The news as told by the UK’s tabloid press – The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and News of the World.
Mike Dean is the Premier League referee in the spotlight. In days gone by he’d have been ‘Mr Dean from [insert place here]’. The media would have shown deference to his job. Now he’s Mike and you don’t know his address in case someone puts his windows in.
The Sun loves to give Mike a bashing. And it’s delighted to report that Mike’s been relegated. Adam Jones writes:
What will this do for Mike Dean’s ego? …he’s been dropped to the Championship for this weekend’s fixtures.
Mike’s the referee for the Barnsley v Leeds United match.
Or as the Daily Mail puts it:
Dean asked to officiate in the second tier after doing six consecutive high-profile Premier League games live on TV
So much for Mr Dean’s ego.
Donald Trump’s presidency is causing one Guardian writer to come over all anti-democratic.
I turned off the radio after Obama said, in his final speech: “In 10 days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next.” I yearned for a leader who would say something like: “Hey, there was foreign intervention in this election, along with voter disenfranchisement, so maybe it wasn’t free and fair.”
You might recall when Barack Obama popped over to the UK to tell Britishers how voting for Brexit would relegate the country to the “back of the queue”? As Henry Kissinger put it: “Obama seems to think of himself not as part of a political process, but as sui generis, a unique phenomenon with a unique capacity.”
The Guardian writer adds:
We didn’t need to know the minutiae of the Russian intervention; we already knew that it raised questions so grave that the whole transfer of power should have been halted while it was investigated.
So is democracy not free and fair when it delivers the result you don’t want?
Only one tabloid leads with Donald Trump’ inauguration. The Mirror introduces the 45th President of the United States. “Now the world holds its breath,” it adds. Over pages 4 and 5 readers are told “IT COULD ALL GO VERY BADLY WRONG.” The paper produces a listicle: “20 reasons why Trump’s reign could be a disaster for USA & World.”
Across the page, we see a picture of the Obamas sharing a hug as they gaze out from the White House. The message is clear: the good times are over. The good people are gone.
But let’s look at that list.
2. The rich will get richer.
What of Obama’s record, under whom African-Americans’ economic fortunes declined?
4. Deport illegal immigrants.
Under Obama, the US facilitated around 2.5million deportations. A record.
This is not to undermine Obama’s achievements and record. As the New York Times reports, Obama pulled “the nation back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”. This is to highlight monocular reporting of a man whose wife billed him as “a leader who’s going to touch our souls”.
Lest any reader not have got the Mirror’s point, its editorial thunders, “Reasons to be fearful.” Brian Reade delivers Trump’ speech as he imagines it. People are “subjects of the Trump organisation”. But didn’t we all buy into Obama’s world, the man whose identity was key to his success? When Trayvon Martin was killed by a white Hispanic vigilante in 2012, Trump opined: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
So how do you follow that? What is Obama’s legacy? Is it Donald Trump? “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America: there’s the United States of America,” said Obama in 2004. Now what do you see in a country where ‘white man’ has become an insult more than an observation?
Once all eyes were on Obama the man not the party activist, a politico branded ‘The One’, by Oprah Winfrey; now they are on Trump and his identity.
Plus ca change.
Click Balls: a look at dire football reporting designed to trick readers. The Daily Express has news for Arsenal fans. The paper’s headline is a scoop. “CONFIRMED: Arsene Wenger announces new Arsenal deal.” Looks like Wenger will stay at Arsenal for even longer. It’s 20 years and counting.
But wait a minute…
The Daily Star, from the same stable as the Express, has a similar take on the news that defender Per Mertesacker has signed a one-year extension on his current deal. This is how Google sees the story:
And you wonder why the Press is in trouble?
Update: The Express seems to have found an editor who respects their readers and doesn’t seem them as advertisers’ fodder. The headline has now been altered:
Is Uri Geller a weapon? What about just a bit of a weapon? The Star hears the spoon-bender say he met with the CIA to see if he could be “used as a weapon”.
This is promising idea, readers. If the UK pulls out of the European Union, as now seems highly likely, we’ll be forced to repatriate the myriad ‘stars’ in the Celebrity Silo just outside Brussels. What better way to kill two bids with one stone – and, Orville, we’re talking to you – than by spicing up any trade wars by sending Geller and more to Paris on a trebuchet?
The Mirror has the same story, only now it’s an “exclusive”. In the “CIA Geller files”, the celebrity who “seemingly bends spoons with his mind” tells the paper that in 1972 “the CIA tested me at Stanford Research Institute and I passed under laboratory conditions, twice.” He says he was also tested at the American Surface Weapons Center in Maryland and the Lawns Livermore Radiation Labs. “They wanted to seem if my mind could trigger a nuclear weapons.”
Geller’s testing is part of 800,000 files – 13 million pages – of declassified documents released online yesterday.
In one experiment a researcher picked a word at random. Another researcher draw a picture inspired by it and stuck it on a wall outside outside Geller’s room. Geller was then invited to reproduce it. The Mirror says he identified “bunch” by drawing a bunch of grapes and “fuse” by drawing a firecracker. The Mirror does not say how many he got wrong. But the Times says: “Sometimes his efforts were hopelessly off but others proved eerily accurate.”
We don’t know if Geller can fire a nuclear weapon with his mind, but knowing Donald Trump can fire one with his little finger is far more impressive and almost nearly as worrying.
You know Celebrity Big Brother is dead when something better and harder-edged comes along to replace it. The Star trails the new show on its cover: “VIOLENT BBC STAR PULLED OUT Of HOUSE – Locked in ‘padded cell’ by security.” Slap a few cameras on the walls and you’ve a new take on Bedlam, the Bethlem Royal Hospital, where the insane were locked inside to be gawped at by the well of mind and examined by the sinister.
And the language hasn’t changed much since those dark days in the history of mental health treatment. “Bonkers Kim Woodburn,” begins the Star’s story. After or during a televised “row” with Jamie O’Hara, a former footballer once married to serial footballer-dater Danielle Lloyd, “the wild-eyed How Clean is Your House? star” [answer: it’s ****ing filthy] was “locked in a side room”, where she remained for the rest of the night.
Peering down at the CBB Petri Dish, we also learn that O’Hara “got hot and steamy” with Bianca Gascoigne, former footballer Paul Gascoigne’s step-daughter. “Producers think it is a matter of time before a full-blown romp,” we’re told.
We’ll leave you with César de Saussure’s account of Bedlam during his 1725 tour of London’s sights.
…either side of which are a large number of little cells where lunatics of every description are shut up, and you can get a sight of these poor creatures, little windows being let into the doors. Many inoffensive madmen walk in the big gallery. On the second floor is a corridor and cells like those on the first floor, and this is the part reserved for dangerous maniacs, most of them being chained and terrible to behold. On holidays numerous persons of both sexes, but belonging generally to the lower classes, visit this hospital and amuse themselves watching these unfortunate wretches, who often give them cause for laughter. On leaving this melancholy abode, you are expected by the porter to give him a penny but if you happen to have no change and give him a silver coin, he will keep the whole sum and return you nothing
Bonkers and Bonkers is coming to a screen near you soon.
The Manchester United v Liverpool match was memorable for a number of things, according to the clickbait-mad Press.
The Mirror’s football expert learned “five things” from watching the game, one of which is that Paul Pogba’s “handball handed Liverpool the early advantage”. That was the handball that gave Liverpool a penalty kick, from which they scored their only goal of the game. David McDonnell leaned that. He also learned that Wayne Rooney got a yellow card and “Ibrahimovic keeps on scoring”, which he did when he scored United’s equaliser.
The Express also learned five things, one of which is, “Simon Mignolet put on a solid display.”
Coincidentally, the Sun also learned five things. Fred Nathan delivers his fistful of insight. He watched Pogba give away a penalty and learned that he “must not let silly mistakes creep into his game”.
In the Indy, which didn’t make enough money to remain as proper paper so went web only, there are just four things learned. But Fox News, which has oodles of money, learned seven things. Ryan Rosenblatt learned that when United and Liverpool drop points, their rivals are pleased. The other top sides “love this result” he learned.
But the prize for the biggest Clickbait Balls goes to the dire Daily Telegraph. The once great newspaper is now a clickbait factory. “Martin Tyler accused of ‘bias’ following Manchester United vs Liverpool commentary,” says the headline. It also says just that in the URL for the story:
So who accused Sky TV’s commentator of bias? Liverpool boss Jugen Klopp? Manchester Untied manager Jose Mourinho? Well, no. A clue to how the story was the product of the paper’s clickbait factory is in the now revised headline: “Liverpool fans round on Martin Tyler following Manchester United’s last minute equaliser at Old Trafford.”
They “rounded on” Tyler on Twitter. The Telegraph picks three tweets to back up its story, which beings: “Paranoid Liverpool fans are becomingly increasingly convinced that SkySports’ Martin Tyler is a secret Manchester United fan.”
Martin Tyler just called Zlatan: “THE TOWER OF POWER!” #MUNLIV
Still coming to terms with the fact Martin Tyler just called Zlatan the ‘Tower of Power’, since when has that been a thing?
Lest you think those “paranoid” Liverpool fans are just having a laugh and mocking Tyler’s absurd phrase, @Footy Humour tweets the third piece of evidence.
Martin Tyler: “Rooney here. Is it in the script? Is it in the stars?”
*Rooney gives away posession*
Martin Tyler: *silence*
The troubling thing is that the clickbait works. The story even the Telegraph recognised as bad enough to warrant a chance of headline (but not a change of URL) is the second biggest story on the paper’s website:
Such are the facts.
More on Graham Taylor in the Sun, where he is “Golden Graham”, “legend” and “hero”. Taylor “never bore a grudge”, says the Sun, “even after this.” The ‘this’ was the paper’s headline ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’, dreamt up after Taylor’s England side had lost a big match.
Far from holding a grudge, the Sun says Taylor “admired” the headline that “summed up his failure as England manager”.
But did that headline really sum up Taylor’s tenure as England’s manager? The Sun is being far too modest. Surely the headline that said so much was this one,which called golden Graham “Turnip Taylor’ and for added ooomph superimposed the root vegetable on his head.
The Sun came to bury him.
The image might have escaped the Sun’s eyes today, but The Times, it’s New Corp. stablemate, does recall it. It says far from being delighted with the Sun’s mockery, Taylor was “upset” by it.
The Sun apologises for anyone who read its newspaper and thought Graham Taylor a useless fool. It turns out he was brilliant.
Graham Taylor is a “legend” in the Sun. The former England football manager, who achieved so much at Watford, has died. He was 72. The Sun calls him a “hero”. He was “Golden Graham”.
Sun columnist Ian Wight says the “England boss” gave him his “Number 1 England memory”.
For many Sun readers, the Number 1 England memory of legendary hero was when the paper turned him into a turnip.
When Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter told EastEnders viewers the Queen Vic’s Italian supper was “Eyetie night” he triggered a “race row”. So bad is that the Daily Star, the paper that once cheered for the EDL, is aghast.
“Danny Dyer’s character made a slur against Italians,” trills the paper on its front page. By Page 3 it’s a full-blown “race storm”. Soap fans are in a state of “fury”. For those readers not au fait with racism and not yet furious, Lauren Clarke tells us, “Eyetie is a derogatory word for Italian people which emerged during World War Two.”
The Sun agrees. Danny Dyer is “‘Eyetie’ Order”. “The “insult” is used as “offensive slang” rooted in wartime.
Eyetie’s a bit like kraut, a slang term for Germans, which is a bit like ‘Hun’ or ‘Jerries’ – or Argie, a way of talking about Argentineans, which may or not be derogatory depending on what paper you read:
These are few articles in the racially sensitive Daily Star:
And in the Sun:
Zuch are zer facts.
Nutella gives you cancer. Maybe. Maybe not. The Daily Mail is taking no chances, warning its readers that the sugary spread offers eaters potentially lethal side effects. Well, one of its ingredients might be cancerous. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says palm oil, which makes the spread smooth, is “more carcinogenic than any other oil”.
Ferrero, which makes the goo, should know that last year the Mail reported on another of its products. “Kinder chocolate found to contain possible cancer-causing oil,” thundered the headline.
Germany’s Foodwatch found the Kinder Reigel contained mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), which the European Food Safety Agency has said ‘may be carcinogenic’.
Or to put it another way: MOAH may not be carcinogenic.
Kinder also make Ferrero Rocher chocs. Those over-sweet balls contain palm oil. Did the Mail fail to spot the alleged danger when it reported on Nigel Farage’s party:
We know Farage and the Mail want a hard Brexit, but surely neither don’t want the EU offed in such a brutal manner?
Big news on the Sun’s cover is that teetotal Muslims who eat at Brewer’s Fayre and Whitbread Inn pubs will be “outraged” to learn their beef lasagne contains pork. How many Muslims are shocked, dismayed and angered by the presence of non-kosher meats in their non-halal stomach liner could run into the single digits.
The cheesy beef lasagne is, we’re told, 8.5 percent beef and 4.5 per cent pork.
The meal is made by Creative Foods in Flint, Wales. The Sun recalls that in 2013 Creative “sold lasagne containing horse DNA to Whitbread”. Which, as any Italian will tell you, made it pretty authentic.
What do we make of the news that ‘A British man who fell pregnant after he used Facebook to find a sperm donor has said he will be the “greatest dad”.’ That’s the start of the Indy‘s article on Hayden Cross, 20, a woman who, having been told by the NHS that she wouldn’t be able to freeze her eggs for use at a later date due to her hormonal gender transitioning, found a sperm donor on the web and got pregnant.
The Indy says, “He is now four months pregnant and may be the first British man ever to give birth.” Be he isn’t. Because, well, he’s not a he. He is not pregnant. She is. We can agree on that, surely? No. The Sun says, “He is legally male.”
The Indy is at pains to tell readers that Hayden Cross is a man. “Mr Cross said his first attempt using donor sperm had been successful and he would continue his transition process to remove his breasts and ovaries as soon as he has given birth,” says the paper.
Every paper agrees that Hayden is a pregnant man.
PREGNANT DAD-TO-BE Who is Hayden Cross? UK’s first pregnant man undergoing gender realignment treatment – Sun
FIRST PREGNANT MAN! British man four months pregnant after receiving sperm donation – Express
Proudly showing off his baby bump: Former Asda worker is the first British MAN to become PREGNANT after finding a sperm donor on Facebook – Mail
Hayden (born Paige) tells the Sun: “In September I got pregnant by a sperm donation. I found the donor on the internet… The man came to my house, he passed me the sperm in a pot and I did it via a syringe. I felt I’d no choice, I couldn’t afford a proper clinic. I don’t know who the bloke was. To be honest I can’t remember anything about him. He wouldn’t even tell me his name. He said he was just doing it to help people.”
Can Hayden be certain the sperm was the man’s and not harvested from another source? If you got a pot of jism from a stranger would you be not a little circumspect?
“It was the first attempt and it worked,” adds Hayden. “I was really lucky.”
It is an unusual story. But is there really no newspaper editor looking on thinking it’s not the story of a pregnant man?
The Daily Mail loves to give the BBC a bashing. Today it bring news that “The BBC has spent more than £100,000 in three years on alcohol”. Lest any readers think the Beeb was buying ethanol to swap down ex DJs’ chairs, the Mail tells us that booze is “spirits, beer and cider and sparkling wine”.
A Freedom of Information act request revealed a total spend of £115,049 in 2013, 2014, and 2015 on wine, beer, cider and spirits.
The BBC employs around 21,000 staff. The bar bill also includes guests, all those celebs and politicos who need greasing up before making noises to deadline. There were 170-odd different panelists on Question Time alone.
A BBC spokesman tells the paper:
“The BBC has clear policies that drinks may only purchased where there is an appropriate business purpose such as production hospitality for guests and costs have come down by 40 per cent compared to this time last year.”
It is an odd state of affairs when a newspaper criticises another media outfit for having too large a drinks bill. What is newsworthy is how remarkably small that bill is, not quite a low as the slate at the Mosul Courier but most certainly not a large stinger.
When did British journalists become such prudes?
In 2015, the late Christopher Hitchens recalled an early brush with a hack in the 1960s. He spotted “a man of impossibly fly-blown and lugubrious appearance; his skin sallow and wrinkled, an unfiltered cigarette in his mouth; his eyes like piss-holes in the snow. Only one detail was required to complete the scene, and at first my disordered senses almost refused to register it. Stuck in the corner of his windscreen was a faint and tattered card that read ‘PRESS’. It was yellow all right. It might as well have been stuck in the band of his hat.”
Meanwhile, in 2016 we’d like to see the Beeb’s bill for smart juices and goji berries. ‘Health before sport’, as they say in the bidding chambers.
The Daily Star presses f9 on the keyboard and gargles up news on Katie Price, the former glamour model “BACK IN CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER”. For those of you not watching the current series of CBB – yes, it’s still on – the knackered show features lots of Z-listers who unable to achieve lasting fame based on any talent have slinked back inside the house. CBB is a repeat, in much the way TV panel shows are: the same faces making familiar comments to deadline.
Given ubiquitous Katie’s busy home life, a few weeks on CBB must be akin to passing time in a retreat away from the public eye.
But she’s not on CBB. The Star’s headline contains a caveat: Katie will return to the show if “telly bosses hand her a huge fee”. How likely that is depends on the current crop of no-marks’ ability to entertain.
Over pages 4 and 5, the Star lets us know how that’s panning out. There is, as ever there was, talk of a “race row”. Apparently Stacy Francis was “edited out”. It might be an idea to first introduce the woman you can’t see (you can). Stacy is not former footballer Trevor Francis’ daughter, stretching the football gene that offers CBB beds and board to Paul Gascoigne’s step-daughter and George Best’s son. Stacey appeared on the X Factor’s US version.
Over in the Sun, we learn that Francis is embroiled in a “HOMOPHOBIC ROW”.
The tabloids look for racism and homophobia in a talent show contestant’s dust, supporting their front-page shockers with comments from Outraged of Twitter and viewers unable to notice that anyone watching CBB in the hope of being anything but offended is propped up on pills and pillows in an institution with the remote control just out of reach.
It’s pretty clear that CBB and its tabloid partners need Pricey. And when she enters the house by the revolving door Katie will spark controversy. She has made remarks about Calum Best – “comments too rude for a family newspaper.” But surely ok for one with a topless stunna on page 3 and adverts for onanists to get “quick relief” via phones and hardcore porn channels? Sadly no. The Star doesn’t share the comments. You’ll have to wait until Katie struts onto the CBB stage to hear them. Or watch recordings of her from a pervious show.
Deep on page 9 of the Daily Mirror is the story of four Chelsea fans found guilty of racist violence and given suspended prisoner sentences by a French judge. The four white men were accused of pushing a back man off a Metro train in Paris ahead of Chelsea’s Champions’ League match with PSG. “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it,” belched fans as the video rolled.
A nasty little event was then amplified beyond all proportion. The Sun led with the news:
Readers were ordered to “FIND PIGS OF PARIS”. The Sun said “an international hunt” was under way for the bellends who also chanted the refrain “Where were you in World War 2?”. It was the type of cross-border hunt usually reserved for jihadis and master criminals. It was that serious.
The then Prime Minister, David Cameron, lifted his blinkers away from Syria and the EU Referendum to tell us that the matter was “extremely worrying”. “These are very, very serious matters.” Nick Clegg said, without irony given his career: “‘I was so ashamed.”
The United Nations – no, I’m not making this up – thought it wise to comment. “It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism, to re-energize the effort to combat it in all its forms wherever it occurs,” said a spokesman. It was, he said, “cruel”. The United Nations is hot on cruelty, human rights and racism, after all just look at the members who sit on its panel: Bangladesh (“Security forces continue enforced disappearances, killings, and arbitrary arrests with impunity”), China (“Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners have faced particularly severe repression in recent years, including forced conversion, torture and imprisonment”), Qatar (“Discrimination against women remains entrenched in both law and practice) and Saudi Arabia (“Members of other faiths can worship privately, but non-Muslim houses of worship may not be built”).
Across the global feelings were hurt by oafs on a Paris tube train. Idiots had been caught behaving sadly. But the elite in Westminster and what used to be Fleet Street wanted more. They held the video up as being a sign of much greater ills. And once again football – the great meritocratic melting pot watched by slum people – was in the dock.
There are no black faces on the Government’s front benches; no black editors of national newspapers; no black faces on the Metropolitan police leadership team; but get a load of those berks on the Paris Metro. There’s your racism. Happily for the elite who use football as a extension of Moral Health UK, the Chelsea fans were wearing club colours.
The elite like their racists white, preferably working class and always obvious.
The Daily Mail (number of black faces on board: nil), knows racism when it sees it. It delivered the time-honoured “LEAGUE OF SHAME”, a list of football fans arrested for “racist and abusive chanting”. The Daily Star (which once supported the EDL) said the “Hate thugs face 3 years’ jail”. “There is a greater shame here because we foolishly, naively, believed the issue of racism among our football supporters was a thing of the past,” wrote Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay opined in the paper’s 40-odd articles on the incident: “For decades this kind of thing has happened, continues to happen, and most troubling, appears to be happening a little more now.”
One by one these wrong ‘uns were lined up to be shot at. Josh Parsons came to epitomise racism. The Sun led with a picture of Parsons. The Times showed us photo of his home in Dorking. He was an ex-public schoolboy. He was a “City high-flyer”. He had studied at “30,000-a-year” Millfield school. He worked for the Business and Commercial Club in Mayfair. And in case you still couldn’t find him, the Sun said his office was on Mayfair, Central London.
Grab your torches! Saddle up! Let’s roll!
And as you journeyed to the lynching, know this – Star told readers: “Meanwhile, season ticket holder Josh Parsons, 21, one of those filmed, is a UKIP supporter who enjoyed a pint with Nigel Farage”.
Damned in print and monstered by the highest offices in global diplomacy, the men who abused Souleymane Sylla, 34, are now buried deep in the papers. Parsons, billed as a”trainee scaffolder”, Jamie Fairbairn, a civil engineer, Richard Barklie and William Simpson are no longer the apogee of all wrongs. They were ordered to pay about £9,000 to My Sylla.” That’s a pretty steep fine for being a prat, and far less than the lengthy custodial terms some were hoping for.
You might supposed the story is front-page news elsewhere. But you’d be wrong. It does not appear in the Star. It’s on page 8 of the Mail (“Chelsea yobs told to pay £9k for racist Paris attack”). The Sun shows the story on page 8. In its version Barklie is not 50 years old, as the Mirror says he is, but 52 and an “ex-cop”. We also get more details of the punishment:
Barklie: Tried in his absence, the County Antrim man got a suspended year long jail term. He denied racist violence.
Simpson: Tried in his absence, he got a suspended year long jail term.
Parsons: He went to court and got an eight months suspended sentence.
Fairbairn: He went to court and got a six months suspended sentence.
The Guardian has more. We get to know what happened to Parsons, public enemy Number 1:
Parsons told the court the Métro was packed and the atmosphere was “hot and hostile”. He said Sylla was “bigger than me” and when the commuter tried to get on the carriage “I pushed back”. He said the pushing was not related to the colour of Sylla’s skin. “The only time I knew the skin colour was when I saw the video afterwards,” he said.
Questioned by the state prosecutor, Parsons said that after he pushed Sylla the first time, he chanted “Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea,” and after he pushed him a second time, he chanted “Fuck the IRA”. He said the chant “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” was shouted in another carriage; he did not sing it and he “did not like that chant”.
Parsons said: “I’m very sorry for Mr Sylla but I wasn’t racist in any way.”
Parsons’ lawyer said his life had been affected by the “total hysteria” of the media, members of which had arrived at his home after he was identified as one of the fans in the video. Parsons, who once posed for a photograph with Nigel Farage, said journalists had come on to “my land” and rung his grandmother’s doorbell every half an hour.
He said he had lost his finance job in Mayfair, London, and had briefly moved to Cornwall where he retrained as a scaffolder. His lawyer said Parsons’ entourage described him as a “well-brought-up boy” and two former dormitory friends from his boarding school, who were not white, had testified that he was not racist.
Such are the facts.
Who is the “Fattest of Fat Cats”. The Mirror leads with news that he’s banker Horta Osario. He earns £8.7m a year. But he’s just one of the “fatcat FTSE bosses”[who] will have raked in £28,200 each in 2017 – the same as the average worker will earn on the whole year.” The Mirror lists the fatsos raking in the dough. We see again Osorio (Lloyds Bank), Tony Pidgley (he founded “house building giant” Berkeley and is paid £23.3 million a year) and Jeremy Darroch (the £16.9m-a-year chief executive of Sky plc) and more.
The Mirror does not show that chief executive Simon Fox “saw total pay and benefits for the year  rise to £2,349,000, compared with £1,678,000 in 2014″.
In 2012, the Guardian reported:
Trinity Mirror boss Simon Fox awarded £1.2m in less than four months – Newspaper publisher chief executive’s salary, benefits and shares were awarded between 10 September and end of 2012
His wage is above average.
On page 2, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady (the Mail says her deputy gets “£88,000 a year, 47 days holiday and a gold-plated pension”) says “even when they [fatcats] perform badly top bosses get huge rises and bonuses.”
Back to the Press Gazette’s report on Trinity Mirror and Simon Fox’s massive pay packet:
Regional and national newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has announced operating profit down £16.4m to £82.2m for 2015 on turnover down £44.6m to £592.7m.
“Are bosses really worth 172 times a nurse or 145 times a teacher,” asks Dr Wands Wyporska of the Equality Trust.
Maybe the Mirror’s board can help provide an answer.
Of course, what the CEO of a big company gets paid might be none of our business. Their pay is down to the shareholders.
Hull occupies minds at the Sun. On page 13, Kelvin MacKenzie praises the city’s residents for their “very good sense”.
They voted for Brexit by a “whopping 70 percent”. Hull is the “kind of city Trump identified”. It’s the City of Culture. It’s deserves better than the BBC’s radio report on Siemens investing in the place, during which the pro-Remain Beeb’s reporter was “so wrong” to turn “the whole interview over” to Brexit.
Can this be the same Hull that over pages 8 and 9 is overrun by “yob mayhem” as “lashed-up louts sparked New Year carnage in Hull”? As one “partygoer” tells the Sun: “I’ve been in quieter warzones.”
The post-mortem on George Michael’s body failed to establish a cause of death. There will be further tests. The police are not treating it as suspicious.
But the tabloids know why George Michael died. “Tragic George ‘Killed Himself’,” states the Star’s cover story. “Singer ‘wanted to die’.”
You might think George Michael’s life anything but tragic. Feted, celebrated, admired and adored by many, the singer was a superstar. The Star writes a narrative allegedly fed by a Twitter account apparently linked to Fadi Fawaz, Michael’s boyfriend, who, as the Times notes, found the singer “lying peacefully” in bed at his 16th-century cottage in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
The paper broadcasts the tweets: “the only thing George wanted is to DIE”; “he tried numbers of time to kill himself many times…”; “and finally he managed…” All troubling. And then below a picture of Fadi walking the Star supplies the caption: “Fadi claims he is hacking victim”.
The Sun, which also leads with the story of a tweet, says Fadi Fawaz’s profile has been “quickly deleted”.
He says he didn’t send those tweets.
The Mirror wrings more from “the mystery”. In “Final hours of pop legend” the paper thunders : “GEORGE’S LOVER: I SLEPT IN MY CAR AS HE DIED ALONE.” Farwaz tells the paper: “I did not send those tweets.” The Mirror then says, “It is unclear why he spent the night apart from his 53-year-old lover”. Farwz says, “I fell asleep in my car and I never saw him that night.”
For those of you seeking more official action, it’s worth noting what else the Mirror reports: “Fadi was pictured buying coffee on Christmas Eve from a shop near George’s home… He was wearing sandals and socks.”
Were his feet hacked? Or is it now fashionable to dress like a summering vicar on a Norfolk beach?
The mystery continues.
Anis Amri is the man wanted in connection with the massacre at a Berlin Christmas market. The Sun says he was “freed” three times by German police this year alone. The 24-year-old Tunisian was under “covert surveillance” months before the horror in Berlin. Now the police want to survey him as close quarters. Anyone who knows where Anis Amri is can earn £85,000 by telling the police. (The reward is €100,000.)
We then get a few facts. Amri arrived in Europe in 2012, landing by boat in Italy and posing as a minor. In June 2015 he arrived in Germany. In April 2016 he was refused asylum. The Germans wanted to send him back to Tunisia but the Tunisians said they had no idea if he was one of theirs. Amri had no papers.
The Times manages to establish Amri’s roots by speaking to his family in Tunisia.
Speaking to The Times yesterday from Kairouan, Tunisia, Amri’s father said that his son had been a violent, drug-taking adolescent. He was jailed for four years in Italy for setting fire to a migrant reception centre before arriving in Germany in February.
When did he arrive in Germany, was it February or April? The Press seem unsure. The Express says he’s 23. The Express and Mail says he arrived in Germany in July 2015. The Mail says he’s 24 in one report and in another that’s he’s 23.
Today is Anis Amri’s birthday. He’s now 24.
The Times adds:
Expulsion orders had been issued but the Italian and German governments could not deport him until Tunisia confirmed his identity and granted him a passport, which was finally issued yesterday.
Scheduled to be sent packing, Amri struck? Well, that’s the allegation.
The Mirror says Amri – the “world’s most wanted man” – could have been injured with the Polish driver whose lorry he allegedly stole. “It is believed that Lukasz Urban, 37, fought with the terrorist as the vehicle began to plough into the Breitscheidplatz market in west Berlin,” says the Times. “Mr Urban was found dead in the cab, having been stabbed and shot.”
Really? The men were fighting as the truck ploughed into shoppers? And how do we come to know Amri? The Guardian notes:
German authorities said they had found Amri’s identity card under the driver’s seat of the truck he allegedly drove into a crowd of people at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.
Does that strike anyone as odd? A devious known criminal left his ID paper by the seat of the vehicle that murdered so many?
“When I saw the picture of my brother in the media, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’m in shock, and can’t believe it’s him who committed this crime,” Amri’s brother Abdelkader Amri tells AFP. “But if he’s guilty, he deserves every condemnation. We reject terrorism and terrorists – we have no dealings with terrorists.”
His sister Najoua Amri adds: “He never made us feel there was anything wrong. We were in touch through Facebook and he was always smiling and cheerful. I was the first to see his picture and it came as a total shock. I can’t believe my brother could do such a thing.”
The Guardian says Amri has ‘links with the radical Salafist Abu Walaa, alias Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A, a 32-year-old Iraqi Isis supporter known as the “preacher without a face”, who was arrested in the northern town of Hildesheim in November’ and ‘known Turkish Islamic fundamentalist, Hasan C, 50’ and with Boban S, ‘a hate preacher from Dortmund’.
According to an anti-terror investigator speaking on condition of anonymity to German media, Amri had sought accomplices for a terror attack in early 2016, and had shown an interest in weapons. Despite authorities being made aware that he wanted to buy a pistol, there were apparently no attempts to take him into custody.
Such are the facts.
After the “slaughter” (Daily Express) by a “truck nut” (Daily Star) at a Christmas market in Berlin, the Star surveys the “carnage” (Daily Mail) and declares on its front page: “Murdering scum told: Get stuffed just like the turkey.” That is ‘turkey’ with the small ‘k’. The Star doesn’t do subtle. But it nails it. ‘Defiant Brits have stuck two fingers up to Christmas terror,” says the paper, “and told them ‘You can get stuffed”.’
Over pages 4 and 5, the Star repeats its seasonal message: “XMAS KILLERS CAN GET STUFFED.”
Brilliant, isn’t it. Spot on.
At least one of the killers who murdered so many as they shopped for seasonal bits and bobs is on the run. We don’t know why he / she and any accomplices did it. All we know is that 12 people are dead, including trucker Lukasz Urban. Rather than speculate, the Star makes a statement. Get stuffed. Perfect.
Over in the Mail, the focus is on fear. “So much for Peace and Goodwill to All Men,” says the paper below a picture of armed police guarding the nativity scene at Canterbury Cathedral. But who are the coppers on the look out for? Islamic State has, we’re told, claimed responsibility for the mass murder in Berlin. The Mail tells of “fears” IS will call a “lone wolf from any of the 400 militants who have returned here from fighting in the Middle East”. Not a lone wolf at all, then, rather a suspect whose part of a global murder cult on a mission from god. The paper adds, “Experts warned that a lone wolf attack would be very difficult to prevent.”
Readers are told that “special forces and police have rehearsed the very difficult task of stopping a vehicle running amok”.
It’s more ‘We’re stuffed’ than ‘Get stuffed’ in the Mail.
And the fear keeps coming.
“BRIT IS CELL LINKED TO TRUCK HORROR,” thunders the Sun on its front page. This cell “may have been groomed by IS commanders who plotted the Berlin massacre”. Or to put it another way, they may not have been. We have no idea. And what’s this ‘groomed’ balls? Is it right to harness the language of child sexual abuse – the county’s obsession – to describe grown men murdering strangers? Don’t give the bastards an excuse. They’re no victims. The Sun that once yelled ‘GOTCHA” as the enemy’s ship was holed has lost its swagger.
Over pages 6 and 7, we read that the “bungling cops” arrested the wrong man. The “true killer” is armed and still at large. Unless – get this – those famously inefficient Germans let him go in the hope he’d lead them to his ‘groomers’. Or right now he’s in a cell having secrets leached out of him? Or maybe because the Germans let so many migrants in unchecked they have no idea who they’re looking for? Maybe the killer is Hans from Bavaria? We don’t know. But it’s exciting to guess.
On page 8, we hear more of Lukasz Urban, the aforesaid Polish trucker. He is now “brave Lukasz” who “fought to the end”. We don’t know how he died. All we know is that he was stabbed and shot. But the media like to portray victims as heroic, so the man whose battered body was found in the truck that killed so many is kidnapped anew, this time to become the face of courage.
More fear on the Mirror’s cover. “TRUCK KILLER COULD STRIKE AGAIN,” chills the headline. He could. Will he?
On page 12, the Mirror tells its readers “hate can’t fight hate”. Maybe not. But if a jihadi is trying to kill you and yours, lobbing flowers at him will only be enough if they’re tied to a sharp brick atop an F16. The Mirror says we can “show solidarity with the victims by refusing to be infected by the poison of terrorism and not turning on each other or sharing the bigotry of those who destroy lives for paranoid political ends.”
We know nothing of the victims, save that they were murdered at the shops. Showing solidarity with the dead speaks only of the living’s needs. And the killer did it for political ends, not for militant Islam or because, as the papers says, he is a “maniac”? The Mirror is sure of that.
The paper than says the Far Right are milking the massacre. The paper’s angle is that if you now worry about migrants and militant Islam, you are on the same side as the Nazis. You’re a facist. Oh, get stuffed. Not feeling the love does not make you a deviant. Criticising Islam does not make you an Islamophobic race rioter-in-waiting. Warning us about our response to terror is absurd. It paints us as fools and untrustworthy. We won’t be “groomed” by extremists on any sort. We can think for ourselves.
The final word comes to readers via the Express: “I’ll destroy IS terrorists says Trump.” The US President-elect says the people behind the massacre should be “eradicated from the face of the Earth”. He adds: “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians… as part of their global jihad.”
So much for the stuff of politics. Now for the culture…
What’s Simon Cowell up to these days? The Mirror told readers on December 6: “It’s a Cowell family Christmas as Simon ditches harem of ex’s to spend Xmas with Lauren and Eric.” Bethany Minelle had the inside track on Cowell’s crimbo.
Simon Cowell has already organised his Christmas relaxation this year – and for once he won’t be spending it on a yacht filled with glamorous ex girlfriends.
The Mail’s Charlotte Griffiths agreed, noting on December 4:
Simon’s ‘harem’ has been dealt a devastating blow after the X Factor tycoon ditched his playboy image and told them: Sorry, Christmas is cancelled.
And so to today’s new in the Daily Star. In “Simon soaks up fun”, we read: “Simon Cowell relaxed on a luxury yacht with a bevy of babes, including his partner and his ex.” Simon “frolicked” with current flame Lauren Silverman, their son Eric, his former lover Sinitta and “pals”.
Such are the facts.
The assault on Press freedoms continues. If Section 40 is passed anyone who values free thought and free expression is damaged. On 1 November, the government launched a consultation on “the Leveson Inquiry and its Implementation” which will look into Section 40. It closes on 10 January.
Section 40 demands newspapers sign up to a State-approved body. Failure to sign up to the State’s Press regulator means publications will have to pay the costs of anyone who brings a civil suit, libel or privacy actions against them – even if they win their case.
Join Impress, the Max Mosley-funded press regulator backed by the censorious Hacked Off, or the State will cut your legs off. Write anything unpleasant against the rich and powerful, and watch your organ die.
In today’s Sun, Trevor Kavanagh writes in support of a free Press. He comments on Mosley, the “tycoon”:
If he succeeds, newspapers will be gagged by a draconian law which puts paid to three centuries of press freedom. If enacted, Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act gives anyone with a grievance the power to take a newspaper to court, with all costs paid by the publisher — win or lose.
Is Mosley an altruist? No, says Kavanagh. He is out to exact a “sick revenge”.
Mosley loathes the press for revealing his German- themed sado-masochistic sex romps with prostitutes. He is on a witch-hunt which puts every newspaper in the land — local and national — in peril.
Who else stand to win if Section 40 is approved?
Every corrupt character in the land, public or private, would be able to take the press to the cleaners. The only alternative would be to surrender to a state- supervised “watchdog” funded — surprise, surprise — by Mosley.
Kavanagh is on the board of IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation).
Nearly every newspaper and magazine in the country signed up to Ipso which swiftly established a reputation as a prompt, free and impartial referee. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley must wake up to the threat Mosley’s press regulator poses – if the press are made to pay court cases even in thrown out cases, suing will be a free-for-all This is not enough for Mosley. He funded Impress which, as the only applicant, was appointed as the industry’s statutory regulator — without the support of a single major news organisation.
Over in the Mirror, Jeremy Armstrong has a disturbing tale.
A police force last night faced stinging criticism for unlawfully snooping on the Daily Mirror after we revealed its Chief Constable blew taxpayers’ cash to conduct an affair with a colleague.
Bosses used powers designed to track terrorists and dangerous criminals to access my phone records as well as those of other journalists, officers and a solicitor in a bid to find who was leaking information about alleged racism within its ranks.
Worried? You should be. You can read it all here.
Kevin Maguire tells Mirror readers they are living in “Stasi Britain, where cops spy on journalists investigating credible allegations of police corruption”.
Like Kavanagh – who says “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” – Maguire notes, “The disinfectant of daylight keeps the authorities honest.”
Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell makes an appeal:
“Everyone, not just journalists and publishers, must respond to the consultation and write to their MPs to persuade politicians and the Government to step back from a draconian measure that would take us back to the dark ages of press censorship, stifle freedom of expression and the public’s right to know what is done in their name and with their money.
“It is a battle which goes back to the 1600s, a century in which a king lost his head for ignoring the interests of the people.
“Those who seek to neuter the press and whistleblowers, must not be allowed to win this fight for fundamental freedoms that are important for everyone but which are too easily taken for granted.”
People fought and died for the right to cause offence. Don’t let them take it away.
One man, for instance, named Lilburne [John Lilburn; 1614 – 29 August 1657], was brought before the Star Chamber, charged with publishing seditious pamphlets. Now, in all ordinary courts of justice, no man is called upon to say any thing against himself. Unless his crime can be proved by the testimony of others, it can not be proved at all. But in the Star Chamber, whoever was brought to trial had to take an oath at first that he would answer all questions asked, even if they tended to criminate himself.
When they proposed this oath to Lilburne, he refused to take it. They decided that this was contempt of court, and sentenced him to be whipped, put in the pillory, and imprisoned. While they were whipping him, he spent the time in making a speech to the spectators against the tyranny of bishops, referring to Laud, whom he considered as the author of these proceedings. He continued to do the same while in the pillory. As he passed along, too, he distributed copies of the pamphlets which he was prosecuted for writing.
The Star Chamber, hearing that he was haranguing the mob, ordered him to be gagged. This did not subdue him. He began to stamp with his foot and gesticulate; thus continuing to express his indomitable spirit of hostility to the tyranny which he opposed. – Charles I, by Jacob Abbott (1848)
Sign the petition.
How’s Brexit going? Well, it’s not, of course. The Government has yet to trigger Article 50. But be in no doubt Theresa May is “playing a masterful hand”. Andrew Lilico tells Sun readers May has been “crystal clear” in her plans fro Brexit. He says we need no “additional clarity”. Things are “clear” – a word he mentioned sevens times in the article. The only “unclear” thing is what Theresa May will get.
The Mirror says the country will he handed a £50bn bill to leave the EU. The money is made up of the “UK’s final two years of EU budget payments plus pensions liabilities and other commitments we have previously agreed to”. This bill has been “confirmed” by EU negotiators. The Mirror adds that EU Ambassador… anyone? Anyone? Yes, it’s Sir Ivan Rogers. Well, he says leaving the EU could take ten years.
That May has been in Brussels with the other EU country leaders has not escaped the Mirror’s eye. It says May lacks authority and presence in meetings. Her “inexperience” is a “major handicap for Britain”. Her rivals see “victim” stamped on her forehead. She was awkward when filmed standing alone as “Europe’s power players hug and greet one another at the Brussels’ summit”. It was “excruciating”. May was “desolate”. The other leader then told her to go while they all went to dinner together.
The Sun agrees. “”NO MAYTES,” it puns. May was “frozen out”.
Over Pages 10 and 11, the Daily Mail sees “KNIVES OUT FOR OUR MAN IN BRUSSELS”. Sir Ivan is being attacked over his “gloomy pessimism”. Sir Ivan, notes the paper, was “top mandarin to Tony Blair”, a man whose mentioning necessitates all Mail readers spinning round three times and spitting. It adds that the aforementioned £50bn bill is a “threat”. It is a”gross upper estimate”.
As in the Mirror, the Mail shows May “friendless” at the summit. Dignitaries “turn their backs” on the Prime Minister.
But the Express has a different view. Its readers see May in conversation with Germany leader Angela Merkel and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
On the matter of that £50bn, a number the Mirror says Number 10 “did not confirm or deny”, we hear from a “Downing Street source”, who says: “Once we have left the EU, the UK government will make decision on how taxpayers’ money is spent.”
Karen Matthews – ‘the UK’s most hated mum’ (source: Daily Mirror) is talking through a “pal” with an impeccable memory to the Daily Mirror.
In “I need plastic surgery for my own safety” readers see a picture of Karen, the woman convicted of kidnapping her daughter for cash. Like most of you, we too had forgotten what Karen Matthews looked like. and with her dyed hair, gained weigh, new name, Bible group mates and living far away from her native Dewsbury, it would have been easy to have ignored here. But the Mirror somehow managed to spot her and her anonymous friend, and now Karen says she is living in fear.
Over page 4 and 5, we are told in an emotive headline, “People scream nonce at me in the street… but I think I deserve everything I get.”
Karen is “trying to build a new life for herself…but there are clearly many who are not ready to forgive or forget”. Given that headline, one of them seems to be Karen herself.
People have thrown fireworks at Karen (bangers, since you ask). She is “hounded”. So she needs to have her face rearranged. Well, a bit of it at least: “I would love to get plastic surgery, make my nose small so nobody would recognise me.” She was “attacked” in prison. “They hit me with a snowball,” says Karen.
The Mirror says on Page 12 that Karen Matthew getting plastic surgery on the NHS is “a question for public debate”. And Karen “deserves a fair hearing”.
Lest you still not think the Mirror is spinning a story around Karen Matthews to flog you her memoirs, Lucy Thornton tells us: “My sympathy then loathing for Karen has turned to pity.”
And if there’s enough interest, it’ll turn to a book deal.
Who is the “most hated mum in Britain”? As kids give their mothers the side eye and Rose West, Vanessa George and Tracey Connelly contemplate their respective relegations, the Mirror tells it’s Karen Matthews, mother to Shannon Matthews, the kidnapping victim who wasn’t kidnapped but hidden by her mum in a relative’s flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, where she was tied to a bed and drugged for 24 days. Karen Matthews did it for the £50,000 reward money.
Today the Mirror tells us Karen “craves forgiveness for snatching” Shannon.
In 2009 Karen was jailed for eight years for kidnaping and drugging of her nine-year-old daughter. Shannon’s step-uncle Michael Donovan, in whose flat Shannon was found, was also sent to prison for eight years.
Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, of West Yorkshire police, called Karen “pure evil”. Mr Justice McCombe said calling Karen “evil” was “was not a helpful comment” and criticised “hyperbole about this case in some quarters”. Fast forward seven years and Karen Matthews is the “most hated women in Britain”.
But she wants to be loved. She has, says the Mirror, “joined a Bible group to meet new friends, has become a teetotaller and prays every day in an effort to lift her spirits”.
Now freed, Karen Matthews is suffering: “But the mum-of-seven’s notoriety has left her unable to get a job and she claims she is trying to survive on just £25 a week in benefits. And her weight has soared due to a behind bars diet of chocolate, which also left her teeth rotten.” She wasn’t exactly a workaholic before her incarceration.
Karen meets with the Mirror, which tells readers:”Matthews was gorging on a huge plate of chips at a cafe before going to watch carol singers.Matthews was gorging on a huge plate of chips at a cafe before going to watch carol singers.”
She doesn’t talk to the paper directly, but through a “friend”, who quotes Karen verbatim: “I know I did something wrong but I’m not the baddest person people are making out. I am sorry for hurting people.” Karen poses for no photos, the Mirror making do with grainy, covert-style pictures of Karen at the shops, wearing a hat, partly obscured by shopping bags and framed by what appears to be a car window.
The impression is that the story has been achieved by investigating and not Karen picking up the phone and trying to make a few quid. Was she paid for this story? Was her “friend” paid? Does it matter is money changed hands?
As the Commons says: “There is no law prohibiting convicted criminals from publishing their autobiographies or other writings in which their crimes may be described, or from selling their stories to newspapers or biographical writers.”
In 1998, it was reported that Mary Bell, who killed two toddlers when she was eleven, was receiving payment for helping with a book about her life, Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny.
There were many reports that Mary Bell had received £50,000 for her contribution, although this was disputed at the time. The book was also serialised in the Times.
In 2003, there was public concern that Tony Martin, who shot and killed a young burglar, had sold his story to the Mirror for £125,000; however the Press Complaints Commission ruled that there had been no breach of the relevant code of practice, instead taking the view that the payment was necessary and that the story was in the public interest.
Is the Mirror testing reaction to this story before it features a series of articles from sweet Karen, of whom we’re told, “Matthews still insists she is innocent and did not snatch little Shannon”?
Reading on we learn that Karen’s no longer living in her native Dewsbury, having moved hundreds of miles away, dyed her hair and adopted a new name – “the same as her favourite Hollywood star.” The Mail doesn’t tell us which one, but if you meet Darth Matthews, pray for her and maybe – just maybe – buy her memoirs.