Someone Sue the Daily Mail for Fraud

Though why stop there? Trinity Mirror, Guardian, The Standard, and even online cycling magazine, Road.cc, have been engaged in sabotaging freedom of movement.

This follows Part 1: Much Ado About Cycle Lanes looking at how the “public relations” industry has been tasked with destroying the reputation of cycling.

Freespeech is essentially doctrinal pretext for those wanting to bend truth beyond breaking point. Despite being a pillar often standing juxtaposed with chaining information under a second to fifth column copyright, libertarian interests have only ever extended the privilege selectively. The reason why is obvious to any power wanting to deliver a payload of military propaganda, or the “peacetime” equivalent in the civilised world of politics and advertising. There is an information war and you must defend their right to fire shot after shot in your direction.

In my previous article I looked at the latest barrage from the Daily Mail (and Evening Standard), then the defensive position Peter Walker adopted in the Guardian. He did the usual “you are wrong, here’s why” then tried to unexplain away frontpage propaganda on an over-eager feature writer infected with internet memes. (He really made that ridiculous argument and this chump is literally up for a cycle journalism award.) In predictable fashion his sentiment and the only permissable counter narrative was also junked onto the internet by Feargus O’Sullivan at Citylab, who was maybe brave enough, to maybe ask the right question:

I was baited because sadly, O’Sullivan doesn’t even attempt an answer but instead patronises his readers with similar truth-splaining. Why can’t anyone in the media address the media’s hatred of cycling, and why do the sections of media claiming to be “on our side” (whether Owen Jones or Peter Walker) never tackle propaganda head on? Thankfully, but embarrassingly for Walker, the Daily Mail brought clarity following “Cycle Lane Lunacy” published October 5th, with a second double-page assault alleging to be reader contributions on October 6th.

Mail Online Reader’s Reactions to the Growing Number of Cycle Lanes”.

In “Bristol Post and the Media War On Cycling” I’ve already exposed this one-two strategy of passing off editorial intent as authentic reader opinion, and here it is again. As it turns out for the Mail, the major contributors were in-house staff and (at least) two “public relations” firms, NWNS.com and Cavendish Press. I have to suspect the irrate anecdotes raging against cycling calling for taxes, insurance and extermination, were similarly sourced. Last year, North West News Services was the agency tasked with driving Blackpool toddler, Lucie Wilding, into a national scandal after she was knocked down by someone too scared to cycle on the carriageway. Over the past year or so, they’ve also turned obscure cycle-youtuber, Dave Sherry, into “Britain’s most-hated cyclist”. Always dressed like a binman and with a slight estuary Englsh to match, Sherry was picked to destroy the public image of people who cycle, specifically on the issue of road violence captured as video evidence. NWNS also framed Sherry as gleefully trying to get professional drivers fired for bad behaviour, and I doubt such conditioning will do much for road-relations.

Similarly in July, Cavendish Press also encouraged anti-cycling hysteria with the so called “besieged” town of Great Budworth:

Locals in a picture-postcard village have issued an “On Your Bike” warning to cyclists after accusing them of being anti-social yobs endangering the roads with their high-speed “group formations”. [They] are fed up with bandit bikers shouting, swearing, pedaling at 40mph through the streets, [and stopping] to urinate near their prized historical landmarks.

The “story” echoed across the Telegraph, Sun, Daily Mail, and elsewhere, but each time the in-house “journalist” knowingly hid the original source. In any other format this would be called plagiarism, but no one gets sued for violation of copyright because all permissably repackaged a circulated press release. This is a standard practice rampant through “good” publishers like the Guardian, and even cycling community favourite, Carlton Reid, has made a biz-ness of such information laundering.

Alongside these pictures supplied by third-party “public relations” firms, the Daily Mail included the “copyrighted” images of Rob Todd, David Parker, and Bradley Page who all have a long working relationship with the paper. There’s a clear deception here as no attribution is made in the print version, but even on-line, people reading are deceived into receiving these as authentic user contribution. However, it gets worse.

Rob Todd’s “journalistic output” is managed by Solo Syndication, the “exclusive syndication agent for the Daily Mail, Mail On Sunday and London Evening Standard, delivering text and photographs to newspaper, magazines and web-sites around the world”. I requested to license these images and was told Rob Todd had taken his on September 28th at 1pm, so not only did the Daily Mail pass off “public relations” material as “reader response” they were actually preparing the “reader response” a week ahead of time. It’s safe to speculate that Todd, Parker and Page were tasked with finding empty lanes. Todd not only took his whilst people would be busy on lunch, he did so at the most opportunistic angle.

As explored in Part 1, the Mail with sister corporations in petroleum and an aristocrat owner with millions in the same source, has internal pressure to mow down freedom of movement. This renders implausible any claim the London Taxi Drivers Association is a prime motivator pulling strings, greasing palms or twisting arms to have their anti-message be national news. At the same time the Mail are clearly acting in concert with other large organisations in and outside the media. “Cycle Lane Lunacy” saw contribution from London First (a representative of hauliers, mining, and for-pay transport), but also the Press Association, which is directed by:

  • Murdoch MacLennan (Chief Executive of Telegraph Media Group);
  • Clive Marshall (Chairman of the motoring business, Baize Group);
  • and Rebekah Brooks (evil and CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s/CIA’s News Corp).

There is a media war on cycling, and when Peter Walker or anyone else utters the favourite phrase of the all-knowing know-nothinger: “that’s just a conspiracy theoy”, they have outed themselves as stupidly deceptive or complicit. Earlier, I mentioned Feargus O’Sullivan at Citylab, I have no reason to suspect foul play, but a toothless approach is likely a product of his mindfulness regarding who employs him elsewhere as freelance “feature writer”. Neither he, nor anyone in the business, whether Laura Laker, Michael Usborne or Kaya Burgess, can bite the hand that feeds. People who do will be quickly shown the door, leaving only those willing to repress all sense of journalistic finesse, to cash checks and “balance” articles, for whichever private interest has bought editorial this week. (Perhaps the only exception is on the occasions when all march in time towards the next imperial conquest.)

Every smug liberal likes the moral contrast the Daily Mail can provide otherwise they would have to stand on own merit, in a similar way that Hillary Clinton is so unelectably repellent even when running against a pantomime stooge she herself picked and promoted. However, as said: it’s not just the Daily Mail. It’s the Mirror, it’s Vonny Moyes, it’s Gannet, it’s the Guardian, it’s ITV, it’s the BBC, and sadly it’s also Road.cc.



Update 2

Quentin Willson is the son of Professor Bernard Willson who was the first code breaker at Bletchley Park to decode the Italian Navy Hagelin C-36 machine during World War II. How proud he must be of his son having moved from used-car salesman, through fronting car shows on TV, to now taking photographs of unopen cycle lanes to further the “internet meme” of such infrastructure being a waste of money.

Thankfully, Quentin’s Code was reverse-engineered.

One Londoner even made him a video. So what’s the most likely scenario? These people know they are lying and have no shame in doing so.


Update 3

Predictably Dave Hill who has a long history of attacking cycling, even on the Guardian Bikeblog, joined the trend of taking pictures of lanes he’s pretending are un-used.

And of course, the Evening Standard coordinating on the same day, ran the following attack on cycling:

‘Rip up London’s cycle lanes and end congestion charge’, say business chiefs

There is a #mediawaroncycling and all media wars only exist to support land wars.


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