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The Promotion of Counterknowledge

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#1 Postby Alan H » March 24th, 2009, 8:42 pm

Another excellent article on JDC's blog: The Promotion of Counterknowledge
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

jdc
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Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#2 Postby jdc » March 25th, 2009, 3:11 pm

Thank you for your kind words Alan.

In my blog post, I made a few suggestions regarding the challenging of counterknowledge. I am always open to further suggestions.

While we can write to the PCC to complain about inaccurate newspaper articles, the chair of the PCC's editors' code committee is Paul Dacre - the editor of the Daily Mail. I mean, how likely is he to uphold JQH's complaint about the Mail's reporting of the HPV vaccine?
http://jaycueaitch.wordpress.com/2009/0 ... o-the-pcc/

Those AltMed practitioners who are unregulated have no-one to answer to, those that are regulated usually have to answer to a toothless regulator who is there to provide a nominal service only, the Pope and Prince Charles don't really have to answer to anyone. How do you challenge someone who isn't obliged to answer to anyone? All you can do is point out that they are wrong - you can't really take practical steps to stop them spreading BS.
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Alan H
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#3 Postby Alan H » March 25th, 2009, 4:19 pm

Maria and I were at a talk on Monday with Lord Lester (one of the writers of the Human Rights Act), Sir Christopher Meyer, KCMG (to give him his full title), head of the PCC - but not for much longer, Alan Rusbridger (Guardian editor), Bob Satchwell of the News of the World. They were discussing the HRA and media freedom, but Meyer seemed to have the very distinct impression that his PCC was a very effective self-regulating body.

As anyone who has read Nick Davies' Flat Earth News (it's a must-read)will know, over the last 10 years, the PCC has received 28,227 complaints from the public. Of these, the PCC refused to consider ruling on 25,457 of these, rejecting just over 90% of them on technical grounds without them ever investigating the substance of the complaint.

Of the ones that were rejected, nearly 1,000 were rejected because they were not made quickly enough, nearly 2,000 were rejected because they were made by third parties and nearly 7,000 were rejected because they didn't fit within the PCC's code. Many others were rejected because they were not 'formalised' by the complainants.

Only 2,770 were accepted for investigation (less than 10% of those made). Most of these (2,322) were miraculously resolved by the newspapers (by issuing an apology or clarification) when the PCC accepted the complaint. This leaves just 448, 1.6% of the total that the PCC were forced to adjudicate on.

It goes on. The PCC rejected over half (251) of these, leaving just 197 of the 28,227 complaints made that were upheld by the PCC — that's 0.69% of the total.

And their Chair thinks they are an effective regulator?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#4 Postby jdc » March 25th, 2009, 4:30 pm

Fascinating stuff. (I'm planning on reading Flat Earth News - I've just requested it from my local library).

I see Mayer thinks that complaints that the PCC is providing a 'fig-leaf' of respectability are "bollocks" - http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=42801 - which is not a view I share. I'd lobby my MP to call for tighter regulation of the press, but he's an ex-journo.

(He's also warned that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg may be a greater threat to the self-regulation of the British press than is generally recognised - which sounds like it could be good news. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/13/pcc-chairman-christopher-meyer-press-freedom)
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jdc
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#5 Postby jdc » March 26th, 2009, 6:11 pm

Alan H wrote:Maria and I were at a talk on Monday with Lord Lester (one of the writers of the Human Rights Act), Sir Christopher Meyer, KCMG (to give him his full title), head of the PCC - but not for much longer, Alan Rusbridger (Guardian editor), Bob Satchwell of the News of the World. They were discussing the HRA and media freedom, but Meyer seemed to have the very distinct impression that his PCC was a very effective self-regulating body.

As anyone who has read Nick Davies' Flat Earth News (it's a must-read)will know, over the last 10 years, the PCC has received 28,227 complaints from the public. Of these, the PCC refused to consider ruling on 25,457 of these, rejecting just over 90% of them on technical grounds without them ever investigating the substance of the complaint.

Of the ones that were rejected, nearly 1,000 were rejected because they were not made quickly enough, nearly 2,000 were rejected because they were made by third parties and nearly 7,000 were rejected because they didn't fit within the PCC's code. Many others were rejected because they were not 'formalised' by the complainants.

Only 2,770 were accepted for investigation (less than 10% of those made). Most of these (2,322) were miraculously resolved by the newspapers (by issuing an apology or clarification) when the PCC accepted the complaint. This leaves just 448, 1.6% of the total that the PCC were forced to adjudicate on.

It goes on. The PCC rejected over half (251) of these, leaving just 197 of the 28,227 complaints made that were upheld by the PCC — that's 0.69% of the total.

And their Chair thinks they are an effective regulator?


I'm going to blog about these figures Alan. Thanks for posting them here.
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Alan H
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#6 Postby Alan H » March 26th, 2009, 9:34 pm

I took them straight out of Nick's book, so they should be reliable. His website seems to be down at the moment, so I can't check if they are there.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#7 Postby jdc » March 27th, 2009, 8:12 pm

Alan H wrote:I took them straight out of Nick's book, so they should be reliable. His website seems to be down at the moment, so I can't check if they are there.

I can't find them on a site search, but the PCC have some recent figures on their website - http://www.pcc.org.uk/statistics/index.html - and they don't look to be much different from those quoted above. I took a look at the most recent 6-month period and found this:

    April-Sep 2008 PCC Complaints: Number of complaints in each category, and percentage of total complaints.

  • Resolved or sufficient action offered to resolve 346 18.74%
  • Not pursued by complainant 101 5.47%
  • Adjudicated 16 0.87%
    Upheld 9 (0.49%)
    Sufficient action offered 1 (0.05%)
    Not upheld 6 (0.33%)
  • No case under the Code 339 18.36%

    Complaints not investigated under the Code
  • Outside remit 337 18.26%
  • Disallowed on ground of unjustified delay 3 0.16%
  • Third party complaints 19 1.03%
  • Complaints not formalised 3 685 37.11%

    TOTAL COMPLAINTS: 1846

Adjudicated complaints make up 0.87% of the total and are further broken down into three categories - "upheld", "sufficient action offered", "and not upheld". The percentage of total complaints that were upheld is 0.49% for the period April-September 2008. The percentages have been added, but the raw figures are as per the PCC webpage: http://www.pcc.org.uk/statistics/101112_05.html
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Alan H
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#8 Postby Alan H » March 27th, 2009, 8:25 pm

Of course, there is the possibility that the vast majority were misconstrued or perhaps vexatious, but the number upheld does seem a tad on the low side...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#9 Postby jdc » March 27th, 2009, 9:28 pm

Alan H wrote:Of course, there is the possibility that the vast majority were misconstrued or perhaps vexatious, but the number upheld does seem a tad on the low side...

Yes - the number of complaints listed as "not formalised" strike me as being likely candidates for misconstrued/vexatious complaints. Have you looked at any of the individual adjudications on the PCC site? The Daily Fail seem to tend to apologise privately, whereas the Guardian clarifies and apologises in print. This is just one of many reasons to buy the Guardian rather than the Fail - they're more open and honest.
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jdc
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#10 Postby jdc » March 27th, 2009, 9:43 pm

PS - have you come across currybet.net before? Some stuff on there re the PCC.
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Alan H
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#11 Postby Alan H » March 27th, 2009, 11:39 pm

Interesting. No, I hadn't heard of currybet.net. I'll have a browse later.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#12 Postby jdc » March 28th, 2009, 9:13 pm

A couple from Feb this year: Let's have a PCC for the 21st century http://www.currybet.net/cbet_blog/2009/ ... debate.php

& Why the PCC is broken - a case study in trying to complain http://www.currybet.net/cbet_blog/2009/ ... broken.php
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Alan H
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Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#13 Postby Alan H » March 31st, 2009, 11:08 am

In today's Guardian:
********************************************************************************
Response: The press watchdog should not pour scorn on my client, Max Mosley, says Dominic Crossley | Comment is free | The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... max-mosley
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The press watchdog should not pour scorn on my client, Max Mosley

Christopher Meyer should face the fact that the PCC is fundamentally flawed, says Dominic Crossley
Comments (8)

* Dominic Crossley
* The Guardian, Tuesday 31 March 2009
* Article history

I was struck by what Sir Christopher Meyer, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, said of those who had been mistreated by the press - particularly a client of my firm, Max Mosley: "It would be a desperate man to measure the quality of the PCC's service by something that Max Mosley said" (PCC chair criticises media law firms, March 25).

Meyer was addressing the parliamentary select committee for culture, media and sport, responding to evidence given by Mosley and Gerry McCann as to why the PCC was of no use to them; and his comments illustrate perfectly where his loyalty lies. Leaving aside that he is wrong to say that their evidence was orchestrated or "probably ventriloquised" by the law firm Carter-Ruck (who played no part in my client's case or his evidence to the committee), can it ever be appropriate for the chairman of an organisation that is supposed to regulate the press to pour scorn on an individual who has been the victim of the unlawful activities of the press? Meyer's defence of the PCC is fundamentally flawed.

Mosley's complaint about the PCC was that first it is an organisation run by individuals within the newspaper industry who are often the subject of complaints themselves; and second that it lacks the necessary teeth to provide an adequate penalty when newspapers are found to have behaved in breach of the law and/or its own code. McCann's evidence echoed these concerns. As the Guardian article reported: "He was surprised that the Express editor, Peter Hill, had remained on the PCC code committee while his newspaper attacked the McCann family."

While it is arguable that the £60,000 in damages and costs paid by the News of the World at the conclusion of Mosley's successful court case remains an inadequate deterrent to an organisation the size of News International, what would the PCC have done? The only weapon the PCC has (or wants, according to Meyer) is to require the newspaper to publish its finding - hardly a fitting penalty for a publication that may well have ruined a life.

In fact Mosley, through this firm, did complain to the PCC but its response was that it could do nothing while legal proceedings were ongoing. As those at the PCC will know very well, the outcome of the court case was conclusively in Mosley's favour, the judgment included a finding that there had been a clear breach of his right to privacy; that the News of the World had published knowing that Mosley would have been likely to have been awarded an injunction if he had been notified; and that the chief reporter of the News of the World had blackmailed a number of women in an attempt to force their co-operation.

It is astonishing in this context that, instead of criticising the News of the World or even warning those involved as to their future conduct (both the editor and journalist concerned remain in their roles), the chairman of the PCC reserves his scorn for Mosley. Meyer's approach does nothing to relieve the perception that anyone seeking redress from a national newspaper is wasting his or her time by going to the PCC.

• Dominic Crossley is a principal in the litigation team at the firm Steeles Law
dcrossley@steeleslaw.co.uk

[Retrieved: Tue Mar 31 2009 11:07:22 GMT+0100 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 24031
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#14 Postby Alan H » April 2nd, 2009, 10:46 am

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24031
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The Promotion of Counterknowledge

#15 Postby Alan H » April 3rd, 2009, 3:33 pm

More on the PCCfrom JDC.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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