Ministry of Truth August 3, 2009 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Sadly not from the Onion, but actually from the Sunday Express, whose story appears to be an extreme misrepresentation of the truth, and various blogs who’ve taken that untruth further via internet Chinese whispers. Can we ditch this from the blue or at least add a note to the effect that it is in fact bollocks?
posted by Artw to MetaFilter-Related at 10:28 AM (91 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Also, as a pony request, could we have a flag for "Contentious story that turns out to be total rubbish"?
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on August 3, 2009


This is the

link to the Mefi post in question.

If there is a vote I'd vote to sin bin it.
posted by edgeways at 10:32 AM on August 3, 2009


Gah, got my links messed up.
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on August 3, 2009


You ever have one of those days where you wish everyone on MetaFilter had never read (nor heard of) 1984 or that goddam Simpsons overlords quote so that certain threads would be 85% shorter?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:37 AM on August 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Delete the fucker.
posted by cillit bang at 10:38 AM on August 3, 2009


yeah, that thread is just a long string of angry and/or misinformed comments right now.
posted by shmegegge at 10:40 AM on August 3, 2009


i say instead of banning people we put a webcam in front of their computer to make sure they don't post bad things
posted by pyramid termite at 10:41 AM on August 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


We could just watch it 24-7 through some sort of remote monitoring technology like RSS - which MeFi has installed in EVERY thread.
posted by Abiezer at 10:41 AM on August 3, 2009


Yes, please.

Oh, and a fucking fire up the arse of the next person to mention 1984 in a discussion of political or social developments. We get it, you know? We really do. It is *just* like that book wot he wrote, let's stop thinking any further than that. He would be proud.
posted by Sova at 10:42 AM on August 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter already has a name and shame flagging system on every thread, which allows users to ban each other via a metatalk callout with a single click.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on August 3, 2009


I appreciate the admins' efforts to salvage that thread, but ultimately it was wasted on a non-story that should have gotten the hook.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:45 AM on August 3, 2009


After reading the original thread and now this one I have the AC/DC song "Problem Child" stuck in my head.

Which I'm fine with -- for the last few days it was Tom Jones "She's a Lady", which was driving me batshit.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's pretty meh. Killin' it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2009


Kill it softly cortex. With your love.
posted by carsonb at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2009


The killing of that thread was just like Winston's fate in 1984. I can't believe you learned nothing from that book!
posted by item at 10:54 AM on August 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


We could do with a post in the blue about how the Daily Express is reporting this wrong, maybe?

Here's the government web site about it: Respect Family Intervention Projects

There's some interesting reading in this PDF. Check out the 'Addison family' case study.
posted by memebake at 10:55 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think crap like this should be deleted. Maybe there should be a warning when you try to link to the Daily Express or Daily Mail much like the one you get when you repeat a URL used in a previous post. It seems that much of the credulous linking of Daily Express articles is done by non-British people who might not know any better.
posted by grouse at 10:55 AM on August 3, 2009


I had to look up "Chinese whispers" to find out what it was...and learned that it's also called "Arab phone." If this post accomplished nothing else, it accomplished that.
posted by brandman at 10:58 AM on August 3, 2009


Item: The killing of that thread was just like Winston's fate in 1984. I can't believe you learned nothing from that book!

First they came for the overwrought handwringing faux-Orwellian scaremongerers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a overwrought handwringing faux-Orwellian scaremongerer.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on August 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Thanks for those links, memebake.
posted by paduasoy at 11:01 AM on August 3, 2009


I don't USians thinking my sceptred isle is now air-strip one... because I assume that the good old US of A is basically this 24/7.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:02 AM on August 3, 2009


The Daily Express was exaggerating, but there is an interesting story underneath - this initiative is sortof like Ultra Nanny State Vs Ultra Chavs. Check out the PDF (link above) and see whose side you think you're on. With a well crafted original post, I think some worthwhile debate could come of this.
posted by memebake at 11:02 AM on August 3, 2009


Thanks for deleting the post, now I have nothing to get het up over and have to return to reading my book.
posted by Sova at 11:03 AM on August 3, 2009


Don't you just hate it when you spot a missing work the exact millisecond after you've hit 'post comment'?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:03 AM on August 3, 2009


a missing work? easy on the 'post comment' button fearfulsymmetry : )
posted by memebake at 11:07 AM on August 3, 2009


You know who else censored media not meeting officially sanctioned approval?








That's right: My middle school vice principle/journalism advisor. What a prick.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:09 AM on August 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Don't mention the CCD cameras everywhere. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 AM on August 3, 2009


It was like having a boot crushing your face all through recess.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:23 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought "Middle School Vice Principal" already was synonymous with "Prick"? Isn't that pretty much the job description?

Principal Johnson: So were looking to promote someone from within for this position and we're reviewing the faculty. We've narrowed it down to the two of you, Coach Smith and Ms. Crabtree. So could you each tell the committee what special qualifications you bring to the position?

Ms. Crabtree: Well, I've been an educator in the system for over 30 years. I have my EdD from the Harvard School of Education. I was the Principal of Small Town Middle School for 5 years.

Principal Johnson: Coach Smith?

Coach Smith: I've got my own whistle. I can bench press a Honda. The football team has been undefeated for two seasons straight. I've been cleared of any charges related to the molestation thing. Did I mention the whistle?

Principal Johnson: I don't think the committee needs to look any further. Coach, when can you start?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:26 AM on August 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


How is this different from the "corpse-eating robot" from a few weeks ago? Spinning something normal to seem outrageous makes people who like to be outraged (or make cutesy outraged Mefi comments) happy, and it makes the people who are falsely portraying things money, so they are happy. Everybody wins.

CORTEX JUST KILLED SOME GUY's post.
posted by ND¢ at 11:28 AM on August 3, 2009


Sometimes somebody says something so smart that there just is nothing to say back. All people can do is just sit back and groove on it for almost an hour. Perfectly healthy MetaTalk thread we got here. Comments are coming fast and furious. No time in between comments longer than four minutes (except for one that was 14 minutes) since the thread was posted. Then I drop some knowledge and poof. Silence. Everybody is just sitting there looking at the screen thinking "I cannot follow that. That is smarter than anything I have ever said. I better just sit here." It's okay baby. It's not a competition. Everybody's viewpoints are welcome here, not just geniuses. You can say what you gotta say no matter how smart what I just said was. Believe in yourself! One day you might say something that smart if you keep saying things. Probably not though.
posted by ND¢ at 12:20 PM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


peniscock poop
posted by shakespeherian at 12:25 PM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


ND¢, what??
posted by Partario at 12:26 PM on August 3, 2009


I'm saying that just because you look at a comment I make and think "Nothing I can say is as good as that" doesn't mean you should not comment. Just try to be as good as you can be and don't worry about how you compare to others. Your comments are important too. A Ferrari would not look as good if there weren't a bunch of Ford Focuses and PT Cruisers on the road too. We all have a role to play.
posted by ND¢ at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


It was so quiet for a minute there after NC¢ dropped science it reminded me of the sound of one cheek crapping.
posted by carsonb at 12:39 PM on August 3, 2009


This Is Just to Say

I have Niemollered
the kneejerk phrases
that were in
the Orwell novel

and which
you were probably
saving
for the next Republican administration

Forgive me
they were fallacious
so trite
and so old
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:40 PM on August 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


You know, it could be that it is lunchtime on the West Coast, but I don't want to spoil anything for ND¢.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:55 PM on August 3, 2009


If we're giving 1984 the boot, might I at least make a Foxy Grandpa reference in the Pratchett thread, then?
posted by adipocere at 1:01 PM on August 3, 2009


Between "Jack Straw" and "Ed Balls," Her Majesty's Government has certainly developed a fine sense of whimsy! Respect, yo.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:03 PM on August 3, 2009


Chinese whisperers? Has Cesar Millan branched out?
posted by electroboy at 1:19 PM on August 3, 2009


Everybody is just sitting there looking at the screen thinking "I cannot follow that. That is smarter than anything I have ever said. I better just sit here."

I went out for a walk with my mother. Though I'm obviously a metaMetafilter, because we talked about both this story and assisted suicide.

If we're giving 1984 the boot, might I at least make a Foxy Grandpa reference in the Pratchett thread, then?

Blinking text says this is acceptable.
posted by Sova at 1:20 PM on August 3, 2009


CCTV-cameras? moar like CCCP-cameras, amirite?
posted by mr.marx at 1:30 PM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our new 1984 overlords. Monorail!
posted by ALongDecember at 1:33 PM on August 3, 2009


this initiative is sortof like Ultra Nanny State Vs Ultra Chavs

Ooh, a mid-season replacement Super Nanny kind of show: Ultra-Chav Nanny!
posted by quin at 1:34 PM on August 3, 2009


But it tied right in to my deepest paranoid fantasies. Fucking mondays.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:35 PM on August 3, 2009


Frank Field once suggested that antisocial families could be housed in secure units under motorways. After that, I can never really dismiss a story like this. New Labour has been thinking this way for a while.

I mean ... the secure units are bad enough, it's the bizarre, vindictive twist of putting them under motorways that pointed to a man who had lost his senses. And it turned out he was leading the curve for the whole parliamentary Labour Party.

If only a better government was waiting in the wings. Vast, ancient sigh.
posted by WPW at 1:39 PM on August 3, 2009


I live in a country where, not infrequently, byzantine "protect the children" laws, NIMBY regulations, and parole requirements conspire to make it such that the sex offenders we want to re-integrate back into society (who can enter the list solely on the basis of taking an ill-advised drunken whiz in an alley) are best served by living under bridges, like trolls, in stories we tell to mock-frighten kids.

I suppose I can no longer tell what ridiculous thing is being proposed in actuality and what is being fabricated. Perhaps that's the point.
posted by adipocere at 1:49 PM on August 3, 2009


I don't USians thinking my sceptred isle is now air-strip one... because I assume that the good old US of A is basically this 24/7.

I just noticed that "USian" sounds like something from Newspeak. The proper term is doubleplusungood.
posted by spaltavian at 1:50 PM on August 3, 2009


To avoid offense I always just say "Yanqui".
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on August 3, 2009


You ever have one of those days where you wish everyone on MetaFilter had never read (nor heard of) 1984 or that goddam Simpsons overlords quote so that certain threads would be 85% shorter?

Ooh ooh! I wanna play. What about the "First they came for the X but I said nothing because I'm not an x..." quotes? Killing those off would make threads 182% shorter!
posted by eyeballkid at 2:26 PM on August 3, 2009


To avoid offense I always just say "Yanqui".

I go with 'Southerner' - it makes for an awesome conversation starter whenever I attend soirees below the 49th parallel.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:26 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Basically what I'm thinking is Niemoeller vs Orwell, broadswords, pit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:24 PM on August 3, 2009


Silly colonials.
posted by dirty lies at 3:27 PM on August 3, 2009


First they came for the First they came for the X but I said nothing because I'm not an x... quotes, but I have no mouth, so I could not scream.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:40 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


YO DAWG.
posted by grouse at 3:44 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


If anything survives that dead thread, I hope it will be

This will not Orwell.

As much as I really do like having my own Inside Joke/Meme, I'd be more than happy to have that replace it in relevent situations. Come on folks, say it with me. Let it roll off your tongues:

This will not Orwell.
This will not Orwell.
This will not Orwell.

You can even print it on the soles of the boots you will use to stamp on human faces forever...
posted by wendell at 4:32 PM on August 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


Just remember that the function of the press in Britain is to troll you like a /b/astard and you will be OK.
posted by Iron Rat at 4:36 PM on August 3, 2009


Just remember that the function of the press in Britain is to troll you like a /b/astard and you will be OK.

Don't forget the valuable role that it plays in providing fresh pictures of lolichan for our daily fappage.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:32 PM on August 3, 2009


Looks like Wired has swallowed the bait hook line and sinker. And then it is picked up by Huffington. Funny that Metafilter has more "journalistic integrity" than either.
posted by edgeways at 7:01 PM on August 3, 2009


You say "journalistic integrity," I say "curmudgeonly scepticism." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, let's call the whole thing Newspeak.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2009


/Winston Smith's the thread
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:11 PM on August 3, 2009


Cory Doctrow must be on holiday or something.
posted by Artw at 7:40 PM on August 3, 2009


Funny that Metafilter ninebelow, Pragmatica, Abiezer, and vacapinta has more "journalistic integrity" than either.

Kudos to mod squad for doing the right thing, but considering that a great chunk of the commenters bought it without a second thought, I'd be hesitant to credit MeFi with much on this one.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:44 PM on August 3, 2009


Looks like Wired has swallowed the bait hook line and sinker. And then it is picked up by Huffington. Funny that Metafilter has more "journalistic integrity" than either.

That's something I've known for years. But "journalistic integrity" is an oxymoron, so just call it Integrity. Remember, America's most trusted "journalist" in 2009 got his training as a stand-up comic. But BIG kudos for MetaFilter for having a forum where the truth can eventually come out without being shouted down by the mob. Those that are shouted down by the mob (including myself on a couple of occasions) deserve it 90%+ of the time, a far better batting average than anyplace else on the Web I am aware of.
posted by wendell at 8:28 PM on August 3, 2009


MetaFilter: mob justice done right.
posted by grouse at 9:14 PM on August 3, 2009


Yo dawg, we heard you like TV, so we put cameras in your house so you can have your rights violated while you parent.

Could some kind British soul post a list of UK newsources and whether they are crap or not? Thanks!
posted by double block and bleed at 4:14 AM on August 4, 2009


FWIW, as I mentioned in the thread, I asked Minister Balls on Twitter if the report was true. He called it nonesense.

In other news, I can't seem to type "Minister Balls" without laughing. Apparently, I'm 12.
posted by FfejL at 7:45 AM on August 4, 2009


I registered at the Daily Express site and posted a comment under the story, pointing out that parts of it appear to be made up. Whether or not it will get through the approval process is another matter.

ooh, just saw that Twitter from Ed Balls, fantastic work Ffejl. I will post a link to that as well.
posted by memebake at 8:07 AM on August 4, 2009


Artw: Sadly not from the Onion, but actually from the Sunday Express, whose story appears to be an extreme misrepresentation of the truth, and various blogs who’ve taken that untruth further via internet Chinese whispers. Can we ditch this from the blue or at least add a note to the effect that it is in fact bollocks?

Hear, hear. And what's more, let's see if we can put a stop to all those Chinese people and their infernal whispering. This country was a better place when we all shouted like good Englishmen.
posted by koeselitz at 8:43 AM on August 4, 2009


I'm not British, but

double block and bleed: Could some kind British soul post a list of UK newsources

the internet

and whether they are crap or not? Thanks!

yes
posted by koeselitz at 8:45 AM on August 4, 2009


OK, I posted a new thread in the blue summarising the story so far:

http://www.metafilter.com/83833/This-will-not-Orwell
posted by memebake at 8:57 AM on August 4, 2009


(I think its interesting enough for a new FPP, but perhaps others with disagree.)
posted by memebake at 9:04 AM on August 4, 2009


Seems reasonable enough. Of course people will bitch like hell about it anyway.
posted by Artw at 9:13 AM on August 4, 2009


...and also we now have THREE links to the Sunday Express, who must be fucking loving this.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Minister Balls

That's because it's Mr Balls to you or Secretary of State.

Not Minister Surname, nor is it ever Prime Minister Brown.

What's good does depend on your point of view. This list is nowhere near comprehensive.

Good (mostly):

BBC
Channel 4 News
The Guardian
Financial Times

OK:

The Observer
The Times
ITV News

Terrible:

Mail
Mirror
Sunday Express
Sunday Sport
The Metro

Really, really, please could we have a pop up box that goes something like "I see you are linking to the Daily Mail. Do you know that particuar publication is only good for wrapping chips in? Have you even taken a look at what stories are currently on their front page? Seriously, it's not the best example of British journalism, you might want to reconsider."
posted by Helga-woo at 9:19 AM on August 4, 2009


Heh.

Of course I linked to the Daily Mail only the other day...
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2009


I might put it like this, to borrow Helga-woo's list:

Mostly News of Some Description:

BBC
Channel 4 News
The Guardian
Financial Times
The Observer
The Times
ITV News

Entertainment on the train:

The Metro

Epic Trolling, Mouth Froth Generator and Source of Boobs:

Mail
Mirror
Sunday Express
Sunday Sport
The Sun
posted by generichuman at 9:26 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


...and there was a link from the Guardian the other day that was utter reprehensible garbage. Possibly the rule of thumb should be "if it looks like utterly some shocking new thing and only one source is reporting it try doing some checking around before you post it?".
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on August 4, 2009


No-one even mentions the Telegraph!
Tory rag I know and not that long shot of Conrad Black, but some top cricket writing and even if they put an editorial slant on the hard news they by and large don't make it up whole cloth. Their former China correspondent Richard Spencer was one of the better ones too.
posted by Abiezer at 9:40 AM on August 4, 2009


Here's a meta-type question:

With the new post, I wasn't sure whether to say 'previously on metafilter:' and link to the deleted post. Also I wasn't sure about linking from the blue to this metatalk thread.

Whats the etiquette there? Should deleted posts be referenced from FPPs? How about metatalk threads?

(I decided not to, figuring that someone else would likely add comments with the appropriate links (which is what happened), but then later I wondered if my post came across as blinkered because it didn't link to the previously-on-metafilter stuff)
posted by memebake at 10:26 AM on August 4, 2009


It's not a bad idea to mention a deleted post explicitly as a footnote if you are knowingly doing a "do-over" type post; also a good idea to link to something that seems to indicate that someone other than you thinks it's a good idea. I'd have linked to the metatalk post if I were you, just as a "yes, there's metadiscussion going on, it can happen there" sort of thing.

None of that is required, and there's no ironclad etiquette, but it does help ward off some of the Double/Seen It/Hey Look At Metatalk stuff that ended up filling up the new thread before I nixed it all.

Basically, not everyone who saw the original thread saw this metatalk, and they might be under the impression that you're just blindly reposting something that you didn't know was deleted the first time.

Even done perfectly, some folks will usually end up doing a spit take anyway, but sort of capturing an awareness of the process in the post itself usually seems to significantly reduce the friction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]



Terrible:
The Metro


In the Scottish edition at least, a fair amount of Metro pieces are lifted from Metafilter. Lazy, like.
posted by the cuban at 2:54 PM on August 4, 2009


@cortex: thanks for that.
posted by memebake at 3:07 PM on August 4, 2009


n the Scottish edition at least, a fair amount of Metro pieces are lifted from Metafilter. Lazy, like

One of the Metro writers is one of Metafilter's Own, so that's no surprise.

No love for The Independent? I'd put it in the (mostly) good category.
posted by goo at 4:09 PM on August 4, 2009


shakespeherian writes "You ever have one of those days where you wish everyone on MetaFilter had never read (nor heard of) 1984 or that goddam Simpsons overlords quote so that certain threads would be 85% shorter?"

For me it's that bloody monorail episode. It's practically impossible to discuss anything even slightly out of the mainstream with regards to rail without half the halfwits on the board, any board, posting quotes from that stupid episode. That right, I said it, it's not even a good Simpsons episode let alone a decent commentary on monorails.
posted by Mitheral at 5:50 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Mith, the mob has spoken.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:57 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree that the brain dead slobs who've all been given cushy jobs are tedious, but the Monorail episode is awesome.

I call the big one Bitey!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:54 PM on August 4, 2009


@cortex: thanks for that.

and if you'd like some other advice, I'd go easy on the @. Unless you're kidding in which case, well-done, I have an eyelid twitch now!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:09 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the Metro writers is one of Metafilter's Own, so that's no surprise.


They should give more credit, then. The 'Ridiculant' page is basically 'cute videos of cats that I saw on Metafilter two days ago' (to be fair, I think the page did namedrop MeFi once...).

I'd also put the Telegraph in the good category, though I don't share their politics, and the Independent in good or mostly good - not as good as the Guardian or FT, but better than the tabloids.

The Daily Mail is in its own category of 'trying to prove that every substance or activity in the world either gives you cancer, or cures it'. See eg this (there's another site as well but I can't find it at the moment). Or just Google Daily Mail cancer for a million blog posts.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:07 AM on August 6, 2009


The more I read the Metro over other people's sholders, the more I feel like my soul is being sucked into an abbys of doom. At first you don't notice it, it reads fairly well. But over months and years, if you're not careful, if you don't critically review what you've just read, down and down you go.

And yes, it borrows content. Time Out London was recently running a regular coloumn taking bets on which of that week's articles would end up in the free newspapers.

I forgot about the Indy, the Torygraph and the rest. I did say my list wasn't comprehensive.

In the interests of full disclosure, I've once linked to the Daily Mail on here.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:15 AM on August 6, 2009


As for the terminology in that article...coincidentally, for all you ice hockey fans, my ex-Vermonter housemate in Boston and I wanted to open a hockey-themed strip club called the Sin Bin.

(for non-hockey dorks, 'sin bin' is another term for the penalty box)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:58 AM on August 6, 2009


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