Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer


11:38 am - May 13th 2012

by Unity    


      Share on Tumblr

As a general rule of thumb anything that winds up Cranmer is usually a good thing so it’s with some amusement that I have report that 24 people including a ‘Jewish Gay and Lesbian group’ have reported his blog to the Advertising Standards Authority over an advert he ran on behalf of the ‘Coalition For Marriage’.

So far as the substance of these complaints are concerned, the advert included a claim that ’70% of people say keep marriage as it is’ giving the source of this claim as poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of Catholic Voices, a semi-official Catholic propaganda and astroturfing operation, and this is being challenged under rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading Advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation) of the CAP code.

To add insult to feigned injury, rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) has also been brought into play by a number of complainants who’ve alleged that the advert is ‘offensive’ and ‘homophobic’.

This is all a desperate imposition on our fulminating faux cleric.

Not only is he, of course, being ‘persecuted’ by the ASA’s request for evidence to back up the factual claim in the advert but, as always, any awareness of the Godwin’s Law is amongst the first casualties in this conflict…

Since His Grace does not dwell in Iran, North Korea, Soviet Russia, Communist China or Nazi Germany, but occupies a place in the cyber-ether suspended somewhere between purgatory and paradise, he is minded to ignore that request. Who do these people think they are?

They are, of course, people who are tasked simply with doing a job which entails investigating complaints about advertising lodged by members of the general public, and all they’ve done so far is contact Cranmer and offer him the chance to give his side of the story.

The ASA hasn’t ruled on anything as yet and on reviewing the material facts of these complaints I think it unlikely in the extreme that they’ll be upheld.

As regards the 70% claim, the poll was conducted by ComRes, which is a member of the British Polling Council, and the full results are available on its website, from which we find that of the 2004 people who took part in the poll, 70% did indeed agree with the proposition that:

Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman

Okay, for a social scientist’s standpoint, the poll stands out as a pretty blatant bit of push-polling.

Nevertheless, the results of this poll do back up the 70% claim and unless the ASA is prepared to get into it with ComRes and challenge their polling methodology its highly likely that this poll will be accepted as adequate substantiation of the advert’s main factual claim.

As regards the allegation that the advert is, itself, offensive and homophobic well. let’s be honest, we’re hardly in ‘God Hates Fags’ territory here are we? And, in any case, this is essentially a single issue political campaign and should, therefore , attract a greater degree of protection under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights than would be the case for purely commercial advertising.

In short, it should take no more than 10-15 minutes to compose a suitable response which addresses and roundly dismisses the complaint.

What’s interesting here, therefore, is not the complaint itself but the stereotypical ‘How very dare you!’ overreaction to the ASA’s decision to investigate the matter, a reaction that is entirely characteristic of other incidents in which complaints have been made alleging either religious homophobia or, in some cases, inappropriate proselytising.

If the only argument here was these complaints are misconceived and even, perhaps, vexatious then I’d be inclined to agree wholeheartedly but, as seems to be invariably the case, that’s not the only thing with which Cranmer and others are taking issue.

What seems to rankle some Christians, whenever such complaints are made, is the mere fact that those complaints have to be investigated and they are not, therefore, afforded the kind of privileged status and unthinking deference that the believe they should be afforded.

Where ‘persecution’ once meant getting nailed to tree or tossed into an arena to fight for life, it now means nothing more than ‘How dare you treat us the same as everyone else, you inconsiderate bunch of bastards.’

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


What is this doing here?

Sitting waiting for someone to read it…

3. David Boothroyd

You may have missed another aspect in which this is a wholly fake row. The Advertising Standards Authority is not, as is often mistakenly thought, an official body. It is an industry voluntary regulator, like the Press Complaints Commission; unlike the chocolate teapot-like PCC it has decided to preserve itself by being very activist and encroaching into many areas which it might reasonably have regarded as not in its field.

The ASA has no powers whatsoever beyond shouting very loudly. Companies who accept adverts (newspapers and web publishers) generally abide by its rulings but they don’t have to. The severest sanction the ASA has is to refer an advert to the Department of Business for an investigation under the unfair trading laws; but that can’t apply here because it’s a campaigning ad and not selling anything.

2004? Using an 8 year old poll is a bit dodgy anyway. Surely there are more recent ones, but presumably they didn’t give the right result

5. Chaise Guevara

The ASA often comes under fire in this way when it investigates adverts by religious groups. There was that stuff about the church claiming it could heal people, and of course the atheist vs Christian bus adverts saga where the ASA was accused of ruling on God’s existence.

I support your conclusion. Unless someone can point to a genuine problem with the ASA’s reasoning, then they really are just whining because they don’t get special treatment. Complaining before the ASA has even reached a decision is hilarious.

And the ASA doesn’t have an antireligious bent, either. It’s come down on the side of religious people before, such as when it banned an advert showing a nun and a priest in a passionate embrace because some Christians found it offensive.

6. Roger Mexico

#4

Easily done I know when reading quickly, but 2004 is the sample size. The poll was actually carried out between 23rd and 24th February this year – a better link might be to the pdf of the tables:

http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/Marriage_Tables_March_2012.pdf

I’m sure it was only lack of space that prevented the advert for example also reporting that for example the poll found its respondents agreeing by 59% to 23% that Stable relationships between same-sex couples should be legally recognised through the civil partnership scheme

I’m also sure that if you went back all that time to when civil partnerships were set up (in 2004 as it happens) all the same people said it was deeply unpopular and the public would never take to it and of course it would destroy marriage (and indeed civilisation) as we know it.

At the time this piece of ‘research’ was an object of much derision among the pollerati but the best joke is that even the statement shown doesn’t say what its supporters say it does.

Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman

is different from:

Marriage should continue to be exclusively defined as a life-long commitment between a man and a woman

You could agree to the first and still be happy to see the definition of marriage extended to being between a man and a man. Or indeed to a short term commitment between a man and a male turtle.

Word order is so important to understanding in English. Thank God his Grace didn’t get to the King James Bible

7. So Much For Subtlety

5. Chaise Guevara

I support your conclusion. Unless someone can point to a genuine problem with the ASA’s reasoning, then they really are just whining because they don’t get special treatment. Complaining before the ASA has even reached a decision is hilarious.

But what is his conclusion? That Cranmer was entirely in the right but that he has some ethical or moral obligation to co-operate with their harassment? Do tell.

He is not, I suspect, asking for special treatment. He is asking by what right does the ASA have to try and shut down a blog through lawfare for merely reporting some poll or other relevant to an on-going political debate. This is simply an attempt to bully someone into silence and as such it is a chilling of free speech. I realise that no one here is going to understand this, but being dragged before some Star Chamber costs time and money. They will succeed in bullying most people into silence most of the time. And if not, they can keep doing it until they succeed. As someone else said, the process is the punishment. The real problem is not that they are doing this to Cranmer but that they do this at all.

If you can’t see what is wrong then there is not much hope. But that is not a big surprise because no one in Britain has supported freedom or civil liberties for at least a generation. Naturally none of you will see what is wrong with someone being dragged through a long and intimidating quasi-legal process.

Your response is just the Leftist version of “if he’s innocent, he has got nothing to worry about”.

8. Roger Mexico

SMFS

He is asking by what right does the ASA have to try and shut down a blog through lawfare for merely reporting some poll or other relevant to an on-going political debate

But he didn’t “merely [report] some poll or other”. He took an advert with that content and got paid money for it (get Mummy to explain money to you when you’re doing remedial reading). Hence the involvement of the Advertising Standards Authority (there’s a clue in the name children).

As it happens I think the complainants are behaving ridiculously; the ASA are so far only doing their job (but expect them to get it wrong later on); and Crammy-baby is behaving like a not very bright drama queen. I suspect both the OP and Chaise may agree with some or all of these views (but then I actually read what they wrote). And ComRes will yet again swear never to take the cash of these fundo-micks without checking the questions really hard.

Still it gives AC a chance to feel virtuously persecuted, which seems to the main life aim of a certain class of late middle age Telegraph-reading upper middle-class men[1]. Still if he really wants to feel oppressed, we can always burn him at the stake.

[1] Of course it will turn out that ‘he’ is really a 17 year old black drag king on social security with AI twins and a mildly profitable cocaine dealership. Who reads the Telegraph.

9. So Much For Subtlety

8. Roger Mexico

But he didn’t “merely [report] some poll or other”. He took an advert with that content and got paid money for it (get Mummy to explain money to you when you’re doing remedial reading). Hence the involvement of the Advertising Standards Authority (there’s a clue in the name children).

An advert which, by the way, everyone seems to agree was accurate.

As it happens I think the complainants are behaving ridiculously; the ASA are so far only doing their job (but expect them to get it wrong later on);

Sorry but can you explain to me where in the ASA’s remit is this even remotely their job?

Still it gives AC a chance to feel virtuously persecuted, which seems to the main life aim of a certain class of late middle age Telegraph-reading upper middle-class men[1]. Still if he really wants to feel oppressed, we can always burn him at the stake.

He might like that. But it does not change the fact that LC’s at best dubious commitment to civil liberties simply goes out the window when it is someone they don’t like on the receiving end. So no more complaints about Stop and Search then? Or the police bringing in for questioning any minority they like? Because they are only doing their job right? And it will only take fifteen minutes, won’t it? And because such acts cannot be in any way bad as long as the Authorities do them, can they?

10. Roger Mexico

SMFS

Sorry but can you explain to me where in the ASA’s remit is this even remotely their job?

Because they are the Authority which considers the Standards of Advertising. Someone has complained to them about an advert which is obviously in their remit.

They wrote to AC asking him to justify what was in the ad he has taken (I assume directly otherwise there’s a whole other level of incompetence here on the part of all of them). And he could have answered them that his advertisers were correct – which presumably he believes even if everyone else thinks they’re tendentious. He could provide the requisite link like I did above.

Instead he’s been going round blubbing that the big nasty men have been attacking him. All of which you might have discovered if you’d read the OP. Lots of work for Mama For Subtlety here I think.

No one here has suggested that AC’s liberties should be infringed, merely that if he wishes to participate in capitalism (like getting paid for ads) he should abide by the rules he signed up to. As far as I know, no one yet has imprisoned, search or even stopped him, but if his genuine rights were infringed, then I’m sure many here would complain if it was disproportionate – as they did over the racist tweets for example.

I suspect AC and his mates would be less keen to return the support, but then the spoilt brat generation have always believed that rules are something they should impose rather than follow (delighted if I were proved wrong).

This is one of those cases which are fun to watch because all the participants are behaving like complete arseholes. If you wish to join their numbers, please don’t let me stop you. I’ll just sit on the sidelines lobbing bricks.

11. Roger Mexico

Just to add that yet again Sunny manages to cock up a headline. It should have read:

Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how very dare you!

the last bit actually quoting the OP. Tin ear much?

12. James Reade

Wow, please don’t force me to actually side with Cranmer!

SMFS is spot on – LC is guilty of glaring inconsistencies whenever it comes to anything to do with Christianity.

Simple example – anything to do with abortion. The recent check of abortion centres – now wasn’t that just a regulator doing its job within its remit?

No, or course not, and many people on here trawled out many reasons why this was terrible political shenanigans.

But here, the ASA is being pure and noble, not a fault or stain on its character for doing what somebody asked of it within its remit. No shenanigans going on here?

If you actually bothered to read Cranmer’s blog about this, his main bag is that these 24 complainants didn’t get in touch with him directly so they could have a mature, adult like discussion.

I hate to say it but I’m forced because of the kind of trash written on here about anyone who takes their Bible seriously, to side with Cranmer. Pains me.

13. So Much For Subtlety

10. Roger Mexico

Because they are the Authority which considers the Standards of Advertising. Someone has complained to them about an advert which is obviously in their remit.

How is it obviously within their remit? Their remit is commercial advertising. Not political statements or journalism. They deal with trade, not ideas. What is being sold here?

They wrote to AC asking him to justify what was in the ad he has taken (I assume directly otherwise there’s a whole other level of incompetence here on the part of all of them). And he could have answered them that his advertisers were correct – which presumably he believes even if everyone else thinks they’re tendentious. He could provide the requisite link like I did above.

He could also tell me to conjugate off. Which is what he should do. Why should he give in to this sort of bullying and intimidation? How is he even to know if his advertisers are correct? He did not carry out the research. They did. By what right do the fascist tools at the ASA have to demand otherwise?

Instead he’s been going round blubbing that the big nasty men have been attacking him. All of which you might have discovered if you’d read the OP. Lots of work for Mama For Subtlety here I think.

The big nasty men have been. They have been attempting to bully a blog they clearly do not into silence for expressing an opinion they do not want aired. No more. Mock all you want, it doesn’t make your defence of this sort of closet Fascism any less disgusting.

No one here has suggested that AC’s liberties should be infringed, merely that if he wishes to participate in capitalism (like getting paid for ads) he should abide by the rules he signed up to.

Sorry but what rules has he infringed? Signed up to? Where? Everyone here has suggested, with lip smacking glee, that the Archbishop’s liberties should be infringed. They have been infringed. They are being infringed. We should be free to go about open political discourse without intimidation. It is mind boggling that so many people here think otherwise.

As far as I know, no one yet has imprisoned, search or even stopped him, but if his genuine rights were infringed, then I’m sure many here would complain if it was disproportionate – as they did over the racist tweets for example.

On the contrary, no one here is complaining at all. And I do love that “genuine” there. It is your get out of jail free card so that you can complain about your friends stubbing a toe while rejoicing at an enemy losing a leg.

This is one of those cases which are fun to watch because all the participants are behaving like complete arseholes. If you wish to join their numbers, please don’t let me stop you. I’ll just sit on the sidelines lobbing bricks.

Interesting you think louts who lob bricks are worse than arseholes. I think so far the Bish is doing quite well. But then I would – I give a damn about freedom. It is sad that you do not.

In the Philippines the Army used to deal with supporters of the New People’s Army by murdering them and dumping their bodies in a ditch. The Americans did not like this. So then they moved to inviting people they did not like around for a cup of tea. Where they told them if they kept it up they would be murdered and their bodies dumped in a ditch. This is a much watered down British variation. It is just bizarre that you do not see anything wrong with it.

14. Chaise Guevara

@ James Reade

“Simple example – anything to do with abortion. The recent check of abortion centres – now wasn’t that just a regulator doing its job within its remit?

No, or course not, and many people on here trawled out many reasons why this was terrible political shenanigans.

But here, the ASA is being pure and noble, not a fault or stain on its character for doing what somebody asked of it within its remit. No shenanigans going on here?”

Hang on. Wasn’t the issue with the abortion thing that the government ordered the regulator to try to dig up dirt – i.e. it was effectively co-opted for political reasons? That’s not equivalent. The equivalent would be the government telling the ASA to investigate every Christian ad in the hopes of finding bad practice.

15. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 SMFS

“But what is his conclusion? That Cranmer was entirely in the right but that he has some ethical or moral obligation to co-operate with their harassment? Do tell.”

That he’s being petulant and shooting himself in the foot (or not, if he wants the ad to get banned so he can complain about it). I love “harrassment”, BTW. I suppose it’s harrassment if police question you over a crime you’re suspected of commiting, too.

“He is not, I suspect, asking for special treatment.”

Your suspicions vs the facts of the case = facts win.

“He is asking by what right does the ASA have to try and shut down a blog through lawfare for merely reporting some poll or other relevant to an on-going political debate.”

You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you? The ASA does not shut down blogs. It orders adverts “not to appear again in their present form”. If this guy loses the case, he’d just have to remove or modify the ad.

“This is simply an attempt to bully someone into silence and as such it is a chilling of free speech. I realise that no one here is going to understand this, but being dragged before some Star Chamber costs time and money.”

Ten minutes to write a letter, plus the price of a stamp? Crippling!

“They will succeed in bullying most people into silence most of the time. And if not, they can keep doing it until they succeed. As someone else said, the process is the punishment. The real problem is not that they are doing this to Cranmer but that they do this at all.”

Sure. Let’s let people sell hydrochloric acid as stomach medicine, that’ll make the world safe for our children to live in. God forbid people should take responsibility for their actions (something I thought you supported, but it looks like you’ve got your pro-feckless hat on today). I’d have your back if the ASA actually acted like this, but they don’t.

“If you can’t see what is wrong then there is not much hope.”

Dun-dun DUUUUN!

“But that is not a big surprise because no one in Britain has supported freedom or civil liberties for at least a generation.”

You are funny. I imagine you thumping your keyboard with your fists, in a fit of rage with reality for not matching your stupid prejudices, then deciding just to write obvious lies in the desperate hope that nobody has noticed. Yeah, nobody support civil liberties. That’s why we haven’t legalised gay civil partnerships, and there hasn’t been a murmer about legalising gay marriage. That’s why 48 days’ detention and government snooping plans were not considered the least bit controversial. That’s why LC publishes articles every week with the title Civil Liberties: All Is Well.

“Naturally none of you will see what is wrong with someone being dragged through a long and intimidating quasi-legal process. ”

How intimidating do YOU find writing a letter, SMFS? Because I think you might be in the minority here. Most of us can handle it without going bankrupt or having a mental breakdown.

“Your response is just the Leftist version of “if he’s innocent, he has got nothing to worry about”.”

Horseshit. I specifically pointed out that this isn’t about the decision, it’s about the fact that the ASA has the gall to investigate such a superior and important person as Cranmer in the first place. I never said the ASA are infallible, I just think Cranmer is pathetic for whining that they haven’t granted him special privileges. So grow the fuck up.

16. James Reade

Chaise – no. The regulator ordered spot checks on clinics on violations of the law. Just like here the ASA is acting on a complaint. No difference. Both within remit. So why the different spin?

17. Chaise Guevara

@ 16 James Reade

“Chaise – no. The regulator ordered spot checks on clinics on violations of the law. Just like here the ASA is acting on a complaint. No difference. Both within remit. So why the different spin?”

You are misrepresenting the facts. It was ordered by the goverment, specifically Andrew Lansley. http://prolife.org.uk/2012/04/blitz-on-abortion-clinics-absolutely-justified-lansley-has-our-full-support/

So it’s you who’s spinning, or at least misinformed. There’s a difference between the government ordering a regulator to do an investigation in the hopes of getting political gain, and a regulator following its standard procedure by investigating complaints.

18. Robin Levett

@James Reade #16:

The regulator ordered spot checks on clinics on violations of the law.

Two points:

1. Andrew Lansley isn’t the regulator; he is the Health Secretary. He ordered the CQC (which is the regulator) to set aside the work they had planned to do, and instead carry out spot checks on abortion clinics;

2. He didn’t order spot checks “on clinics on violations of the law”. He ordered blanket checks on clinics, some of which might, after further investigation, prove to have been acting in violation of the law. There was no operational urgency – nothing suggesting there was a particular problem requiring urgent action – although there was some political urgency – he needed some headlines.

19. Roger Mexico

I was of course teasing when referring to SMFS’s need for remedial reading practice, but I do begin to wonder. If someone continues to assert that X has said Y, when anyone looking at the thread will have just read X say the opposite and then seen this fact pointed out again, something is clearly not right.

Similarly sometimes commenters pretend to fail to grasp common rhetorical devices (irony, satire, metaphor), but to quote them in full and then try to refute something that was never meant to be taken literally, that implies a genuine lack of comprehension.

It’s not what you might call “classical trolling”, because that is cleverer than this – you assert X said Y in a different place (probably unsourced) or only quote a short fragment of what was said so you can take offence at it. It doesn’t take much effort to set up straw figures that are more convincing that above.

It’s all very odd.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 16 James

“Chaise – no. The regulator ordered spot checks on clinics on violations of the law. Just like here the ASA is acting on a complaint. No difference. Both within remit. So why the different spin?”

If you’re just going to keep lying and ignoring everything I say, there’s not much point me talking to you, is there? What kind of moron responds to criticism of a claim by ignoring the criticism and repeating the claim?

21. Chaise Guevara

@ James again

Big apologies: I posted a response to you ages ago that appears to have been eatenbyo the internet. Basically I was saying much the same as Robin above. So I thought your last post was a response to that comment, and that you were just robotically repeating the same thing. Obviously I was just responding to the same comment as before.

So yeah, using the term “moron” has backfired on me somewhat. Sorry.

22. So Much For Subtlety

15. Chaise Guevara

That he’s being petulant and shooting himself in the foot (or not, if he wants the ad to get banned so he can complain about it). I love “harrassment”, BTW. I suppose it’s harrassment if police question you over a crime you’re suspected of commiting, too.

It depends on what the police are doing and how often they do it. I would love to hear you assert that police questioning cannot be harassment – isn’t there a Rowan Atikinson sketch where as a policeman he is asked by his superior why he has brought a man repeatedly in for questioning for such things as “looking at me in a funny way” before being asked if the gentleman in question is Black? People here usually claim Stop and Search is harassment. Glad to hear you no longer do Chaise. After all, who can object to being stopped and searched? Not remotely like harassment is it?

Your suspicions vs the facts of the case = facts win.

Where has he asked for special treatment?

You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you? The ASA does not shut down blogs. It orders adverts “not to appear again in their present form”. If this guy loses the case, he’d just have to remove or modify the ad.

Loses the case. Sure. He can lawyer up and spend a long time fighting this case – forcing him to out himself so to speak. Not going to have a chilling effect on his willingness and ability to post at all. The ASA cannot directly shut down blogs, but they can harass someone into giving up. Which is, I imagine, his intent. I just love the way you have gone all obtuse about the effects of this sort of bullying now it is someone you don’t like on the other end. It takes a particular sort of willful blindness not to see the effects of this.

Ten minutes to write a letter, plus the price of a stamp? Crippling!

Plus the costs of seeking legal advice. Plus the accusation of homophobia which is a criminal offence. Not just ten minutes is it?

Sure. Let’s let people sell hydrochloric acid as stomach medicine, that’ll make the world safe for our children to live in. God forbid people should take responsibility for their actions (something I thought you supported, but it looks like you’ve got your pro-feckless hat on today). I’d have your back if the ASA actually acted like this, but they don’t.

The ASA is set up to stop people claiming hydrochloric acid is good stomach medicine. The Bish was not doing anything like that. He was engaging in a political statement of a sort. Not selling anything. Not encouraging people to donate money. Engaging in an on-going political process. What responsibility does he have for merely reporting a poll finding? Go on tell me.

Yeah, nobody support civil liberties. That’s why we haven’t legalised gay civil partnerships, and there hasn’t been a murmer about legalising gay marriage.

We have allowed civil partnerships – but only at the cost of massive losses of freedom elsewhere. The Gay Rights agenda is unlike, say, the rights for Jews because when Jews were emancipated that was a genuine increase in freedom. With Gay Rights we also got a large body of government officials empowered to intervene in virtually every aspect of our lives. Which was the point I suppose. It is a net loss.

That’s why 48 days’ detention and government snooping plans were not considered the least bit controversial. That’s why LC publishes articles every week with the title Civil Liberties: All Is Well.

LC as a whole has no commitment to civil liberties at all. What happened with that 42 days detention thing? The House of Lords turned it down? Good for them. A shame they won’t next time as there are no hereditaries any more. But how is this anything other than supporting my point? We used to have this thing called habeus corpus. You may have heard of it. We got rid of that in 2005 – nearly three quarters of a millennium worth of defending our civil liberties and it was junked. For, if I remember correctly, a 14 day detention without charge. Then in 2006 Blair wanted a 90 day limit. But that was rejected for a 28 day period. Then they tried again for 42 days but withdrew the bill. So in the very recent past – recent enough for you to still have the newspapers stacked in the shed – we have gone from having the right to demand the government not arrest people without charge, to the government having the right to hold them for 28 days without any charges at all. Explain to me how this is not a loss of freedom? I would be delighted to hear your logic. The fact that the Lords managed to snatch a token triumph from an otherwise complete rout is utterly irrelevant.

How intimidating do YOU find writing a letter, SMFS? Because I think you might be in the minority here. Most of us can handle it without going bankrupt or having a mental breakdown.

And yet you whine about being stopped and searched. Even less of a fuss than a letter. But it is typical of your on-going approach to this that you pretend this is all it will be. The letter is the first step. The ASA has no legal right to even ask for such a letter. The threat of legal action is serious even if you want to pretend otherwise.

Horseshit. I specifically pointed out that this isn’t about the decision, it’s about the fact that the ASA has the gall to investigate such a superior and important person as Cranmer in the first place. I never said the ASA are infallible, I just think Cranmer is pathetic for whining that they haven’t granted him special privileges. So grow the fuck up.

The only person who thinks Cranmer is superior and important is you. It is about the fact that the ASA has abused its powers in what looks like an effort to shut down a political discussion they do not like. Produce a single quote by Cranmer that would even suggest otherwise. You are rationalising your dislike for him. He is not asking for special privileges – your making sh!t up again. He is asking for what he thinks is the long-established and God-given freedom to all British people to make a comment on politics. Freely. You may disagree with him but you need to stop lying about what he has said and why.

23. Northern Worker

Having seen this discussion I went and found Cranmer. He had just posted his letter back to the ASA. In it he points out that a lot of websites have published this advert including Conservative Home and Guido. Apparently neither has received a similar communication from the ASA. Cranmer speculates that this is because CH is back by Lord Ashcroft’s millions and Guido is influential – both would wipe the floor with the ASA. I think he’s right the ASA is a bully picking on the weakest kid.

I don’t necessarily agree with Cranmer’s comments, but as the old phrase goes I defend to the death his right to say it. The ASA is being mendacious and entirely inappropriate.

Expressing your political point of view must never be illegal. Those on this website who disagree should be careful what they wish for or something here might provoke a similarly inappropriate response from the ASA.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 Northern Worker

“Having seen this discussion I went and found Cranmer. He had just posted his letter back to the ASA. In it he points out that a lot of websites have published this advert including Conservative Home and Guido. Apparently neither has received a similar communication from the ASA. Cranmer speculates that this is because CH is back by Lord Ashcroft’s millions and Guido is influential – both would wipe the floor with the ASA. I think he’s right the ASA is a bully picking on the weakest kid.”

In what way would these people “wipe the floor” with the ASA? What kind of fight are you envisioning?

“I don’t necessarily agree with Cranmer’s comments, but as the old phrase goes I defend to the death his right to say it. The ASA is being mendacious and entirely inappropriate.”

It’s the ASA’s job to investigate complaints that fall within its remit and that look like they might be valid. It normally starts the process by writing to the person who’s been complained about and giving them the chance to provide their point of view, as well as any evidence that supports factual claims. Failing to do so would be dereliction of duty.

What makes Cranmer so special that you think he should be above the rules that everyone else has to follow?

“Expressing your political point of view must never be illegal.”

Agreed, and I don’t think there’s much merit to the “offensive” claim. Although that said, Christians once got an ad shut down over “offensiveness” because it featured a man dressed as a priest kissing a woman dressed as a nun, so it seems the ASA errs on the side of caution here.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ SMFS

“It depends on what the police are doing and how often they do it. I would love to hear you assert that police questioning cannot be harassment […] People here usually claim Stop and Search is harassment. Glad to hear you no longer do Chaise. After all, who can object to being stopped and searched? Not remotely like harassment is it?”

Get to the bit where you explain why the police should never be able to question anyone.

“Where has he asked for special treatment?”

He wants carte blanche to show whatever ads he likes, whereas we mere mortals are subject to regulatory oversight.

“Loses the case. Sure. He can lawyer up and spend a long time fighting this case – forcing him to out himself so to speak. Not going to have a chilling effect on his willingness and ability to post at all.”

If he loses the case and decides to appeal, sure, he wants a lawyer. But that’s a problem with our legal system as a whole, and he doesn’t need a lawyer just for the case itself, which seems likely to rule in his favour anyway. Should we remove all laws and rules so that nobody ever has to appeal?

“The ASA cannot directly shut down blogs, but they can harass someone into giving up. Which is, I imagine, his intent.”

Sorry, who is “he” in this? And why is the ASA doing its job suddenly “harrassment” when you happen to like the person being investigated? Pretty much anyone investigated by the ASA could whine about harrassment. So are you demanding we remove all oversight on advertising, or that some people get special privileges?

“I just love the way you have gone all obtuse about the effects of this sort of bullying now it is someone you don’t like on the other end. It takes a particular sort of willful blindness not to see the effects of this.”

Um, no, it takes the ability to comprehend that holding someone to the normal rules is not bullying.

“Plus the costs of seeking legal advice. Plus the accusation of homophobia which is a criminal offence. Not just ten minutes is it?”

One: homophobia is not a criminal offense.

Two: he doesn’t need legal advice. He just needs to provide his sources and explain his POV. Maybe 20 minutes.

“The ASA is set up to stop people claiming hydrochloric acid is good stomach medicine. The Bish was not doing anything like that. He was engaging in a political statement of a sort. Not selling anything. Not encouraging people to donate money. Engaging in an on-going political process. What responsibility does he have for merely reporting a poll finding? Go on tell me.”

By making the ad, he’s responsible for making a reasonable effort to ensure factual claims are accurate. If he has done so (and if the ASA doesn’t slap him down for “offensiveness”, which it can be heavyhanded about) then this won’t go any further. As regards the poll, he’ll only get in trouble if deception is involved, and by “get in trouble” I mean “be told to pull the ad”.

“We have allowed civil partnerships – but only at the cost of massive losses of freedom elsewhere.”

Oh, right, your freedom to oppress people. My heart bleeds for you.

“The Gay Rights agenda is unlike, say, the rights for Jews because when Jews were emancipated that was a genuine increase in freedom. With Gay Rights we also got a large body of government officials empowered to intervene in virtually every aspect of our lives. Which was the point I suppose. It is a net loss.”

Sorry, what officials, and what parts of our lives? The reds under your bed?

“LC as a whole has no commitment to civil liberties at all.”

So? It still campaigns for some civil liberties. It’s just not hot on freedom of expression, sadly.

“So in the very recent past – recent enough for you to still have the newspapers stacked in the shed – we have gone from having the right to demand the government not arrest people without charge, to the government having the right to hold them for 28 days without any charges at all. Explain to me how this is not a loss of freedom? I would be delighted to hear your logic.”

Of course it’s a loss of freedom. Again: so? You’re playing No True Scotsman. I didn’t say that all recent changes to civil liberties have been positive. I said that your statement that nobody fights for civil liberties was blatant lies, which it is. As you can’t offer a counterpoint I assume you secretly accept this.

“And yet you whine about being stopped and searched.”

I’ve never whined about being stopped and searched. I’ve never been stopped and searched. My feelings on the matter itself are more complicated that “we should never stop and search people”.

“Even less of a fuss than a letter.”

Stop and search, justfied or not, is an invasion of privacy. I’d rather write a letter. But the reason people object to stop and search – the point you’re artlessly avoiding – is that the same people get stopped repeatedly because of their demographic. I’m in favour of stop and search for genuinely suspicious behaviour. I’m in favour of the ASA opening an investigation if there appears to be a case to answer. Oh look, consistency.

“But it is typical of your on-going approach to this that you pretend this is all it will be. The letter is the first step. The ASA has no legal right to even ask for such a letter.”

Of course it does. Under what law is it prohibited for asking for a letter? Perhaps you mean “demand” a letter. In which case it doesn’t and it hasn’t. But if Cranmer can’t be bothered to even write a couple of paragraphs and provide a source for his data, he can hardly complain if the decision goes against him. Kind of like if you were arrested for a crime, knew of evidence that would absolve you, but exercised your right to silence about it because you thought you were too good for the courts.

“The threat of legal action is serious even if you want to pretend otherwise.”

Let’s hope he hasn’t broken the rules, then.

“The only person who thinks Cranmer is superior and important is you.”

And you and Cranmer.

“It is about the fact that the ASA has abused its powers in what looks like an effort to shut down a political discussion they do not like.”

Please explain how they have abused their powers. All you’ve got so far is whining about how mean the ASA are for doing their job. If they’ve broken the rules on political advertising, then I agree they’re wrong (obv), but it’s hard to tell till they explain their reasoning.

“Produce a single quote by Cranmer that would even suggest otherwise.”

Sure: “Who do these people think they are?”

“You are rationalising your dislike for him.”

Never heard about him till now. I have a general dislike for people who think they are above the rules, especially when they pretend to be the victim. Cranmer is building his own cross so he can semonise from it, so to speak.

“He is not asking for special privileges – your making sh!t up again.”

No, no, he doesn’t want the rules to apply to him. Do keep up.

“He is asking for what he thinks is the long-established and God-given freedom to all British people to make a comment on politics. Freely. You may disagree with him but you need to stop lying about what he has said and why.”

What he’s said is that he refuses to engage in the normal regulatory process and that the ASA are up themselves for asking him to do so. Kind of reminds me of the stereotypical spoiled privileged noble in fiction: “Of course you can’t arrest me, you horrible little commoner”.

From what I know, I think the ad itself is fine. If Cranmer can deign to admit he is subject to human rules and explain why it’s fine, then it should stop there (unless the figures are dodgy). If he’s done on “offense” I’ll join you in claiming the ASA are too stringent. But I’m not going to pretend he’s being bullied simply for being asked to write a letter, because I’m not hysterical.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ Northern Worker again

Come to think of it, the ASA addresses the advertiser, not the person who displays the ad. So do we know whether the other parties copied the ad from Cranmer? If so, that’s why the ASA would write to him.

27. Robin Levett

@Northern Worker #23:

Cranmer speculates that this is because CH is back by Lord Ashcroft’s millions and Guido is influential – both would wipe the floor with the ASA. I think he’s right the ASA is a bully picking on the weakest kid.

Erm, no, The ASA is, as is its remit, asking someone against whom a complaint has been made for his side of the story. Has a complaint been made against Conservative Home and Guido Fawkes? If not, that might just explain the difference in treatment.

28. Chaise Guevara

I have to say that LC, in its desire to show religious people getting themselves in trouble, hasn’t exactly helped to clarify the case. The article itself is excellent, but the “ASA vs Archbishop” title (Sunny’s contribution, I assume), makes it sound as if there’s a fight going on between the two.

In reality, some people have complained about Cranmer, the ASA has done its job and written to him for comment, and he’s thrown his toys out of his pram. But from the title, it’s not surprising that people are getting confused and thinking that the ASA initiated the complaint, or that it’s decided against Cranmer already.

29. Chaise Guevara

Oh, here we go: http://asa.org.uk/Media-Centre/2012/ASA-statement-on-Coalition-for-Marriage-ads.aspx

From what I can tell, Cranmer isn’t under investigation as he isn’t the originator of the ad. He’s been contacted because the “offence” claim hangs in part on the readership – i.e. is it likely that the ad will be seen by people who find it offensive – and by contacting people hosting the ad, the ASA is able to get insight in this regard.

It also confirms, if confirmation were needed, that the investigation is just that: an investigation. No decision has been made. So Cranmer’s gotten the wrong end of the stick and then acted like a brat about it. Possibly to help feed the “Christians are persecuted” narrative.

So Cranmer is wrong, the OP is wrong, and a lot of the commenters are even wronger.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare you?! http://t.co/UpmP5d45

  2. ian sewell

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare you?! http://t.co/UpmP5d45

  3. I am Spartacus… | Shades of Grey

    […] Story here, here, here, even here. […]

  4. andrew

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop … – Liberal Conspiracy: As a general rule of thumb anything that… http://t.co/IZLS5Ymb

  5. Persecution? Prove it. | Edinburgh Eye

    […] Update or as Unity at Liberal Conspiracy puts it: “Where ‘persecution’ once meant getting nailed to a tree or tossed into an arena to […]

  6. Advertising Trends

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare …: As a general rule of thumb anything that w… http://t.co/sITXhf2J

  7. c hall

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare …: As a general rule of thumb anything that w… http://t.co/Xc8uqzld

  8. Owen Blacker

    Blogger is asked to justify dodgy stats in his anti-gay-marriage advert; gets all faux-outraged http://t.co/3Aode613

  9. G*

    Blogger is asked to justify dodgy stats in his anti-gay-marriage advert; gets all faux-outraged http://t.co/3Aode613

  10. For Free

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare … http://t.co/2Y1BrP7y

  11. Mechelle Busby

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare … http://t.co/rDttj3OG

  12. Tech News

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare … http://t.co/S1DlhrG6 #news #iTwtTchNws

  13. Harumi Santillan

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare …: As a general rule of thumb anything that w… http://t.co/j1RaBMOs

  14. BevR

    Advertising Standards Authority vs Archbishop Cranmer – how dare you?! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/9c5pJpW3 via @libcon

  15. Advertising Standards Authority persecutes His Grace…ASA harangues well known blogger over polite call to sign a petition against gay marriage « Melon Farmers Blog

    […] May 2012. See article […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.