Friday, November 30, 2012

You Never Take Advice, Someday You'll Pay The Price

So, to sum up then: He set up the Leveson Inquiry in the first place, in an effort to placate widespread - righteous - public fury at the excesses of the press. He was on record as saying there could be 'no more last chances' for the press. He was on record as saying that the test for any change was whether it 'satisfied the victims.' And yet David Cameron has - seemingly - on first sight of the final report rejected the central recommendation of Lord Justice Leveson - that a new law is essential to underpin a new stronger press regulator. Minutes after he did so, the prime minister swapped places with his deputy, Nick Clegg, who took the unprecedented step of making his own separate Commons statement saying exactly the opposite - that only a new law could guarantee the independence of any press regulator. Given that this is the view shared by the Labour leader, yer actual Ed Milibmolimadi, there is now - at least, in theory - a pro-Leveson parliamentary majority made up of Labour, the Liberal Democrat and dozens of Tory MPs who don't agree with their leader's stance. However, even though they could defeat and embarrass Cameron (possibly fatally from a party political point of view), such a coalition could not force a new press law into being since it is the government which controls the parliamentary time needed to pass new legislation. The prime minister knows that he has given his opponents yet another stick - covered, in Charlie Brooker's immortal words, in shit - to beat him with. He also knows, however, that the biggest self-interest group imaginable, the press themselves, are firmly on his side even if the public are not. His hope is that the pressure he is under will be somewhat relieved if newspapers swiftly (he hopes) set up the new self-regulator they've, supposedly, been working on - adapted to meet (some of) the principles set out in Leveson's report. Until this happens, however, Cameron will have plenty of time to wonder if picking up the phone to Sir Brian last summer was really such a good idea in the first place.
The press has been urged to 'take action' over Leveson Inquiry recommendations to regulate the newspaper industry. Lord Justice Leveson called for a new independent watchdog - which he said should be 'underpinned by legislation.' The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Miller told the BBC 'the gauntlet has been thrown down' to newspapers to outline how they would set up tough self-regulation instead. Meanwhile, work is beginning on a draft bill to regulate the press, expected to be ready within a fortnight. Leveson's two thousand-page report into press ethics, published on Thursday, found that press behaviour was 'outrageous' and 'wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people.' It's a great read incidentally, dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is up to page two hundred and seventy six already. I can't wait to get to the end and find out who dunnit. Leveson said the press - having failed to regulate itself in the past - must create a new and tough regulator but it had to be backed by legislation to ensure it was effective. The report exposed divisions in the coalition government, with David Cameron rejecting the idea of statutory control, unlike his deputy Nick Clegg, who wants a new law introduced without delay. Speaking in the Commons, Cameron weaselled that he broadly welcomed Leveson's 'principles to change the current system' but that he had 'serious concerns and misgivings' over bringing in laws to underpin any new body. Labour leader Ed Milimolimandi has joined Clegg in supporting a new press law. Following cross-party talks on Thursday night - which will resume next week - the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will begin the process of drawing up a draft bill implementing the Leveson recommendations. The prime minister believes this process will only serve to highlight how difficult it is to try to legislate in a complex and controversial area while Labour and the Lib Dems believe it will demonstrate the opposite. Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the vile and odious rascal Miller said: 'Our concern is that we simply don't need to have that legislation to achieve the end of objectives and in drafting out this piece of legislation what we are going to be demonstrating is that it wouldn't be a simple two-clause bill.' She said Conservative ministers felt that legislation 'would actually give the opportunity in the future to bring into question the ability of Parliament to stay out of the issue of free press and difficult for Parliament to not have a statutory framework on which they could hang further bits of legislation.' She went on: 'At this point what we should be focusing in on is the fact that the gauntlet has been thrown down to the industry. The press industry need to be coming back with their response to the Leveson report. Their response to how they're going to put in place a self-regulatory body that adheres to the Leveson principles and that is what I want to see moving forward swiftly.' Many of Friday's newspapers arse-lickingly slavvered all over Cameron's metaphorical opposition to law-backed regulation. But the father of Madeline McCann - the young girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007 - said Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations for press regulation did not go far enough. Gerry McCann, who was the subject of 'unbelievably damaging' newspaper allegations and innuendo which suggested that he and his wife killed Madeline, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Full implementation of Lord Leveson's report is the minimum acceptable compromise for me and, I think, for many other victims who have suffered at the hands of the press. Without statutory underpinning, this system will not work.' Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman told BBC2's Newsnight: 'I think that the House of Commons will want to take that forward, will want to make sure that - by the end of January - it has an opportunity to have a full debate and vote to show its support for taking Leveson's recommendations forward.' BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said that, at the core of this disagreement, were two separate political calculations. Cameron believes the press will swiftly agree to tougher self-regulation which would make any new law unnecessary, allowing him to go into the next election as a champion of a free press. Labour and the Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, do not trust the papers to clean up their own act and assume the victims of press intrusion will say they are being sold short. Or, to put it another way, which is most likely to win one the next election - the support of the Daily Scum Mail and the Sun, or the support of the Dowler and McCann families. Because, seemingly, you can't have both. Writing in the Gruniad Morning Star, the actor and activist Steve Coogan - who told the Leveson Inquiry that journalists had gone through his rubbish bins in search of a story - said Cameron was 'playing a despicable political game - disingenuous at best, bare-faced lying at worst. By rejecting Leveson's call for statutory regulation, Cameron has hung the victims of crime out to dry.' He added: 'Quite simply, if future regulation is not backed by statute, Leveson's report is nothing more than a large slap on the wrist.' Coogan is a supporter of the Hacked Off campaign, which represents victims of phone hacking and press intrusion including the parents of Madeleine McCann, and Christopher Jefferies - who was falsely accused of murdering Jo Yeates. Another phone-hacking victim, Charlotte Church, told BBC1's Question Time 'all that the statutory underpinning should be able to do is make sure that there is a body, that those rules are enforced, and I don't see any way in which that can affect the free press.' Jefferies told BBC News the Leveson recommendations 'are proportionate, reasonable and entirely workable and I can see no reason at all why the prime minister should feel there is any part of the recommendation that he's unable to implement fully.' He added: 'It seems to me to be quite unacceptable that there should be cherry-picking in this way. The damage is already done in my case, and although I did get some redress, that experience will live with me forever, arrangements should be put in place to ensure that nobody in the future is put into the position that I was put in.'
Police whistleblowers have been warned against going to journalists with stories in the Leveson report, which advises officers to seek out other 'confidential avenues in which they may have faith,' such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The report calls for 'a clampdown' on press-police relations, with a record kept of meetings between police chiefs and journalists and tighter curbs on media briefings. Leveson's words on police whistleblowers warning the public through the media about wrongdoing will cause concern to some, claims the Gruniad Morning Star. But, no one that actually matters. Leveson writes: 'There remains an important point of principle which I need to come back to; that information which is confidential should remain so, unless there really are exceptional circumstances justifying the placing of that information into the public domain. Additionally, and looking at this more widely, the ends do not usually or, at least necessarily, justify the mean.' The report also says the term 'off-the-record briefing' should be scrapped. Instead there should be 'non-reportable briefing,' to inform reporters about things which cannot be used in reports, and a 'embargoed briefing' when reporting of the content needs to be delayed. Leveson also says: 'There are many respects in which off-the-record briefings operate against the public interest, but in some, the public interest will be well-served.' The report does not recommend a blanket ban of officers 'chatting with reporters over drinks,' but suggests that the dangers should be set out by police chiefs. Leveson says it was 'perception' that caused so much damage to the police's reputation: 'Ultimately, problems of perception lie at the heart of the public concerns regarding the police investigation into phone hacking up to January 2011. What is inescapable is that the harm to the reputation of the Metropolitan Police Service in general and certain individual police officers in particular has been immense.' Boris Johnson who has nominal oversight of the Metropolitan police said they would 'clearly' remain part of the way the media go about their business. The report notes opposition from some to the proposal for contacts to be recorded. John Twomey, of the Crime Reporters Association, said any requirement for officers to record contact with journalists would 'have kind of a freezing effect,' in his evidence to Leveson.

Among the biggest winners and losers after Lord Justice Leveson's sixteen-month inquiry were the following:-

  • Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch – heavily criticised.

  • Murdoch failed to react when evidence of 'casual and cavalier' journalism on the disgraced, disgraceful and now defunct Scum of the World emerged through the Max Moseley privacy case. Leveson said the fact Murdoch had not bothered to read the legal judgment - or, at least, claimed not to have - 'says something about the degree to which his organisation engages with the ethical direction of its newspapers.' However, Leveson also recognised that the media magnate has 'undeniable business acumen,' and is 'an iconoclast in a number of respects' with 'immense power.' Although, so was Hitler, if it comes to that. Leveson found that Murdoch's power was 'largely implicit' and politicians 'knew exactly what they were doing' when they met him. 'It is the without having to ask which is especially important here. Sometimes the very greatest power is exercised without having to ask because to ask would be to state the blindingly obvious.' He adds: 'Just as Murdoch's editors knew the basic ground rules, so did politicians.

  • David Cameron - cleared.

  • Leveson rejected the suggestion that the Conservatives 'agreed a deal' with News Corp on its bid for BSkyB. But Leveson also acknowledges the prime minister's expression of regret that he and other politicians became 'too close' to senior media figures. 'The problem is not unique to any individual politician or any one political party,' Leveson said.

  • Andy Coulson - no judgment.

  • With three lots of legal proceedings against Coulson still active - charges which, it is important to note, Coulson denies - there is little in the report about the allegations of phone-hacking at the Scum of the World relating to the period of Coulson's editorship. There was 'no evidence' that Coulson was 'on a retainer' from News International when he become director of communications for the Conservative party in 2007, Leveson noted. But, Coulson did receive cash and shares from his former employer as part of a termination agreement.

  • Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks – criticised.

  • Leveson describes the former chief executive of News International as 'influential, and supremely connected' with a 'warm' relation with David Cameron. Brooks is criticised in relation to the Sun's revelations that Gordon Brown's four-month-old son Fraser, had cystic fibrosis. Leveson said Brooks had 'not deliberately misled the inquiry' when she said the Browns had agreed to publication. But he said she is 'guilty of a degree of blinkeredness' adding 'had she stopped to place herself in Mrs Brown's situation, she would have begun to understand the predicament in which she had been placed. In all the circumstances, Mrs Brooks should have asked a series of direct questions of Mrs Brown to satisfy herself that consent was fully and freely given, and should have given her the express option of vetoing publication.'

  • Paul Dacre - heavily criticised.

  • Leveson said the Daily Scum Mail editor showed a 'failure to consider personal consequences of publishing information about an individual's private life' in relation to two specific stories published, one on the alleged (and untrue) drunken behaviour of actor Neil Morrissey and an attack on Abigail Witchalls, who was left paralysed after being stabbed in front of her son. He admonished Dacre for his 'unwillingness to entertain the idea that each of these stories might have been hurtful, upsetting and/or damaging to the individuals involved' even after hearing from both individuals. The judge also criticised Dacre for 'going too far' when he attacked Hugh Grant, accusing him of spreading 'mendacious smears' when Grant testified in the inquiry that he believed a Daily Scum Mail story about him 'may' have come from phone hacking. Leveson accepted Dacre's evidence that he never placed a story in the paper which he knew came from phone-hacking, but said the editor had refused to engage with the inquiry's question that his attack amounted to an allegation that Grant had committed perjury. 'In making that accusation the Daily Mail was increasing the temperature and went too far,' he said.

  • The vile and odious rascal Hunt – cleared but mildly criticised.

  • The Leveson report found that there was 'no credible evidence' that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was 'biased' in his handling of the BSkyB bid which was 'commendably handled' in all respects ... bar one. But there was 'a serious hidden problem' in the frequent intimate and persistent communications between News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel and the vile and odious rascal Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith, who fell on his own sword during the Leveson inquiry because of his relationship with Michel, who bombarded him with e-mails and text messages during the takeover bid. Leveson found that Smith 'was diligent to a fault' before the bid but he should not have 'succumbed' to Michel's 'intimate, surreptitious' communications and 'got way too close' and ended up 'probably passing on confidential government thinking which should never have been imparted to News Corp.' Leveson concludes: 'Best practice of the kind encapsulated in the Cabinet Office guidance on quasi-judicial decision-making was not followed.'

  • Champagne John Yates – cleared but criticised.

  • The former Met police assistant commissioner is cleared of corruption but criticised for failing to stand aside during the original phone-hacking inquiry because of his friendship with the Scum of the World's deputy editor Neil Wallis. Leveson writes that Yates 'demonstrated poor judgment' in failing to have 'sufficient respect' for the allegations made in the Gruniad Morning Star article.

  • Risible spotty scruff Paul McMullan – criticised.

  • The former Scum of the World feature writer provided the inquiry with some of its most 'provocative' quotes - especially when he boldly declared that 'privacy is for paedos.' Leveson said it was 'difficult' to assess McMullan's evidence because of a 'tendency to sensationalise and exaggerate.' McMullen was 'not an attractive witness' (or, indeed, an attractive man for that matter) but Leveson concluded that McMullen's evidence 'did obtain a substantial kernel of truth.'

  • Hoots Mon, Alex Salmond – heavily criticised.

  • The one politician that really gets taken to the woodshed in the report is the Scottish first minister. Salmond was 'willing' to 'breach the Scottish ministerial code' by 'lobbying on behalf of Rupert Murdoch' – though he never actually did it. The judge said the first minister showed a 'striking willingness' to lobby in favour of Murdoch's buyout of BSkyB but he failed to carry through with his promised lobbying of either Vince Cable, the business secretary, or the vile and odious rascal Hunt, then then lack of culture secretary.

  • Oily Piers Morgan – criticised.

  • Leveson found 'evidence of unethical or unlawful publication based on the calculation of legal risk versus potential profits,' during Morgan's Mirra editorship before he was - very satisfyingly - sacked. Leveson clears Morgan of actually ordering hacking of voicemails but found that Morgan was 'aware of it' and expresses 'serious concern' that the only reaction to the rumours circulating in Fleet Street were 'a series of "in-jokes" at award ceremonies and unguarded references in memoirs.' Leveson found some of his evidence 'utterly unpersuasive.'

    Leveson also expressed 'concern' in his report about aspects of James Murdoch the small's evidence to his inquiry on how much he was told about phone-hacking at the Scum of the World. Murdoch the small, the News Corporation deputy chief operating officer and former chairman and chief executive of Scum of the World publisher News International, claimed he was not told that hacking went beyond a single rogue reporter at a key meeting in 2008. But Leveson said he found it 'surprising' - for which read unbelievable - that Murdoch was 'unaware' of damning legal advice by a senior barrister about a culture of illegal information access at the paper, and concluded: 'Whatever the truth of what was discussed on 10 June 2008, the evidence outlined points to a serious failure of governance within the News of the World, NI and News Corporation,' he said. Leveson's concerns are outlined in a section of his report, published on Thursday, on the 10 June 2008 meeting between Murdoch, Scum of the World editor Colin Myler, and the paper's head of legal, Tom Crone. Murdoch's account of the meeting differed from those of Myler and Crone when he gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry in April. He denied that he was shown or told about legal advice by Michael Silverleaf QC that phone-hacking was 'likely' to have gone beyond the one Scum of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007. Crone disputed Murdoch's evidence, claiming that he 'probably' took the Silverleaf advice to the meeting along with copies of a briefing note and the notorious 'for Neville' e-mail, which suggested that phone-hacking at the now-defunct title went beyond a single reporter. Leveson said in his report: 'I have given careful consideration as to whether I should go further, and conclude that Mr Crone's version of events as to what occurred on 10 June 2008 should be preferred to that of James Murdoch. There are aspects of the account of Mr Murdoch that cause me some concern: in particular, it is surprising if the gist of Mr Silverleaf's opinion was not communicated to him in circumstances where the potential reputational damage to the company, of which he was CEO, was likely to be great if an early settlement of the claim brought by Mr [Gordon] Taylor were not achieved.' He added that Myler and Crone had 'no motive to conceal relevant facts' from Murdoch the small. The judge also expressed 'serious concerns' about Myler and Crone's evidence about the meeting, saying it was 'surprising' that there was no full-blown risk analysis with options for Murdoch the small to consider. Leveson said that the nature of his inquiry meant there had been 'insufficient opportunity' for detailed cross-examination to get to the bottom of who knew what and when at the Scum of the World and News International. He added: 'In the circumstances, I do not seek to reach any conclusion about precisely what transpired at this meeting.' Leveson's report was also critical of News International's wider response in 2008 to phone-hacking. He said that evidence by billionaire tyrant Rupert and James Murdoch the small suggested that 'one or more parts of the management at the News of the World was engaged in a determined cover-up to keep relevant information about potential criminal activity within the organisation from senior management within NI.' James Murdoch the small claimed to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee earlier this year: 'I did not know about, nor did I try to hide, wrongdoing. Whilst I accept my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing sooner, I did not mislead parliament and the evidence does not support any other conclusion.'

    Chinese regulators have suspended a broadcaster after an unaired segment of a TV game show was leaked online. The clip showed a raucous shouting match about nudity between spectators and a woman who calls her daughter 'the next Lady Gaga.' The suspension on Friday of all of Jiangsu Education Television's programming – because of content deemed 'vulgar and not educational enough' – marked the government's latest attempt to rein in the increasingly freewheeling media. China said earlier this year it would limit reality TV and other 'light fare' shown on satellite TV. The latest ruling was prompted by the game show Bang, Bang, Bang. A video clip apparently filmed by an audience member features Gan Lulu, a model whose career was launched by a nude video of her posted online by her publicity-seeking mother and who is well-known in China for racy outfits. The six-minute clip of the not-yet-aired game show episode, still available on YouTube, shows Gan as well audience members and the model's mother shouting and swearing after one spectator asks whether Gan's risqué images have 'undermined China's morality.' Gan's mother, Lei Bingxia, also in the audience, stands to take up the argument. 'Can your mum make you the sexy goddess of China?' she shouts. 'Can your mum make billions of people like you? Gan's mum can. I'm the best agent in China, I'm telling you. I will not only make my daughter the world's Lady Gaga, but the world's Marilyn Monroe.' The state administration of radio, film and television on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of the show and criticised the clip for showing name-calling, 'wanton acts' and for 'amplifying ugliness.' It said the incident had a 'negative influence on society.' A bit like the Daily Scum Mail, really. Only a bit less right-wing and dictatorial. On Thursday, the agency issued a second directive saying Jiangsu Education Television, a regional broadcaster near Shanghai, had to suspend all programming because it had violated China's broadcasting rules by identifying itself as an educational channel while offering entertainment content. The Hong-Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a faxed statement that thirty programmes were affected by the suspension, including some distance learning programmes, meaning classes were cancelled for as many as one hundred and fifty thousand students. The editor of Bang, Bang, Bang was also sacked, the Jiangsu provincial government said. The broadcasting regulator is concerned about vulgar, violent and pornographic videos being aired, and has been tightening rules to make sure that broadcasters and Internet service companies pre-screen their content.

    The BBC will no longer have to broadcast a minimum amount of new factual programming on BBC1 and BBC2 after a long-established quota was abolished by the BBC Trust. The 'factual quota' was dropped as part of the Trust's review of the way it monitors the BBC's output. BBC trustee David Liddiment said the quota 'did not add anything' to the Trust's ability to monitor the channels' factual output because of the wide range of programmes which were defined as factual. 'Our review concluded that BBC1 and BBC2's quotas for factual programming – which covered everything from Frozen Planet to Cash In The Attic – did not add anything to our ability to govern these services effectively and needed to be removed,' he said. Liddiment said the changes were intended to make the licences 'clearer and easier to understand. As a former programme maker, I know that setting boundaries to creativity is a finely balanced thing,' he said. 'Too little structure risks creating programmes which don't hit the mark with audiences; but too much can slow down the creative process.' He added: 'In particular, we took a careful look at the use of quotas or targets – a subject of much debate over the years. While these should never exist for the sake of it, we concluded that quotas are helpful in some areas alongside qualitative commitments. For example, remembering that BBC1's serious arts output nearly disappeared under a previous governance regime, we are clear that a minimum quota for arts and music on BBC1 alongside a small quota for religious programmes, is necessary.' The service licences for all of the BBC's TV channels and radio stations will be simplified and updated as part of the review, the trust said. With digital TV switchover now complete, the references to 'driving digital take-up' will be removed from the licences for BBC3 and BBC4. The Trust said the budget section would be 'edited' with the licences' scope section 'simplified.'

    The BBC has confirmed that a second series of Call the Midwife will be broadcast in early 2013. Series creator Heidi Thomas has promised that the eight-episode run will 'delve more deeply into the lives of [the show's] regular characters. Throughout series two, we continue to tell the gritty social and medical stories that so moved - and even shocked - the audience during our first outing,' Thomas said. 'These are not easy stories to tell, but they are real, and important, and often shine a light on the way we live today.' Call the Midwife - which stars Jessica Raine and Miranda Hart - is based on the memoirs of the late British nurse Jennifer Worth. 'Series two - like series one - draws heavily on the original, best-selling trilogy of books by Jennifer Worth and blends her stories with original material to create a multi-layered whole,' Thomas added. The second series will be preceded by a Christmas special, in which an abandoned baby is discovered on the steps of the nuns' convent. 'When asked to bring the curtain up on a new series with a Christmas special, we jumped at the chance,' Thomas continued. 'At its heart Christmas has always been about love, hope, and generosity of spirit - all qualities we celebrate in Call the Midwife.'

    Neil Gaiman has announced a Neverwhere radio play with an all-star cast. James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer will lead the cast on the forthcoming BBC Radio 4 production. Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okenodo, Tony Head, Bernard Cribbins and horror legend Christopher Lee will also loan their voices to the adaptation. Gaiman posted the announcement and cast list, alongside a photograph of members of the production, on his blog. 'The adaptation is by Dirk Maggs, who did the last three Hitchhiker's Guide radio adaptations,' he wrote. 'He's co-directing it with producer Heather Larmour, who is the one who went off and made this happen after a small enthusiastic chat in a London coffee shop much earlier this year - the kind of conversation that you have that normally just leaves you feeling happy, but doesn't actually turn into anything real. This time it did.' Neverwhere was originally broadcast as a television show on BBC2 in 1996. Gaiman later published the story as a novel, which was also adapted into a comic series by Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry in 2005. The radio play will début in early 2013.

    BBC1 has announced three new drama series for 2013. Being Human creator and Doctor Who scriptwriter Toby Whithouse has devised Cold War spy thriller The Game - set in the world of 1970s espionage. The six-part drama, with each episode an hour long, joins Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and The 7.39 on BBC1's new slate. Two-parter The 7.39 is a romantic drama from One Day writer David Nicholls and will chart the blossoming romance between commuters Sally and Carl. Based on the novel by Susanna Clarke and adapted by Peter Harness, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is 'a magical fantasy set during the Napoleonic Wars.' BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said: 'I aim to keep raising the stakes with our drama output on BBC1. Ben Stephenson and I are committed to finding pieces with great ambition, quality writing and memorable performances which portray a captivating range of fictional worlds and landscapes. We aim to keep working with Britain's very best writers, actors and directors.' Earlier this month, BBC1 announced five new drama series, including legal drama The Escape Artist from [spooks] creator David Wolstencroft and murder thriller Happy Valley by Scott & Bailey's Sally Wainwright.

    FOX Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly has accused US TV network heads of having 'our heads up our asses.' Quite the contortionists, they, it would seem. Reilly made his strong comments at the Hollywood Radio and TV Society's State of Broadcast panel, according to Variety. 'We don't spend enough time thinking of the consumer in the chain, we think about the audience in a clump,' he said. 'If you ask execs how they watch TV, they're either not watching a particular product or they just watched five seasons on Netflix. So, why is [this exec] any different than anyone at home?' Reilly claimed that network bosses are 'way too obsessed with one another and not with the consumer' and argued that networks should rethink how they schedule shows following a 'massive shift' in viewers' behaviour with the advent of online streaming, TiVos and DVRs. Earlier this year, Reilly defended the FOX network's disappointing performance in this year's EMMY nominations, with the broadcaster managing just twenty six nominations, substantially fewer than those of rival channels CBS, NBC and ABC. 'Seminal shows like House and 24 have cycled out,' he said in July. 'Next year we will have some [more].' Reilly has also billed forthcoming Kevin Bacon FOX drama The Following as 'the next 24,' praising the horror thriller's 'highly serialised' format.

    An NHL player was caught drink driving while in a Teletubbies costume. Riley Sheahan, a twenty-year-old player for the Detroit Red Wings, was stopped by authorities in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 29 October. He was driving down the wrong side of the road, according to Sporting News. At the time, Sheahan was also dressed as Tinky Winky from the children's show Teletubbies. His breathalyzer test showed him to be four times the legal limit. Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said: '[Sheahan]'s getting help right now and will continue to get help.' Sheahan, also charged with carrying false identification, will appear in court on 13 December.

    A Labour MP has complained of urine leaking into his office. The vile and odious rascal Bradshaw took to Twitter to post a picture and comment on the situation, as the leak is reportedly coming from upstairs. Which is apt since the former lack of culture secretary usually talks a stream of stinking piss in this blogger's opinion. He tweeted: 'Urine seems to be pouring through the ceiling into my Commons office for the second day running! [Upstairs is] a men's urinal with ageing copper piping with holes.' An aide told BBC News: 'The whole office smells of urine. It's dripping from a corner. We've got a bucket underneath. It started yesterday and they fixed it, but it's started again today. The House authorities are aware and they are getting it sorted.'

    A thirty-year-old man who got a Mitt Romney campaign logo tattoo on his face has revealed plans to remove it. Eric Hartsburg from Indiana was paid five thousand dollars to have the mark tattooed onto his forehead. While initially, the professional wrestler said that it would be 'there for life,' he now plans to get the tattoo removed in Los Angeles. Gosh, here's hoping that it doesn't hurt, lots. Hartsburg explained that he can't stand the tattoo representing a 'sore loser. It stands not only for a losing campaign, but [also] for a sore loser,' he told Politico. '[Romney is] pretty shameful as far as I'm concerned, man. There's no dignity in blaming somebody else for buying votes and paying people off. I can't get behind that or stay behind that.' Romney had blamed the election defeat on Barack Obama handing out 'gifts' to minorities, stating earlier this month: 'The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them.' Which worked, apparently. What a pity you didn't think of doing that instead of insulting forty seven per cent of the electorate when you thought you weren't being overheard. As the Gruniad's Michael Cohen noted: 'If the Republican primaries and presidential campaign have taught us anything, it is that Mitt Romney is not very good at politics. Incessant gaffes, strategic missteps, a paucity of policy prescriptions and a plethora of head-scratching tactical decisions have come to define his run for the White House. Quite simply, Mitt Romney is a bad politician.' Sounds about right.

    On Friday, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping spent much of the day in bed trying valiantly to fight off the after effects of hypothermia occasioned by a nasty dose of 'being left standing at a bus stop for three-quarters-of-an-hour on the coldest night of the year so far.' It was, trust me, dear blog reader, a life-changing experience! So, anyway, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's something apt.

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