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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.

Oxford-AstraZenaca : Countdown to Fear

Sorry. No Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine for you under-30s. Having been linked to extremely rare blood clots in adults, the advice is to chose a different jab, the Pfizer one, say, or Moderna vaccine. But the UK’s medicine regulator (MHRA) says the AZ vaccine is safe and the benefits of taking it outweigh the risks for the “vast majority of people”. You take it if you like. But would you? You’re never ill until you are, at which point everything changes. So try to avoid catching Covid-19, of course. One dose has made some people feel floored for a few days. Imagine what the full-blown illness is like. Get the jab.

Which one would you pick? The MHRA says under-30s with no underlying health conditions should be offered an alternative vaccine “where available”. Vague? How about this – Mr Hancock says there is “no evidence” of rare blood clots after the second dose of the vaccine. If your first was the AZ treatment, you get offered only the same supplier for the second dose.

Dr June Raine, head of the MHRA, says the link between rare blood clots and the AZ jab is “firming up”. She says more evidence is needed to establish any link.

And then things get arbitrary. Use of the AZ vaccine has been stopped in Denmark; restricted for people 60 and over in Germany, Spain and Italy; and only be given to those aged 55 or over in France. Why the differences? And don’t those differences spread uncertainty and fear?

A good time, then, for clear and concise journalism to serve information to the people. Well…

Daily Express: What Iceberg?

The Guardian : Fear the Fear.

Daily Mail: The Patriotic Thrombosis

The Times: Johnson Knows

The Sun: What Are The Odds (With A Corona Lager Chaser)

The Telegraph: Neil Astles, 59, died. He suffered 10 days of worsening headaches and loss of vision after receiving a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

“We are still shocked at the loss of our brother… from my own perspective, I sat and watched [England’s deputy chief medical officer] Professor Van Tam yesterday on the news talking about the clot risk and the benefits to population of having the vaccine,” Neil Astles sister Alison told ITV.

“And as I sat there and watched him, it occurred to me that my family and me were in a particularly unique situation to give a very strong public health message about this.

“Because it’s not statistics to us, it’s an actual, loved human being who died.

“At the same time, I still believe that for the vast, vast majority of us the safest way forward is for people to have the vaccine, because that in the end will save the most lives.”

The i: No. That wasn’t what was said.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 8th, April 2021 | In: Broadsheets, News, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Mirror introduces another ‘super saver’

“Saver who ‘never pays full price’ bought £220k house at 23 and haggled £15k off wedding,” screams the Mirror. Meet “Savings-obsessed Chloe Carmichael, 28.” She’s “sharing her top tips after she managed to put down a £105,000 deposit on a four-bedroom property with her husband five years ago.” You might confuse her with Gemma Bird. In February, the Sun wanted to share her journey to wealth in the story: “PENNY PINCHING – I paid off £225,000 mortgage on £25,000 wage… here’s how you can do it too.” Like Gemma, we’re told Chloe shares her tips on Instagram.

Tip One:

Mirror saver

The story then name checks a number of brands and shops.

More news in the trusty tabloids every day…

Posted: 2nd, April 2021 | In: Money, Tabloids | Comment


Celebrate International Woman’s Day with Meghan and Kate’s Royal Rumble

Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day with a fight between Meghan Markle, aka Meghan Windsor, and Kate Middleton, aka Kate Windsor. Megs told Oprah Winfrey in a TV interview that on the morning of her wedding to Prince Harry, Kat made her cry. Some people think Megs made Kat cry, but Megs says that’s a falsehood that must be corrected on the international stage. Kat made her cry. Fact.

Women campaigners for equality, both domestic and international, will be chuffed to bits that two such high profile women are front and centre in the public eye – albeit for a bitchy row over a dress. Says an Angela Merkel from Germany, “I’m no relation. Thank god.”

The papers are delighted. Meghan and Harry are tabloid gold. Expect to hear lots more quotes from Harry & Meghan about their televised quest for privacy against the terrible tabloid press in the tabloid press:

Posted: 8th, March 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Guide to the Cults – 1979

Guide to the cults 1979

Youth tribes featured in the Daily Mirror’s ‘Guide to Cults’ in 1979. There were Skinheads, who loved reggae and “enjoy fighting”. One of those parts is correct. Skinheads embraced Caribbean music and style (see Rude Boys) and rejected the airy-fairy tosh of middle-class Hippies, who are, let’s face it, irritating, entitled and often eschew capitalism and consumerism because mum and dad have private means. These Skinheads not be confused with the later Dickheads, who are into racism. The rest: Mods, Bowies, Punks, Rude Boys (the best of the best) and Roots Boys are all highly loveable characters who share a love for good music and embracing the day. Hippies smell of mould and old money.

Posted: 5th, March 2021 | In: Fashion, Music, Tabloids | Comment


Toodle Pip: Daily Star mocks Harry and Meghan

Prince Harry and Meghan Windsor are no longer working royals. Someone else born to rule will get the job of pulling the little ropes to open small curtains on commemorative plaques, inspect soldiers and riding horses in public. The Daily Star wonders how the country will manage without the “publicity shy” couple.

Posted: 20th, February 2021 | In: Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Express leads with terrible Prince Philip photo; Diana might be dead

The Duke of Edinburgh has been resting in a London hospital. He’s 99. Prince Philip’s trips to hospital are not infrequent. But it’s easy news. It helps newspapers tread water whilst Philip’s obituary they’ve had primed and ready to go for decades gathers dust. But do they like Phil? Specifically, does the Daily Express likes him?

This is how the Telegraph, Mail and Sun lead with news of Phil’s latest trip to the doctors. He looks fresh-faced and spry.

And here’s Philip on the cover of the Daily Express. He looks decidedly ill. For added spite, the paper’s slapped him next to a picture of a smiling Princess Diana, her face radiant, and a picture of her sons, one of whom is actually pointing in his direction.

What can it all mean from the paper that brought you this news:

daily express diana philip

Posted: 18th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Star mocks Meghan And Harry over second baby press release

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (who they?) are expecting a second child. It’s front-page news. Nearly all national UK papers lead with a photo the pair released to media on Valentine’s Day. For many readers, the Daily Star nails it.

In other news, Aussie mag New Idea (aka No Idea but so long as you read bilge about those two we’ll right it) says “it’s all over”.

Posted: 15th, February 2021 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Rose West, Gary Glitter head list of prisoners to be ‘executed by Covid’

There are around 79,000 people locked up in UK prisons. Of those 30% are inside for ‘violence against the person’ and 18% for sexual offences. The Sun is seeing which of them has received and injection for Covid-19. To date we’ve been told that depraved killer Rose West and paedophile Gary Glitter have received the jab.

A source tells the Sun: “Why can’t West wait until they’ve at least started vaccinating some over-65s who aren’t serving life for murdering ten people? She suffered quite a bad reaction. There were lots of flu-like symptoms and she took to her bed.”

The Mail adds “fat” the list of West’s offences. It also introduces a new way of measuring ingredients in “prison spoons”:

Killer West piled on the pounds over the years following a much publicised love of cakes and chocolate. In 2010, her cookbook for prisoners was revealed, including a recipe for Victoria Sponge. It included a full tub of margarine and eight prison spoons of flour.

As for Glitter, 76, aka Paul Gadd, in 2015, the pedophile and former pop star was sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexually abusing three young girls between 1975 and 19. He’s been jabbed.

A source adds in the Sun:

Many have been jailed in recent years for horrific crimes dating back decades. You have some prisons where there’s a significant group of elderly sex offenders all in their 70s and 80s. Because of their age, they will get the vaccine first. But if you’re a prison officer looking after Glitter and you haven’t had the jab, you’re not going to be happy.

A heated debate ensues. You can watch it on mid-morning telly.

This former prosecutor, who promotes his book on twitter, says execution is wrong.

It’s all good tabloid stuff. Find nasty human targets in a world in thrall to an agenda-setting virus and farm the opinions. Much easier to hit a human target than an invisible virus. And the better news is that with no end to the pandemic in sight, the Sun can keep dishing up people guilty of despicable crimes who might be receiving medical care. Wikipedia has a list of UK prisoners serving whole life tariffs, of which three are women. Double outage if you get one of them.

Posted: 13th, February 2021 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


PR and privacy beats public interest: Duchess Meghan defeats the Mail

Markle letter high court

Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, struck a blow for the little people when she took on the Daily Mail on Sunday and won her high court privacy case. The aristocrat says “we have all won”.

She brought the claim against Associated Newspapers over its publication of extracts from her letter to her father. He had passed it to the paper. Judge Mr Justice Warby said Meghan had a “reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private”. The Mail countered that publishing the letter was in the public interest.

“One’s correspondence with others is presumptively private in nature,” said Warby. “…Taken as a whole the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful. There is no prospect that a different judgment would be reached after a trial.” The Mail never got to test the matter in open court.

Warby ruled that the letter that appeared beneath the headline “Revealed: the letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces” was “a long-form telling-off”, “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.”

Markle letter high court

The Sun calls the ruling “a blow against press freedom”. The Daily Mail says its publishers are considering an appeal. It would be useful to discover what it all means going forward.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens tells the BBC: “If you can’t effectively report on leaked letters then in those circumstances the media holding people to account is going to be hampered. Essentially this judgement in its widest context puts manacles on the media… This is a letter that could have easily been published in the United States and you are in a situation where going forward people will leak these letters to media in America.”

How did we all win, as Meghan put it? Isn’t this a win for the rich and powerful, those born to rule?

“Thomas Markle makes the allegation that she created an attack through PR and her friends,” says Stephens, now popping up in the Mail. “Thomas Markle makes the allegation that she created an attack through PR and her friends. If that’s right it means rich and powerful people who can afford PR and representation will be able to curate their reputations without the media being able to expose that.”

Joshua Rosenberg writes in the Telegraph:

Warby’s ruling reinforces the law without changing it. There will still be cases where a newspaper’s freedom of expression outweighs a letter-writer’s right to privacy – especially if the writer is a public figure. But this was not one of them.

The Duchess of Sussex has issued a statement – something we are allowed to report:

These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence.

For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep. The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news.

What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite. We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain.

One item on the court’s agenda remains to be decided. The judge says publication of the letter infringed the duchess’s copyright. But he says the issue of whether Meghan was “the sole author” of the letter or Jason Knauf, former communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was a “co-author” should be determined at a trial.

Will it be? If it is found that personal and private letters to her dad were authored for co-authored by her staff, you might wonder what the purpose of the letter really was? And the tabloids will have yet another Meghan and Harry news story to use when they press f9 on the keyboard and let us all know what two toffs living in LA are up to when the toffs are not telling us what they’re up. And on the game goes…

Posted: 12th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


How to secure a 9 times salary mortgage – the Sun shares a secret

The Sun money

How did Gemma Bird get to live the dream? The Sun want to share her journey to wealth in “PENNY PINCHING – I paid off £225,000 mortgage on £25,000 wage… here’s how you can do it too.” Bird is not 105 years old. She’s 39. And her achievement is all the more impressive when you consider her tax bill – on £25,000 a year, take home pay is around £20,650.

You might be wondering how she got a £225,000 mortgage on that income. A mortgage lender will let you have about 3-5 times salary – not the nine times salary Bird seems to have secured. Maybe it’s down to her powers of persuasion, after all she is an Instagram “influencer” with a decent following. The Sun’s article name-checks her favourite supermarkets, and links to MoneyMumOfficial, the social media account where “she shares money-saving tips” – “the business is so successful that Adam has quit his role in sales to work for Gemma full time.”

Well done! Remind us how much that mortgage was.

That mortgage is how much? It’s up to £335k in the Scottish Sun
The Metro sees the Sun’s figures and says the mortgage was £800,000

Now read on and see if you can work out how hard-working Gemma did it. (A salary of £12,000 a year typically equates to take-home pay of around £975 a month.)

So how do you pay off a £225,000 / £375,000 / £800,000 mortgage on £25,000 a year?

Posted: 8th, February 2021 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


Folarin Balogun : agrees to go, wants to stay and his agent is busy

Folarin Balogun might not be good enough to start for a faltering Arsenal team, but with his contract expiring in the summer, the 19-year-old American striker is apparently good enough to play for petty much any other side – so long as they recruit him without the need to pay the Gunners a transfer fee and his agent is happy.

Reporting on the player amounts to guesswork. The Sun says he’s agreed to join German side RB Leipzip. The Sun also says – also today – that he hasn’t.

The guesswork continues in the Mirror, where readers can enjoy the article: “Folarin Balogun’s ‘complicated’ Arsenal situation explained amid talk of RB Leipzig agreement – The Arsenal wonderkid is out of contract at the end of the season, and there has been talk of an pre-contract agreement with Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.”

What talk?

So a story that is and isn’t true is reported as fact – and the Google News bots present it as news:

The Mirror – again:

You might begin to wonder at the source for all this ‘news’:

More news form the agent when the tabloids have it…

Posted: 14th, January 2021 | In: Arsenal, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Covid-19: A Shot at freedom but new war on NHS looms

Covid-19 has infected pretty much the entire country’s mainstream media with support for the Government’s upbeat diagnoses. With Brexit done, the UK’s negotiators can sit down with Covid-19 and hammer out a deal. You might suppose the virus is setting the agenda, but Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, says the country is “ahead of the curve”. Where Britain goes Covid follows – whether we go train, jet or big red bus.

Take the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror‘s lead news story. “Lockdowns could end as soon as February if the Oxford vaccine gets the nod from regulators within days,” says the tabloid. Could. If. Circumspection get thee hence. This is a “SHOT AT FREEDOM” – rather like the other vaccine lots of Britons have been injected with, which was also a shot at freedom.

Covid tabloid review
Then
Covid tabloid review

At least the Express deals in fact, declaring, “WE WILL BE FREE BY FEBRUARY.” Fact. Well, if the regulators approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which could happen…

Covid tabloid review

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail deliver the numbers: 10,000 medics and volunteers have been recruited by the NHS to help deliver the freedom vaccine. You can get the jab in sports stadiums and racecourses, says the Telegraph. The Mail suggests getting “a jab in your village hall”. (You getting an insight into how papers view their readers?)

An unnamed source tells the paper: “The vaccine is the way to make us safe and get us through this pandemic. We are throwing the kitchen sink at it”. Now wash your hands at the standpipe.

There is one dissenting voice. The Guardian looks at other ‘coulds’ and ‘ifs’. Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says Covid-19 poses the greatest threat to mental health since World War Two. But even that’s not scary enough so the Guardian mutates his opinion into: “NHS urged to prepare for ‘biggest threat since world war’.”

As war looms, the Guardian says war continues. NHS staff have been denied the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, leaving doctors “scrabbling” to get immunised. A survey of medics finds “fear the government’s decision to prioritise over-80s and care home staff over health workers has left them at risk of catching the disease”.

The remedy is clear: get some Sun.

It’s gonna be great.

Posted: 28th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Having sex through a keyhole with tubby Prince Andrew

The Mail has an “explosive dossier” on Prince Andrew and a woman who claims she had sex with him when she was a teenager, Virginia Giuffre Roberts. It is “a bombshell” Daily Mail investigation circling the claim Roberts was trafficked to London by the prince’s paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein when she was just 17 and forced to have sex with him.

You’ll quickly form the idea that there’s a lot of hearsay and titillation in the Mail’s Whoopee Cushion. But the hope is that the bit about the alleged sex will get readers panting.

And what of the facts? The paper’s headline suggests that the bath Roberts says she and Andrew had sex in might be too small for penetration. The Mail combines sex and alleged sex crimes with looking around someone else’s home. A fetish that might be on the fringes of the web is mainstream.

We’re going prowlin’ and peepin’ because “an exclusive through-the-keyhole view shows the bathroom in Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia.” Don’t worry. She’s not in the tub. Maxwell, another of Andrew’s old muckers, is locked inside the US justice system. She faces six counts of recruiting and grooming girls and young women to be sexually abused by both her and Epstein. Prince Andrew told the BBC that he had first met Epstein through his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in 1999. That’s them and Roberts in the photo above.

Inside the house where Virginia Roberts and Prince Andrew had ‘sex in the bath’ – so is the tub REALLY too small for two people to fit like Ghislaine Maxwell claims?

Dressing up reporters as chickens is one thing but surely the Mail didn’t mock up the Maxwell backroom and encourage two hacks to play the parts of Andrew and his alleged victim? No. Rules on social distancing forbid such things. They just looked at old planning records:

We have found a floorplan of the bathroom, taken from a 1987 planning application. We have also had access to much more recent images of the room. There are two observations. One is that the bathroom is indeed ‘small’, as both sides agree; cramped, if one wished to perform anything other than solo ablutions.

Oh, hark at the language. “One.” Is solo “ablutions” faux posho for masturbation?

The historic plan shows a ‘standard size’ — 5ft 6in by 2ft 4in — alcove bath, boxed in on two sides by walls and on a third by the back of the airing cupboard. The remaining 36 sq ft is largely taken up by a bidet, a lavatory and large sink. It is very bijou.

If size matters, should we also be told Andrew’s dimensions and also those of his alleged. victim? And given what we know about sex, isn’t the sink large enough – or the keyhole?

Andrew denies any wrongdoing. His “only defence against Miss Roberts’ detailed accusations remains blunt denial” says the Mail. Which makes you wonder if the paper’s explosive dossier went off in a confined space, the protected prince would be covered in anything but the stench of his own glory hole.

Posted: 12th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Robbie Savage, gambling on Spurs and the Mirror’s journalism of attachment

After Spurs easily saw off Arsenal with a 2-0 win, BBC radio DJ and Daily Mirror columnist Robbie Savage told his Twitter followers: “I went early on Spurs winning the league 🤷‍♂️💙⚽️ 08085909693 ,,, tell me why the won’t ? Tom the arsenal fans said arsenal would win the league this year ,, 😂🤦🏻‍♂️ 08085909693 #bbc606.”

Tom the Arsenal fans is clearly delusional, unable to see that club manager Mikel Arteta is learning on the job and the Gunners squad is populated by many players who’d struggle to get a game for Fulham. But what of Savage and his to-deadline opinions? You can find out more of what Savage thinks at the Daily Mirror:

Robbie Savage Spurs

In order, this is how Savage predicted the Premier League table, from first to last: Liverpool; Manchester United; Chelsea; Manchester City; ARSENAL; Wolves; Spurs… So that’s Spurs in 7th place, two behind Arsenal.

This guesswork is brought to readers in association with the Mirror’s latest betting partner. It might be that Savage didn’t write the thing, just saw his name added to to the top to give it a bit of omph and authenticity. After all he’s an ex-pro who works for the State broadcaster. You can trust him. Savage might know a thing or two. So place your bets!

Given the damaging impact gambling can have on people’s lives and that the Mirror pitching Savage’s words in an article which encourages betting – the prediction piece ends with a large button stating “BET HERE” – might it be useful to tell readers that Savage’s views are liable to change with the wind?

A radio phone-in is a bit of fun, a distraction from the important things in life. Losing your money and health because those same opinions encouraged you to gamble is far more serious.

Posted: 7th, December 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Money, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Covid-19 vaccine: Britain is world leader at panic buying

The Sun says Britain “beat the world to get a vaccine”. The Telegraph says the UK “leads the Western world” and talks of “Covid Liberation Day”. We’re “first in the WORLD” says the Mail. The jab is a marker in “victory over Covid-19” adds the Sun. It is “V-Day” guffs the Metro.

How the UK beat the world is by judging the Pfizer/BioNTech safe for use and ordering millions of doses of the stuff. We bought it first! The UK rules the world at queuing and possibly panic buying – although we’re not told which if any other nations were also standing in line. Was it just us?

Why the UK is first is unexplained. Was it a political decision? Did Brexit make us first?

The Daily Express accuses the European Medical Agency of “sour grapes” for criticising the UK’s “speedy approval” of the vaccine. Ministers say Brexit had “freed” the country from Brussels red tape. The medical regulator insists it had been working under European law. The virus is a propaganda tool. Mass death and fear always hosted political capital.

One minister tweeted that this is the moment Britain “led humanity’s charge against this disease”. Germany’s ambassador to Britain replied: “Why is it so difficult to recognize this important step forward as a great international effort and success.” Britain is governed by EU law, so argument is a specious one.

The upshot is that Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe. So there it is. A vaccine designed in the USA and made in Belgium is billed as a victory for the UK and a jab in the eye to Johnny Foreigner. A medicine passed safe for human use after ten months rather than the ten years a drug typically takes to get approval is fine. You might even get one in time for Christmas, says the Sun, positioning the vaccine as a kind of seasonal gift. Perfume for her. Gadget for him. Needle in the arm for granny.

Health secretary Matt Hancock says the vaccine “is a triumph for all those who believe in science”. Believe. Not trust in human ingenuity. But actually believe in science, like you would believe in a religion. And the UK is science’s most loyal disciple.

And so to the jab. Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton says Boris Johnson would not rule out receiving the vaccine jab live on television. And there’s the rub: it’s a PR matter. The vaccine is coming. But do you want it?

And so to the jab. Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton says Boris Johnson would not rule out receiving the vaccine jab live on television. And there’s the rub: it’s a PR matter. The vaccine is coming. But do you want it?

PS: Maybe they inject Boris with a truth serum?

Posted: 3rd, December 2020 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Government declares Christmas Truce in War with Covid-19 – virus considering position

“Christmas is saved,” says the Express. It’s “Bubbles with the baubles” trills the Metro – up to four households may be allowed to mix during the festive season. “Ho Ho Homes to Mix,” says the Sun. “Xmas gets go-ahead” is the Daily Mirror‘s lead. The Daily Mail wonders, “Who’ll be in your festive bubble?” The Government has declared a Christmas truce in the war with Covid-19.

As Britishers pop their heads over the parapets, taking part in funerals, prisoner swaps (you mean visiting granny in the care home? – ed), carol-singing and a football match, there is no guarantee that Covid-19 will play along.

As such, fraternising with the enemy should be avoided until a spokesman for Covid-19 – Dominic Cummings, Ivanka Trump or the bloke from Blue Peter who usually does panto but is available at a moment’s notice for other paid work? – tells us otherwise.

Helping to make sense of it all is our resident expert, Mr A. Turkey, who confides: “Whatever they dish up at such a wonderful time of the year, I’m in!”

Lead image: British and Germ(ans)s take a break from the mass killings to get their hair cut and talk about the war.

Posted: 23rd, November 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


President Senile or President Lunatic – America decides

Can everything you want to know about the US election be summed up in a tabloid headline? The Daily Star achieves no little success with its front page:

President SEnile Biden

President Senile or President Lunatic? Vote now!

Posted: 5th, November 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Nazis and Thunderbirds: Tabloid headlines are as dated as their readers

How do tabloids stay relevant in the digital age? By investing a fortune in quality journalism and attracting newsreaders to paper products, encouraging the hip and youthful to give newsprint the same respect they’ve rediscovered for radio, vinyl and books? Nah. Easier to keep the ageing readership you’ve already got and feed it headlines based on World War 2 (1939-1945) and Thunderbirds (1965-1966).

Time for a rethink…

Posted: 22nd, October 2020 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


New Covid Tier Rules Explained: Boris Johnson can meet a tech guru for a ‘working lunch’ in a Manchester hotel room

Manchester covid

How do you report on the pandemic, the confusion sewn by a government with all the nous of a puppy sat by a pile of poo and Boris Johnson air-punching Manchester mayor Andy Burnham on the telly, treating him and the city with all the contempt of a bully thanking his victim for bringing so much lunch money to school.? If you’re the Sun you lead with Meghan Markle in a green dress and pictures of a “takeaway food app addict” being hoisted from his Surrey flat, before presumably being dropped on Salford as an emergency fuel source.

Helpfully, the Express does lead with the Covid-19 story, telling us: “Only National Unity Will Defeat Virus”. Which means: comply or die. Which sounds like a threat. Question the Government and you risk lives. Comply with the Government and your business will go bust, you’ll run out money and die from curable cancers. But you’ll do so in the warm glow that it was for the common good – especially for the NHS which must be “saved” for when we rally need health care and granny, who’s seen neither the outside world not any loved ones for months.

The Mirror says Johnson’s “playing poker with the pandemic”, which makes him sound more fun than fool. Such is the tabloid’s love of betting apps and deals that fill the pages, you expect to see the story sponsored by Paddy Power and a shot of Johnson pulling down his trousers to reveal a pair of green knickers on which are displayed the odds for “everyone dead by teatime”.

The aforesaid Burnham wanted £65m to “prevent a winter of real hardship”. Johnson and his chums offered £60m. They then handed over £22m and forced a Tier 3 lockdown on Manchester. That £60m might still be on the table. But Johnson did his usual bluster and bluff and failed to answer questions about what is on offer and what is not.

We know Johnson thinks Tier 3 is fine and the following venues throughout Manchester must shut or else: bars, unless they serve meals, betting shops, casinos, Bingo halls, games arcades and soft play areas.” You know, all the places Johnson and his Government spend the evening when the lap dancing club is full.

But there is help. The Star brings news: work in the pub. People from different households in different tiers can mix indoors if they are doing work. Call it a “working lunch” and you can mix indoors. “People are permitted to meet indoors for work purposes in high or very high areas,” says an unidentified Government wonk. If Johnson (London – Tier 2) wants to meet a tech guru in a Manchester hotel room, (Tier 3), he can.

Just remember to bring your own pole.

Posted: 21st, October 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Aston Villa balls: Stan Collymore rewrites the story of Jack Grealish’s move to Spurs

Stan Collymore continues to disabuse the claim that journalism should be based on sound research. The Daily Mirror columnist has been talking about Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. Collymore wants to tell Mirror readers how proud he is of Grealish for “rejecting” Tottenham in 2018.

“He made the right decision not moving when Spurs wanted him,” says Collymore. “He’d have just been in their squad at that point.”

One problem with Stan’s comment is that relish did no such thing. Grealish did not snub Tottenham. Spurs tried to get him on the super cheap and failed. Grealish was gutted opining to the Telegraph in September 2018:

“Of course, there’s going to be disappointment there. You’ve just got to look at what Spurs have done this season. They’ve beaten Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford, they’re playing Barcelona in the Champions League next week. I felt that if I’d gone there I could have maybe been in the England squad by the end of the year. I would never have gone there just to make up the numbers. At the start of the season my head was swivelled, it was all over the place. Even after the transfer window closed, until the end of August, I wasn’t right. At that time it could have got done, but for whatever reason it didn’t. They weren’t willing to pay what Villa wanted at the time.”

Collymore could read about in one other paper, should he be bothered to:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, October 2020 | In: Back pages, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Lucas Torreira, Daily Mirror lies and the truth at Atletico Madrid

Has Lucas Torreira left Arsenal for a new dawn in Spain with Atletico Madrid? The Mirror says he has:

The Mirror’s URL read by Google News declares: “Arsenal agree loan transfer for Lucas”

After the Google bots have picked up the Mirror’s story, the paper writes:

Arsenal have reportedly agreed a loan deal with Atletico Madrid for Lucas Torreira.

Reported by?

Says the Mirror:

La Liga giants Atletico moved to the front of the queue to sign the midfielder for the season, and according to Spanish publication AS, have now agreed a deal with Arsenal.

We click the Mirror’s link and head over to AS. We read:

Lucas Torreira, a punto
El centrocampista uruguayo está muy cerca de convertirse en nuevo jugador del Atleti. Sin embargo, la operación está sujeta a salida de Herrera.

Which translates as:

The Uruguayan midfielder is very close to becoming a new Atleti player. However, the operation is subject to Herrera’s departure…for the signing to take place, Hector Herrera’s exit must first be closed.

So AS has not reported the deal is done. The Mirror is talking rubbish. But the Googl bots like it so lots of easy traffic for the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.

Posted: 1st, October 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: no body of evidence against Christian Brueckner

“German police ‘don’t need Madeleine McCann’s body to prove suspect murdered her’,” declares the Mirror. The more depraved killers, often take their victims’ whereabouts to the pit. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley never pointed police nor bereft relatives to Keith Bennett’s remains. It took 23 years for the child rapists, kidnappers and killers to confess to Keith’s murder. Brady confessed to newspaper reporters from his prison cell where he was serving life for three other murders. Police believed the pair had done it. But belief is not what the law deals in. A confession was all the police had. Neither Brady nor Hindley were prosecuted for Keith Bennett’s murder.

The justice system needs evidence to prosecute. The Mirror’s headline is rooted in the to-deadline thoughts of German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters. In one of this many TV appearance, this one on Portugal’s RTP show Sexta as 9, Wolters offered: “To indict someone we don’t need a body. A person can be convicted without a body being found but we have to be convinced a person is dead.” And you are convinced Madeleine McCann is dead? And don’t you also have to have some evidence that your suspect, Christian Brueckner, killed the person whose body is missing? Don’t you need evidence to hurdle all those barriers to justice?

You begin to wonder is what Wolters is on the telly? What does he know? What does he merely think he knows? Asked if he had any forensic evidence placing Brueckner inside the flat where Madeleine was sleeping, Wolters added: “I have an answer but we have decided not to divulge this information. I can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as that would bring a thousand other questions and I cannot go into details. But you have to believe me when I say we have more evidence. Here in Germany our Public Ministry only divulges things when they are solid.”

Which is why Christian Brueckner has not been charged with any offences linked to the vanishing for Madeleine McCann. We can believe Wolters has “more evidence” but we do not know what he has evidence of? And his appearing on the telly, points to it being a fishing expedition, a warning to criminals that Wolters and his team are on to you so it’d be best if you confessed now.

Maybe you called him Brueckner? Someone somebody you know called Bruckner while he was in the vicinity of the Ocean Club complex shortly after Madeleine McCann disappeared? That call lasted around half an hour. “We have the number that called him but we haven’t managed to attribute that number to anyone at the moment,” says Wolters. “We don’t know what the conversation was about and we don’t know the relationship between the people who spoke. We are searching for a witness to establish the content of the conversation which lasted nearly half an hour and so was quite a long conversation. We hope someone remembers that conversation. We don’t have any reason to believe that person could be involved in what happened that night to Madeleine.”

They’re searching for the witness – any witness will do. So Wolters is on the telly in Portugal and in the tabloids in the UK. His profile rises. But we learn nothing knew.

“Christian…must remain in jail until 2024 at least after losing a legal challenge last week,” says the Sun. “He was convicted in Germany of the 2005 rape of an American OAP in Praia da Luz.”

The clock ticks.

Posted: 28th, September 2020 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Christian Brueckner is innocent because circumstantial evidence is not enough

Christian Brueckner is innocent of any involvement in the vanishing of Madeleine McCann. If you doubt that statement is true, prove that it isn’t. That’s the challenge facing German prosecutors who believe the convicted peadophile stole the child and murdered her. “The disappearance of Madeleine McCann: Have they got the right man this time?” asks Martin Brunt, the Sky News reporter who has been hot on the heels of rumours. trolls and not a single meaningful development since Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007 and became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’. Brunt has been speaking to lawyers. After a few paragraphs telling us who Christian Bruekner is, Brunt sums up the entire case against the infamous criminal:

The case against him is circumstantial – he is a convicted paedophile, he lived in the area, and on the night she disappeared, his mobile phone was in use nearby. The next day he changed the registration of one of his vehicles.

“Have they got the right man this time?,” ask Brunt seven paragraphs into his feature. Around 60 short paragrapahs later, Brunt concludes:

In fact, one source told me that Christian B may be no better a suspect for Madeleine’s abduction than two other principle targets.

They are the unnamed suspect, who may still be the subject of an undercover operation, and Euclides Monteiro, a sacked Ocean club waiter and thief who died two years after Madeleine vanished and was later eliminated from the inquiry.

The Mirror has a few words on the investigation. “Madeleine McCann investigators have ‘no smoking gun’ to charge Christian Brueckner,” trills the headline. Its worst than that. They have no gun. They have no smoke. They have a belief, an idea. German Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters is doing the rounds, telling Portuguese media:

“All I can say is this is like a puzzle and there are many pieces that lead us to believe Christian B is responsible.”

Hold the book deal, Hans. You’re going to need more.

“One of the pieces is the signal from the mobile phone he was using at the time Madeleine McCann disappeared and has been shown to have been in the area of the Ocean Club resort where she was staying.”

You’ve 20 more chapters to fill, Hans. What else you got?

“The result of our investigation does not point in any way to the possibility the suspect might have kept Madeleine alive. We have nothing to indicate she could be alive. Everything we have points to her being dead. We have no margin of manoeuvre.”

Is that lost in translation – “no magian of manoeuvre”? Is that Google Translate for ‘we have no open mind’? Of course any good blockbuster needs a good plot. Goncalo Amaral is the Portuguese coppers who wrote a book about the case. Will any book Wolters writes reach a firmer conclusion, give us the definitive story?

Mr Wolters also rebutted claims made by disgraced former police officer Goncalo Amaral, who met with Brueckner’s defence lawyer Friedrich Fulscher last week in Portugal, that the German was being “scapegoated.”

A scapegoat?

The controversial ex-cop, who was removed from the initial Madeleine McCann investigation for criticising British police, is involved in an ongoing legal battle with her parents Kate and Gerry over his insistence she died by accident in their apartment and they covered it up…

German Belief v Portuguese Insistence? Or to put it another way: German Insistence v Portuguese Belief. Wolters continues:

“I know this former inspector speaks a lot and comments on our work. We’re not going to get into a war of words. All I will say is that we have carried out a very serious investigation and there is no indication whatsoever Madeleine McCann’s parents are linked to her disappearance. On the other hand we have a lot of evidence pointing to Christian B killing her. Goncalo Amaral knows how he reaches his conclusions and that’s not up to us to judge.”

To which the Sun thunders:

Maddie McCann

Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects. They are on the record in the Star, sort of:

But Kate and Gerry “won’t believe she’s dead” until a body has been found, it is claimed. A source close to the family said: “Until a body is found and it is proved to be Madeleine’s, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope. These latest ‘she’s dead but there’s no body’ theories have been repeated over the past three-and-a-half months but in all this time there appears to be no significant new development.”

At least someone is dealing in facts. The unnamed source – why unnamed and not on the record? – wants facts not theories.

Over to the Mail:

A German drifter and partner-in-crime of Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner has branded him an ‘evil psychopath’ who is ‘capable of taking a child’.

Manfred Seyferth, 64, said 43-year-old Brueckner was known as ‘The Climber’ for his ability to break into homes, and was robbing apartments in Praia da Luz the year the young girl vanished.

Seyferth, who acted as a key witness against Brueckner when he was jailed for the rape of an American woman in 2018, believes the peadophile is guilty of taking thee-year-old Madeleine from her parents’ holiday apartment in 2007.

He tells the Sun:

“Christian is a bad, bad man. He is evil. I never liked him and he is a psychopath. He is obsessed with small children and I didn’t like it. He always had a young girlfriend with him and I think he is easily capable of taking a small child.”

Oh?

“I think he may have something to do with Maddie.”

What of that rape case? Says the Sun:

Christian was convicted of attacking a 72-year-old woman in her own home at Praia da Luz in 2005.

Says the Mirror:

Brueckner, a German citizen, is currently in Justizvollzugsanstalt Kiel prison, where he is trying to overturn his sentence for raping a woman, 73, in Portugal.

Madeleine McCann is missing. It’s pretty much the only fact media and theorists can agree on.

Posted: 21st, September 2020 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs sign Gareth Bale for £13m but Dele Alli ruins Mourinho’s jigsaw

Spurs Bale

“Gareth Bale completed his emotional return to Tottenham on Wednesday night in a move that was driven by Jose Mourinho.” So declares the Daily Mail in a story that in the Express is reduced to the status of strong rumour.

The Express says Bale joining Spurs for £20m (the Mail says the loan fee from Real Madrid is £13m) completes the “jigsaw” and makes Spurs complete. The Star agrees that Bale is the “final piece” in the jigsaw. There’s Bale just slotting in below Spurs and England player Deli Alli – the player the Mail says is to leave the club.

And in the Guardian, there’s Bale looking up as Alli departs, doubtless wondering how Jose Mourinho will react to discover someone has removed a big bit of his jigsaw:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, September 2020 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Christian Brueckner for hire, puppies and imaginary babysitting

Christian B Maddie McCann

Last week Sky News presented an exclusive news feature on Madeleine McCann and the man German police suspect of kidnapping and murdering her, the convicted paedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner, oddly dubbed ‘Christian B’ in an internet-denying spot of Teutonic legalise. The report revealed nothing. Martin Brunt reviewed the hunches and theories, but could not shake that we only know one thing for certain: child vanished. Today the Sun has more developments. The suspect’s lawyer has “admitted” something. Oh, yes, you think. Has he broken client-brief confidentiality and given us the word on the depraved criminal? No.

The lawyer of prime Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B has admitted he would not trust his client around his kids. Friedrich Fuelscher “insisted that if he had a daughter he would not let the convicted paedophile look after her”.

Before we demand he adopt a girl and test the theory, we wonder what other jobs Fuelscher could admit his client is unsuited to. I’d go for the obvious (kindergarten teacher, toilet attendant and paediatric nurse) and then consider the more exotic (UN Special Envoy to Thailand). The jury is out on whether Brueckner would make a decent BBC presenter of family TV shows in which he makes children’s wishes come true. There’s been a vacancy at the Beeb ever since Jimmy Savile gibbered his last and was subsequently ruled to have been the biggest paedophile who ever lived.

The Sun’s story is based on what the daughter-less lawyer told the Mirror. “I’d let him look after my dogs but I wouldn’t let him look after my children or my daughter – if I had them,” says Fuelscher. “He could be my dogsitter, yes, but because of his record I would not let him look after my own daughter.”

As to the value of giving a convicted paedophile a puppy, well, Charlie has something to say about that:

Posted: 16th, September 2020 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment