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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.

Coronavirus: Mrs Michael Gove checks Boris Johnson’s prostate in the Mail

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mrs Michael Gove, aka Sarah Vine, looks at the health of Boris Johnson and other leading politicians. The Prime Minister is very unwell with the coronavirus Covid-19. We wish him a speedy and full recovery. Says Vine:

Boris Johnson
Sarah Vine

Adding: “…there is something about Boris’s predicament and that of his family that brings us, as a nation of strangers, closer together. Boris is us, and we are Boris.”

Michael Gove is a British MP who has been Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster since July 2019 and Minister for the Cabinet Office since February 2020.

Spotter: @brokenbottleboy

Posted: 9th, April 2020 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is not a role model – he’s just a gilded bellend

Kyle Walker

“I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week,” says Manchester City and England footballer Kyle Walker. “I understand that my ­position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model.” No, Kyle, it really doesn’t. Your responsibility is to your employer and maybe your children, more of whom later.

Walker guffed out that apology after the Sun reported he’d allegedly hired two prostitutes to service him and a pal in his rented home a day before telling others how to fight the coronavirus. “Stay indoors, keep washing your hands, keep following the protocols and just protect the NHS,” said Walker. “It’s been tough, but first and foremost, we have to think about other people’s health and protecting the elderly and family members that can spread it.”

If Kyle is the role model he claims to be, right now thousands of his fans are pulling on gold-coloured Shine condoms and paying £2,200 in cash for on-the-clock sex with “classy” escort Louise McNamara, 21, and “a 24-year-old ­Brazilian call girl”. Although prices for both might have increased now they have scored a celebrity endorsement, men who wash their hands like Kyle and look to him for moral and medical guidance will be cracking open their piggybanks and gilding their knobs. Says Louise: “I didn’t know who he was at the time. But I took a few photos of him.” Thoughtfully, she shares them in the Sun.

Other things you can do to be like “role model” Kyle Walker, are, as the Sun also reports, to “split from long-term girlfriend Annie Kilner” after getting “model Lauryn Goodman pregnant”. Kyle is father to Annie’s three sons. He’s their role model.

Posted: 5th, April 2020 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Eddie Large died with Coronavirus not from it

Eddie Large died “with” Coronavirus, says the BBC. The entertainer, one half of the Little and Large comedy duo, contracted the virus in hospital. He had been suffering with heart failure. So how does the Mirror report on the death of the 78-year-old? Not well. Eddie Large’s death is presented as part of the “Coronavirus Crisis”. “Eddie’s heart wasn’t strong enough to fight the virus.” But the virus didn’t kill him.

Eddie Large coronavirus tabloids

Eddie Large was not killed by Covid-19. Well, not unless you read about his death in the Mirror:

Eddie Large coronavirus

The Mail says Eddie Large “death in hospital from coronavirus while being treated for heart failure”. It adds: “Mr Large, who was famous for his singing and impressions, is the most famous Briton to be killed by coronavirus, which has now claimed almost 3,000 lives in the UK with deaths hitting 500-a-day.” Deep into the story we’re told: “The father of three had a successful heart transplant in 2003 – but it appears that the organ began to fail before his death, leading to his hospital admission in Bristol.”

The Sun notes: “The comedian had been suffering with heart failure and contracted the deadly virus in hospital.” To say nothing of heart failure being deadly, which it doesn’t.

Eddie Large’s son, Ryan McGinnis, wrote on Facebook:

“It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning. He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight. Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day. We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”

Eddie Large: Edward Hugh McGinnis (25 June 1941 – 2 April 2020).

Posted: 3rd, April 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal ‘delight’ at Upamecano talk gets lost in translation

Upamecano

A bit of Arsenal transfer news in the BBC. The Gunners are “on course” to recruit Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig”. The 21-year-old French defender is “keen to move on this summer”. Well, if the BBC says he is, he must be. The source for the Beeb’s news is the Daily Star. “Arsenal target Dayot Upamecano informs RB Leipzig of transfer decision,” says the Star. And the decision will “delight” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

The Star’s story is very short on facts. But it does cite its source, which is German newspaper Bild. “So Upamecano is planning his summer change,” says Bild, guessing that the Frenchman could head to Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Arsenal. And what did he say? “I will now focus first on RB Leipzig and then on what I want to do afterwards. But there are some clubs that like me. I will talk to my advisor and my parents about it at the end of the season. We will make the right choice.”

Bild’s source is Spanish site Mundo Deportivo. Its story was published on February 18. It took over a month to reach the Star. And MD’s story was based on something Upamecano told French radio station RMC on February 17. Mentions of Arsenal that will “delight” Arteta: nil. In fact Upamecano was invited by the journalist to talk about his future and merely said he was flattered to be linked to other clubs as happy at Leipzig. Listen to it here.

Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Coronavirus Law : the newspapers lead with house arrest

We’re all under house arrest in the UK – unless you need to go shopping, jogging or sell discount trainers and anoraks at Sports Direct. (Prime Minister Boris Johnson says all UK shops selling non-essential goods must close. Sports Direct says it is “uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible”. And you can betcha last cough drop its staff agree.) The coronavirus is among us. The “invisible killer” (copyright: all media) is the only story around.

Coronavirus newspapers

“End of freedom,” the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop,” says Daily Mail. The Sun says we’re under “House arrest”. The Daily Mirror calls it a “national lockdown”. The Financial Times says the Government had not choice but to enforce social isolation. The Metro shows how people were ignoring the polite advice as they packed themselves into stuffy Tube trains in London. (How long can the freebie Metro and Evening Standard newspapers last without commuters?) Not one newspaper is critical of anything the Government has ruled., including fines for anyone caught breaking the rules, which can amount to three people not from the same house playing football together.

Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Coronavirus panic: Daily Star doubles as toilet roll

Coronavirus

Panic over. The Daily Star is offering its readers a free ‘cut out and keep’ toilet roll with every newspaper. “BOG OFF!” screams the headline – Buy One Get One For Free? No need to panic buy toilet roll when you have daily newspapers. There are not plans to print newspapers on absorbent tissue paper, nor for The Sun to offer discount subscriptions to Jeremy Corbyn supporters. Says one Guardian executive: “It’s a tissue of lies.”

Posted: 10th, March 2020 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


Boris Johnson baby linked to cancer

The Daily Mirror turns the joyous news that Carrie Symonds, Boris Johnson’s lover, is expecting their baby into something dark and cruel. Boris “broke” news of the baby, says the paper, “just days after his ex’s mum died of cancer”.

The old die to make room for the young. But unnamed “sources” say the timing has been “devastating” for estranged Mrs Boris, Marina Wheeler, whose mum died of cancer at a spry 87. The Mirror says Wheeler is Johnson’s “ex-wife”. She isn’t. Although a divorce is planned.

The paper adds: “Dip Singh passed away the previous Sunday, the Mirror understands. It is the latest trauma for Marina who, on top of her divorce, had two ops to treat cervical cancer last year.”

Can it be that Carrie and Boris waited a week after Mrs Sigh’s passing to go public with a baby scheduled to arrive in the summer? They waited until the first trimester had passed before going public, which seems wise.

Says the Mirror: ‘Barrister Marina confirmed Dip “died at home with us” but did not comment further.’ That’s the Mirror’s job to fill in the blanks. It ‘understands’ this is painful time for Marina so splashes her private business all over its front pages. How very understanding…

Posted: 3rd, March 2020 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Why Caroline Flack died – by the people who knew her least

When Caroline Flack was found dead in her home, the vulture business went to work. On Twitter, many decided that with the news still fresh and facts about the TV presenter’s death largely unknown, it was the ideal moment to pass judgement.

The story leads the tabloids. Each has a hot take on why Caroline Flack died, not least of all the Mail, which calls her “troubled”, the Sunday Mirror which shrouds the awful news in the shocker ‘Death By Valentine’ and the Express which considers the location and style of home her home newsworthy (Flack dies in “London flat”).

caroline flack death
caroline flack death

caroline flack death
caroline flack death
caroline flack death

On Twitter, a heated debated was triggered over who was behind Caroline Flack’s death:

Journalists:

Sun journalist Dan Wootton:

ITV:

Media:

Twitter:

Social Media:

The Law?:

The Law:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: New Chelsea signing dreams of playing for Arsenal and picked Bayern Munich over Liverpool

“Well, I have two clubs. They are Arsenal and Barcelona. That is my ultimate dream.” So said Hakim Ziyech, the Ajax wing whose just agreed to join Chelsea for (£33.3m).

That’s not to say Ziyech won’t one day live his dream – nor is it to suggest that reporting on the Moroccan players is of any use. Here are some other things we’ve read about Ziyech in the trusty media:

“Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech has an agreement to leave the club this summer amid links to Everton and Liverpool” – HITC.com, 2018

“Liverpool boosted following Hakim Ziyech transfer revelation – Liverpool target Hakim Ziyech has agreed to leave Ajax for an unnamed club” – The Metro, July 2018

“Hakim Ziyech Agrees Personal Terms With Bayern Munich” – 90minutes.com, May 2019

“Ajax sensation Hakim Ziyech available for £25m as Moroccan star reveals move to Arsenal is his ‘ultimate dream’ so he can link up with idol Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mail, May 2019

“Ajax confirm Hakim Ziyech to leave” – May 2019, The Official Liverpool FC website

“Ajax boss confirms Roma will sign Hakim Ziyech” – Calciomercato.com, June 2019, –

“Hakim Ziyech Signs Ajax Contract Extension Amid Bayern Munich Transfer Rumours” – Bleacher Report, August 2019

February 2020 – Hakim Ziyech signs for Chelsea. Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, February 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United takes on the Sun – Liverpool fans nod

Manchester united the sun woodward

Loathed in Liverpool for its reporting on the Hillsborough disaster which saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives, could the Sun be about to lose Manchester, too? Manchester United have accused the Sun of receiving advanced notice of last month’s attack on the house of the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. “A smoke bomb and fireworks” were thrown towards his home and there were chants that he was “going to die”, reported the Sun. They were “disgusting scenes”.

United allege the Presence of a reporter “both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators”. Manchester United think the Sun had advanced notice of the attack. Say United:

“The Club believes that the Sun newspaper had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened. The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present.”

Incredible stuff.

Posted: 7th, February 2020 | In: manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Prince Andrew and the WILL to do nothing

Prince Andrew

How’s things with Prince Andrew? The Daily Express has the grandiose Duke Of York telling us he “WILL” talk to the FBI about his dead peado pal Jeffrey Epstein. The word ‘WILL’ is in capitals and underlined. It’s a triple vow. And then in a trice it’s nothing. This is all news from “a source” reportedly “close to” Prince Andrew. “The duke is more than happy to talk to the FBI, but he hasn’t been approached yet,” says the source. The FBI says Andrew has offered precisely zero help in their investigation.

The Daily Telegraph says royal sources “believe” the FBI’s criticism was a “publicity stunt” designed to “pile on pressure” and force the duke’s hand. (So long as it is his hand – in his coach crash TV interview Prince Andrew said the picture of him with his hand around Virginia Roberts’ waist might not be real.)

Back to the Express’s front page, and the sleazy Prince is below a picture of the late TV and radio star Nicholas Parsons (10 October 1923 – 28 January 2020). The charming, erudite, gracious and lovely Parsons is dressed in a top hat, like a proper gent. But the boy from Grantham could only dream of such a rank. True-born gentlemen of honour, like Prince Andrew, get titles, palaces and billionaire pals. The rest of us can only pretend.

Posted: 29th, January 2020 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Edinson Cavani agree Atletico and Inter Milan deals but wants Manchester City amid Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United interest

cavani

Manchester United and Spurs fans excited by news that injury-prone, 33-year-old Edinson Cavani is thinking go leaving Paris St Germain before his contract runs out in the summer can know that he’s already signed for any number of clubs over the past few seasons. According to media, the striker has agreed to join or has been linked with the following:

Atletico Madrid – Cavani agree three-year deal – Daily Mail, December 2019 (also Daily Star, 90 Minutes)

Inter Milan – Cavani agrees three-year-deal – Sports Mole, August 2019

Chelsea – “Edinson Cavani to Chelsea latest” – Football London, January 19, 2020

Arsenal & Manchester United – “Arsenal and Man Utd submit offers to sign Edinson Cavani” – The Metro, January 2020

Barcelona – “Barcelona are looking at the free agent market with PSG’s Edinson Cavani joining Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham players on their transfer radar” – Daily Express, December 2019

Juventus – “GLASS OF CAVA Cavani lined up for stunning Juventus free” – The Sun, October 2019

Manchester City – “PSG star Edinson Cavani wants to join Manchester City” – Daily Mail, October 2017

Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid – “Edinson Cavani may join Manchester United, Juventus or Real Madrid as PSG give up on him” – Daily Mail, February 2016

Such are the facts…

Posted: 17th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Ant McPartlin doesn’t ‘give’ Lisa Armstrong anything – she earned it

ant and dec money

Ant McPartlin “gives” his ex-wife Lisa Armstrong £31m, says the Sun. The paper claims the settlement was reached out of court. An unnamed source arrives to tell us: “Ant made a very generous settlement that works out to be more than half of everything that he has.”

Isn’t this about what ‘they’ had amassed during their long relationship and marriage? Didn’t she merely get what she was entitled to?

Why she walked away more than half we can only guess at, but no court date might mean less revelations that could damage his future earnings and that all-important image.

Posted: 16th, January 2020 | In: Celebrities, Money, Tabloids | Comment


Naff Orf: papers react to Meghan and Harry meeting The Queen

The papers all lead with Harry and Meghan’s meeting with his grandma, the Queen. But what kind of picture will sum up the news that she says they can settle in Canada?

The Metro and Telegraph lead with an image of familial love. Although with Her Majesty’s “reluctance” to agree to the Sussex’s resignation to the fore, the Telegraph’s kiss has a Mafia feel.

harry meghan front -pages
harry meghan front -pages

The Sun shows a beaming Harry and Meghan waving us a cheerio – she turning her back on being an also-ran in the Princess Anne brood mare stakes; he eschewing the chance to be the next Prince Eddie or Andy. The Queen is stoic.

harry meghan front -pages

There are three people in this relationship – and only one of them is happy on the Express’s cover. Harry has the mien of a London estate agent wondering about his bonus; the Queen looks fierce; Meghan is chuffed to bits. The Guardian also shows only one of them smiling – Meghan.

The Mail can’t bare to look at the couple’s faces as they upset the matriarch. They can go. They are no longer relevant. And you can read about their irrelevancy over eight pages.

The Times opts for an image of Prince William’s chin and mouth. He is tight-lipped. “Defender,” says the legend on his car. Wills is the big winner here. Harry and Meghan can flog perfumes and a range of Canadian products: weed, syrup and wood. But it will be Wills who gets to see his head on coins and stamps in the coming years. He gets the real money.

harry meghan front -pages f

And the Star? It goes for three puns.

harry meghan front -pages f

Next up: will Meghan play herself in The Crown? And can a chocolate teapot ever really replace Harry?

Posted: 14th, January 2020 | In: Broadsheets, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Prince Charles ‘incandescent with rag’ [sic] says Daily Mail as Harry and Meghan go full celebrity

By now you’ll be wondering what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been up to. Well, after a six-week holiday (Canada) and resignation from the Family to become full-time celebrities, they’ve been upsetting Prince Charles and Prince William. The Mail reports that both are “incandescent with rag”. Which rag is not said. But let’s hope it’s not that one!

prince harry meghan markel  daily mail

Kate Middleton is 38.

Posted: 9th, January 2020 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Granit Xhaka to AC Milan and Cole Bassett flys in

When Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal chief executive tucked his “catalyst for change” into his Gridiron knickers and headed for another American-run project at AC Milan, we hoped he’d take a few unloved Arsenal player with him. And now comes news that unpopular Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, 27, is looking for property in Italy ahead of his mooted transfer to AC Milan in January. Well, so says the Star.

Stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after an on-pitch hissy fit in which he told fans to “f**k off”, before offering an apology constructed around the kind of sympathetic back story Hollywood producers would appreciate.

In other news to thrill the Gooners, Arsenal have given a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett. Yay Cole! Dude! Woo! The 18-year-old American could join the Gunners in January, says the Sun. The Mirror, predictably enough, labels young Cole a “wonder kid”. As do the Sun and the Mail. Why is he so wonderful? Well, he’s 18 and have a trial at Arsenal. What more proof do you need?

PS: you know who own the Colorado Rapids? Yeah, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke. World domination cannot be far away.

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Grange Hill can ‘save Britain’ from ‘the cult of Greta Thunberg’

grange hill

Zammo’s smack addition. Roland’s weight issues. Janet’s acting. Gripper’s audition for work at the tax office. Trisha’s fringe. Children’s telly show Grange Hill never shied from tackling the weighty issues of the day. Now the Daily Star want its return to ‘save Britain’ from knife crime and bullying.

The show’s creator, Phil Redmond, is quoted:

Asked if it would tackle knife attacks, trolling, sex grooming and homophobia, he told the Radio Times: “All of them, plus Extinction Rebellion and the cult of Greta Thunberg. But underscoring them would be the root causes – self-worth, bullying, loneliness, isolation. Now, though, they’d be illustrated through the pressures of social media.”

Sounds like a riot. And if it was on Netflix and came with a free voucher for depop, the cool kids would tune in for sure. Failing that the BBC show that went out with whimper will be back to confront the big issues just as soon as hell freezes over – which it won’t so because it’s burning like the rest of the plant (source: Thurberg. G) .

Posted: 12th, November 2019 | In: News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Liverpool balls: Philippe Coutinho and the missing millions

Anything to sully the mood around Liverpool FC? It could come in the compact form of the overrated Philippe Coutinho. In 2018, a desperate Barcelona signed the player for £142m. He’d be a replacement for Andres Iniesta (cost: nothing at age 12). Coutinho flopped. He’s now on loan to Bayern Munich.

So what about the bad news for Liverpool? Well, the Daily Mirror has it. The paper says Liverpool are still owed £84m for the transfer: “But Liverpool will only be receiving a further £4.5m from Barcelona, because £75.5m of the fee appears to be payable to a third party lender, according to the club’s accounts.”

Coutinho
The Mirror mangles the facts
Coutinho
“Just”

Got it? Well, now forget it because the Mirror then produces a passage that is utterly confusing:

Liverpool received £105m up front for the sale of Coutinho, with the remaining £37million set to be paid in installments. The vast majority of this money has already been paid to Liverpool but Barcelona’s financial accounts for last season showed the Reds are still owed £84m for the Brazilian. Of this amount £24m is due in the short term, and will be paid by the end of the season, with the remaining £60m set to be paid on an unspecified date in the future.

Eh?

The “vast majority” of £142m – £105m – has been paid but according to the Spanish club’s books, Liverpool are owed £84m? Which, aside form being utter trash, makes it appear to be a story about Barcelona’s accounting and not Liverpool’s earnings.

The Mirror is utterly clueless. Having said Liverpool received £105m “up front” but are owned £84m, the “intelligent tabloid” adds:

But Liverpool will only be receiving a further £4.5m from Barcelona, because £75.5m of the fee appears to be payable to a third party lender, according to the club’s accounts.

Dire reporting. Total and utter tosh. The Liverpool Echo does better:

That fee appears to be payable to a third party lender, however, with Liverpool owed just €5m from Barcelona, having already banked – and spent – €155m.

And blessedly the Mail nails it: “Barcelona still owe £84 MILLION to the banks over Philippe Coutinho deal.”

Spotter: Barcelona FC annual report

Posted: 8th, October 2019 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Tabloids pit Prince Harry against Elton John

This pesky tabloids have upset Prince Harry. Not settling with suing the Mail on Sunday over its reports on his wife and her family, the Mirror and Sun. Gossip sells papers. But it seems that only the right sort of gossip pleases Harry, what he calls “responsible” gossip.

Elton on Diana to flog books: all well and good; tabloids on Royals to flog papers: bad

Harry v the tabloids. The tab love a fight. Does Harry?

“For years and years the royals have been a free shot for the press,” says the founder of Hacked Off, a campaign group which represents phone-hacking victims. “This man has suffered very badly because of that – we know what happened to his mother. I think we’ve moved on from the idea that celebrities are not entitled to privacy. The duke and duchess need to draw a line, they’ve had years of abuse.”

Byline says Harry’s latest claim to do with the papers allegedly hacking his phone.

Should the claim against the Sun and Mirror reach court we can expect to see editors and Harry in the dock. Indeed. Time to get courtroom doings live on the telly. A nation will be gripped.

Posted: 5th, October 2019 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Tough Life: Harry and Meghan pick a fight with the tabloids they can only lose

prince harry meghan
Harry and Meghan : live cam – exclusive to all media

Is Prince Harry a celebrity, an activist or a royal? Right now he’s a litigant, suing the Mail on Sunday for allegedly “bullying” his wife, Meghan.

Harry and his acolytes often portray the Sussexes as victims. “Imagine being attacked for everything you do, when all you’re trying to do is make the world better,” opined US TV host Ellen DeGeneres. “The way people treat her [Meghan] is the most public form of bullying I have seen in a while,” echoed the pop star Pink.

Harry, and presumably Meghan, are upset by the paper’s decision to publish a handwritten letter from Meghan to her father, Thomas Markle, sent shortly after she and Prince Harry got married in 2018. Did you read it? Was it interesting? Good gossip? How did the Mail on Sunday come by it?

Harry’s eye-wateringly expensive lawyers claim the paper and its parent company misused private information, infringed copyright and breached the Data Protection Act 2018. The Mail on Sunday’s report, they allege, was a crime. Ah, so now you want to read it. Nothing sells like contraband and scandal. (The paper denies any wrongdoing.)

Says Harry in a long statement:

As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more.

Harry, a democrat in a crown, wants the media to be responsible? What does that mean? Shouldn’t the media be daring, proactive and print what the rich and powerful don’t want you to know? Isn’t the rest just PR?

This is Harry who takes private jets to reach the pulpit from where he preaches about the need to conserve the planet’s resources. “Harry said that he often woke up and felt overwhelmed by too many problems in the world and that sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed in the mornings because of all the issues, but he wanted to use their platform to enable grass-roots change and to try and create a better society,” South African student Peter Oki, 18, told a Daily Telegraph reporter.

Harry is a man besieged. You could place a small pea under Harry’s mattress and he’d not get a wink of sleep.

“Every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference,” Harry and Meghan guffed on Instagram. They could have added ‘yours’ not ‘ours’. It’s not easy being green when you’re dipped in gold.

Under the headline “Tough Life“, one publication looked at Harry’s campaign for eco-tourism – which given his jet-set lifestyle and palacial homes – the taxpayer generously paid £2.4m to do up their ‘official’ residence – sounded a bit too much telling the oiks to know our place:

His comments followed a summer of controversy after it emerged that he and Meghan had taken four private jets in the space of 11 days to cruise between London, a super-premium villa in Ibiza, and Elton John’s fabulous home in the south of France.

Days before news of the private flights leaked out, Harry, in the course of a lengthy interview with Vogue, had fretted about global warming and pledged to only have two children for environmental reasons.

Harry and Meghan’s high-carbon habits were in stark contrast to William and Kate, who took their family to Scotland on a budget airline.

And now he’s suing the press. He’s upset that the same people he wants to reduce their carbon footprints – replace sun-kissed package trips to the Spanish costas with a drab weekend on a British camp site – get their news in the tabloids. Harry, an ambulatory laser light, wants the tabloids be be “responsible”. He wants readers to only see “responsible” things.

The tabloids love a fight. And many readers love the tabloids. Harry may well have picked the wrong battle. He adds – and look out for his desire to rescue us, the slack-jawed dolts, from the written word sent downmarket:

I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.
This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media. The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question. In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.

The Mail on Sunday spokesperson tells everyone: “We categorically deny that the duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.”

The rest of us might wonder if the purpose of the monarchy is to bind the nation, entertain us or protect the plebs from knowing too much. And we would if we were not too busy working…

Posted: 2nd, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Ben Stokes : the tabloids, murder and the right to be forgotten

the sun ben stokes

Fallout from the Sun’s story on Ben Stokes “secret family tragedy” was loud and vociferous. The cricketer and a personal hero of mine, was the subject of a story about a horrific crime that cost the lives of two of his close relatives three years before his birth.

One Twitter #DontBuyTheSun was trending. Twitter was on the side of Stokes, who used the platform to issue a reaction:

Hacked Off – “Campaigning for a free and accountable press which works for all of us” – wanted a slice of the action:

Clearly, the story was not to everyone’s taste. But to argue the story of a brutal crime is not of interest to the public is bunkum. We don’t need a gatekeeper to tell us what we are fit to know.

The Mirror and the Daily Star, both owned by Reach, picked up on the Sun’s old news. But following the blowback they deleted their online stories. The Mirror then published a story on Stokes’ “furious” comments about the Sun.

The Sun didn’t lie. It reported facts. It chose a moment when Stokes was newsworthy and a household name to publish a story 3 years told. Scoop? Not a bit of it. Sensation? Lots.

What of the Right To Forget, which ‘enables claimants to request the removal of links to irrelevant or outdated online information about them’? Was the crime so old it need not be repeated? I once received one from a convicted paedophile who wanted their name expunged from website I was editing. The argument was that they’d served their time and their name being on the web was causing them great upset. Another time, a victim of a crime asked for their name to be ‘forgotten’. Which name, if either, would you have edited from existence?

Google says:

When you make your request, we will balance the privacy rights of the individual concerned with the interest of the general public in having access to the information, as well as the right of others to distribute the information. For example, we may decline to remove certain information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.

Does the crime leading to the Ben Stokes story deserve to be forgotten? Is it unethical to repeat the case? The Sun argues:

“The Sun has the utmost sympathy for Ben Stokes and his mother but it is only right to point out the story was told with the co-operation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures. The tragedy is also a matter of public record and was the subject of extensive front page publicity in New Zealand at the time. The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 20th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


The teen who did not go blind from eating crisps, chips and sausages

blinded by chips and sausages

Hear about the boy “blinded by chips and sausages”? Or as the BBC’s headline puts it, a little more accurately: “Teenager ‘blind’ from living off crisps and chips.”

blinded by chips and sausages
blinded by chips and sausages

The tabloid’s headline conjures all kinds of images (see above). But the story is less bizarre. The 17-year-old has long-standing eating issues for which he sought help. And for that we can only feel sympathy. Things got so bad that the lack of nutrients affected his vision. His diet is a composite mix of: French fries, Pringles, white bread, the occasional slice of ham or a sausage.

Truth is that the sausage might well be the heartiest thing he ate. Sausage did not make the teenager blind.

The boy’s visit to the Bristol Eye Hospital is recorded in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr Denize Atan, who treated him at the hospital, notes: “His diet was essentially a portion of chips from the local fish and chip shop every day. He also used to snack on crisps – Pringles – and sometimes slices of white bread and occasional slices of ham, and not really any fruit and vegetables. He explained this as an aversion to certain textures of food that he really could not tolerate, and so chips and crisps were really the only types of food that he wanted and felt that he could eat. He had blind spots right in the middle of his vision. That means he can’t drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or discern faces. He can walk around on his own though because he has got peripheral vision.”

Sausages are innocent. Mental health should not be mocked.

Posted: 3rd, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment


Boris Johnson : the 30-day spin

When Boris Johnson met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the outcome was, depending on your spin, a pledge to do a Brexit deal in 30 days or a threat to end it all after just 30 days. The backstop – the hope of avoiding a hard Irish border – can be re-negotiated. Maybe.

But as big as the story of politicking is, the remarkable bit is the realisation that even the Labour supporting Mirror now calls the Prime Minister ‘Boris’ and leads with an image of him looking jovial.

Brexit Mirror
‘Boris’
Daily Mail Brexit
Brexit Express
The Final Solution
i Brexit
Not a deadline. Not calling his bluff – but an “offer”

The Daily Express calls Merkel’s move “a major concession; The Sun says it is an “opportunity”. The i says Merkel has given “orders”. The Daily Telegraph says the PM has scored “a victory”. The Mail says Johnson could be “on the brink of a triumphant breakthrough”. The Guardian says Merkel has put “the responsibility for the UK crashing out of the EU firmly at the prime minister’s door”. The Financial Times hears the leader of German parliament’s foreign affairs committee says Johnson is using Merkel to show the British he had tried everything, so he could then blame EU when it all goes wrong.

Such is the spin.

Posted: 22nd, August 2019 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Prince Andrew and an obsession with holes

Epstein prince andrew

Jeffrey Epstein is the BBC’s “shamed financier Jeffrey Epstein”. But he wasn’t was he? We’ve no clue if Epstein felt shame for molesting underage girls. And we know that after his 2008 conviction for procuring for prostitution a girl below age 18 he was still pals with Prince Andrew. If shame results from being shunned by society, Epstein was shameless. It was only after the tabloids published a photo of Andrew walking in the park with Epstein that the royal hole hunter apparently cut ties with the convicted paedophile. And let’s note that Buckingham Palace deny Andrew’s involvement in any wrongdoing.

We don’t know what drove Epstein to apparently take his own life in a New York jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. If he left a note explaining all, we’ve not seen it. If he confided in anyone, their lips are sealed.

Did Einstein feel his wrongdoing, something akin to what E.F. Schumacher wrote in 1973 on “The power of ‘the Eye of the Heart’, which produces insight, is vastly superior to the power of thought, which produces opinions”? Was Epstein suddenly acutely aware of his crimes, seeing what once was inaccessible to his limited view? Did Epstein experience embarrassment and found the resulting fall into self knowledge unbearable? Credo ut intelligam.

No Epstein. No way of knowing. Instead a look at some the women on his planet because women sell news.

The Times and Telegraph both lead with big photos of Katherine Keating. It’s “believed” she was seen on video leaving Epstein’s home in NYC, waving goodbye to Prince Andrew as she left.

The footage, shot on December 6, 2010, shows a relaxed Prince Andrew peering out from behind the door of Epstein’s New York home, a lavish residence in which the financier allegedly carried out the systematic grooming, abuse and rape of young girls. The Duke of York was bidding a friendly farewell to a brunette woman who bears a striking resemblance to Ms Keating, now 37, the middle daughter of Paul Keating, the Labor leader who served as Australia’s prime minister from 1991 until 1996.

But, well, so what? Keating has done nothing wrong. She hung out with very rich people in New York. What light does it shed on Epstein?

While the full allegations against him had not emerged in December 2010, he had pleaded guilty, in 2008, to soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14. It seemed to make little difference to his standing in international high society.

Why not? A conspiracy? That a very rich man knew very rich, very connected, very materialistic people is nothing shocking. His little black book was a social network. It’s not the only one. Do we trust the people in these elite groups? What are their values? Chances are they’re as hypocritical as the rest of us.

In a world obsessed with imaginary VIP paedophiles, Jeffrey Epstein was the real deal. Don’t focus on the holes – all the things we don’t know. The good news is that the law caught up with him.

Posted: 21st, August 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Release the tabloid dogs lest Prince Andrew slip away

Prince Andrew epstein sex

The better news for Prince Andrew is that the New of The World’s death came long before Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide by committee in a New York jail. The convicted paedophile who hung out with Randy Andy in the palace and the park was the topic of the March 2011 NoTW front page “Prince Andy and the Paedo”. The paper loved a tale of sex and scandal, and would have pursued the story of Andrew and the now dead depraved pervert with vigour. The phone-hacking was deplorable. But there’s a big hole where the hugely popular paper used to be.

Back then, the knowing celebrated the NoTW’s demise. Hugh Grant told BBC Question Time: “I’m not for regulating the proper press, the broadsheet press. But we need regulation of the tabloid press.” Today Jeremy Corbyn agrees with that biased view: tabloid bad, broadsheet good. Or to put it in clearer terms: people who read the tabloids are the wrong sort and must be schooled by their knowing betters. We can know only what our betters think we should know.

Hacking is wrong but, you know, would you quite like to hear a phone call between Andrew and Epstein? Perhaps the hack would be more to your tastes if it were via Wikileaks and published in the Guardian?

It’s left to the Mail on Sunday to take up the cudgel. It published new photographs of Andrew’s visit to Epstein’s New York mansion in December 2010 – two years after the host pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor. Good on the Mail, then. Or not. Because according to Corbyn: “Just because it’s on the front page of The Sun or the Mail doesn’t automatically make it news.” Wrong. It does. Whether or not you choose to read it is another story. We’ll decide what’s worth knowing. You can stick your “ethical journalism” up your organic punter.

In a world where the press are compliant and controlled, newspapers will be run by the State and full of press releases, advertorials and PR, like this missive from Buckingham Palace, which says:

“The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent.”

Nothing to see here. Move on. Andrew is His Royal Highness – he never has been a human being like you slobs beset by the foibles of lust, pride and desire. Even the Sun is kowtowed, calling Andrew “foolish”. Better a fool than a paedophile’s princely pal. “What was he doing at the home of a convicted paedophile? What on earth was he thinking?” asks the Times. His thoughts are his own affair. His doings are what we want to know about.

Posted: 20th, August 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment