Gail Dines: Short on Facts, Crap Figures

*** Warning – Very long post ahead. Get supplies before sitting down to read ***

Last time around I followed the trail of just one dubiously provenanced Internet porn ‘statistic’ from its first appearance in 2003 on a US website owned by tech entrepreneur and content filter salesman, Jerry Ropelato, through its subsequent appearance in everything from academic literature to an official report published by the International Telecommunications Union, all without anyone, it seems, bothering to check the validity of that ‘statistic’ for which there is currently no known original source. I put that last article together to serve as a precursor to this one, which looks in detail at a variety of statistics and other items of ‘factual’ information published on a… Read more »

The Dodgy Porn Statistic That Took Over The World

As a quick trailer, I’m currently working on an article which looks in detail at a ‘fact and figures‘ page published by Gail Dines on her ‘Stop Porn Culture’ website in which, amongst other things, she cites a number of ‘statistics’ sourced from Jerry Ropelato’s ‘Internet Filter Review’ (IFR) website. Now regular visitors to the Ministry will know that I’ve written about Ropelato and his ‘statistics’ before, but before I give Dines the full once over I think it worth recapping what is already known about one of her main sources of statistical information for both her website and, as you’ll see at the end, her 2010 book ‘Pornland’. IFR is part of a site called ‘Top Ten Reviews’ which (amusingly)… Read more »

Tony Benn 1925-2014

I guess a lot of people are going to be scratching around today looking for profound things to say about Tony Benn. Me? I’ve just a got simple little story to tell. Many years ago, when I first got involved in political campaigning, the group I was involved with at the time did the usual thing of writing to a few MPs asking for messages of support and from all of those that bothered to respond at all we got the usual typewritten-by-the-bag-carrier bunch of non-committal waffle on a House of Commons letterhead with an obviously stamped ‘signature’ on the bottom. All except Tony Benn, who sent us a short handwritten note exhorting us to keep up the good work… Read more »

The Testiculating Dr Pemberton

Over at the Daily Telegraph Max Pemberton, who’s also a doctor, has written an opinion piece on abortion which, amongst other things, neatly illustrates the kind of problems that can easily arise if you’re gullible enough to believe everything you read in the newspapers. The problems with Pemberton’s article begin in the very first paragraph:

There can be few medical procedures so politically charged as abortion. Simply uttering the term polarises people. Battle lines are drawn and there is an expectation that you will join one camp or the other. For or against, pro-life or pro-choice: the narrative rarely extends beyond this simple dichotomy. And, if you are pro-choice, any criticism of abortion is considered a heresy.

That may well… Read more »

Plebgate, Ed Miliband and A few inconvenient facts

Let’s keep this simple and cut through the bullshit with a few facts that some people seen very keen to overlook. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street on the evening of 19 September 2012 has not been convicted of any criminal offence in relation to this incident. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street on the evening of 19 September 2012 has not been charged with any criminal offence in relation to this incident. FACT – The police officer, PC Toby Rowland, to whom Andrew Mitchell MP briefly spoke at the gates of Downing Street… Read more »

Jesus & Mo and Channel 4 News

So, without wishing to waste time recapping events that are probably already familiar to most of my regular readers, the ongoing shitstorm of the wonderful Jesus and Mo cartoon strip started with this tweet by Maajid Nawaz: To me, it matters that you can see that for yourself. Channel 4 News, on the other hand, clearly doesn’t feel the same way so when it covered this story the image that was shown to the British public was this one: This is perhaps a small improvement on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, where they declined to show any kind of image of this ‘offending cartoon’, but as I’m not aware that the BBC has yet put out any kind of statement that either… Read more »

And all I said to my wife was: “That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah”

By now I’m sure you’re aware of the fact that Maajid Nawaz, a Lib Dem PPC in Hampstead and Kilburn, stands accused of committing the thoroughly heinous crime of causing religiously aggravated butthurt in the first degree, the suggested punishment for which appears to be political career death by change.org petition. At the heart of this is, yet again, a completely innocuous Jesus & Mo cartoon which Maajid clearly considers to be anything but offensive, hence the following tweet: As you might have already guessed, this precipitated the usual tide of feigned outrage and assorted other venomous cockdribble together with the aforementioned petition, which I wouldn’t usually bother with were it not for the fact that it appears to… Read more »

The Independent and Sex Selective Abortion: Not Even Wrong

According to The Independent:

Pressure is growing for the Government to curb the way that ultrasound scans can be used to inform pregnant women about the gender of their unborn babies following an investigation by The Independent suggesting that female foetuses are more likely to be aborted within certain ethnic groups living in Britain.

But how do we know that this alleged pressure is indeed growing? Well, its because The Independent has published articles on this particular issue for three days running, and in the parallel universe that newspaper editors and proprietors inhabit that’s all the proof they need. No newspaper will ever willingly admit, after flipping over into campaign mode, that their efforts to stir up a shit storm… Read more »

The Indie’s ‘Lost Girls’ may not be what it appears

Okay, this is a bit of rush job but even in the absence of any data to work with, the Independent’s claim to have uncovered evidence in the 2011 census data that gender selective abortion is being ‘widely used’ by some UK ethnic groups requires n immediate response:

The lost girls: Illegal abortion widely used by some UK ethnic groups to avoid daughters ‘has reduced female population by between 1,500 and 4,700′ The illegal abortion of female foetuses solely to ensure that families have sons is widely practised within some ethnic communities in Britain and has resulted in significant shortfalls in the proportion of girls, according to an investigation by The Independent. The practice of sex-selective abortion is now so commonplace that… Read more »

Plebgate and the Illusion of Memory

Okay, so Plebgate is back in the news today because Keith Wallis, the Metropolitan Police Officer who false claimed to have witnessed the incident in an email sent to his local MP has admitted a charge of misconduct in public office and offered to resign from the force. So, we can safely conclude that there was a stitch-up after the fact in which at least one serving police officer lied to get at Andrew Mitchell and damage his political career. But, if we strip away all the extraneous details and this post-hoc stitch-up and focus just on the incident itself, what have we still actually got on the table? Well, what we have is a brief verbal exchange, lasting only… Read more »