Presstitution

Let’s get one thing straight about tomorrow’s chip paper.

Freedom of the press is not the same as freedom of speech. The only freedom the press seek is the freedom to sell more papers. If they screw you over, you don’t have the freedom to a right to reply.  It is a business, not a fucking torch of freedom.

The unaccountable power the corporate press wields over our government and democracy is chilling, even in a post Leveson age. It shapes our thinking, who we vote for and how informed we are. We live in a press controlled state.

I say this because recently we called time on giving press interviews because of the pathological inability of the media to get the facts correct or communicate the key issues of our campaign. As in the film Mr Smith Goes to Washington, the press have a predetermined agenda – generally to shower you in as much shit as possible from the greatest height possible. In return, they expect you to be grateful for the few turd like words of coverage you get from being dragged backwards though their effluent.

To understand my view of the media, in 2006 The Independent quoted me as follows: “Most journalists, he adds, are “cunts”. Some are even “complete cunts”. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/matt-oconnor-the-man-behind-fathers4justice-406610.html

I was mistaken. I can see with the benefit of hindsight that I was being too generous.

By any vague measure of professionalism (with the exception of politicians), journalists have no understanding of the truth nor any desire to convey the facts of a story. You might attribute this to laziness. Some might attribute it to the fact that when it comes to presstitution, they never let the facts get in the way of a ‘good’ story.

The sad fact is that unless our cause looks like an action movie or a desperate dad who has no voice in this country plasters his child’s pic on a famous painting, we don’t get coverage. The issue of fathers rights is neither sexy, nor PC, nor conforms to the medias preset agenda.

To illustrate this point, let me present exhibit A) journalist Emily Dugan from The Independent. Despite being told we were no longer giving interviews (see below*), she rang our media line incessantly demanding to do a ‘profile’ piece on F4J. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She said she was a friendly journalist who had interviewed me and my children back in 2009. Eventually the office put me on to her so I could confirm a few key points and refer her back to our statement and our position; ‘go forth and multiply’.

That wasn’t enough to dissuade Emily from insisting on an interview that weekend with me and demanding to be given notice on our next protest so she had time to file copy. We refused. My five minute refusal to be interviewed became a ‘20 minute talk’. I never compared myself to Nelson Mandela but was contrasting the actions of Tim Haries and Paul Manning with the actions of an alleged terrorist 30 years ago (who is now venerated) and the double standards evident in society’s response to the F4J protests.

In addition to not being Nelson Mandela, I am also not 45 (I am 46), F4J was not founded in 2002 (it was 2001) and F4J is not a charity. The accompanying picture was not for this interview, but was a PR shot for The Icecreamists from 2010/11.

We also didn’t make the claim made in the heading ‘F4J vows to step up attacks on the nation’s artworks.’

Apart from that, the article here http://www.fathers-4-justice.org/category/latest-news/ was all true. No wonder they call it the dead tree press.

Dead from the neck up.

Matt O’Connor, 10/7/13

*In our statement of the 28th June 2013, we said “The organisation (F4J) said it was also now refusing to engage with national media over what it described as deliberately inaccurate and misleading reporting of the campaign and the crisis in the family courts“.

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