obviously that would have taken weeks to do in Guardianland. First they would have to phone tech support...

useless-eater said...

A lot of these 'people' who post in newspaper comments sections are paid to do so I believe to present a false consensus to others...

Monbiot's blog is full of them...

"Great article George"!

"Keep up the good work"!

They close the comments early to free up the glove puppet posters & censors faced with an onslaught of real people calling out their bullshit propaganda.

The people are revolting & it's getting harder by the day for these liars to manufacture their reality.

Shame on them for selling out their own people & their profession.