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Tabloids Category

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.

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


Arsenal : £60m plus Emile Smith Rowe for Upamecano; Mustafi on his way

Arsenal Upamecano deal

Having damned Arsenal as “skint”, the Sun now bills them as “DESPERATE” in reaction to the Gunners’ £65m bid of Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. You may recall when Arsenal had a “derisory” £40m to spend this summer. That was before they lashed out around £100m on Saliba, Pepe and Martinelli. And now there’s very big money move for France’s Upamecano. And they might well get him.

Arsenal
From ‘Skint’ to ‘Desparate’ in £150m

The German side want £90m for their man. But they’re willing to take £60m plus Arsenal tyro Emile Smith Rowe, either on a permanent deal or long loan. The 19-year-old is valued at £20m. He spent part of last season at the Bundesliga side, although injury hampered his performance.

Arsenal should have the money if they can get shot of the irksome Shkodran Mustafi before the European transfer window shuts. Monaco are keen and willing to meet the Gunners’ £27m asking price. The French club can recruit Mustafi up to the September 2 deadline. Arsenal hope that having got shot of Laurent Koscielny to a retirement village in France and with Carl Jenkinson eyeing a move to Notts Forest, that dire defence will finally get the revamp in needs.

Failing that – and the smart money is on Arsenal getting their man – the Gunners will move for Juventus benchwarmer Daniele Rugani. The Italians have rejected Arsenal’s offer the loan deal, preferring to sell the not-all-that-quick Rugani. Arsenal remain keen on Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United mix up and Arsenal’s Pepe not African

Daily Star fail

Tip-top reporting from the Daily Star, which manages to illustrate a story on Romelu Lukaku with a pen pic of his Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba. It also hails Arsenal’s new player the “France winger” Nicolas Pepe. He plays for the Ivory Coast, which isn’t in France. S

Oh, and Pogba hasn’t been left out of the United squad in Norway. He’s on the bench:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The only two words you’re allowed to says to Harry and Meghan

meghan markle harry laws rules

Should the Duke and Duchess of Sussex burst info flames, their neighbours must wait until asked to cross the road and wazz on them. Harry and Meghan’s neighbours have been issued with a set of rules, says the Sun. Do not speak to them without being spoken to first. Do not post flyers for pizzas, Labour or a new waxing salon through their letter box. Do not touch their dogs, walk the dogs nor ask to see Baby Archie. Only say ‘Good morning’, and only then if he actress and Duke Baseball Cap speak first.

Harry: ‘Out of my way, pleb!’

Neighbour: ‘Good morning’

Meghan: ‘It’s 3am and if I want a party I’ll have one’

Neighbour: ‘Good morning’

The rest of us love it all, of course. The royals are preposterous, ridiculous and laughable. That they need to provide the masses with made-up rules to maintain their distance and gravitas shows how close they are to admitting that the game is up.

Posted: 28th, July 2019 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Chuckle Brothers Clickbait : trolling a man’s death for clicks

Chuckle Brothers dead

Chuckle Brothers’ entertainer Paul Elliott has been “forced to deny that he passed away after his late brother Jimmy died this week”. So reports The Metro. How ugly. A grieving man is forced into something. “Following the death of his older brother Jimmy, 87, the 71-year-old was quick to stamp out rumours that he was the one who had died.”

‘The world is falling apart, Paul Chuckle has now died a year after his brother,’ one distressed fan wrote. To which he also responded: ‘Nobody told me,’ with a whiskey glass. While another wrote: ‘Click-bait. He wasn’t a “Chuckle brother”. Paul didn’t die.’ To which Paul added: ‘I don’t intend to mate,’ with the fist and thumbs up emoji.

Where on earth did readers and Chuckle Brothers’ fans get the idea that one of the comedy duo had died?

Dead Chuckle Brother
Clickbait
chuckle brothers death clickbait
Clickbait : The Metro’s Top 10 stories

Clickbaiting a man’s death and then writing a second story about a grieving man “forced” to set the record straight. Charming…

Posted: 27th, July 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Nick lied and lied and lied – biased police and desperate MPs believed every word as ‘credible and true’

carl beech nick
Was it political? Daily Telegraph goes large on ‘Nick’

They got him in the end. No, not the VIP paedophile killing children for kicks. They got the whistleblower, the man known in the tabloids somewhat appropriately as ”Nick’. Once the police had stopped treating his words as “credible and true”, they nicked him. And now Carl Beech, aka ‘Nick’, has been found guilty of 12 charges of perverting the course of justice and one charge of fraud.

The matter of why this criminal’s tosh was treated as fact should lead to heads rolling. The State created Operation Midland (cost: £2million) to investigate Beech’s claims. Innocent people had their names dragged through the gutter. Dead bodies were dug up and beaten with sticks. Why and how that came to be should worry us all.

No word yet on the Met’s detective superintendent Kenny McDonald who with all the circumspection of a dog sat by a steaming turd told us: “Nick has been spoken to by experienced officers from the child-abuse team and from the murder-investigation team and they and I believe that what Nick is saying is credible and true.” In what free country is what a copper believes worth anything without the evidence to support it?

In what free country worth a damn does a leading politician, in this instance deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, hear Nick’s unsubstantiated claims and call the dead and entirely innocent former Conservative MP Leon Britton “as close to evil as any human being can get”? On a par with Hitler, Stalin or the Yorkshire Ripper. Britton was that bad. Watson apologised for his choice of language. But the craven opportunism of a police force driven by self-serving PR and desperate politicians who see dead kids (real and imagined) as an opportunity to showcase their own morals is sick.

nick daily people daily mirror
The People had the scoop

At Newcastle Crown Court, Beech, a convicted paedophile and former school governor who’d secretly filmed one of his son’s pals using the toilet at his house – all so predictable, right? – was finally found out.

Now what should we do with his enablers?

Posted: 23rd, July 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Matthijs De Ligt joins Juventus but ‘agreed’ terms with PSG and Manchester United

Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt has joined Juventus from Ajax for £67.5m. That must come as something of a shock to Manchester United and PSG fans because on July 6, the Sun bellowed: “Man Utd and PSG ‘agree transfer fees with Ajax for Matthijs De Ligt.” That news followed the Express’s July 5 scoop: “Barcelona transfer news LIVE: Matthijs de Ligt AGREEMENT in place.” Also on July 5, the Daily Star told its readers: “Man Utd and Ajax come to agreement over Matthijs de Ligt transfer.” The Daily Mirror agreed.

The Google News bots picked up the balls:

Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt

More clickbait every day…

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Monreal lies and corrections

Arsenal transfer news

On the Sun’s transfer news page for Arsenal, readers see the headline: “Monreal CONTRACT TERMINATED.”

Nacho Monteal has been sacked? What did he do. The hard-working Spaniard has never been a problem at Arsenal. To be sacked he must have done something incredible. Monreal contract runs until the end of the 2019/20 season. Arsenal would surely prefer to sell him. So you click on the headline and get told:

Arsenal transfer news

The Sun says there is “nothing in reports that Nacho Monreal has left Arsenal”. Reports like – yep – the Sun’s reports “Monreal Contract TERMINATED”. Which for those of hard of understanding appears in capital letters at the top of a story saying it’s nonsense.

Not that the Sun is alone in this tosh. Football.London and The Daily Record have the same owners.

As the Sun says: “confusion reigns.” And bullshit.com thrives.

Posted: 3rd, July 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Illegal immigrants rain on London

The body of a Kenya flight ‘stowaway’ has been “found” in a garden in Clapham, south London. The man fell off a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi. The BBC says the “force of the body falling” dented paving slabs. To say nothing for the impact of the body landing on the patio.

“If it had been two seconds later,” says an eyewitness, “he would have landed on the common where there were hundreds of people – my kids were in the garden 15 minutes before [he fell]. I spoke to Heathrow. They said this happens once every five years.” In 2024, it might be best to remain indoors.

Thoughts, of course, are with the dead man, someone desperate enough to clamber inside the landing gear of a large commercial jet and take his chances. Although maybe he was already dead and someone else stowed him? Whatever the background, the tabloids keep things in perspective.

The Mail warns owners of £2m homes that immigrants might be targeting their properties:

Kenyan jet man Clapham

The Sun warns sunbathers that there’s something worse than perverts with camera drones:

Kenyan jet man clapham

The man has yet to be identified.

Posted: 2nd, July 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment


Freddie Starr never ate a hamster

Freddie Stars hamster

Freddie Starr (9 January 1943; died 9 May 2019) never ate a hamster, at least not Supersonic. In 1986 the Sun told how the entertainer had put the rodent between two slices of bread and bit into it. It was just his loveable, madcap way of punishing the critter’s female owner for her refusal to make him a sandwich.

“Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster,” said the Sun. The story was false, cooked up by Starr with his agent, convicted paedophile Max Clifford. Starr noted in his autobiography: “I have never eaten or even nibbled a live hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, mouse, shrew, vole or any other small mammal.” It’s the kind of line Starr would have ended with “But I bet he had a cockatoo”.

Starr’s dead now. But the story lives on, the Sun modestly hailing the original as the “greatest headline in the world”. Back then the story promoted Starr’s career. Told now the casual misogyny and cruelty would have ended it.

Posted: 10th, May 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Star sacks all its Page 3 topless models

The job market is looking bleak for topless stunnas. The Daily Star says it will no longer feature pictures of topless women on Page 3, following the Sun’s move to end its Page 3 feature 2015. Readers looking for tit-bits of news will be lost to the web.

page 3

“The Daily Star is always looking to try new things and improve,” says the paper’s editor, Jonathan Clark. “In that spirit, we’ve listened to reader feedback and are currently trialling a covered-up version of page 3.”

Do Daily Star readers do feedback in anything other than sales?

daily star sex
No Page 3 in the Star means readers will need to use their imaginations – and phones
You could see tit but not say ‘tits’ in the Sun

How different things were when the Sun sacked Dannii from Basildon. “The Daily Star is proud to continue the great British page 3 tradition,” announced the paper. “It brightens the day for our readers during tough times and has launched many successful careers. We will continue to listen to what our readers want and put a smile on their faces with our lovely, bright, talented and independent young ladies. Page 3 is as British as roast beef and Yorkshire pud, fish and chips and seaside postcards. The Daily Star is about fun and cheering people up. And that will definitely continue!”

What the Star is about now is unsaid. Maybe it’ll be about a different kind of hard news?

Posted: 12th, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Upskirting still legal in the newsagents

Pippa naked Kate Middleton upskirt

It is illegal to take photos up a person’s skirt or other items of clothing without their consent. Upskirting is a crime if “the offender has a motive of either gaining sexual gratification or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim”. What about if you’re an underwear researcher for M&S? What about if it’s newsworthy?

The Daily Star once alerted us to the “clea-vadge”, a happening so rich it was hailed as “The FILTHIEST celeb trend yet”. Female celebs had taken to wearing very small knickers and skirts with long slits. Men wielding very long lenses with endoscopy attachments were taking photos of the ‘trend zone’. You’ve seen 90% of the star’s naked flesh but the contest to reveal the remaining portions is keenly fought in panting PR agencies and on the kerb.

You say ‘flashed’ they say’ cheeky’

Following the arrival of the new anti-upskirting law the questions for editors are: when are knickers being “flashed” and when are you just gawping at a woman’s crotch?

In 2014, the Express brought us: “Top 10 knicker flashes including Kate Middleton, Susanna Reid and Emma Watson.” Flashing suggests an act of free will. But in its article the Express said these leading flashers were “blundering”. BBC TV presenter Alex Jones was a flasher because she “had unwittingly showed off her brown polkadot pants as she crossed her legs in front of the camera, giving viewers a little more than they bargained for.”

Upskirting

The paper went on:

Kate Middleton proved that not even royalty can escape the embarrassment of an accidental flash. The mother-of-one ended up victim to a bluster of wind during a nine-day Canadian tour with Prince William, and showed off bottom when the breeze lifted up her yellow summer dress…

Emma Watson revealed more than she intended when she made a quick dash to the shops in 2011.

“For the second time, the 42-year-old star gave viewers an eyeful thanks to a tight, short dress”

Is it now the case if a celebrity accidentally “flashes” her knickers that if no police action follows the gusset exposure was accidentally-on-purpose?

Just what is the message police and media are presenting us with? Now magazine once looks for meaning in Britney Spears’ gunties – and found some:

We now await the first paparazzo tried in court for upskirting who solicits the defence: “If I’d spotted early stage of cervical cancer, she’d be thanking me.”

Posted: 12th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: tabloids hail detectives May and Corbyn

Brexit

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will join forces to solve Brexit, forming the kind of made-for-ITV drama partnership mouth breathers will love. In episode one of Chalk ‘n’ Cheese / Marx and Narks / Remain & Remain we see the intrepid duo meeting for “national unity” talks. The tabloids preview the show:

The Sun (front page): “PM TO CORBYN: HELLLLPP!!” May’s locked in a room with scented Liam Fox and Geoffrey Cox’s Voice of God. Can Corbyn get into Number 10? “After 7 hours of Cabinet lockdown, May’s gone soft over Brexit mess,” says the Sun. May’s “bright idea” is to think Corbyn can help. His face appears superimposed on a screw-in lightbulb, evoking the time the Sun did the same to then Labour leader Neil Kinnock, telling readers to turn the lights off if he got into power. Kinnock lost that time but soon trotted off to a massive salary in Brussels, from where he and his ilk will be soon controlling the UK post-Brexit. Votes, who needs ’em?

But in Brexit terms it’s earth hour, says the Metro. The lightbulbs are about to go out across the UK if a deal with the EU cannot be done. Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill says a no-deal Brexit will “make the country less safe, cause food prices to rise by ten per cent and lead to a recession”.

Daily Mail (front page): “May delays Brexit AGAIN and kills off No Deal — Boris leads Tory fury as Corbyn invited to ‘compromise’ talks”. The talks have been compromised! If you don’t know which side the Mail is on get a load of the billing: only Boris Johnson is on first-name terms with the paper’s readership. Johnson arrives on page 2 to accuse “Mrs May of betrayal”. But Michael Gove backs May. He backs lots of things and so long as you don’t back into him, all is good.

Johnson is all over page 6: “You’ve handed Brexit deal to Corbyn, bitter Boris tells May.” He’ll vote against any deal with the Labour leader. One page on and Henry Deedes gives his verdict, employing language familiar to anyone who spends afternoons chemically coshed in front of reruns of the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip and howls with laughter at Readers’ Digest ‘Life’s Like That’ anecdotes.

Daily Mirror (front page): “HELP ME JEREMY,” says a “despairing Theresa May”. Jeremy will rescue things. “Jezza says he’ll talk”. But wait a moment. Might it be a trap?

Page 5: Jason Beattie, who writes beneath the marvellous title “head of politics”, says Corbyn is “well aware he’s being lined up for a fall”. “To keep his party together his minimum request should be for a customs union and a second referendum,” he advises. Will May agree to Remain? Will her successor rip-up any agreement? Will Brexit detectives Fudgeit and Snubs get to the bottom of things?

Daily Express (front page): “It’s Time For National Unity…Over To You Mr Corbyn.” Mr.. Not just ‘Corbyn’. By page four the language is back to basics. The Express phone poll asks: “Should Corbyn be entrusted with final Brexit deal?” That’s the Brexit-supporting Express asking its readers to spend 50p on a referendum that may carry less weight than, well, the referendum in which 17.4 millions of voted to leave.

Vote now and vote often.

Posted: 3rd, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Danny Cipriani in a mum’s ‘hallway’ and trailing Caroline Flack’s Love Island

Danny Cirpriani sex Flack

And to think they said it wouldn’t last. Days after “rugby ace” Danny Cirpriani was linked with Stanislavsky-honed Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, the Sun, the paper that broke the news on its front page, says he’s “bedded” a mum of two.

Meet Amy D’Ambrogio, whose kids will be the toast of their school playground as she tells the paper of her alleged shagging. Amy’s fluent in the kind of language that requires no work from the Sun’s busy subeditor’s, revealing: “After sex he was saying, ‘I feel really bad now. I feel guilty’ and told me he had cheated on someone.” Who? No matter because we get to the maul, tackle and ruck, which according to the scummy mummy (come on, Sun subs) went like this:

  1. Amy follows Danny on instagram
  2. Amy asks Danny for a “birthday kiss”
  3. “To her surprise [he] later arrived at her home”
  4. They spend 90 minutes “exchanging intimacies” in her “hall”
  5. His breath was a bit garlicky,” says she
  6. “I really needed that release,” says he

Another alleged shag is explained: “He stopped outside my bedroom, took all his clothes off and folded them in a neat pile.”

No word from ‘Copping some’ Flack, but after Danny and she were “caught” together at Babington House, a members’ club in Somerset, where spotting a frotting celebrity and their PR is akin to spotting the sky, we look forward to another series of Love Island very soon.

Posted: 3rd, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Danny Cipriani and Caroline Flack collide in the Celebrity Petri Dish

Danny Cipriani and Caroline Flack

Love Island presenter Caroline Flack and “rugby’s bad boy” Danny Cipriani “shared a romantic getaway” in… Somerset. The Sun peers into the Celebrity Petri Dish and spots the “smitten rugby ace” and Flack sharing a “passionate goodbye kiss” after a “raunchy” weekend. An anonymous source adds: “They did start tongues wagging quite quickly.” Wagging Tongue might be the celebrity sex aide we need, one up on Love Island’s‘ Under Duvet Hand Assister and rugby’s maul, ruck, scrum, praise of the “nice tackle”, lots of “playing with one another” and a “hooker” pressed on with cries of “heave” – to think they broadcast that stuff before the watershed.

The Sun sees romance but perhaps this was an audition for the much-awaited Celebrity Love Island, in which Cirpriani, a man whose entire rugby playing career appears to be an audition for the moment he shares a televised hot tub with drip-dry incarnations of Kate Price, and Flack, a woman whose genitals are often accused of being a PR stunt – Flack, presenter of an X-Factor spin-off show enjoyed a “romance” with a teenage Harry Styles (who he?) enacted before anonymous sources and passing paps. Celebrity Love Island is the show we need.

That Celebrity Love Island line-up in full:

Caroline Flack

Danny Cipriani

Nigel Farage

Edwina Currie

Sarah Ferguson

Katie Price

The Teletubbies

Terry Waite

Shamima Begum

Uri Geller

Posted: 1st, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Biased media: Tabloids say British Pakistanis are a threat to national security

Madrassa Briitsh

On the Daily Star’s page 2 a story about “British kids” being taken to Pakistan “and enrolled in chilling extremist summer schools”. These schools offer a “glorified version of jihad”. We hear from a “source” – unnamed. They opine: “It is highly likely his education in Pakistan, even for a short period, increases the risk of extremism for British-Pakistani children.”

Always a pity than you don’t know the name of the person giving you their opinion, especially one outlining a potential threat to national security which implicates British citizens.

pakistan madrassa

As for the story, the Star says it’s in a “secret report by the Home Office”. An earlier and fuller version of this story appeared in the Mail two days previously. “Terrorism fears as 3,000 UK children a year go to ‘jihadi’ schools in Pakistan, secret government report reveals,” says the Mail. The inverted commas should alert circumspect readers to the fact that these schools are not jihadi schools.

Like the Star, the Mail says the news is “chilling” and “secret”. That voice is again heard telling us: “It is highly likely that this education in Pakistan, even for short periods of time, increases the risk of exposure to extremism for British-Pakistani children,’ the source told The Mail on Sunday.” The teaching takes place in “Pakistan’s estimated 20,000 madrasas”.

Are these madrases all a worry for the British government? Er, no. The Mail says the report “identifies three madrasas of concern – the Darul Uloom Haqqania (DUH) madrasa in the remote Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region bordering Afghanistan; the Jamia Binoria in Karachi and Jamiatul Uloom Ul Islamia in Azad Kashmir. Each has denied involvement in extremism.”

How many British children have even been to one of those three schools? Dunno. Having cast a pall of suspicion over all British-Pakistanis who choose to give their children more education, the Star and Mail don’t say.

But we are told: “Two of the 7/7 bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, enrolled on madrasa courses in Pakistan a year before they launched their deadly attack in 2005, which killed 52.” Khan was 30 when he committed an act of mass murder. Tanweer was 22. Neither was a child sent to a ‘jihadi’ school by the parents. Both were grown men when they went to school in Pakistan. The Sunday Times said Khan was assessed by MI5 in 2004, after his name appeared during an investigation into a plan to detonate a 600-lb truck bomb in London. Tanweer “looked up to Khan as a “father figure”. What role any madrasa played in their barbarity is moot.

So about those madrases… There’s no proof they’re any threat to this country at all.

Posted: 25th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Lottery winner Ade Goodchild saves us from Brexit

Ade Goodchild

You can’t come out from under there yet. And go easy on those provisions you’ve stored and planned to live on until March 29 when you could re-emerge into society. And save some of the Buffalo mozzarella – that stuff could be worth more than gold in post-Brexit Islington. Brexit is being delayed, well, it will be if Theresa May can get permission from the EU – you know, the body the country rejected in favour of being sovereign. There, there. Hush. Banging your head into the wall won’t help in the long run. And by the time you come out, the Polish repair team will have left for China. Here, to keep you going is a copy of the Daily Star.

daily star lotto

There’s little talk of Brexit on planet Star. The paper focuses on breasts and factory worker Ade Goodchild, who has won £71m in the EuroMillions lottery. He was the only winner of the £71,057,439 prize on Friday. The BBC says he’ll travel the world and buy a home with a swimming pool.

ade goodchild

You cares what colour your passport is when you’ve loadsa money? Good for Ade. And his fortune might be better news for our MPs, too, because Ade is looking for staff. If he needs a boat, Chris Grayling Ferries can sort him out; John ‘ORDER!’ Bercow is handy in restaurants; and Jeremy Corbyn is a shoo-in as a travel agent, fixing trips to Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

And what millionaire doesn’t need a life-size weather house? Call me, Mrs May, I have ideas…

Posted: 21st, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


What racism? Raheem Sterling becomes the tabloids’ role model

Raheem Sterling the sun

In a tribute to Jadon Sancho, the England and Borussia Dortmund winger, the Sun’s Martin Blackburn says Raheem Sterling might be “something of a role model” to the tyro. Writing in the Times, Henry Winter calls Sterling “a role model in a divided land crying out for them”. Watford’s Troy Deeney has no truck with footballers being pitched as role models to strangers, arguing that he’s a role model only to his kids. But this isn’t about Sterling’s talents, which are considerable, but how the press portrays him. And the Sun has changed tact.

Winter has called out the media’s bias towards Sterling, an intelligent, driven young black athlete on the receiving end of some monocular reporting. And the Sun has been accused of treating Sterling unfairly.

raheem sterling drugs
Story about drugs: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling
Young man from working-class background buys house!
raheem sterling tattoo gun
Sterling gets a tribute to his late father – it’s an anti-gun tattoo
raheem sterling the sun
And the Sun’s Star letter is… GET STERLING!
raheem sterling m16 tattoo
Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

Today the BBC reports the words of Spurs and England full-back Danny Rose, who says players were “over the moon” to see Raheem Sterling criticise the media’s portrayal of black players and says the winger was “spot on”. Sterling opined that newspapers helped “fuel racism” by the way they portray young black footballers.

“Raheem was only saying what we all say in the dressing room,” said Rose, 28.”It’s sad really but he’s 100% spot on with what he said… The stick he used to get from the media was bang out of order. When he put the [Instagram] post up about the media we were all over the moon with that because we all agree. Fair play to Raheem… One of the few positive things about social media now is you have a voice and you can influence people. Now it’s not just boys in the dressing room talking about the media targeting Raheem, the general public have now seen it. We hope it changes but it doesn’t affect Raheem in any way, which we are all grateful for.”

I’ve no interest in a footballer being a role model. I just want them to be brilliant and give their all when playing for my team and rubbish in a rival club’s shirt. Does what Wayne Rooney or Raheem Sterling do in their downtime fill a gap in your parenting skills? Simon Barnes summed it up well in The Times: “Football itself is neither disgusting nor admirable. It’s just a game, it doesn’t have any pretensions to be a moral force, for good or evil. That’s not its job.” Stop holding footballers up as an example to the slack-jawed masses, and stop making examples of them.

Next week: why aren’t MPs role models?

Posted: 20th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the international Belgian paedo mob

Madeleine Mccann
The News: What you missed (but didn’t) / what we already know / and a big maybe

Now that Madeleine McCann is back in the news thanks to a Netflix docu-drama, the tabloids can revisit the same old with some degree of surety that readers remain interested in the missing child.

Daily Star (page 19): “Maddie was kidnapped ‘to order’.

Who sent the order? The paper tells us it was a “peado gang”, precisely a “Belgian paedophile ring”. Seems hard to fathom that depraved perverts would go to so much trouble as to import a white child from a foreign country? But if it’s on the Netflix drama The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann is must have weight. And we read the theory that “someone linked to the mob” spotted Madeleine McCann on holiday in Portugal, took her photo and “secretly” sent it to Belgium. The “purchaser” is “said to have approved her”.

maddie mccann reward
A huge reward that went unclaimed

A source from detective agency Metodo 3, once hired to track down the child all those moons ago, opines: “To take her without leaving a trace? It was well-organised group.” Because as everyone knows, the more people involved in a crime, the less likely it is that something will go wrong and someone will claim the huge reward.

The Star says the Belgian tip-off was noted by a Scotland Yard officer 10 months after the child vanished. The report runs: “Intelligence suggests that a paedophile ring in Belgium made an order for a young girl three days before Madeleine was taken.” It’s a sickening theory. But at least it’s only speculation. We see no facts to support it.

Posted: 19th, March 2019 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


John Bercow v Brexit: you sweet beautiful man

John Bercow Brexit
Daily Mail

John Bercow is the “smug Speaker” (Sun) who yelled “Bollocks to Brexit” (see Mrs Bercow’s bumper sticker) who “ambushed” (Mail) the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. Bercow, the House of Commons’ warden, told MPs that Theresa May cannot bring her deal back for a third vote without “substantial changes”. We cannot have “Groundhog May” (Mirror). Rules are rules. And the ruling Mr Bercow cited from 1604 justifies his decision to block a third vote.

That’s 1604 the year, not 16:04 the time – and given the volatile nature of Brexit negotiation you’re forgiven for confusing the two.

John Bercow Brexit
The Sun

Henry Deedes, writing in the Mail is upset. His paper, which supports May’s deal, says Bercow fired an “Exorcet rocket straight to the core” of May’s Brexit strategy. An Exorcet is the French-made missile used by the Argentines to sink the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War. Twenty man were killed. From deadly missile to cheap shot. How language moves on. But at least laws stay rooted.

Daily Express

The Express calls Bercow “The Brexit Destroyer”. The Sun opts for similarly warlike imagery, saying Bercow “torpedoed Theresa May’s EU deal”. “GOTCHA!” as an alternative take on this might have put it. The paper’s editorial calls Bercow “obnoxious, discredited and shameless”. Well, he is also an MP.

Only the Mirror is non-plussed. The news features on its page 2 – that’s the page nobody reads. Well, that’s not exactly true. John Bercow reads it because he’s on it. The replicant incubating in his loins needs the sustenance of media coverage.

John Bercow Brexit
Daily Mirror

What next? Well, for Bercow and his Tourette’s-like scream ‘Divisionnnnnn” the opportunity to sort out camp rations in the I’m a Celebrity jungle surely beckons. For the rest of us, it’s apathy and Ray Mears boxsets.

Posted: 19th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


After Christchurch: Daily Mail discovers the killer’s angelic blonde roots

Daily Mail Christchurch blonde

Did you know that the man who murdered 49 people as they prayed in a Christchurch mosque was once a blonde? You can mull over that as the Mail thought it wise to broadcast footage of the murderer’s live-streamed killing spree. The same papers that attacked Facebook for giving mass murder a platform – The Mail, The Sun and The Mirror – all ran excerpts online. In the race for web traffic, anything goes.

daily mail new zealand facebook
They are shameless; we are reporting

The videos were on the same pages as adverts for London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and Coral on The Mail and The Sun websites. The videos have now been removed.

Was the ISIS maniac ever an ‘angelic boy’ – or blonde?
Daily Mail Christchurch
For edited highlights click here

The Mail thought it informative to allow readers to download of the attacker’s 84-page manifesto as a PDF. It’s been removed from the site.

Andy Dawson puts it well:

Oh, and it’s not about Facebook. To blame the massacre on social media is a cop out. Nazis didn’t need social media to turn an entire nation to murderous extremism. The fear is that individuals with a warped agenda based on hating a group will see themselves as part of something bigger.

Posted: 16th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


After New Zealand: Tom Watson calls Mark Zuckerberg ‘wicked’ and blames Facebook for massacre

Forty-nine people are known to have been murdered as they prayed in a New Zealand mosque. The killer live-streamed the massacre on Facebook. On LBC Radio, Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson used his hosted show to call Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, “wicked”. Watson said he “dreams of the day” when he no longer has to use social media.

The Sun New Zealand massacre

Watson sounds like the intro to 1970s TV show Why Don’t You?, which advised British children tuning in to turn the telly off and get a life – but only after they’d finished watching this show, which was more pure than all the other shows. So by all means use Twitter and Facebook, but only listen to people who advocate “decency”, like Tom Watson.

The Daily Telegraph calls the slaughter the first social media terror attack. The Sun calls the killer the ‘FACEBOOK TERRORIST”. The Mail says it’s the “MASSACRE SHAME ON FACEBOOK”. The mood is clear: more censorship is required to prevent a repeat of this. But is that how you stop a disease from spreading? And who gets to decide what we, the impressionable masses, get to see?

You can argue about what kind of person seeks out a video of people being murdered, and why anyone not involved in psychopathic studies would want to spend a muon of their time reading the killer’s long manifesto. But should things be banned?

daily mail new zealand facebook

Maybe context is key? In France, the odious Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Rally, is being investigated for her tweets. Her response to suggestions that the Far-Right has much in common with jihadism was to tweet the pointer “This is Daesh” and a series of gruesome photos. She thought it useful to show her followers images of a man being burned alive in a cage and decapitated US journalist James Foley. Le Pen has been charged with “circulating violent pictures liable to be seen by children”. “Sharing is caring,” says the blurb beneath social media icons. Not always it isn’t.

So, who else be blamed?

The Hill:

“New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video,” Mia Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement. Facebook is “removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware,” Garlick added.

A caller to Watson’s show said words heard in any video can be transcribed by machine learning. If the broadcast features a word on the banned list, then the video is flagged. So, for instance, a video of Tom Watson talking about “porn” and “white supremacy” would be flagged and blocked at the gate. The problem with that approach is clear. No platforming words and ideas diminishes us all.

What to do? Well, a word from Waleed Aly is worth listening to:

Posted: 16th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids, Technology | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Netflix show says actors kidnapped child

madeleine mccann netflix

There’s a  “Maddie shocker” on the Daily Star’s cover. The paper doesn’t tell you what it is until you reach page 13. That location’s a clue, isn’t it. It tells us that the story isn’t shocking and certainly doesn’t reveal what happened to Madeleine McCann back in May 2007.  But let’s take the bait and flick through…

The story is about that new Netflix drama into the child’s vanishing. It will, says the marketing and the tabloid, “contain explosive new claims”. They’d best be good. We’ve heard some pretty edgy stuff in the decade and more since a 4-year-old girl on holiday became ‘Our Maddie’.

The Mail also trails the show. It tells us: “Haunting last footage of Madeleine McCann boarding a plane to Portugal with her family days before her disappearance is unearthed in new Netflix documentary.” Haunting because..? No reasons are given. She didn’t go missing on the plane to The Algarve. She didn’t board the plan and then – poof!  – vanish. It’s not haunting to see the child on the plane’s steps. It’s ghoulish.  

On page 29, the Mail conducts an interactive study. “Is this Maddie playing in Portugal just days before she vanished.” Before. Not after. So let’s say ‘yes’, it is her. Because a four-years-old on holiday will do a lot of playing. The Mail says the image of a child seen from the back who might or might be Madeleine McCann is “haunting”. The Mail sees ghosts where the rest of us see a flesh and blood child, and a mystery most likely rooted in the criminal rather than the supernatural.

Indeed, as part of Netflix’s armchair detective show, we see a “dramatic reconstruction of Maddie’s abductors…running through the resort’s streets with a child in their arms.” These kidnappers are played by “actors”. This is no CCTV footage of this as an actual event. And for reasons uncertain, the “couple” seen carrying a child in plain view constitute one man (brown skinned; 30-ish; jeans and trainers) and one woman (white; 30-ish, headscarf). Why they’re portrayed like this is unsaid. But, you know, telly. And it’s hard to get Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to patch up their differences, even if it is to help with an open case. Also, very few actors resemble this early suspect:

One artist’s impression of the suspect

The “fleeing couple” also look not a lot like these “suspects”:

belgium-suspect1

Picture 1 of 6

If The Dandy comic did abductions

But there has been a breakthrough. Over in the Sun we get the answer to the Mail’s question. “Maddie,” says the paper, “New pic playing on hols.” Not now. Way back then.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 15th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment