Tag Archives: MH370

This stupid Neanderthal

Yes, you read it right, as the worst possible grammar allows for we see the needed expression: ‘Me is havening to be the stupid man today‘ statement. It all started in the middle of the night when the Guardian brought us: ‘Saudi state part-owns Evening Standard and Independent, court told‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jul/23/evening-standard-and-independent-unable-to-rebut-concerns-over-saudi-ownership). It gets to be worse (and the actual trigger) with: “Government lawyer tells court part-sale of news outlets has ‘national security implications’“, the naive Neanderthal in me is wondering what kind of drugs David Scannell is on and if I could get some of those (it never hurts to ask). The media (specifically the newspapers) are about the truth and about giving us actual information. The fact that the government has never ever been able to get a handle on whatever Rupert Murdoch does, in that same air the issues with Paul Dacre (specifically on a missing airplane), makes me wonder how the implied gossip that several newspapers spread are national security.

We could go with the premise that with a part owned Saudi Newspapers, the readers will actually get exposed to the acts or Iran, and the facts that many newspapers decided not to give visibility on that (like the proxy war Iran is waging via Yemen). That is beside the point that David Scannell is claiming national security issues against a Russian citizen, is that not laughable too (a Paul Hogan comedy kind of humour)?

So when we get David Scannell stating: “What is of concern to Her Majesty’s government is that a foreign state could be acquiring a substantial stake in Lebedev Holdings [owner of the Evening Standard] and the Independent simultaneously“, whilst her majesties government is seemingly forgetting that the current owner is Russian (born 8 May 1980, In Moscow Russia). Perhaps David Scannell would prefer to consider journalistic integrity and hold the UK newspapers to a much higher standard? He (his bosses more precisely) could have done that a decade ago by removing 0% VAT rights from these glossy ‘news’ bringers, a solution that would fit the UK citizen and resident to the largest degree, but just like the facilitation to the FAANG group (and their less than 2% tax), big corporations are facilitated to the largest degree and a clever Saudi investor thought that this was a good return for their investment. Then there is the other part.

When we see: “The heavily lossmaking free London newspaper is edited by the former Conservative chancellor, George Osborne“, we could consider that this is about changing the hearts of readers, yet if the government legal team is so worried about ‘poor record on press freedom‘, has that legal team not considered that in the end, when the papers becomes even more loss making that the current owners back out and the government could take over at £0.01 per share? In addition, if there is enough evidence in the statement of: “Both the Independent and Evening Standard insist concerns about editorial independence are unfounded and they are not influenced by financial backers” then what is this actually about? It seems that there is a reduced to zero chance that there are actual national security implications, the fact that national security events were always embargoed and as such these two papers must adhere to this, foreign owned or not and in the end, in addition, the fact that we saw last May the quote “There is nothing new about concern over the impact the company, which controls 70% of the country’s newspaper circulation, might have on democratic debate” (source: the Guardian), that keeping more papers out of the fingers of Murdoch might be a Humanitarian good, is that not important too? In addition, there is a second consideration, if the digital worlds that these two newspapers have, setting a stage that this evolution is passed on to places like the Dallah al Baraka Group, Al Arabiya, Al Saudiya and Al Ekhbariya could set a long term prosperity to both Saudi Arabia as well as their European affiliation. This is a long term slow plan and when we consider that Neom City is still happening, having a city well over 20 times the size of New York, also implies that overall the media will grow as well; digital marketing as well as 5G information streams will evolve, and evolve faster. Part of my IP was designed to do just that, whilst promoting commerce on several levels. We see that the evolution cannot begin in Saudi Arabia, but over time evolving those and new stations will be in the interest of Saudi Arabia who is eager not to lose it all to the UAE (Dubai Media Incorporated) or Qatar (Al Jazeera) changing the game and the way they do business is an essential must in the long term and in the short term evolution is more and more pressing.

Homo sapiens

Evolution has stepped in and as the Homo sapiens we are now, life is not that simple, the interaction of the media is larger and more complex. Yet I still find the approach through David Scannell laughable. We want to muster muzzles and bits to state who is allowed to go where, yet the unbridled freedoms pushes through by places like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google remain unhindered. Even in a stage where these groups pay less than 2% taxation in the end, the monster we know is still less acceptable than any optional new monster we do not know. The policymakers have been unable and unwilling to adjust laws ad legislation for almost two decades, the premise of iteration and Status Quo are found everywhere but were given on how the new owner (partial new owner) is setting the stage of national security. When we look at the fines we see in the direction of Facebook and Equifax are partial evidence that this ship has sailed years ago, the latest data breaches show that there is no stopping the flow of data and whilst we look towards North Korea who does not have the storage abilities, skills and bandwidth to do 10% of the issues that they are accused of, we see that the foundation of the current batch of National Security monitoring teams are seemingly in a stage that they have no clue where to look and what data to sift through (a common shortcoming).

So in all this we have larger issues and whilst we forgot about July 2015 ““source close to the family” (MH370 disaster)” with the additional “what is also important is that we saw an issue in 2014 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) decided to investigate a case whilst using only 1 of 83 plaintiffs” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/31/that-joke-called-the-first-amendment/), it would be my personal recommendation that the government (as well as David Scannell have bigger fish to fry. We could start a new Leveson investigation and force harsher settings, but all kinds of chief editors will burst into tears in the House of Lords and as we know that those gentlemen are really unwilling to slap crying girls around, so we get nowhere ever and the option to remove the 0% VAT from some of these newspapers is not regarded as an option, so we are at a stalemate with no solution. But the call via National Security seemingly remains.

In the complete evolved view we see that there is political power into the ability to reach an entire nation through the newspapers and the media, yet in that light when we accept Gay Alcorn (the Guardian) who gave us: “There is nothing new about attacks on News Corp’s influence on policy and politics in Australia. There is nothing new about claims that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers are not just right wing, but distort and manufacture news“, does it actually matter whether news is manufactured by NewsCorp (Australia) or the Independent (partial Saudi)? Is pushing this path not a race towards discrimination lacking all diplomacy and subtlety?

I am merely asking, because even as i really do not care who the owners are becoming, and the fact that the previous owner is Russian, is it not just all water under the bridge. To be slightly more precise a bridge called Facebook transporting terabytes of data per minute?

In the end, the legal battle is seemingly set to “The legal challenge was only against the decision to refer the Saudi investment to the Competition Commission on merger grounds“, whether valid or not (that is a legislation issue), the fact that the entire article has only one mention of the word ‘merger‘ in that entire article. Informing the public on the exact nature of the issue on the merger, would that not have been an essential first? If that is the case, how does National Security actually fit would be my question, but we really don’t see a clear answer on that either, do we?

 

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In defiance of definition

I had to think things through yesterday (as well as get over a headache of titanic proportions). The Guardian gave us an interesting view on Friday with ‘loss of role model for boys‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jul/21/doctor-who-casting-peter-davison-laments-loss-of-role-model-for-boys). The entire issue is that the new Doctor, the 13th one will be a woman named Jodie Whittaker. It is a new step in refreshing the brand; it is equally an interesting step that forums have debated for the longest time. Two previous doctors have given their own view. First we see Peter Davison with “a former star of Doctor Who, has lamented the loss of a role model for boys after the part of the Doctor was given to a female actor for the first time“. It is an interesting premise. I am not sure I agree. Peter Davison who would be regarded as the Doctor by some and as Tristan Farnon by others has played the doctor, and as such has seen waves and waves of fans. The opposition, the side I tend to agree with states “absolute rubbish“, this is Colin Baker who played both the 6th Doctor and Paul Merroney, the cold hearted accountant in ‘The Brothers’. You see, I am not certain why the two sides exist (academically speaking). When we look at ‘role model’, we see ‘a person whose behaviour in a particular role is imitated by others’ (source Meriam-Webster), this came into official usage in 1947, the same year that the words ‘Chopped Liver’, ‘Bikini’, ‘Time Traveller’, ‘Workaholic’ and ‘Final Solution’ were added to the dictionary.

So when we consider that ‘the imitation of a particular role’ is generic, does it actually matter what the gender of the player is? How many people see Oprah Winfrey as their role model? How many are man? Even when we look online for some of the best talk show hosts ever, in one case she was seen below Marc Maron and Howard Stern, who the hell is Marc Maron? So as we see that a renowned talk show host, who was ranked in 2013 as the most influential woman in the world, she got to number 6? I think it is high time that more women become role models. In this we should take heed that Jodie also featured in St. Trinians, so the upcoming role model could be a chaos creator. Yet does that matter? You see in the end, are the younglings regardless of age following the image played, the portraying actor, or the writers who created the image? So are these boys and girls following the image of the Doctor, or the image as written by Steven Moffat, the man who also gave us Jekyll with James Nesbitt?

The definition gives us the character as played by Doctor who, yet in all this, does it matter whether the player is a he or a she? Well, there are a few issues as seen. One source gives us “The gender difference between role models and female students has shown to have no significant effect on student attitudes, whereas perceived dissimilarity with stereotypical role models showed a negative effect on self-confidence in pursuing STEM careers“, in this, STEM careers are the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematical . Yet, in this, as we consider the works of Friedrich Weyerhäuser and realising that he died when WW1 began, is there enough traction remaining to give that the highest levels of acceptance? I can understand part of his view and perhaps in those days of set premises on how the family was going to go, it made sense, yet after WW1, we got the great depression, WW2, the era of opportunity, the sexual revolution and higher education. When compared to then the average education now and then, the bulk of the 70% educated now are on par and surpassing the education of the top 90%, the highest 10% is reserved of the higher educated now, whilst 90% of the educated are far beyond the lower 30% of those days. If education is an essential side of acceptance, the premise given earlier should not just surpass the standard of the early 1900, we should see that when a talk show host, an African American woman is the most influential woman on the planet, we can see that it is not the gender of the role model, it is the quality of the model that sets the stance for whomever follows that example, regardless of gender.

Yet, we need to take a step back towards modern sociology. In this, we see that Robert K. Merton is seen by larger groups as is considered as a founding father of modern sociology. In this there might be a foundation to have a new Doctor as a woman. Let me try to reason this as follows. If we accept Robert Merton and his setting of the social strain theory, we should change the barriers. In the social strain we look at the discrepancies between culturally defined goals and the institutionalized means available to achieve these goals. If we accept that ‘success’ is a goal definition and institutionalised means are the setting, the properties to set to get there, we can argue that as it is mainly a man’s world, introducing a woman changes the premise of the path, or in equal measure we can argue that we criminalise the actions women will take to get there. The danger of a strain approach is that there tend to be two paths. If we accept the 5 paths of deviance namely, conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion, we might see gender as the overthrowing of conformity, ritualism and retreatism. Can any of this be proven? Well, in Chinese culture, most will remember Hua Mulan due to Disney exposure, yet there have been several more.

The question becomes, should it matter?

In my view a role model is a role model. It can be set on bravery like Florence Nightingale, set in science as Madame Curie, set towards engineering like Amelia Earhart (or Charles Lindbergh), we have seen that given the chance in getting toward the path of excellence, gender has never been the challenging factor. As we upped the deviance pressure towards certain paths, we get in equal measure the impact of the opposite direction like the cyclist Lance Armstrong and the fall from grace in 2012. So as stated, it can go in either direction, it is the drive, the realistic option of meeting a goal that has the larger impact.

In this, Colin Baker also stated “They’ve had 50 years of having a role model. So, sorry Peter, you’re talking rubbish there – absolute rubbish” he said. “You don’t have to be of a gender of someone to be a role model. Can’t you be a role model as a people?” This is a fair enough view. Yet in my view it is not merely the one playing the role, but in equal measure the quality of material handed to the layer, which gets us to Steven Moffat. I believe that one enables the other which gets us the result. For those in doubt, ask yourself, who remembers Charles Laughton, Domonic Rowan, Arthur Bouchier or Tony Church? They all played the same character! Now who remembers William Shakespeare who wrote the Henry VIII play?

It is not a fair comparison, but the comparison still matters, these players will be remembered by those who watched the play, probably for the rest of their lives, but the others? Even as TV reaches billions, we realise that our old idols like Gareth Thomas and Paul Darrow in Blake’s 7 were heroes to some, yet have we forgotten about Terry Nation, the man who did not merely created the Blake team, but also was responsible of creating the Daleks, an opposition who has been enthusiastically exterminating mankind since 1962?

When we realise the cogs in the clock that makes the setting for the heroes we have admired for the longest time of our life, is it not sad that those who actually created the wave of role models are too often forgotten? When we realise this, does it actually matter what the gender of the role model is?

It is just a thought that you should consider when you get some hatched job from the Sun or the Mail online, remember that when it comes to role models, they have never been one to follow any, their role model is greed and circulation, so as they give us “It is frankly nauseating that the [BBC] should now get on their sci-fi high horse and gallop into Right-Onsville to plonk a woman sheriff in town“, let us not forget that the people referred to are the same people who gave us “The captain of missing flight MH370 practised crashing into the Indian Ocean on a simulator weeks before his plane disappeared, confidential police documents reveal“, right after the entire Leveson inquiry and never showing ANY ACCEPTABLE level of evidence. It is even better seen in the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2012/nov/16/dailymail-leveson-inquiry), here we see “How is it defensible to talk of “freedom of the press” in the collective sense when a single man exercises so much power?” as well as “For a national paper to devote the best part of a dozen pages to an investigation so obviously based on prejudice against the Leveson inquiry is surely counter-productive”, this shows us that no matter how we see a role model, it is likely to be under non-stop attack by media publications that have merely the doctrine of greed via circulation in mind. So will Jodie become a new role model? Will we see Paul Dacre in a straightjacket? Would it not be great if we got both? We get two role models, Jodie to tell us how we move forward and Paul to show us how being backward tends to be a self-destructive path. All options in the innovation path, none of them gender based, merely two examples on how we should and could see innovation move.

So in defiance of the definition is not entirely in play. Gender was never a given, it was what others made those role models to be in the end, I will leave it to you to follow whomever moves you forward; it does not matter if that person is a he or a she, does it?

 

 

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Haystack, meet Needle!

There is a lot of emotions out on the social networks and in the open air. It is fair that this is the case. Those who are genuinely smitten with emotion through a connection, there is not shame and no blame. On March 8th 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 left Kuala Lumpur never to be seen again. Yesterday after groups of people dedicated to finding any evidence of what happened to this flight, spanning a timeline of a little more than 2.75 years, the search has now been halted. The family members of the 239 casualties (227 passengers and 12 crew) are beside themselves. No grave to remember, no answers to what happened. The first piece of MH-370 was discovered on 29 July 2015 on Réunion Island. As the place where it was found is 180 degrees away from the destination it was headed to, we have no idea what happened. There have been many speculations, including one on a suicidal pilot. That issue I discussed in ‘Bad Journalism‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/03/25/bad-journalism/), to counter these speculations, I added one myself that was not based on malice and not that far-fetched. Consider that there was an issue with the cabin pressure, this might have been disastrous, by the time the pilot realised in what danger he was, he changed the autopilot by 180 degrees knowing that he would crash in the ocean, knowing he would not crash into a city or in any place that could cost the lives of so many more. It was not an original idea, but at least there was no malice. We can speculate even further, but it would remain speculation. There will be no answer for the families of the lost.

I made my prediction long before the piece on Reunion was found, which makes it not more credible, only less incredible. Yet in this haystack that is called the Indian Ocean, finding one plane is not a realistic option.

Yet, why is MH370 still an ‘issue’. You see what happened is rare and unlikely, yet in all this, the black box would have been instrumental in getting answers. What is interesting is that the Black Box is technology that has been obsolete for a long time, in this age when we have flights with in-flight movies, internet and inflight mobiles, can anyone explain why the black box is not mirrored to a secure cloud location? Let’s face it, the plane is already there, so why not save it on the spot? By the way, this black box obsolete thing is not new, it is a discussion that has been going on for well over a decade. With the ability of internet on flights for even longer than that (not for passengers though), how come the airlines did not adjust their technology? Greed? Budgets? Complacency? Your guess is as good as mine, I actually do not know. In their defence, we can agree that the events of MH370 are so rare that the act of one flight should not impact on the roughly 104,000 flights that happen every day. The math does not bear this out. Yet, with ships one ship changed everything. It was the Titanic, who on April 10th 1912 got a little more ice in their bucket lists than they bargained for (Too soon?).

You see that disaster started the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and they still govern maritime safety today. So, perhaps MH370 will also become the foundation of an essential change that will spark changes too. There might be too much luggage to deal with the black box, yet having an additional system that cannot be interrupted, one that pushed a data line every 600 seconds so that the log will show essential data no more than 20 minutes from the last location, which in this case would have been invaluable. A 1024 character blip with the most important data of location, heading, speed and flags. The Black box will have all the high level details, but the people would never end up in the dark like this ever again. A simple solution whilst the bulk of the required hardware is already in place. It seems like such a waste not adding such functionality, more important, with the proper technology available for well over a decade, why was this not done sooner?

 

The fact that something like this has not been the show stealer at the aviation trade shows is a little beyond me.

When we get back to the Guardian, we see as reasoning ““It has been a costly exercise but it hasn’t been a factor in the decision to suspend the search,” he said. “We’re in a position where we don’t want to be providing false hope to the family and friends.”“, I cannot disagree (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/18/malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-australia-says-cost-didnt-force-suspension-of-search). 2.75 years is a long time, I reckon we can state that the ‘costly’ side was surpassed well over a year ago. In this haystack called the Indian Ocean, which is 73.56 million km² in size, even as part of that pond can be ruled out, this ocean is still equal in size of Africa and Asia together. The fact that something this big has swallowed the MH370, a place not just the size of two continents, it has an average depth of 3,890 meters with places where the maximum depth is 8,047 meters. To find anything in such a place, with canyons, crevices and on top of that current speeds that can get up to 5 miles per hour. In this haystack, the size of Mount Everest, a group of dedicated people have dedicated well over 2 years to fine a needle. Anyone claiming it needs to continue should not look at the cost, they need to look at the fact that you are asking dozens of people to commit their life and the size of their career to look for something that does not have a lot of chance to be found. If it is found it will be nothing short of a miracle, especially with the lack of facts available. The people who have been doing this know all this and still they committed to this. An exceptional collection of people!

So even as I implied certain matters, last June, the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/30/uk-satellite-firm-inmarsat-helped-track-mh370-fit-sbs-on-airbus-jets) gives us ‘Inmarsat’s SB-S service renders conventional black boxes obsolete and could prevent air crashes‘, I am actually not certain whether that is true. You see, the quote “It beams flight information via a satellite to an airline’s control centre within seconds, capturing real-time data about what is happening on board the plane“, which sounds like nice marketing, yet when we consider that there are 105,000 flights every day and that some areas have atmospheric conditions that make data transfer not that reliable, or at the very least an issue, now consider that ‘real time’ data would need to be analysed. The math doesn’t add up and as for preventing a crash, when that happens it is usually too late. The best we can hope for is that the cause is detected, comprehended and prevented in the future, which is fair enough, and in addition the updates with locations would have prevented the ordeal of the family members of the MH370 victims.

So, as I see it, this is an interesting piece, even though it is mainly about marketing and in that, the quote “A former pilot, captain Mary McMillan, who is Inmarsat’s head of safety, said SB-S technology could not only help identify the cause of accidents but could even prevent them“, it is the ‘prevent’ claim that I have a small issue with. Not because of my abilities as a pilot (which is limited to the PC (Flight Simulator 2004), the Xbox One (Elite Dangerous) and the PlayStation 4 (No Man’s Sky). Yes, with all that knowledge I make this claim. You see, my reasoning is that no matter how fast the data comes, it comes as the event is already taking place. Taking into consideration that the Pilot in place is the actual expert with support of a co-pilot and engineer, this pilot gets many times the information than is transmitted. It is a mere reality that does not make the solution invalid, incorrect or useless. It merely gives more information that after the fact will be invaluable. So as such Inmarsat is bringing a solution, perhaps even an innovation, one that could perhaps at some point replace the black box. It sounds cold, but yesterday’s news on the halting of the search for MH370 could be a big break in visibility of Inmarsat and the product line they offer.

With the MH370 search suspended, we will see more and more questions regarding these decisions and more and more emotional rebuttal on the halting of the search. I will not oppose that, especially against the people who are dealing with the loss of friends and family, yet in my mind, I see the resources needed and the chance of any level of success. In that I accept the end of the search, I just wished that there was something that could be achieved for those who lost anyone on MH370.

Perhaps a better way to use the Lenz effect to find a chunk of airplane, a submerged drone with a different kind of scanner? Perhaps a nice challenge for engineers with a massive dose of imagination?

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Golden age of Journalism?

There is a speech on Sky News. In this video, we see John Ryley stating that the Golden Age is now. He talks about the pessimists, but is he correct? Well, in all honesty, he is not wrong. Yet, the dangers are not really shown in his speech. The statement for some journalists that ‘the golden age is now’ is indeed a statement that is laced with truth. As in the past journalists going into the news were hoping and praying for their ‘live’ moment, that golden age is indeed now, they can ALL be live in a matter of seconds. It is the quote he makes in the video (at http://news.sky.com/story/1280339/sky-news-head-golden-era-for-journalism ) it is at 1:43 where he mentions that all news is available on-demand, live all the time is also laced with a danger he does not mention ‘the key to exploiting these multiple opportunities‘ is the quote we see next. Here is the danger we need to understand. Yes, we have more news and as John Ryley states, there is a growing abundance of analytics, facts, snippets and other streamed information being added to our field of vision, yet what about the quality? In the past journalists grew into a job, now we see all graduates rush to get the headlines that get them the job to go forward. In this changing view, levels of quality are no longer pursued (just perused at best).

We have to accept that we do not get the best numbers at times. When something happens, we are often given a few facts linked to the events, yet, when we start adding analytics that are meant to be part of the same news cycle, how reliable are these numbers? I am not talking about business news here. In those cases the journalists have decades of numbers at their back and call. No, I am talking about dumping false data at the mere press of a finger. In that regard, I think Australia outdid itself when a girl in May 2009 gave false testimony on TV and gained the reputation of the ‘Chk Chk Boom’ girl. It is not the most extreme example, but it illustrates the dangers. There is no blame to the journalist, yet the impact was there, even though people laughed it off to some extent. Now consider that what is laughingly regarded by some as journalism. It was the Daily Telegraph quoting “Flight MH370 ‘suicide mission’” on page one, PAGE ONE no less! Now, almost three months later, there is still no sight of the plane and no actual evidence that there was a suicide mission. These two parts give the indication. No matter how much journalists are entering the Golden age of direct media opportunities, the growing need for ethics and quality checks in an age of immediate publication is growing at an almost exponential rate.

This all gets another flavour when we consider certain parts of the Leveson report. “A free press, free of the censorship and restrictions imposed by the powerful, … serves the public interest by its investigative and communicative role. Both roles are necessary.” (at volume,page1:64). Yes, I am all for freedom of the press, but not for freedom of non-accountability. In case of the ‘Chk Chk Boom’ girl, the press was not guilty, they were talking to a ‘witness’ and that got reported, in case of the Daily Mail, serious questions about the journalist could be made (as well as its chief editor). Here we see the danger, we cannot avoid issue one in a time pressed event, yet when the journalist shapes the story, by intentionally adding non verified data, we get issue number two and here we see, what in my mind adds up to intentional inflicted harm (to the family of victims) for the greater ‘need’ of some headline, which then results in tiers of damage control and carefully ‘phrased’ denials. None of those events could or would be regarded as journalism. John Ryley does not dig into that danger (as far as I know).

 

The last danger is the one John Ryley was not going to talk about (assumption on my side) and as I see it, he should not have to. Yet, the dangers that his Golden age of Journalism brings is the added hype of trial by social media. When given form, events will more and more shout out for witch-hunts via social media. This is not started or at times intentionally instigated by the journalists, which must be stated quite clearly, yet the dangers we all face as someone emotionally responds to any news event is always there. Yet the dangers that any news that spreads online will be accompanied by the dangers of social media “hang ’em high judges” should not be underestimated, giving the increased need for quality checks and verification in an age when doing just that out-dates the news instantly. There is no real good solution here and it must be said that a journalist cannot be blamed for any social media prosecution hype, yet, when proven that the news that sparked the witch-hunt was irresponsible, (like the MH370 story by the Daily Telegraph), should the journalist bringing the story be held accountable for the consequences? In that case I say ‘Yes!’. So, even though if we are to believe that journalism is entering a Golden Age, we must also look at the consequences of their acts and hold journalists accountable for some of their actions as such.

A view, I have had for a long time, but was raised by Sir Christopher Meyer on the 19th of February 2009 (long before I started my accountability act crusade).it can be found on the Leveson report (4:1539) “I am afraid that we also require some reassurance about the credentials of those carrying out the inquiry. In addition to the inaccuracies … the report does not appear to have been written by anyone with much understanding of self-regulation or the relationship between the PCC and the law. More fundamentally, we have to ask ourselves whether this enterprise is being undertaken in good faith…” (from pp1-5, Stephen Abell, http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Exhibit-SA-T1125.pdf).

I will add one more part to this all. I wrote a blog on March 19th called ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘. Yesterday’s news (at http://news.sky.com/story/1280406/qatar-corruption-claims-coca-cola-concerned), directly links to this. My issue is that the quote “Mr Quincey’s comments are significant because Coca-Cola is one of Fifa’s leading sponsors along with Adidas, Budweiser, Sony and Visa and, as such, a major provider of revenues to the organisation, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers.” is not entirely complete as I see it. Moreover, there are still serious issues with the claims of corruption to begin with.

The end of that quote “contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers” should in my view be changed into ‘contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers for as long as it favours the business views and other financial obligations these large companies have set in motion.

My reasoning here is that Qatar was selected, and it was not long until the intense heat that the players faced would become a visible issue. The best source of quality information in this case is the Washington Post (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/fifa-prosecutor-probe-already-had-qatar-evidence/2014/06/11/ffcef57a-f199-11e3-b140-bd7309109588_story.html).

I actually do not know whether the Qatar bribery issues are real. It seems that FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia is on top of this, yet the Sky News quote ‘Yet this inflamed the situation and led to calls on Tuesday from a succession of European football chiefs for Mr Blatter to step down‘, is adding to the fire and I wonder what actually is in play. We know that the Qatar World cup would, due to a date shift have consequences. This can be best seen in the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/24401699), The quote “However, that could lead to a potential clash with other big sporting events, notably the Winter Olympics and American football’s Super Bowl, as well as domestic football leagues and the Champions League“, which makes me wonder whether these ‘secret’ documents are about the sport, or about the advertisers. When we consider the list of ‘sponsors’ that Sky News mentioned, namely Coca-Cola, Adidas, Budweiser, Sony and Visa we see a different picture, is it about corruption or about the fear that these big corporations are confronted with up to 40% of diminished advertisement power? I do believe that Qatar will do whatever it can to not overlap the winter Olympics, yet the fact that there will be an overlap with US sports and likely the European soccer season is almost unavoidable. If we are fair then we accept this, especially as this is such a rare event. The rest should be ignored, for the simple reason that this is about the sport, not about the ‘comfort‘ of those sponsors who basically tend to be at EVERY event.

So here we see the direct consequence of what John Ryley calls the golden Age of Journalism. When we look at these headlines “Qatar DID buy the World Cup, email reveals” (The Daily Mail), we have to wonder how much danger people will be placed in when social media turns an irresponsible article into a witch-hunt. If the golden age of Journalism is now, then so is its accountability, which is at the heart of the published Leveson report. Consider the Leveson header ‘The importance of a free press: free communication‘, is that the case here? I wonder how much pressure certain articles are receiving from advertisers/sponsors. The concluded report will give us reason to lash out, so until that happens (in roughly a month) we will have to wait when I write my follow up.

 

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Bad Journalism

Sky News brought a nice little article to my attention. When they showed the front pages for Tuesday the 25th, we got to see the headline “Flight MH370 ‘suicide mission’“. Do I agree? The simple answer is that I cannot tell as I have not seen the evidence. Can anyone tell me what and where the evidence is?
When we read the quote the Sydney Morning Herald we see: “The newspaper report, which appears on the front page of Tuesday’s edition, was based on what it claimed were ‘well-placed sources’. But they contrast with official statements from Malaysian authorities, who say that the focus of the investigation is moving away from the pilots” (at http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh370-crashed-in-suicide-mission-britains-the-daily-telegraph-newspaper-reports-20140325-hvmf1.html).
So what are these ‘well-placed sources’? Is it perhaps possible that that Editor Ian MacGregor had his pants on his ankles and was getting serviced by an Asian person who knew a friend of a cousin from a sister-in-law’s cousin twice removed who is dating a technician who presses the plane gas refill pump switch? I am just wondering what these ‘well-placed’ sources are. I have nothing against Mr MacGregor, I just think that the article was a bad one and as such, as editor of the Daily Telegraph, the finger should be pointed at him for allowing this on page one, especially as there is no evidence at present, other than the events surrounding flight MH370 were abnormal. Placing a picture of a person in flight outfit shows even less good judgement, especially if this person ends up being one of the victims. The upside is that I hope that once that person in the picture is shown to be innocent so that the Daily Telegraph gets to pay a multi-million pound settlement to the family of the man in the photo.
Another quote in the article was
this has been a deliberate act by someone on board who had to have had the detailed knowledge to do what was done … Nothing is emerging that points to motive“, that part could be true!
In my view I do not know what happened. We can speculate in all kinds of directions, and in that regard the two options I had in mind did not involve the crew. The first obvious speculation was terrorism. If we consider the security improvements on airports, my thought was to hijack the plane, land it in a remote and unused airfield, get rid of the passengers and crew and load up the plane with nasty stuff. The second plane gets crashed into the ocean whilst the first plane takes over the identity of the second plane crashing on a large city. The systems would unlikely to see the danger until the plane was in visual sight and that was as it was going straight down.
The second speculation is less horror, more greed. The plane gets hijacked and landed somewhere (like in speculation one). The people are ‘dealt’ with and the plane gets the chop shop act. Consider the amount of planes that need parts, spare parts and service. One plane will hold for several millions in goods, not to mention many other parts that could fetch a price as well as tons of fuel. The scattered parts will be dumped in a deep ocean and no black box is found.
These two are purely speculation, they could be the makings of a serious B-Movie, but they are not based on reality. That same light should be used for the article in the Daily Telegraph. In the end, perhaps there is a truth in what the Daily Telegraph wrote, yet as many are trying for coverage and visibility, speculation in newspapers on an event like flight MH370 is a bad thing. It is less so in my blog as this is just my view on matters and my blog is not here to ‘impress’ on advertisement space on a national level. Consider the facts, the fact that the plane remained invisible on national military radar in more than one nation, the fact it went back over the land and go in a complete opposite direction and the fact that there has been utter silence.
Now I will give you a third scenario. It is not real; it came from TV, specifically the cliff-hanger for Ghost Whisperer season 1. In those final two episodes a plane crashes. What happens was that a MECHANICAL flaw made the plane lose pressure and all on board fell asleep. If the co-pilot was in the cockpit, perhaps he tried to reverse course but was no longer able to be completely coherent and as such the plane flies until there is no more fuel. Is this what happened? It is a speculation like anything else. This version has no malice, no guilty people, just a malfunction and an intensely sad consequence.
We do not know what happened, so we need the evidence, which makes the act by the Daily Telegraph, a place that might have hired a journalist or two even more unsettling. Any paper has its moments where a less evidence and more speculation piece makes it to the printer, yet to see this on page one is a lot less acceptable then page three of the Sun. It must be a proud moment for the Daily Telegraph, to get an article on page one with what I regard to have less journalistic value then the article in the Sun on page three (the one with the picture of the youthful young lady).

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