Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Truth is Not Officially Knowable

This came while I was gone, and everybody has probably already seen it by now, but here it is anyway: a newspaper blogger in Britain has been censured for posting a statement about culturally enriched crime in London.

The interesting thing is that Mr. Liddle is being censured for asserting something about the ethnicity of criminals in London as if it were fact. Since Her Majesty’s Government effectively prevents any comprehensive ethnicity-vs.-crime statistics from being gathered, this means that any assertion on such matters could be actionable under the mandate of the PCC, since hard data do not exist. By these standards, the truth about ethnic crime in London is no more provable than the doctrine of transmigration of souls.

It’s also notable that this blogger’s “racism” was not directed at Muslims in this case, but at Afro-Caribbeans.

According to Yahoo News:

First Blog Faces Censure by PCC

Former Radio 4 Today editor Rod Liddle has become the first journalist to have an online blog censured by the press watchdog. Skip related content

A complaint was upheld by the Press Complaints Commission after the writer and columnist claimed on the Spectator website that the “overwhelming majority” of violent crime in London was carried out by young Afro-Caribbean men.

Stephen Abell, director of the watchdog, said it was “a significant ruling” to make against a newspaper or magazine blog for inaccuracy.
- - - - - - - - -
A reader complained after Liddle wrote in December that “the overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community”.

Mr Abell said: “This is a significant ruling because it shows that the PCC expects the same standards in newspaper and magazine blogs that it would expect in comment pieces that appear in print editions.

“There is plenty of room for robust opinions, views and commentary but statements of fact must still be substantiated if and when they are disputed. And if substantiation isn’t possible, there should be proper correction by the newspaper or magazine in question.”

The article breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, the PCC concluded.

A spokesman for the body said: “It was certainly true in this case, for example, that a number of readers had taken issue with Mr Liddle’s claim and had commented on the blog. However, the commission did not agree that the magazine could rely on publishing critical reaction as a way of abrogating its responsibilities under the code.

“While it had provided some evidence to back up Mr Liddle’s position, it had not been able to demonstrate that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of crime in all the stated categories had been carried out by members of the African-Caribbean community.

“Nor could it successfully argue that the claim was purely the columnist’s opinion — rather, it was a statement of fact.”


Hat tip: TB.

12 comments:

bartholomewscross said...

The PCC stated,

"it had not been able to demonstrate that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of crime in all the stated categories had been carried out by members of the African-Caribbean community.

“Nor could it successfully argue that the claim was purely the columnist’s opinion — rather, it was a statement of fact.”


This is an absurd standard and a trap. I hope no British patriots fall for it.

So Liddle can't actually "prove" the blinkingly obvious because the British government is too inept to collect adequate crime data.

The only way he can defend himself, then, is to prove that
his blog post was "just" his opinion. If he does that, he might as well concede the argument to the Leftists right now and beg for clemency.

It's a trap: to "defend" himself, he must deny the truth of his position. But because the truth of his position is his only real defense, he ends up defeating himself.

What a farce. The important thing for Liddle to do now is a.) not to compromise the truth and b.) not to compromise his honor. He should spell out very clearly that he's being persecuted for stating the truth as well as he can understand it, and why.

I wish him all the best.

Knute said...

Spectator magazine defending itself:

"It said that blogging was a conversational medium in which readers were able to disagree with the writer’s opinion immediately, as had happened in this case."

http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/5874173/pcc-adjudication-on-rod-liddles-blogpost-benefits-of-a-multicultural-britain.thtml

Gary Rumain said...

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know." - Donald Rumsfeld.

Viking said...

Liddle added that had he not used the word "overwhelming", he could not have been condemned. Interesting.

linbetwin said...

Rod Liddle is the guy who made the documentary "Immigration is a time bomb" (available on YouTube). It is rumored that Lebedev, the new owner of The Independent, will put him in charge of the paper.

Afonso Henriques said...

In Charge of the Independent???

Isn't The Independent a leftist Newspaper?

I thought the Guardian and The London Times were those of the "quality press" more to the right... or closer to the Conservative Party.

Juniper in the Desert said...

Afonso Henriques:

The Guardian is the most far-left of UK broadsheets, then the Indy, then thetimes, then Telegraph.

The Times - as part of Murdoch's News International is now part-owned by Prince Alaweed of Saudi Arabia.

It remains to be seen what direction Lebedev will take the Indy. He also owns the Evening Standard, London's only evening paper. It has some troubling articles in it. For instance, a journalist who is clearly ignorant of the facts, saying "Obama the brave confronts Israel".

Afonso Henriques said...

Thnaks for the info Juniper.

doom-and-gloom said...

“There is plenty of room for robust opinions, views and commentary but statements of fact must still be substantiated if and when they are disputed.”

Why don't they apply it to the MSM?

doom-and-gloom said...

Juniper in the Desert

"For instance, a journalist who is clearly ignorant of the facts, saying "Obama the brave confronts Israel"."

What's so brave about confronting Israel? Everybody do that. Brave would be to confront Iran about its nuclear program and support for terror, or to confront the big oil Saudis about spreading Wahabism.

rebelliousvanilla said...

doom and gloom, I still remember that black guy who showed to an Obama rally with an AR15 and a handgun and the MSM said that he is a white lunatic fueled by racial hatred! The MSM did some nice job at cropping the parts of the video where you could see his skin. lol. This isn't just substantiating your statements, it's forgering them.

doom-and-gloom said...

RV,

They didn't actually say he was a white racist, that's the sweet trick about it. It's a method I pointed out in another thread - manipulating information in a way that'll give the audience the desirable false impression without literally lying. The media treat all the protests against Obama's policies as "white lunatics fueled by racial hatred". They had to hide the black guy's skin color because it would have interfered with the message they wanted their viewers to get. So, they used a black man carrying a gun to "prove" the protesters are dangerous white racists, but they didn't actually say *he* was a white racist, so technically they didn't lie - can you get any more cynical than that?

Not that they are above lies and fabrications. For instance, there was a Dutch TV item about islamophobia showing a Muslim woman carrying a bag of oranges, then she dropped the bag and no one of the people passing by stopped to help her pick up the oranges. As it happened, there was another TV crew from another channel that just happened to be there doing something else and they caught the entire thing on film. Turns out that people did stop by to help her, but every time someone approached her the TV crew asked them to leave. You see, they wanted to "document" the terrible islamophobia in the Netherlands and all these nice non-islamophobic Dutch people wanting to help a Muslim woman were ruining their "evidence", how annoying of them!

"Fake, but accurate" - remember? The journalists just "know" a priori that there is islamophobia, so they don't need to actually check if it exists, they just need to "prove" it to the public. And that's how it is with every subject they "cover" - they "know" what the "reality" is and they "know" what should be done about it, so they don't need to actually report the news, they just need to make the audience believe whatever the "reporters" believe is true, create public "opinion" and promote the "reporters"' desirable policies, candidates and election results. And they won't stop at nothing to get there.

There are lots and lots of examples of various ways of deception - from bias and subtle manipulations to straight lies and fabrications. It's seems to be the norm rather than the exception. There are no real reporters. After all the lies I saw I don't believe anything the media "reports". In terms of quality and reliability there is no difference between professional journalism and amateur blogs. There are no reliable information sources. All of them - professional and amateur - are about advancing some political agenda.

It's a terrible thing for democracy when there is no real journalism, when the reporters betray their vocation and their vital role in the democratic order. The more people find out they are lied to, the more they will turn to alternative information sources, but the alternative sources are just as bad. It will all descent into chaos.