Anorak

Tabloids | Anorak - Part 20

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.

George Michael’s ‘suicide’ lover seen wearing sandals and socks

The post-mortem on George Michael’s body failed to establish a cause of death. There will be further tests. The police are not treating it as suspicious.

But the tabloids know why George Michael died. “Tragic George ‘Killed Himself’,” states the Star’s cover story. “Singer ‘wanted to die’.”

You might think George Michael’s life anything but tragic. Feted, celebrated, admired and adored by many, the singer was a superstar. The Star writes a narrative allegedly fed by a Twitter account apparently linked to Fadi Fawaz, Michael’s boyfriend, who, as the Times notes, found the singer “lying peacefully” in bed at his 16th-century cottage in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

The paper broadcasts the tweets: “the only thing George wanted is to DIE”; “he tried numbers of time to kill himself many times…”; “and finally he managed…” All troubling. And then below a picture of Fadi walking the Star supplies the caption: “Fadi claims he is hacking victim”.

 

george-michael-tweets-death-a

 

The Sun, which also leads with the story of a tweet, says Fadi Fawaz’s profile has been “quickly deleted”.

He says he didn’t send those tweets.

The Mirror wrings more from “the mystery”. In “Final hours of pop legend” the paper thunders : “GEORGE’S LOVER: I SLEPT IN MY CAR AS HE DIED ALONE.” Farwaz tells the paper: “I did not send those tweets.” The Mirror then says, “It is unclear why he spent the night apart from his 53-year-old lover”. Farwz says, “I fell asleep in my car and I never saw him that night.”

 

george-michael-tweets-death-a

 

For those of you seeking more official action, it’s worth noting what else the Mirror reports: “Fadi was pictured buying coffee on Christmas Eve from a shop near George’s home… He was wearing sandals and socks.”

Were his feet hacked? Or is it now fashionable to dress like a summering vicar on a Norfolk beach?

The mystery continues.

Posted: 2nd, January 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Berlin suspect Anis Amri: the devious jihadi who left his ID papers at the scene

Anis Amri is the man wanted in connection with the massacre at a Berlin Christmas market. The Sun says he was “freed” three times by German police this year alone. The 24-year-old Tunisian was under “covert surveillance” months before the horror in Berlin. Now the police want to survey him as close quarters. Anyone who knows where Anis Amri is can earn £85,000 by telling the police. (The reward is €100,000.)

 

Anis Amri terror Berling jihad Islam

 

We then get a few facts. Amri arrived in Europe in 2012, landing by boat in Italy and posing as a minor. In June 2015 he arrived in Germany. In April 2016 he was refused asylum. The Germans wanted to send him back to Tunisia but the Tunisians said they had no idea if he was one of theirs. Amri had no papers.

The Times manages to establish Amri’s roots by speaking to his family in Tunisia.

Speaking to The Times yesterday from Kairouan, Tunisia, Amri’s father said that his son had been a violent, drug-taking adolescent. He was jailed for four years in Italy for setting fire to a migrant reception centre before arriving in Germany in February.

When did he arrive in Germany, was it February or April? The Press seem unsure. The Express says he’s 23. The Express and Mail says he arrived in Germany in July 2015. The Mail says he’s 24 in one report and in another that’s he’s 23.

Today is Anis Amri’s birthday. He’s now 24.

The Times adds:

Expulsion orders had been issued but the Italian and German governments could not deport him until Tunisia confirmed his identity and granted him a passport, which was finally issued yesterday.

Scheduled to be sent packing, Amri struck? Well, that’s the allegation.

The Mirror says Amri – the “world’s most wanted man” – could have been injured with the Polish driver whose lorry he allegedly stole. “It is believed that Lukasz Urban, 37, fought with the terrorist as the vehicle began to plough into the Breitscheidplatz market in west Berlin,” says the Times. “Mr Urban was found dead in the cab, having been stabbed and shot.”

Really? The men were fighting as the truck ploughed into shoppers? And how do we come to know Amri? The Guardian notes:

German authorities said they had found Amri’s identity card under the driver’s seat of the truck he allegedly drove into a crowd of people at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.

Does that strike anyone as odd? A devious known criminal left his ID paper by the seat of the vehicle that murdered so many?

“When I saw the picture of my brother in the media, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’m in shock, and can’t believe it’s him who committed this crime,” Amri’s brother Abdelkader Amri tells AFP. “But if he’s guilty, he deserves every condemnation. We reject terrorism and terrorists – we have no dealings with terrorists.”

His sister Najoua Amri adds: “He never made us feel there was anything wrong. We were in touch through Facebook and he was always smiling and cheerful. I was the first to see his picture and it came as a total shock. I can’t believe my brother could do such a thing.”

The Guardian says Amri has ‘links with the radical Salafist Abu Walaa, alias Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A, a 32-year-old Iraqi Isis supporter known as the “preacher without a face”, who was arrested in the northern town of Hildesheim in November’ and ‘known Turkish Islamic fundamentalist, Hasan C, 50’ and with Boban S, ‘a hate preacher from Dortmund’.

According to an anti-terror investigator speaking on condition of anonymity to German media, Amri had sought accomplices for a terror attack in early 2016, and had shown an interest in weapons. Despite authorities being made aware that he wanted to buy a pistol, there were apparently no attempts to take him into custody.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, December 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Berlin massacre stuffing: why the ‘truck nut’ did it

After the “slaughter” (Daily Express) by a “truck  nut” (Daily Star) at a Christmas market in Berlin, the Star surveys the “carnage” (Daily Mail) and declares on its front page: “Murdering scum told: Get stuffed just like the turkey.” That is ‘turkey’ with the small ‘k’. The Star doesn’t do subtle. But it nails it. ‘Defiant Brits have stuck two fingers up to Christmas terror,” says the paper, “and told them ‘You can get stuffed”.’

 

berlin massacre christmas market newspapers

 

Over pages 4 and 5, the Star repeats its seasonal message: “XMAS KILLERS CAN GET STUFFED.”

Brilliant, isn’t it. Spot on.

At least one of the killers who murdered so many as they shopped for seasonal bits and bobs is on the run. We don’t know why he / she and any accomplices did it. All we know is that 12 people are dead, including trucker Lukasz Urban. Rather than speculate, the Star makes a statement. Get stuffed. Perfect.

 

berlin massacre christmas market newspapers

 

Over in the Mail, the focus is on fear. “So much for Peace and Goodwill to All Men,” says the paper below a picture of armed police guarding the nativity scene at Canterbury Cathedral. But who are the coppers on the look out for? Islamic State has, we’re told, claimed responsibility for the mass murder in Berlin. The Mail tells of “fears” IS will call a “lone wolf from any of the 400 militants who have returned here from fighting in the Middle East”. Not a lone wolf at all, then, rather a suspect whose part of a global murder cult on a mission from god. The paper adds, “Experts warned that a lone wolf attack would be very difficult to prevent.”

Readers are told that “special forces and police have rehearsed the very difficult task of stopping a vehicle running amok”.

It’s more ‘We’re stuffed’ than ‘Get stuffed’ in the Mail.

berlin massacre christmas market newspapers

 

And the fear keeps coming.

“BRIT IS CELL LINKED TO TRUCK HORROR,” thunders the Sun on its front page. This cell “may have been groomed by IS commanders who plotted the Berlin massacre”. Or to put it another way, they may not have been. We have no idea. And what’s this ‘groomed’ balls? Is it right to harness the language of child sexual abuse – the county’s obsession – to describe grown men murdering strangers? Don’t give the bastards an excuse. They’re no victims. The Sun that once yelled ‘GOTCHA” as the enemy’s ship was holed has lost its swagger.

Over pages 6 and 7, we read that the “bungling cops” arrested the wrong man. The “true killer” is armed and still at large. Unless – get this – those famously inefficient Germans let him go in the hope he’d lead them to his ‘groomers’. Or right now he’s in a cell having secrets leached out of him? Or maybe because the Germans let so many migrants in unchecked they have no idea who they’re looking for? Maybe the killer is Hans from Bavaria? We don’t know. But it’s exciting to guess.

On page 8, we hear more of Lukasz Urban, the aforesaid Polish trucker. He is now “brave Lukasz” who “fought to the end”. We don’t know how he died. All we know is that he was stabbed and shot. But the media like to portray victims as heroic, so the man whose battered body was found in the truck that killed so many is kidnapped anew, this time to become the face of courage.

 

berlin massacre christmas market newspapers

 

More fear on the Mirror’s cover. “TRUCK KILLER COULD STRIKE AGAIN,” chills the headline. He could. Will he?

On page 12, the Mirror tells its readers “hate can’t fight hate”. Maybe not. But if a jihadi is trying to kill you and yours, lobbing flowers at him will only be enough if they’re tied to a sharp brick atop an F16. The Mirror says we can “show solidarity with the victims by refusing to be infected by the poison of terrorism and not turning on each other or sharing the bigotry of those who destroy lives for paranoid political ends.”

We know nothing of the victims, save that they were murdered at the shops. Showing solidarity with the dead speaks only of the living’s needs. And the killer did it for political ends, not for militant Islam or because, as the papers says, he is a “maniac”? The Mirror is sure of that.

The paper than says the Far Right are milking the massacre. The paper’s angle is that if you now worry about migrants and militant Islam, you are on the same side as the Nazis. You’re a facist. Oh, get stuffed. Not feeling the love does not make you a deviant. Criticising Islam does not make you an Islamophobic race rioter-in-waiting. Warning us about our response to terror is absurd. It paints us as fools and untrustworthy. We won’t be “groomed” by extremists on any sort. We can think for ourselves.

The final word comes to readers via the Express: “I’ll destroy IS terrorists says Trump.” The US President-elect says the people behind the massacre should be “eradicated from the face of the Earth”. He adds: “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians… as part of their global jihad.”

So much for the stuff of politics. Now for the culture…

 

Posted: 21st, December 2016 | In: Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (3)


All the facts on Simon Cowell’s Caribbean Christmas

What’s Simon Cowell up to these days? The Mirror told readers on December 6: “It’s a Cowell family Christmas as Simon ditches harem of ex’s to spend Xmas with Lauren and Eric.” Bethany Minelle had the inside track on Cowell’s crimbo.

Simon Cowell has already organised his Christmas relaxation this year – and for once he won’t be spending it on a yacht filled with glamorous ex girlfriends.

 

simon-cowell-harem

 

The Mail’s Charlotte Griffiths agreed, noting on December 4:

Simon’s ‘harem’ has been dealt a devastating blow after the X Factor tycoon ditched his playboy image and told them: Sorry, Christmas is cancelled.

 

simon-cowell-harem

 

And so to today’s new in the Daily Star. In “Simon soaks up fun”, we read: “Simon Cowell relaxed on a luxury yacht with a bevy of babes, including his partner and his ex.” Simon “frolicked” with current flame Lauren Silverman, their son Eric, his former lover Sinitta and  “pals”.

 

simon-cowell-harem

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 20th, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Free The Press: reject Section 40 and keep stamping your feet

The assault on Press freedoms continues. If Section 40 is passed anyone who values free thought and free expression is damaged.  On 1 November, the government launched a consultation on “the Leveson Inquiry and its Implementation” which will look into Section 40. It closes on 10 January.

Section 40 demands newspapers sign up to a State-approved body. Failure to sign up to the State’s Press regulator means publications will have to pay the costs of anyone who brings a civil suit, libel or privacy actions against them – even if they win their case.

It’s blackmail.

Join Impress, the Max Mosley-funded press regulator backed by the censorious Hacked Off, or the State will cut your legs off. Write anything unpleasant against the rich and powerful, and watch your organ die.

In today’s Sun, Trevor Kavanagh writes in support of a free Press. He comments on Mosley, the “tycoon”:

If he succeeds, newspapers will be gagged by a draconian law which puts paid to three centuries of press freedom. If enacted, Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act gives anyone with a grievance the power to take a newspaper to court, with all costs paid by the publisher — win or lose.

Is Mosley an altruist? No, says Kavanagh. He is out to exact a “sick revenge”.

Mosley loathes the press for revealing his German- themed sado-masochistic sex romps with prostitutes. He is on a witch-hunt which puts every newspaper in the land — local and national — in peril.

Who else stand to win if Section 40 is approved?

Every corrupt character in the land, public or private, would be able to take the press to the cleaners. The only alternative would be to surrender to a state- supervised “watchdog” funded — surprise, surprise — by Mosley.

Kavanagh is on the board of IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation).

Nearly every newspaper and magazine in the country signed up to Ipso which swiftly established a reputation as a prompt, free and impartial referee. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley must wake up to the threat Mosley’s press regulator poses – if the press are made to pay court cases even in thrown out cases, suing will be a free-for-all This is not enough for Mosley. He funded Impress which, as the only applicant, was appointed as the industry’s statutory regulator — without the support of a single major news organisation.

Over in the Mirror, Jeremy Armstrong has a disturbing tale.

A police force last night faced stinging criticism for unlawfully snooping on the Daily Mirror after we revealed its Chief Constable blew taxpayers’ cash to conduct an affair with a colleague.

Bosses used powers designed to track terrorists and dangerous criminals to access my phone records as well as those of other ­journalists, officers and a solicitor in a bid to find who was leaking ­information about alleged racism within its ranks.

Worried? You should be. You can read it all here.

Kevin Maguire tells Mirror readers they are living in “Stasi Britain, where cops spy on journalists investigating credible allegations of police corruption”.

Like Kavanagh – who says “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” – Maguire notes, “The disinfectant of daylight keeps the authorities honest.”

Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell makes an appeal:

“Everyone, not just journalists and publishers, must respond to the consultation and write to their MPs to persuade politicians and the Government to step back from a draconian measure that would take us back to the dark ages of press censorship, stifle freedom of expression and the public’s right to know what is done in their name and with their money.

“It is a battle which goes back to the 1600s, a century in which a king lost his head for ignoring the interests of the people.

“Those who seek to neuter the press and whistleblowers, must not be allowed to win this fight for fundamental freedoms that are important for everyone but which are too easily taken for granted.”

It’s a big deal. And you can say ‘no’ by signing the petition here.

People fought and died for the right to cause offence. Don’t let them take it away.

One man, for instance, named Lilburne [John Lilburn; 1614 – 29 August 1657], was brought before the Star Chamber, charged with publishing seditious pamphlets. Now, in all ordinary courts of justice, no man is called upon to say any thing against himself. Unless his crime can be proved by the testimony of others, it can not be proved at all. But in the Star Chamber, whoever was brought to trial had to take an oath at first that he would answer all questions asked, even if they tended to criminate himself.

When they proposed this oath to Lilburne, he refused to take it. They decided that this was contempt of court, and sentenced him to be whipped, put in the pillory, and imprisoned. While they were whipping him, he spent the time in making a speech to the spectators against the tyranny of bishops, referring to Laud, whom he considered as the author of these proceedings. He continued to do the same while in the pillory. As he passed along, too, he distributed copies of the pamphlets which he was prosecuted for writing.

The Star Chamber, hearing that he was haranguing the mob, ordered him to be gagged. This did not subdue him. He began to stamp with his foot and gesticulate; thus continuing to express his indomitable spirit of hostility to the tyranny which he opposed. – Charles I, by Jacob Abbott (1848)

Sign the petition.

Posted: 19th, December 2016 | In: Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: Theresa May clears the room at the Brussels divorce summit

How’s Brexit going? Well, it’s not, of course. The Government has yet to trigger Article 50. But be in no doubt Theresa May is “playing a masterful hand”.  Andrew Lilico tells Sun readers May has been “crystal clear” in her plans fro Brexit. He says we need no “additional clarity”. Things are “clear” – a word he mentioned sevens times in the article. The only “unclear” thing is what Theresa May will get.

Clear?

Theresa May Brexit

Daily Mirror – May no mates!

 

The Mirror says the country will he handed a £50bn bill to leave the EU. The money is made up of  the “UK’s final two years of EU budget payments plus pensions liabilities  and other commitments we have previously agreed to”. This bill has been “confirmed” by EU negotiators. The Mirror adds that EU Ambassador… anyone? Anyone? Yes, it’s Sir Ivan Rogers. Well, he says leaving the EU could take ten years.

That May has been in Brussels with the other EU country leaders has not escaped the Mirror’s eye. It says May lacks authority and presence in meetings. Her “inexperience” is a “major handicap for Britain”. Her rivals see “victim” stamped on her forehead. She was awkward when filmed standing alone as “Europe’s power players  hug and greet one another at the Brussels’ summit”. It was “excruciating”. May was “desolate”. The other leader then told her to go while they all went to dinner together.

 

Theresa May Brexit

The Sun – no Mates May

 

The Sun agrees. “”NO MAYTES,” it puns. May was “frozen out”.

Over Pages 10 and 11, the Daily Mail sees “KNIVES OUT FOR OUR MAN IN BRUSSELS”. Sir Ivan is being attacked over his “gloomy pessimism”. Sir Ivan, notes the paper, was “top mandarin to Tony Blair”, a man whose mentioning necessitates all Mail readers spinning round three times and spitting. It adds that the aforementioned £50bn bill is a “threat”. It is a”gross upper estimate”.

 

theresa may brexit

No mates May – Daily Mail

 

As in the Mirror, the Mail shows May “friendless” at the summit. Dignitaries “turn their backs” on the Prime Minister.

But the Express has a different view.  Its readers see May in conversation with Germany leader Angela Merkel and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

 

Theresa May Brexit

May the popular – Daily Express

 

On the matter of that £50bn, a number the Mirror says Number 10 “did not confirm or deny”, we hear from a “Downing Street source”, who says: “Once we have left the EU, the UK government will make decision on how taxpayers’ money is spent.”

Clear?

Posted: 17th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Karen Matthews: a damp squib and other fireworks from the UK’s ‘most hated mum’

Karen Matthews – ‘the UK’s most hated mum’ (source: Daily Mirror) is talking through a “pal” with an impeccable memory to the Daily Mirror.

In “I need plastic surgery for my own safety” readers see a picture of Karen, the woman convicted of kidnapping her daughter for cash. Like most of you, we too had forgotten what Karen Matthews looked like. and with her dyed hair, gained weigh, new name, Bible group mates and living far away from her native Dewsbury, it would have been easy to have ignored here. But the Mirror somehow managed to spot her and her anonymous friend, and now Karen says she is living in fear.

Over page 4 and 5, we are told in an emotive headline, “People scream nonce at me in the street… but I think I deserve everything I get.”

Karen is “trying to build a new life for herself…but there are clearly many who are not ready to forgive or forget”. Given that headline, one of them seems to be Karen herself.

People have thrown fireworks at Karen (bangers, since you ask). She is “hounded”. So she needs to have her face rearranged. Well, a bit of it at least: “I would love to get plastic surgery, make my nose small so nobody would recognise me.”  She was “attacked” in prison. “They hit me with a snowball,” says Karen.

The Mirror says on Page 12 that Karen Matthew getting plastic surgery on the NHS is “a question for public debate”. And Karen “deserves a fair hearing”.

Lest you still not think the Mirror is spinning a story around Karen Matthews to flog you her memoirs, Lucy Thornton tells us: “My sympathy then loathing for Karen has turned to pity.”

And if there’s enough interest, it’ll turn to a book deal.

Posted: 13th, December 2016 | In: Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Karen Matthews finds God as the Daily Mirror ‘finds’ her

Who is the “most hated mum in Britain”? As kids give their mothers the side eye and Rose WestVanessa George and Tracey Connelly contemplate their respective relegations, the Mirror tells it’s Karen Matthews, mother to Shannon Matthews, the kidnapping victim who wasn’t kidnapped but hidden by her mum in a relative’s flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, where she was tied to a bed and drugged for 24 days. Karen Matthews did it for the £50,000 reward money.

 

Karen Matthew Shannon

 

Today the Mirror tells us Karen “craves forgiveness for snatching” Shannon.

In 2009 Karen was jailed for eight years for kidnaping and drugging of her nine-year-old daughter. Shannon’s step-uncle Michael Donovan, in whose flat Shannon was found, was also sent to prison for eight years.

Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, of West Yorkshire police, called Karen “pure evil”. Mr Justice McCombe said calling Karen “evil” was “was not a helpful comment” and criticised “hyperbole about this case in some quarters”. Fast forward seven years and Karen Matthews is the “most hated women in Britain”.

But she wants to be loved. She has, says the Mirror, “joined a Bible group to meet new friends, has become a teetotaller and prays every day in an effort to lift her spirits”.

 

Karen Matthews Shannon

 

Now freed, Karen Matthews is suffering: “But the mum-of-seven’s notoriety has left her unable to get a job and she claims she is trying to survive on just £25 a week in benefits. And her weight has soared due to a behind bars diet of chocolate, which also left her teeth rotten.” She wasn’t exactly a workaholic before her incarceration.

Karen meets with the Mirror, which tells readers:”Matthews was gorging on a huge plate of chips at a cafe before going to watch carol singers.Matthews was gorging on a huge plate of chips at a cafe before going to watch carol singers.”

She doesn’t talk to the paper directly, but through a “friend”, who quotes Karen verbatim: “I know I did something wrong but I’m not the baddest person people are making out. I am sorry for hurting people.” Karen poses for no photos, the Mirror making do with grainy, covert-style pictures of Karen at the shops, wearing a hat, partly obscured by shopping bags and framed by what appears to be a car window.

The impression is that the story has been achieved by investigating and not Karen picking up the phone and trying to make a few quid. Was she paid for this story? Was her “friend” paid? Does it matter is money changed hands?

As the Commons says: “There is no law prohibiting convicted criminals from publishing their autobiographies or other writings in which their crimes may be described, or from selling their stories to newspapers or biographical writers.”

Two examples:

In 1998, it was reported that Mary Bell, who killed two toddlers when she was eleven, was receiving payment for helping with a book about her life, Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny.

There were many reports that Mary Bell had received £50,000 for her contribution, although this was disputed at the time. The book was also serialised in the Times.
In 2003, there was public concern that Tony Martin, who shot and killed a young burglar, had sold his story to the Mirror for £125,000; however the Press Complaints Commission ruled that there had been no breach of the relevant code of practice, instead taking the view that the payment was necessary and that the story was in the public interest.

Is the Mirror testing reaction to this story before it features a series of articles from sweet Karen, of whom we’re told, “Matthews still insists she is innocent and did not snatch little Shannon”?

Reading on we learn that Karen’s no longer living in her native Dewsbury, having moved hundreds of miles away, dyed her hair and adopted a new name – “the same as her favourite Hollywood star.” The Mail doesn’t tell us which one, but if you meet Darth Matthews, pray for her and maybe – just maybe – buy her memoirs.

Posted: 12th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Getting to the bottom of Princess Eugenie and Pippa Middleton’s weddings

Is Princess Eugenie engaged to be married to a “very posh barman” called Jacks Brooksbank? The Daily Mail wants to know so it’s asking its readers. Rumours of wedding bells, says the paper, have taken on  “unstoppable force”.

One way to ascertain the fact would be to ask Eugenie’s mother, Sarah Ferguson, who can be summoned by pressing f9 on any TV producer’s keyboard. Sarah is full of knowledge, not least of all when In Finding Sarah – A Duchess’s Journey To Find Herself she told usFree your mind and your bottom will follow”.

 

Sarah ferguson

You shall go to the ball!

 

Which brings us to the Mail’s other Page 3 Gel, Pippa Middleton. In May, Pippa will walk down the aisle with “wealthy hedge fund trader” (WHFT)  James Matthews. Indeed, wealthy hedge fund trader is the title given to people who invest large amounts of cash in things other people do and make. It has been reduced of late to “hedge fund trader” but good to see the Mail giving the job the full billing and the respect it warrants.

 

St Mark's parish church, Englefield, Berkshire

St Mark’s parish church, Englefield, Berkshire

 

By marriage, Pippa will thus become a wealthy hedge fund manager’s wife. But until she has that enviable job title Pippa is, as the Mail notes, “the Duchess of Cambridge’s little sister who shot to public attention when she wore a bottom-hugging bridesmaid’s dress at the royal wedding in 2011”. You almost pity Pippa writing that down in the ‘Occupation’ part of her passport. But she’s ever keen to forge her own way and the Mail tells readers, “Pippa is said to have wanted a smaller, more intimate family wedding” than he sister’s televised do.

Westminster Abbey is out, then, so Pippa and WHFT James will marry at St Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berskshire, a venue every bit as cosy as Pippa’s dress.

Posted: 9th, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Arsenal balls: Ozil and Sanchez are ‘completely committed’ as agents and tabloids talk up their worth

Arsenal transfer news is all over the tabloids. With just 18 months remaining on there respective contracts, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Oil are haggling for new deals and lots more cash. Are they going or staying? The media knows nothing, of course. The media had no clue either player was on Arsenal’s radar before they arrived and has no clue if they will sign a new deal.

The Mail says “YOU’RE STAYING”. Daily Star leads with “You’re Gunner stay”. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the club will not be “held to ransom” by the players. Wenger says, “these players have 18 months left. They will stay for 18 months and hopefully much longer.”

The Mirror twists those words and leads with “Sanchez and Ozil WILL stay (but only for 18 months)”. Wenger “claims his £100m duo…will be allowed to leave Arsenal on free transfers at the end of their contracts rather than being sold next summer.”

That’s only right if you take half of what he said and ignore that bit about him wanting them to stay for longer and the 18 months being the only agreed element of the deal. Six pages inside the paper, readers get a fuller quote. They also learn that Ozil has been offered £200,000 a week, a hug increase on his current £140,000-a-week deal.

The Express has a fuller version of Wenger’s words, which the Mirror declined to report. “Eighteen months is long time in football.” says Wenger.” I can’t give  any assurances. But they have 18 months and are completely committed. Beyond that they will try to extend their  contracts. That’s a normal part of negotiating.”

The Mirror, of course, knows precisely what is going to happen, it having told us that at the end of this season, Wenger is leaving the club on June 30 2017.

 

wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Over in the Sun, it’s “FLY EMIRATES”. Wenger “admits he cannot guarantee” Ozil and Sanchez will stay at the club.

Neil Ashton uses his column to tell readers Ozil and Sanchez’s agents are “running rings around Arsenal’s deal maker Dick Law”. They are doing this, says Ashton, by comparing notes. Yeah, agents talk to one another and do their research. Who knew they were so professional? “If Ozil is offered £300,000-a-week or more for the next five years, Sanchez’s men get to hear about it first hand,” he adds: “With the form their clients are in, they hold all the aces.”

Not quite. They play for Arsenal, and must continue to preform at the highest level to prove their value.

Football’s not about contracts. It’s about teams. Football is not a means to an end. Top sport isn’t. It’s about doing your best and enjoying yourself. The incessant tabloid guff about money and contracts in football creates an impression that all footballers are disloyal and driven by money. To think Ozil and Sanchez think of bonuses when they score win or lose is to do them a disservice.

We get stories that Sanchez could earn £400,000-a-week playing in China. No word on whether he wants to or sees a new challenge in the Far East. Just the money.

“I believe personally, and maybe I am a bit naive, that it’s more about getting to meet the player’s needs. That’s more about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players,” says Wenger. “So I think, for me, that is more important nowadays and an important ingredient for every player to consider. The money is good everywhere for everybody. You know, nowadays, you negotiate with the agents more than with the player. We are in negotiations, yes. The players [Sánchez and Mesut Özil] are 18 months away from the end of their contracts, so it’s normal to be talking. But the players always come in at the end, when it’s a renewal, because with the first contract you need the players present. But after that, when you renew, 90% of the contracts are negotiated with the agents.”

Do they want to play for you? Would they enjoy it?

Agents are employed to maximise their clients’ earnings. But they also know that a happy client is a retained client. The agents don’t hold all the cards. It’s a balance. If Ozil and Sanchez’s agents are the top of the game they will strive not only for money but for their clients’ futures. Are they better off at Arsenal, where they are thriving and earning a fortune, or should they head o China, Chelsea or wherever else will give them more money?

The last words is from Ozil, who told the Times only last week:

“This is what I love about football…Even as a youngster playing against my older brother and his friends, I was never selfish. I didn’t want to be in focus. Even if people wanted to put me in the spotlight, I didn’t want it. I am not jealous if people are more successful than me. My passion on the pitch is to be successful not as an individual, but as a team. Often, it is my contribution that decides the game…

“You have to go for it, believe in yourselves, always have fun.”

Still think he’ll leave? No. Me neither.

Posted: 9th, December 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: absurd MPs vote on the vote and Remainers side with rich old elites to fight democracy

How’s the Brexit vote getting along? A few weeks ago (It was June 23rd – ed), the people democratically voted for the country to leave the undemocratic European Union. Today the Daily Express leads with “HOORAY! MP SAY YES TO EU EXIT”. Like you, we’re a little puzzled. Didn’t the demos, the great unwashed, say ‘yes’ to the EU exit with that vote? The MPs had their say in the run up to the referendum. Now they’ve had it again, and the democratically elected members who represent us have voted in the Commons by 461 votes to 89 in favour of democracy.

The Express, which has cheered for Brexit and UKIP, is delighted. By the end of March the Government will finally trigger Article 50, the move needed to get Britain out of the European Union, and the MPs will not attempt to block it.

 

brexit

 

And the country is in favour. A YouGov last week reveals that 68 per cent of people want Britain to get on with Brexit.

On page 4, we read that the 372 majority vote not to block the will of the people “does not have the force of law”. The Express then points the finger at the “89 MPs who lined up to defy the will of the people”. Er, no. They all did. They voted on something they had no right to vote on. We already did the voting. The entire exercise was about them validating themselves not about the referendum.

The Mail is equally chuffed with this absurdity. It was the “DAY MPS SPOKE FOR BRITAIN,” declares the newspaper’s front page. The paper says Labour was “thrown into chaos” when 23 of its MPs refused to commit to the Brexit timetable. Labour is already in chaos. The party lost the plot when it created surveillance Britain, invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, belittled the working class, approved a hierarchy of foreign people and acquiesced to racism.

“We’re the insurgents now,” says former Labour leader and PM Tony Blair. He and the 48% are the rebels? If they are look out for British politicians tuning the other way when Russians bomb them. But they’re nothing of the sort. You can’t spot the 48%. There is no popular movement. As we’ve seen, the vast majority of voters back democracy and just want Brexit done. The people rather like and value democracy; the clubby elected reps less so.

 

brexit daily mail

 

It’s “ARTICLE 50 SHADES of HOORAY,” says the Sun.

On its Page 2, the Mirror spots “lone Tory Ken Clarke” with the 23 Labour “rebels”, the LibDems and the SNP. So much for the 48%.

Meanwhile, over at the Supreme Court, Remainers are hoping rich petitioners backed by a shibboleth of old toffs – Gina Miller, her pals and the judges – render the referendum result useless. Indeed, readers, the people who bemoaned the rich and the old men and women in the street voting Leave now hope the rich and the old men and women wrapped in wigs and dead animals let them stay.

How’s that for elitism?

Posted: 8th, December 2016 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment (1)


There’s No One Quite Like Piers Morgan: Cruz Beckham and deprived kids attacked over cynical stunt

David and Victoria Beckham “pimped out Cruz for Xmas,” declares the Daily Star. The 11-year-old has released a Christmas single. And morning TV presenter Piers Morgan is aghast. Morgan says the “sickening” and “cynical” single is a “tool” to “boost Brand Beckham”.

Consider it boosted. On page 3, there’s more on Cruz and his new manager, a bloke called Scooter who also manages Justin Bieber.

 

pimp-cruz-beckham

 

The Mirror leads with “Too young?”, inviting readers to consider if the world needs another child singing sensation with a Christmas hit. Wasn’t the St Winifred’s School Choir’s seasonal smash hit There’s No One Quite Like Grandma enough?

Over pages 14 and 15, the Mirror asks, “Is it too soon for Cruz Beckham to be a Spice Boy?”

As the Mirror considers the 11-year-old’s career to date – miracle birth; being given a surname for a first name; growing hair; 7 times table – deep in the story we learn that Cruz is doing it for charity. Proceeds from his song will help disadvantaged young children.

Would you see Cruz silenced and the bairns go without? It’s not about him. It’s about them. Although it might really be about Piers Morgan.

 

Posted: 8th, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal trigger bidding war as Chelsea and China chase Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal forwards Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Chelsea. Maybe. The Mirror leads with news that should Arsenal fails to give Sanchez the massive pay hike he wants, Chelsea will dip him, his dog, his mum and his house in Russian gold.

The root of this story is not guessology, but something close to it. The Mirror says Chelsea manager Antonio Conte really likes Sanchez, arguably the Premier League’s best player. And, er, that’s it.

 

Alexis Sanchez chelsea arsenal

 

This ‘news’ follows yesterday’s ‘news’ that Chinese investors are willing to spirit Sanchez to the Far East an pay him £400,000-a-week to kick a ball. You’d imagine that any club willing to pay that much will also pay an enormous transfer fee.

As Arsenal wonder what Sanchez is worth if someone is willing to pay him £50m a year, the rest of the media slavishly follow the Mirror’s fact-free scoop:

“Arsenal and Chelsea fans lose their minds on Twitter as Sanchez is linked with Blues move” – Express

“Chelsea prepare swoop for Alexis Sanchez amid contract stalemate” – IBTimes

“Chelsea chase Gunners superstar Alexis” – The Sun

Of course, we only know about the Chinese interest because Sanchez’s people have dropped it into conversation with Arsenal over a new deal. It’s a bit desperate from them. If he fancies it, he’d already have agreed to go and Arsenal would be talking about that massive transfer fee.

So Sanchez won’t head to China. He’ll stay in Europe, and if he and Arsenal are smart he’ll stay at the Emirates and earn closer to the £200,000 a week he wants.

 

Posted: 8th, December 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Making an ‘ordeal’ over Matt Le Tissier’s naked massage

Former Southampton FC “legend” Matt Le Tissier is the latest name linked to the stories of historical sexual abuse in football. Le Tissier claims he was given a “naked massage” by former youth team coach Bob Higgins. The Sun says “at least six Southampton starlets” have made complaints about former Saints youth team coach Bob Higgins.

The Mail leads with “LE TISSIER: MY NAKED ORDEAL”. Says Le Tissier to the BBC: “Everyone was kind of naked and getting thrown on this bed…and a very quick  massage. It was uncomfortable.” He adds: “You look back and it was wrong.”

It does sound odd and unnerving. But to put it in the same bracket as the horrors endured by victims of people like child abuser and former football coach Barry Bennell is also odd. Le Tissier never says he was abused. He tweets: “For the record, I’ve never felt like I’ve been abused. Still don’t… I’m all good just state what happened.”

The moment has not defined his life. Was it an ordeal? The papers all agree with the Mail that it was.

 

le-tissier-ordeal daily mail th esun

 

The Daily Star’s front-page headline yells “Matt nude ‘rub’ anger”. Inside we read, “Le Tiss Ordeal Fury.”

Does Le Tissier sound angry or furious? Not at all. He sounds measured and thoughtful.  “It’s pretty disgusting,” he says. “What went on is not normal behaviour. When you hear the stories of naked soapy massages, hairy bum competitions… you look back at it now and think ‘hang on, what was going on?’. Obviously boys talk at that age, they take the Mickey, it kind of gets covered up as a bit of banter at that stage. But as you grow into an adult, you look at it and think ‘that’s not right’.”

The Sun leads with: “Matt Le Tissier BombShell – Youth coach gave me disgusting naked massage.”

Over pages 54 and 55, readers are told of the “SAINTS LEGEND’S ORDEAL”.

The media all agree: it was an ordeal.

On the Mirror’s front page we see Le Tissier. On Page 11, down in paragraph 5, we read: “Le Tissier said he never felt like he’d been abused.” He’s a victim but unaware he was one? The Sun goes further: “Le Tissier  said he was not abused.”

 

le-tissier-ordeal daily mail th esun

 

Having read of Le Tissier’s “ordeal”, over pages 74 and 75, the Mail says, “90 minutes in dark room with coach still haunts me.” We hear from former Southampton youth team player Les Cleevely. What happened to him in that room should be the matter for the police, not for our titillation? “Les Cleevely does not elaborate greatly on what happened during one and a half hours in a darkened room with… Bob Higgins, but the affect it had on his life is profound,” says the paper.

It’s not until paragraph twelve that we get to know about Higgins’ alleged crimes. In 1992, he was “cleared of sexual abuse charges”. The Mail says he has “declined to comment on the latest claims surrounding paedophilia in football, but denies all allegations of abuse”.

We are told that at age 13, Cleevely claims he was given “a soapy massage by Higgins”. Les Cleevely then says: “My hour-and-a-half experience in a dark room was horrendous in itself but to have anything else happen is the stuff of nightmares.”

We are left fearing and imagining, but not knowing.

And the fear is fanned and spread by Harry Redknapp. “Rumours were going round at that time and there was a programme I watched where this young guy spoke about Bob Higgins and the type of stuff he was dong with kids at Southampton and I thought that would be the end of him,” says Redknapp. The paper then adds, ‘Redknapp was adamant there “must have been people at Saints who heard rumours about Higgins”.’

But through the fog of suspicion settling on everyone at Southampton FC, Redknapp then adds: “But until you can actually prove something or there’s a bit of evidence, it’s very difficult.”

Well, yes. Claims need to be investigated. Barriers to justice, charges, trials and verdicts navigated. What we have is suspicion. We are being invited to mistrust everyone. What happened in those 90 minutes should be in the hands of the police.

What we want is to get to the truth and for justice to be done and seen to be done – not for everyone who has ever worked in football to be a suspect.

Posted: 7th, December 2016 | In: Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media balls: BBC blamed for Manchester United and Manchester City hype

In “MANCS FOR NOTHING”, the Mirror’s Dave Kidd looks at how Manchester United and Manchester City have failed to live up to the hype.

“Remember all that Pep Guardiola v Jose Mourinho hype,” he begins. We do.

“Remember how Manchester became the undisputed centre of the football universe?” We do.

Kidd then tells us who we can blame for all that balls. “Maybe we were all sucked in by the famously agenda-driven Manchester-centric media, led by Salford- based BBC Sport, who persuaded us to ignore poor unfashionable London”.

Kidd tell us that the biased media ignored Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, whose side are top of the Premier League.

To which we ask one question of our own: is the Mirror part of the Manchester-centric media?

September 5 2016: The Mirror asked: “Jose and Pep are set to renew acquaintances… but is the Manchester derby the world’s biggest?

September 8: “It’s his first Manchester derby, and even at this early stage it’s a game that could have a bearing on the outcome of the Premier League.”

September 8: “Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have made Manchester derby even bigger.”

September 9: “Clash of the titans: Pep vs Mou XVII.”

With just over 24 hours now until kick-off, Mourinho and Guardiola clash once again in one of modern football’s most engrossing rivalries in recent times.

Throughout the rest of the day we will be reminding you of the past encounters between the Special One and the master of tiki-taka as they bid for supremacy in both Manchester and the Premier League.

September 10: “Manchester City’s derby display proved why we are so lucky to have bewitching Pep Guardiola in English football.”

September 16: “I believe City are English football’s best hope of winning the Champions League this season – that’s mainly because of the Pep factor.”

 

manchester-daily-mirror MAnchester United Manchester City

manchester city manchester united daily mirror

What no Conte?

 

Expect more hype as soon as City and United start winning matches again.

Posted: 6th, December 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Scarlett Moffatt: the fix, the fake, the OK! wedding and shoes you can see your titties in

Now that Scarlett Moffatt is a bonafide celebrity on account of her victory in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, instead of just a ‘normal’ young woman watching them on the Gogglebox telly, the tabloids set about here. Over pages 4 and 5, the Star labels Scarlett a “Fake”. “Lift selfies show champ was milking it big time,” says one headline. “Queen Scarlett Faked Her Fear,” thunders another.

 

scarlett moffatt

 

Scarlett Moffatt and Vicky Pattison have “kicked off a fierce rivalry” we’re told. How so? “Last year’s winner  [that’s Vicky] was blasted for ‘plonking’ the crown on new queen Scarlett’s head.” And that’s not all. At the after show party Vicky and Scarlett “were not snapped together”.

Having positioned two young women as catty rivals – plus ca change – the Star then turns to the fakery. “Apparently pictures of Scarlett in a lift prove she was faking it when she told her “celebrity pals throughout the show she had a phobia of confined spaces”.  You might argue that being “sealed inside a coffin like space” and “covered in creepy-crawlies” is not quite the same as pouting in a lift. But Scarlett is quoted as having said: “I feel I can do this because I might finally be able to go in lifts.”

Like Tom Cruise’s lifts, what goes up, will eventually come down, so we get news that this is “the latest in a string of claims that the show was fixed in her favour.” You mean it’s edited? You mean it’s not a fly on the gonads slice of life? You mean focusing on the single young woman gets more viewers than listening to the sixty-something bit-part EastEnders actor moaning at the needy middle-aged bloke off the mid-morning property show?

I mean would Danny Baker be subject to the Sun’s front-page headline, “I’ll spend winnings on caravan and new boobs”? Says Danny, sorry Scarlett: “Now thats I’ve lost weight, and my titties are cleaning my shoes, I would like them lifted to where they are meant to be.” All over Page 3?

And on the Mirror’s Page 1, where the boring bloke whose girlfriend shagged John Terry (allegedly), sorry, Scarlett is talking of her fantasy “Willy Wonka wedding”.  She wants a wedding just like Jordan and Peter Andre’s do. Yeh, she wants OK! to pay for it.

Of course Scarlett was installed as ITV’s preferred winner. The rest of them were a mixture of man-children, TV-creations with lower profiles than a soup spoon and dullards. As the Sun says, out of 500 visits to the Bush Telegraph room, “whip-smart” Scarlett made 104 of them. She talked to us. And we enjoyed listening to her.

Posted: 6th, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Scarlett Moffatt on her way to marriage, a first million and tabloid fame

scarlett moffatt

Ant is delighted

 

“Find out what Scarlett Moffat will not next,” says the Daily Star on its front page. Judging by the picture of the Googlebox star and now I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! winner in her bra and knickers, we’d says ‘put some cloths on’ or ‘catch a cold’. On page 4 and 5, Scarlett is a “Celebridey”. Aha! She’s going to get married!

Scarlett Moffatt is “heading down the aisle”, says the paper in an “exclusive”. Well, it is to anyone not following Luke Crodden, Scarlett’s boyfriend, on twittter, and didn’t see him tweet: “I think I wanna marry you @ScarlettMoffatt.” If that was a proposal, it’s one Scarlett didn’t see on account of her being in a televised jungle clearing with neither phone signal nor phone.

The Mirror, which also leads with Scarlett, says she’s in line for a £1m deal. In an “exclusive” Halina Watts, says Scarlett has “revealed her big plan for the future – to team up with Ant and Dec. Imagine handing out with those  boys all day and having a laugh,”says Scarlett, exclusively in the Mirror. “I’d love it.”

That’s not all that exclusive to Daily Star readers who read the exact same dream on November 22, then billed as her “threesome” with Ant and Dec. Scarlett fans will have read that before when she said it in her book published last April.

 

scarlett moffatt

Exclusive – Daily Mirror December 5 2016

 

 

Scarlett Moffatt threesome I'm A Celebrity

Not exclusive – Daily Star November 22, 2016

 

Over in the Star, we read that Scarlett is due to earn £1m in endorsements and TV deals. As well she might. Last year’s I’m A Celebrity winner Vicky Pattison told the Mirror in March 2016: “I’ve just about hit the 7-figure mark for the first time. But I’m being wise with my money. I’ve been very well advised and I’m turning myself into a bit of a property tycoon.”

Find out what Scarlett does next by visiting her local estate agency.

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: four months to find her, kidnapped to order and important news

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

Having led with “important” news on the hunt for the missing child only yesterday, the Sun makes not a single mention of the child. The Express, however, leads with the story on its cover. “NEW TWIST IN POLICE HUNT FOR MADELEINE McCANN,” declares the paper, the words hanging by a familiar picture of the child.

On Page 7, we get to the news. Below stories about Scarlett Moffatt winning I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, we read: “Did people-traffickers snatch Maddy?” To which the only sensible answer is: Dunno. Did they?

New funding for the police search for Madeleine McCann will investigate a tip that she could have been kidnapped by people smugglers. The child “may have been  photographed with her parents son the beach by a ‘spotter’ for a gang,” says the paper. Or may not have been. We don’t know. It’s a theory. A “police source” is quoted: “It raises hope that she could still be alive.” After that a “friend” of Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann is quoted: “There is definite hard evidence that this is happening and they have looked into the fact someone was targeting children and may well have been sterling children to order.”

 

mccann madeleine

 

In the Star, on Page 15, readers are told, “MADDIE: 4 MOTHS TO FIND HER.” That’s how long British police have been given to locate the child who vanished in May 2007. The paper says “detectives have changed their minds about what happened “. They no longer believe she was “snatched by burglars during botched raids on the family’s holiday apartment”. They now think child-traffickers may be behind the disappearance. A “source”  unnamed, as ever – says this is the “last roll of the dice”.

It’s the “last chance” to find the child, says the Mail on its page 14. Police want to “work out if she was kidnapped to order”. The paper adds that “no trace of her has ever been found”. Readers are told that the parents “were ultimately forced to raise funds for teams of private detective to chase a barrage of often spurious tip-offs”. And that the the “child trafficking theory was first raised in 2007 by private detectives who believed there could have been gang ‘spotters’ working on the resort.”

Believed. Could. But no facts.

As for four months to find the child, the Mail says when the public funding for the police search ends on April 1 2017, more money will be provided if “investigators have evidence that the few remaining leads are worth pursuing”.

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007. Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Mail laments Norbert Hofer’s defeat?

Do you want the good news or the good news? Norbert Hofer, leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, will not be the county’s next president. He polled less votes than Alexander Van der Bellen.

The Mail call it “humiliation” for Hofer, whose party, it reminds readers, was “formed by a former SS commander”. He was Anton Reinthaller, a former SS brigade leader and Nazi Minister of Agriculture, who formed the party in 1956. Lest you think having one old Nazi has leader an accident, Reinthaller was succeeded in 1958 by Friedrich Peter – another former SS member.

Anyhow, the Freedom Party didn’t loose by all that much; as the Mail says, “almost half the electorate, backed him”.

Is the Mail a tad disappointed?

 

Norbert Hofer

 

Hofer wasn’t set to kick out immigrants. He was all set to give the European Union a kicking. Pity the spirit of the SS lost, right?

 

Posted: 5th, December 2016 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the ‘important lead’, unnamed sources and sexual exploitation

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.

The Sun (front page): ” MADDIE GANG PROBE Cops given cash to probe ‘important’ new lead that Maddie was snatched by people trafficking gang.”

Important enough for the paper’s front page – but not ‘important’ enough to avoid those inverted commas.

The rest of the Press follow the Sun’s lead.

The Mirror: ‘Madeleine McCann cops chasing ‘important new lead’ as investigation reaches “last roll of the dice”.’

The Indy: “Scotland Yard set to investigate ‘important’ new lead in disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”

Daily Mail: “Scotland Yard given extra funding to probe ‘important’ new lead over theory that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped by trafficking gang.”

It’s important. Maybe.

Over pages 4 and 5, readers are told more.

The development is being taken so seriously that senior Whitehall officials have been briefed by the Met on its progress.

Well, the hunt for the missing child has cost a lot of public money. Maybe the bean counters are worried about a lack of value for their investment?

And what of the breakthrough?

Detectives are following a tip that a gang of European traffickers snatched the tot after taking pictures of her. It could end up proving that she is still alive, nearly ten years after she vanished.

Everyone sane would like this story to have a happy ending. But how can anything prove the child is alive other than her being found?

As with so much to do with this story, an unnamed source is quoted:

A source said: “This is an important new line of inquiry which could provide an explanation on whether Madeleine was abducted and transported away. It raises hope that she could still be alive.”

Surely we only know if the new tip is important if it comes up with evidence that explains what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Retired Yard detective Colin Sutton said the extra money for the last line of inquiry means “there must be something worthwhile”.

Who needs evidence when you’re a retired detective?

The Sun adds: “Reports following Madeleine’s disappearance suggested she could have been taken to Belgium or Morocco in North Africa.”

But we have seen no evidence that she was.

But this is interesting:

The Met’s clubs and vice unit received a tip that the ring had placed an order for a “young girl” just three days before Madeleine went missing. Leicestershire Police, who at that point led the Operation Task effort to help find Madeleine, were also informed.

Is there any evidence to support the story?

In 2011, police in Portugal smashed a trafficking ring snatching young women and underage girls in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of the country.

The Portugal Resident has more:

An operation to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests of 12 men identified as being part of a criminal network in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of Portugal.The ring is believed to be responsible for the sexual exploitation of many young women in the Algarve, some of them underage, who were being coerced into acting as prostitutes in the region

Go on:

During the operation, 30 Romanian women were identified as possible victims of human trafficking.

The SEF, Portugal’s immigration and border service, added:

“The movement of the prostitutes between different networks hindered the police and judicial authorities in being able to conduct a criminal investigation but authorities in Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany cooperated with us with the assistance of Europol in this case.”

Algarve Social Democrat (PSD) MP Mendes Bota was unimpressed with the suspects’ treatment:

Speaking to Lusa News Agency on Monday this week, Mendes Bota claimed that, “a few days after they were arrested”, the majority of the individuals detained by SEF Immigration Officers during the February bust “were released by a judge who decided that they should await their trial, who knows when [the trial will commence], unrestrained.”

We can’t find any news on any trail.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 4th, December 2016 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ralph Hasenhuttl has not replaced Arsene Wenger

As headlines go, the Sun’s is unequivocal: “RALPH HAS THE JOB”. The paper reports that Arsene Wenger is to replaced as Arsenal manager by Ralph Hasenhuttl. Reading on, we get more facts: “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to be replaced by RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl.”

Wow! Wenger’s finally been given the heave-ho.

As Gunners fans look up Hasenhuttl, the Sun whispers, “Austrian sensationally confirms he could takeover the Gunners.”

Could?

The Sun adds: “Austrian chief, who has led his side to the top of the Bundesliga table, claims he may take over at the Emirates next season.”

May?

The facts that had Arsenal fans excited are now less than factual.

So how did the Sun gets the story? Well, the Austrian appears to have seen q story in the Sun that he’s bene linked to the Arsenal job and responded:

“It was a well-researched story. There was a lot of truth to it. I have heard of worse fates than succeeding the longest-serving manager in England. It’s not damaging my reputation, is it? We don’t have to put too much thought into [the Arsenal job]. I have found my luck here.”

Which bits contained truth and which bits contained non-truths, Hasenhuttl didn’t say.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


On Daily Mail migrants from Barcelona and Andrew Sachs

In its front-page farewell to Andrew Sachs, known chiefly for his work as Manuel, the well-intentioned and hapless Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers, the Mail juxtaposes the actor’s portrait by the news “MIGRANT NUMBERS HIT NEW RECORDS”.

 

andrew sachs daily mail

 

The Mail fails to say how many migrants hail from Barcelona.

PS: Andrew Sachs was born in Berlin in 1930.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Celebrities, Reviews, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Tabloid Questions: Daily Mail weather forecasting swans go for third time lucky

Tabloid Questions – a look at headline-making questions in the national Press.

On Tuesday November 29, the Daily Mail asked: “Have swans predicted a mild winter?” The long-necked birds haven’t been presenting the wether on cable telly in Norwegian or otherwise. The Mail says swans have been forecasting the weather by arriving in the UK later than usual, a move “often interpreted as a sign of a mild winter to come”.

Often indeed.

 

swans-daily-mail

 

In 2007, the Mail asked: “Does the swans’ early arrival mean we’re in for an icy winter?” Said the paper:

The migrating Siberian swans have landed early this year, heralding harsh weather ahead.

Was it harsh? The Met Office told us:

December 2007 saw close to average daily mean temperatures over the UK, with January and February 2008 recording well above average temperatures.

In 2015, the Mail reported:

 

daily mail swans weather

 

… while the magnificent bird was probably relieved to reach the warmer climes of the UK, its arrival – the earliest in 50 years – may well usher in a particularly harsh and unforgiving winter.

Was the winter especially harsh? The Met Office tells us:

Winter 2015/16 was third-warmest for the UK in a series from 1910, behind the winters of 1989 and 2007. For England and Wales, it was the warmest winter in the series.

So have swans predicted a mild winter?

Still not sure? Maybe the Mail can help us to answer the question?

 

daily mail weather swan

 

In conclusion: never trust a Russian swan when you’re picking your winter coat.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea embroiled in football abuse story short on facts

The Mirror leads with the “FOOTY Paedophile Scandal”. We hear from former Chelsea player Gary Johnson, who says he was paid £50,000 last year to keep quiet about the abuse he suffered at the hands of a club scout in the 1970s.

Over pages 4,5,6, and 7, Gary Johnson claims he was sexually assaulted by Chelsea scout Eddie Heath “hundreds of times in three years”.

Eddie Heath is dead.

Says Johnson of Chelsea: “I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this.” If they did, will Chelsea be asking for their money back? Johnson says Chelsea “asked him to sign a gagging order”. “They may have paid others for their silence,” he adds. We then learn that Chelsea “waived the clause in Gary’s settlement banning him from speaking about abuse after details of his claim were leaked to the media.”

Did Chelsea know Johnson was being abused in 1973 when he was a 13-year-old at the club, continuing until Gary was “around 16 or 17 and happened two or three times a week”, as he says?

Gary Johnson says Heath got him to perform in threesomes with other boys, “so I know there are mother victims out there.” He adds: “it is now up to them if they come forward”.

Do we expect them to?

Brendan O’Neill writes:

In these post-Savile times, we’ve come to think that all former victims of child abuse have some kind of responsibility to parade their wounds. We have come to expect, somewhat greedily, even perversely, that the abuse of decades ago must be relived, as publicly as possibly, in order to ‘raise awareness’. I’m sorry, but I think it’s possible there’s an element of moral titillation to all this. And I think it’s possible that it makes abuse victims even less likely to get over their experiences by making them go through it all again for our viewing or reading pleasure.

We learn that in 2014, Gary Johnson contacted the Met Police’s Operation Yewtree. He says he was “advised to go back to Chelsea with his case”. The police palmed him off to the club? If so, that’s abhorrent. Did they investigate? We’re not told. Mr Johnson says the “Professional Footballers’ Association did not return his calls”. So he contacted lawyers, who asked Chelsea for compensation.

Says Gary Johnson: “What makes me so angry is that I went to them to say I had been abused an they basically said, ‘prove it’,” Was that wrong of them? Chelsea are no longer owned by the Mears family, as they were in the 1970s. Why should the new owners take anything on face value alone when a man is asking for money and claiming to have been the victim of heinous crimes by a former employee? Gary Johnson says Chelsea’s “attitude when I came forward was to sweep it under the carpet”.

His claim was supported by Roger Kennedy, who says: “Mr Johnson has been haunted by the abuse for most of his life, but the intensity of the flashbacks have increased since he has become more aware of the nature of what happened due to the publicity around Jimmy Savile.”

 

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The Mirror is quick to blame the club, saying Chelsea used its “financial might to cover up abuse”. It is the “tip of the iceberg”. Did Chelsea behave badly? All we know of the money and the deal is that Mr Johnson says: “I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this.”

The Mirror says the story “implies they [Chelsea] cared more about commercial rights and sponsorship deals than helping survivors cope with the torment of abuse”. The paper says Chelsea are “morally questionable”.

What of the police, then, and the PFA, two institutions Mr Johnson says failed him? What of the lawyers who accepted an worked on the deal?

Writing in the Mail, Martin Samuel confronts the matter of a club’s role. He says the current Chelsea owners are part of the club’s heritage.

Yes, the sport is different now. Yes, stricter protocols and procedures are in place, and those in charge of youth development may protest that the past is a foreign country. But it isn’t.

Modern clubs must assume responsibility, be the custodians for all those years. Everything, from the fanbase, to the location, to modern revenue streams, and items in glass cases that directors view with pride, they owe to those ancient dates and what followed. And much of it may have been good.

But what isn’t, what is almost too poisonous to contemplate, cannot be disowned.

When you buy a club, you buy the heritage, the good and the bad.

It’s a shame we don’t know the full terms of Mr Johnson’s deal and how the £50,000 sum was agreed upon. Chelsea are investigating. Hopefully, Chelsea will be transparent and we will know more soon. Dare they be anything but? The Mail leads with the headline: “FA VOW TO HIT CHELSEA HARD.” Any club “who have given a child abuse victim hush money will be punished”. Chelsea are “in the dock”, says the paper. The club may well ask, “On what charge?”

By way of a footnote, the Mirror says Eddie Heath trained Barry Bennell, the convicted paedophile, when he was a 14-year-old at Chelsea. The Mirror says there is “no suggestion” Bennell was a victim of Heath’s.

Heath is dead. Also dead is Frank Roper, a man who former footballer Paul Stewart says abused him “every day for four years”. Gary Johnson says Paul Stewart encouraged him to tell his story.

We can expert to hear others.

Posted: 2nd, December 2016 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Camelot hackers make Daily Star readers worry more than most

The Star once more leads with Lotto news. And as ever it’s bad news. “Lottery site hacked, it could be you,” warns the front-page headline. The story goes that hackers have “stolen” the passwords of 26,000 people registered with the National Lottery’s website – “Dozens had email addresses and passwords stolen”. It looks like they did. But the theft did not occur on the Lotto site.

 

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‘Experts say it could have “serious consequences” for those who use online bank accounts,” says the paper. Why the Star should lead with this story can have nothing to do with the fact that it’s owned by Richard Desmond – the Press baron who also owns the Health Lottery, a rival to the Lotto.

The Mirror has a slightly different angle on the same story:

Thousands of National Lottery players’ accounts are feared to have been hacked after Camelot confirmed “suspicious activity”. Around 26,500 accounts fear to have been compromised after the log-in details were accessed by a third party. Camelot claims it doesn’t believe it’s own system was hacked, but that the details were taken from elsewhere. It added that no money has been withdrawn or added to any accounts.

 

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And in the Guardian, we get this:

About 26,500 National Lottery players are facing compulsory password resets on their online accounts after they were apparently accessed by cybercriminals.

Camelot, the firm that operates the game, said it had become aware of “suspicious activity on a very small proportion” of accounts, and it was now taking steps to understand what had happened. Logins may have been stolen from other websites where players use the same details, it said.

Far be it for us to stick up for the greedy, kak-handed so-and-sos at Camelot, but it’s useful to have all the facts.

Says Camelot:

We would like to make clear that there has been no unauthorised access to core National Lottery systems or any of our databases, which would affect National Lottery draws or payment of prizes. In addition, no money has been deposited or withdrawn from affected player accounts.We do not hold full debit card or bank account details in National Lottery players’ online accounts and no money has been taken or deposited. However, we do believe that this attack may have resulted in some of the personal information that the affected players hold in their online account being accessed.

The advice is to change your passwords and use different passwords for different products. And if you read the Star, look at least one other news source for the full story.

Posted: 1st, December 2016 | In: Money, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment