Friday, December 01, 2006

Something about privilege down the ages

In today's column, Polly Toynbee writes of:

the old media ownership laws that Margaret Thatcher discarded to allow Murdoch to acquire his hegemonic 40% of all newspaper readership

She's done the Murdoch/40% statistic before, of course, and so have we.  (UPDATE:  See also here.)


She also writes:

At the very least, this is the time to make the pathetic Press Complaints Commission a statutory body. Sir Christopher Meyer has not noticeably been in hot pursuit of the other 300 journalists identified by the information commissioner. His "self-regulation" means that in the past six months, out of 1,681 complaints, the commission only deemed 13 fit to be adjudicated - and only five were upheld.

The figures are here.  They are not for the "past six months", of course, but rather for April to September.  But more interesting is the implication should the PCC should have been adjudicating on more of the 1,681.  Should it perhaps have pursued the 472 cases outside its remit (e.g. those relating to advertising material)?  Should it have pursued the 592 cases were a complainant made an initial contact with the PCC and then failed to take their complaint any further?  Should it perhaps have ignored the 291 instances where an offer of remedial action was made by the editor concerned?

Or would that just make it more difficult to distort the facts?


She also writes:

the BBC risks losing £1.6bn if it only gets a rise of inflation or below, despite bearing the whole cost of turning the country digital.
[emphasis added]

I look forward to finding out to whom in the BBC I should apply to get a refund for my digital set-top box.  Or my digital radio.  And doubtless the rapacious Mr Murdoch will be claiming back from the BBC the cost of BSkyB's investment in digital broadcasting equipment.


Adam Macqueen said...

She also manages to get the central fact on which the entire piece is based wrong. "Clive Goodman pleaded guilty to bugging two government ministers (David Miliband and David Blunkett), the MP Simon Hughes, a newspaper editor and a string of celebrities." Er, no he didn't. He pleaded guilty to just the one charge, "conspiracy to intercept telephone calls without lawful authority between 1 November, 2005 and 9 August, 2006", and apologised specifically to members of the Royal Family's household. Five further charges of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages (involving various named celebs) were brought against Glen Mulcaire alone.

Croydonian said...

It pains me to say it, but PT is referring to readership, not circulation. I have looked at the readership figures available at NMAUK, and while she is wrong, she is not that wrong. I make Murdoch's 'ownership' of national daiily circulation a rounded 37%, and 39% of the Sundays, and a rounded 38% of total circulation. I'm happy to e-mail you my workings, should you be interested.

Anonymous said...

Poor Timmy can't tell the difference between readership and circulation. And he actually links to this via comment is free. oh dear.

Anonymous said...

time for a website me thinks.....