Episode 94 – 22nd July 2011

This week we speak to the guy who pie’d Murdoch, ask whether it was a good idea or not, as well as talk science reporting, nuclear power, tuition fees… and Angry Birds!

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Jonnie Marbles Interview (2:10) by James O’Malley
Jonnie Marbles Response (11:04) by Dave Landon Cole
BBC Science Reporting (19:23) by Adam Jacobs
Kirk Sorensen Interview (29:14) by Chris Huang-Leaver
Open University Fees (40:18) by Kash Farooq
In Defence Of MacIntyre (45:27) by Sean Ellis
Angry Birds (48:56) by Salim Fadhley and Paul Day
The sketches were by David Lovesy, Brian Two and Steve Clark

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21 thoughts on “Episode 94 – 22nd July 2011

  1. Have to say I skipped through the interview with the pie man. I am normally interested in hearing opposing opinions, but to be honest I don’t see why his opinion is worthy of my attention. His attention-seeking act seems to me to have been one of supreme arrogance. This was a select committee hearing that offered everyone the opportunity to understand and form opinions about the Murdochs, NI, the functioning of our own democracy and indeed the effectiveness of the select committee itself. This arse apparently thought his opinion was so much more important than everyone elses that it was legitimate to disrupt these proceedings. And for what? It’s not as if this story requires a publicity stunt to get coverage. There is just no way I can envisage that a semi-violent act against an old man is not going to help the cause.

    I am personally eager that Murdoch is held to account properly, light is shone on the corrupt practices of his organisation, and his power taken away or greatly dimished. A pie in his face doesn’t really do it for me. Grow up. This is serious.

  2. Sorry. That should obviously have read:
    “There is just no way I can envisage that a semi-violent act against an old man is going to help the cause.”

  3. The ‘pie in the face’ gap works best at ‘media launches’ when people are trying their very best to look amazing. The contrast makes it funny. All this did was hand the entire Murdoch empire to Wendi Murdoch.

  4. The Pod Delusion surprised me today by leaving me feeling sorry for Jonnie Marbles, a strange sensation. I found his justifications for his actions unconvincing and am still of the opinion that it achieved nothing positive and unnecessarily disrupted proceedings. That said, Dave Landon Cole’s response was no more than just a bunch of ad hominem attacks based on nothing other than his own imagination. Talk about missing an open goal.

    I did enjoy the rest of the show though.

  5. I have mixed feelings about the Murdoch custard pie incident. If newspapers ever needed an excuse to distract from the real issues, it certainly handed them one on a plastic plate. That said, it did help to put things into (a different) perspective, by breaking the choreographed tedium of the inquiry. And to be fair to Jonnie Marbles (who I’d never heard of before), he did wait until close to the end of procedings, so most of the questioning had already taken place unhindered. And in the shadow of the terrible events in Norway, let’s be thankful he wasn’t carrying anything more lethal than shaving foam.

    Which brings me to the issue that, in my opinion, tends to be missed by commentators: context.

    It seemed to me, the inquiry was little more than pantomime. As usual, media seemed obsessed by appearances – which were, let’s face it, nothing more than projections of prefabricated public personas. James Murdoch seemed “unprepaired”. Oh really? He couldn’t have been feigning it in order to be evasive? Or to set up a defence of ignorance, rather than active participation in hacking and / or cover-ups? The same goes for his cute little old dad, who obviously was too frail to harm a fly! Such stuff is not terribly difficult to pull off, espcially when it appears to be so easy to lead a predictable media by the nose.

    I should add that I felt the quality of much of the questioning was appalling. If Marble’s interruption was an attack upon the sanctity of parliament, then some of the mindlessly trite questions that wasted much of the inquiry’s time ought to be regarded as a subversion of the sanctity of parliamentary democracy.

  6. I often agree with the general sentiment of pieces on the Pod Delusion, but it’s rare that I agree so totally with every bit of a report as I do with what Kash said about the Open University. As fellow OU student, also studying just for fun rather than for career development, I see 100% what Kash means.

    I’m also lucky that I got in before the massive price hike, of course, but it is indeed a great shame that so many people in the future will be put off studying just for fun. Education is such as wonderful thing, and it’s a shame that it will be more limited in the future.

    Bear in mind that courses are still on offer at the old rates, so if anyone has been thinking of studying with the OU, now is the time to do it. You still have time to register for courses starting this autumn. If you leave it another year, it will be massively more expensive.

  7. Simon: While I certainly agree that the actions of Murdoch’s senior and junior may have been intentional on their part it does seem a risky strategy to take, they knew this would be broadcast over the world, they know that various branches of the media empire that they are at the centre of are displeased with their continual presence and believe they may be better off if the Murdochs were out of it. Appearing doddery and ignorant as a strategy for dealing with the immediate problem which, when all is said and done, is a small part of their empire and one which James Murdoch doesn’t care much for risks them losing most of the rest of it, where the bulk of their money comes from.

  8. The simple truth of the matter is that neither Stuart Lee or Michael McIntyre are funny. Stuart Lee edges it, though, because he was once funny. In the 90’s. On Radio 4. With Richard Herring. McIntyre was never funny.

    Incidentally, Angry Birds is shite because it asks the player for extraordinary precision but doesn’t give him/her the tools to achieve that precision. Don’t believe me? Try making the same shot twice.

  9. I take your point Loz – like most people, I’m playing a guessing game. Personally I suspect both Murdochs were attempting to create a wall of plausible deniability – I don’t think it’s far-fetched. It’s just a matter of risk-assessment, & the Murdochs’ attitude to risk.

    If the Murdochs assessed that ex-employees may point the finger at them about their involvement in hacking & cover-ups, they’d need to distance themselves as thoroughly as possible, in preparation for the issuing of denials. It’s a long-game. The personal cost to them could be substantial – harming their reputations & their support structures / businesses. On the other hand, wouldn’t being found guilty of involvement in widespread immoral and illegal acts provoke an even worse backlash?

  10. Dr*T – The same thing jarred with me as well, and wasn’t helped by coming so soon after an uncomfortable feeling at Dave’s slightly nasty name-calling wrt Jonnie Marbles.

  11. Pedantry alert: Increasing form £700 to £2500 is an increase of 250%, not 350%. Great article otherwise though, the Open University has created a model the rest of the world is copying, it would be sad to see it become a traditional university.

  12. NK:

    Ahhhh. How embarrassing.
    Guess I was caught between saying “3.5 times more” and a percentage.

    Well spotted.


    PS. My first degree was in maths.
    PPS. In my defence, maths is x’s and y’s, not actual numbers.
    PPPS. But that’s no excuse.

  13. I found Dave Landon Cole’s segment to be somewhat pompous, sanctimonious, sneering and Fatuous. And I don’t even agree with pieing Rupert Murdoch.

  14. @Dr*T:

    Er, I’m the one who used the phrase window-lickers, aren’t I, so I guess that remark was aimed at me.

    To be honest, whether that description should be used isn’t something I’d given a great deal of thought to. It’s a phrase in fairly common use in certain parts of the internet.

    Anyway, I’ve just googled the phrase, its etymology, and attitudes to it, and have concluded you are absolutely right to pick me up on it. I apologise for using what I see now, on reflection, was an inappropriate and offensive phrase, and also for not giving it a bit more thought before I recorded the piece.

  15. Hi Adam,

    I couldn’t remember which report it was in, so didn’t call you by name! But, for me, it’s a term that still gets used but shouldn’t, and the Pod Delusion was not somewhere I’d expect to hear it. In a way, my comment was not only surprise at the use, but also the editorial decision not to remove it. Anyway, very much appreciated the response.

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