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.

The British Invasion: killer jellyfish are back

Here is is, the first invasion story of the summer – and it’s only April! The Daily Star tells readers of a “DEADLY” jellyfish “set to invade the country”.

This jellyfish – the Portuguese man o’ war – has tentacles “as long as five London buses” (but not quite as long as the queue for one – ed). It’s been “spotted off the coast of Cornwall”. But it hasn’t been. Because in the very next line we hear from a local man who says he saw ten  barrel-jelly fish in Port Gaverne Bay. These jellies are “harmless but the sighting have led to fears the  more lethal man ‘o war will be following them.”

They don’t so much follow as get blown in.

In 2016, the Daily Star – “Warning issued as KILLER sea creatures wash up on UK beaches” – quoted Dr Peter Richardson, Head of the MCS Biodiversity Programme. He said: “We don’t receive reports of Portuguese Man-of-War every year, but when we do they can turn up in big numbers, usually around about this time of year…With the earlier strandings in Ireland, these recent sightings could herald the arrival of more of the creatures as they get blown in from the Atlantic.”

See also in the Daily Star, wherein killer jellyfish do arrive every year:

July 2016: “Beach TERROR: Killer jellyfish the size of DOGS attacking Britain”

July 2016: “Britain’s heatwave means KILLER jellyfish with 150ft long tentacles heading to UK shores”

August 2016: “Giant killer ‘floating terrors’ to invade UK in Bank Holiday beach terror”

September 2016: “Warning issued as KILLER sea creatures wash up on UK beaches”

October 2016: “Terrified tourists spot DEADLY ‘floating terrors’ on British beach”

December 2016: “Britain under attack: The DEADLIEST animals known to man are on our doorstep… All jellyfish sting to some extent but the sting of the Portuguese Man O’War is lethal….Although not actually a jellyfish the Man O’ War looks and stings like one. There have been increased sightings in the UK in recent years with the tentacled monster emigrating to our waters each summer.”

File under: fishy news.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the Met’s 10th anniversary PR exercise ‘COULD’ be news

Madeleine McCann: 10th anniversary news round-up.

The Daily Mail (front page): “MADDIE POLICE CHASING ‘CRITICAL LEAD'”.

 

maddie mccann daily mail

 

That Madeleine McCann remains front-page news 10 years after her vanishing – and after ten years of no evidence of what happened to her emerging – is remarkable. As for the news, we learn that police are “chasing a critical leader”. How critical? Well, it “could crack the Madeleine McCann case”. So only potentially critical, then.

What of the “mysterious new clues”, then, that “could explain why the three-year-old vanished in May 2007″?

We hear from Mark Rowley, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, who tells us that the “latest lead” is “worth pursuing”. He says: “It could provide an answer, but until we’ve gone though it I won’t know whether we are going to get there or not.”

That’s three “coulds” on the front page alone. So much for the “critical lead”. Rowley says – without irony – “I’m not going to discuss…because it is very much a live investigation”.

The Mirror makes “COULD” part of its front-page lead. It could just as easily says ‘Could Not”.

daily mirror maddy mccann

 

Millions of pounds invested in the search for answers and still none are forthcoming. Ten years of looking and the Met are in full PR mode. They “don’t want to spoil it by putting titbits of information our publicly,” says Rowley as he chucks a tasty morsel to the Press. Indeed, this isn’t a hunt for alleged VIP sex criminals. There will be no televised raids and no airport arrests. So can Rowley tell us anything? “We don’ have evidence telling us if Madeleine is alive or dead.” says Rowley, “but as a team we are realistic about what we might be dealing with.”

As the Met gets realistic about theories, the Mail moves on to look at the parents. Over pages 4 and 15, we get “10 YEARS OF PAIN”.

Pages 14-15: “Maddie’s bedroom is piled high with a decade of unopened gifts. Kate’s given up work to care or their twins – while Gerry’s now a world-renowned heart doctor. As police reveal a ‘significant’ new line of inquiry… 10 YEARS OF HOPE AND HEARTBREAK”.

What a parent looking after their own children has to do with the case is moot, moreover the husband’s job. But this story always was laced with a middle-class thread. The blonde child. The medical professional parents. The upmarket holiday camp destination. It all overshadows the fact that police only might have a significant new line of enquiry. We don’t know. They don’t know. All we know is that Kate McCann is a “fitness fanatic” who “finds finds comfort in daily work-outs at he gym”; Gerry McCann “was recently praised for saving the life of former footballer Alan Birchenall after he suffered a heart attack and ‘died’  for seven minutes”; and “they have coped in different ways with the tragedy”.

 

daily express maddy mccann

 

Daily Express (front page): “VITAL NEWS CLUES IN MADDY HUNT.”

No. They could be critical clues. They might not be of any value at all. The Express notes that Operation Grange, the police investigation, has cost £11m.

Page 5: “Yard reveals ‘critical lines of inquiry’ in Maddy case.” It did. And it didn’t. The Met mentioned the leads and then said they were secret.

The paper does have some news, though. We learn that in 2013, “officers identified four people as possible suspects but they have now been ruled out.”

The Telegraph prefers to lead with a question: “Madeleine McCann: Are the police any closer to knowing the truth?” As Betteridge’s law of headlines states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

This is Mark Rowley’s statement in full – delivered to deadline. The Met calls it “AC Mark Rowley reflects on the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.” It reads like mixture of school report and therapeutic journey:

As an investigation team we are only too aware of the significance of dates and anniversaries. Whatever the inquiry, we want to get answers for everyone involved.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is no different in that respect but of course the circumstances and the huge public interest, make this a unique case for us as police officers to deal with. In a missing child inquiry every day is agony and an anniversary brings this into sharp focus. Our thoughts are with Madeleine’s family at this time – as it is with any family in a missing person’s inquiry – and that drives our commitment to do everything we can for her.

On 3rd May 2017, it will be 10 years since Madeleine vanished from her apartment in Praia Da Luz, a small town on the Algarve. In the immediate hours following her disappearance, an extensive search commenced involving the local police, community and tourists. This led to an investigation that has involved police services across Europe and beyond, experts in many fields, the world’s media and the public, which continues to this day. The image of Madeleine remains instantly recognisable in many countries across the world.

The Met’s dedicated team of four detectives, continues to work closely on the outstanding enquiries along with colleagues of the Portuguese Policia Judiciária. Our relationship with the Policia Judiciária is good. We continue to work together and this is helping us to move forward the investigation.

We don’t have evidence telling us if Madeleine is alive or dead. It is a missing person’s inquiry but as a team we are realistic about what we might be dealing with – especially as months turn to years.

Now is a time we can reflect on an investigation which captured an unprecedented amount of media coverage and interest. The enormity of scale and the complexity of such a case brings along its own challenges, not least learning to work with colleagues who operate under a very different legal system. The inquiry has been, and continues to be helped and supported by many organisations and individuals. We acknowledge the difference these contributions have made to the investigation and would like it known that we appreciate all the support we have and continue to receive.

Since the Met was instructed by the Home Office to review the case in 2011, we have reviewed all the material gathered from multiple sources since 2007. This amounted to over 40,000 documents out of which thousands of enquiries were generated. We continue to receive information on a daily basis, all of which is assessed and actioned for enquiries to be conducted.

We have appealed on four BBC Crimewatch programmes since April 2012. This included an age progression image which resulted in hundreds of calls about alleged sightings of Madeleine; an appeal for the identity of possibly relevant individuals through description or Efit; and information sought relating to suspicious behaviour or offences of burglary. These programmes collectively produced a fantastic response from the public. The thousands of calls and information enabled detectives to progress a number of enquiries. This was in addition to over 3,000 holiday photographs from the public in response to an earlier appeal.

The team has looked at in excess of 600 individuals who were identified as being potentially significant to the disappearance. In 2013 the team identified four individuals they declared to be suspects in the case. This led to interviews at a police station in Faro facilitated by the local Policia Judiciária and the search of a large area of wasteland which is close to Madeleine’s apartment in Praia Da Luz. The enquiries did not find any evidence to further implicate the individuals in the disappearance and so they are no longer subject of further investigation.

We will not comment on other parts of our investigation – it does not help the teams investigating to give a commentary on those aspects. I am pleased to say that our relationship with the Portuguese investigators is better than ever and this is paying dividends in the progress all of us are making.

We are often asked about funding and you can see that we are now a much smaller team. We know we have the funding to look at the focused enquiry we are pursuing.

Of course we always want information and we can’t rule out making new appeals if that is required. However, right now, new appeals or prompts to the public are not in the interest of what we are trying to achieve.

He says publicly.

As detectives, we will always be extremely disappointed when we are unable to provide an explanation of what happened. However the work carried out by Portuguese and Met officers in reviewing material and reopening the investigation has been successful in taking a number of lines of interest to their conclusion. That work has provided important answers.

Answers? But there was only ever one question: what happened to Madeleine McCann?

Right now we are committed to taking the current inquiry as far as we possibly can and we are confident that will happen. Ultimately this, and the previous work, gives all of us the very best chance of getting the answers – although we must, of course, remember that no investigation can guarantee to provide a definitive conclusion.

However the Met, jointly with colleagues from the Policia Judiciária continue the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann with focus and determination.

No progress, then. The Met is looking back – just as it always has done.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Sexism row: Kim Kardashian’s arse takes on Angela Akins’ short skirt

“It’s Kim Kardashian as you’ve never seen her before.” throbs the Daily Star on its front page. “Wait until you see the rear view,” ploughs the Sun on its cover. Both tabloids lead with the same picture of Kim Kardashian in:

a) a burqa

b) an orgy

c) a Job Centre

d) a bikini

e) panto

It’s ‘d’, which is a disappointment for all of you who’ve seen Kim K. in a bikini more than you’ve seen your own feet.

 

Kim Kardashian the sun arse

 

 

As for the story, well, on Page 7 the Star dubs the reality TV star Kim “Lard-Ashian”, on account of her figure. The Sun calls it a “rear treat”.

One oddity about the Sun’s ogling is that on April 10 the paper was aghast at the BBC’s perceived sexism. In “SKIRTY OLD MAN”, the BBC’s golf commentator Peter Alliss is admonished for making “disgraceful” comments about the length of Masters winner Sergio Garcia’s fiancee’s skirt.

Paul Revoir writes:

Peter Alliss caused a sexism row by referring to the short skirt worn by golf hero Sergio Garcia’s fiancee… As images were shown of Angela Akins, 31, reacting to Sergio’s win, Alliss’s muffled voice was heard saying: “She’s got the shortest skirt on the campus”…

This is the latest in a string of sexism rows to engulf the long-serving commenter.

 

The Sun’s outrage was supported by no fewer than 6 photos of Angela Akins in her short skirt. Indeed, you can read about the BBC’s sexism alongside two stories based on photos of Kim in her bikini:

 

angela akins skirt

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, April 2017 | In: Celebrities, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Joe Hart to Liverpool and £20m written off

Transfer balls: a look at fake news football reporting. Is Joe Hart heading to Liverpool?

 

joe hart liverpool

 

The Sun April 19: “Joe Hart is on his way back to the Premier League with Liverpool.”

KLOPP LOVES HART – Joe Hart set for Liverpool move as Jurgen Klopp signs off £20million swoop for Manchester City goalkeeper

Having scored a “exclusive”, the rest of the online media play catch up.

Joe Hart to Liverpool: Man City star set for £20m switch, Jurgen Klopp  – Daily Star

7 things that will definitely happen if Joe Hart signs for Liverpool – Daily Mirror

Or as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp out it one day late: “He’s a fantastic keeper, the highest quality, but it’s not for us at the moment, nor in the future.”

No harm done. No-one in Liverpool reads the Sun.

 

Posted: 24th, April 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: seeking the man by The Dolphin

Madeleine McCann appears on two national newspapers front pages today. You can read more about the Mirror’s news on a top cop’s theories here.

 

madeleine mccann daily mirror

 

So much for the opinion. What we who have followed this story from the outset crave are facts.

The Express has actual news on the actual investigation into what happened to the missing child.  The paper leads with the “phone box clue” to “Missing Maddie”.

 

daily express maddy mccann

 

James Murray says:

DETECTIVES are investigating phone calls made from a telephone box in Praia da Luz in a bid to trace a man acting suspiciously shortly before Madeleine McCann disappeared.

Indeed. It is odd. Who uses a phone box these days?

The story goes that Adrian and Lizelle Marais, a married couple working at an eatery called The Dolphin close to the phone box, spotted a “strange” man who “looked similar to a photofit of a suspect”. Their restaurant is around 700 metres from the Ocean Club, where Madeleine McCann was staying.

So which suspect are we looking at? We’ve seen a few in the media. The paper notes:

That led Portugal’s public prosecutor to order all phone records for the call box to be checked in an effort to find the man, who has never been traced.

Adding:

The prosecutor made the order on the grounds that the man may have abducted or murdered the lost three-year-old.

And so the jump is made. From being man at phone box at a busy summer holiday report, he is now someone who “may” have murdered a child.

We then get to which “suspect” the story relates to.

The call box is 50 yards from the spot where a man carrying a child similar to Madeleine was seen by Irishman Martin Smith and his family, who had been dining at the Dolphin at around 9pm on the night she disappeared.

Mr Smith’s account formed part of a Crimewatch reenactment.

Policia Judiciaria files on the case outline what Lizelle told officers the day after Madeleine vanished. The report states: “The person used the public telephone for long periods of time, always more than 10 minutes. To her, the person did not appear to be either a tourist or a resident. One time she had passed close to him and had felt ‘strange’ but did not know why.”

Mysterious stuff. But not new. Just old and in light of no developments in the case over ten years, still worthy of a look. And, as the Star proves with its interpretation of the Express‘ story, anything can be vital in the mystery of ‘Our Maddie’. Says the Star: “Madeleine McCann: Phone box may be key to finding Maddie.” Or not.

 

Posted: 23rd, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: five theories, three ex-coppers and 10 years of nothing

Madeleine McCann: A look at reporting on the missing child. It remains frenzied, speculative, lurid and light on news.

Daily Mail: “Did Madeleine McCann wander off and have an accident? Was she stolen to order? Or was it a burglary gone wrong? Detective lays out theories about her disappearance.”

In short: did any crime befall Madeleine McCann? The detective isn’t sure if one did. But, then, he’s isn’t a professional detective. He’s a “former Scotland Yard detective” who “believes he has come up with the five most plausible theories to explain the disappearance of Madeleine McCann”.

Only five. This is progress. On May 10 2007, the Daily Mirror produced SIX theories. They were: the “PAEDOPHILE GANG”, the “LONE PAEDOPHILE”, the “JEALOUS MOTHER”, Madeleine wandering off and “DROWNED”, the “OPPORTUNIST PAEDOPHILE”, the “CHILDLESS COUPLE”.

Colin Sutton is the “detective” with the five-fingered theory. He first told it to the Mirror, which is the source for the Mail’s story.

 

madeleine mccann daily mirror

 

Daily Mirror: “Was Madeleine McCann stolen to order, taken by lone paedo or did she just wander off? The scenarios that could explain her disappearance.”

Sutton’s Five Theories that could be useful are:

1 The McCanns or the Tapas Seven

The McCanns have been libelled. Take care. Speculation hurst lives. Says Sutton:

I can understand why the Portuguese police asked questions about the McCanns and the Tapas Seven. As uncomfortable as it is, the first place I would have started looking is their group. Without any other information to go on, the most likely scenario when a three-year-old girl disappears into thin air is that someone close to her knows what happened.

However, the police do appear to have decided quite quickly that was the only line of investigation they were going to take.

By concentrating just on that scenario they may have missed tips or other lines that meant going down a completely different investigation route.

After that he adds a further four theories:

2 Targeted kidnap by a trafficking gang

This is the most likely scenario once those closely linked to Madeleine have been ruled out.

Concluding;

Given all the facts we know, it’s the most likely and credible scenario.

But why did they take her?

A trafficking ring is more likely than a lone paedophile or paedophile ring. Yes there are paedophiles, yes she is a little blonde girl. But I think six and seven-year-old girls are much more at risk from paedophiles or child abuse rings.

Paedophiles target blonde girls more than, says, brunette or black girls? We know that the media prefers blonde victims.

Looking at the trafficking angle, unless the order was specifically for a young blonde girl, why her and not one of the twins?

Dunno. Got a theory?

Babies have less memories than a three-year-old. If Madeleine is alive she will probably remember she had another mother and father and used to live in another house.

Probably. Or not. The theories contain more theories.

If you were stealing on spec you would have taken one of the twins. Not both, just one. So it goes back to a specific order for a young blonde girl.

Has a young blonde girl died and their parents want to replace her? Or is there another reason for stealing to order? When you pick it all apart it’s the most likely scenario.

He picks, but he comes up with no answers, just more questions. The scab grows back over the wound:

3 She wandered off and had a fatal accident

He says Madeleine McCann left Cuddle Cat, her toy, behind. He says the fact of the toy remaining in the holiday flat makes this theory unlikely.

4 Opportunist abducted her

This is less likely than other scenarios. The chances of a predatory paedophile just happening across Madeleine and being able to abduct her without being detected are just so remote.

Sarah Payne, right, who was eight (when she was killed by Roy Whiting in 2000), and five-year-old April Jones (who was killed by Mark Bridger in Wales in 2012) are probably the only cases that match something like that.

Yeah, Probably.

5 Killed as part of a burglary gone wrong

This is extremely unlikely. If you have got a burglar who has gone into the apartment for material theft, the chances are once they find there are kids in there they will run a mile.

The Mirror concludes this flight of fancy by telling readers: “Anyone with information about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance should call the Find Madeleine investigation line on: 0845 8384699 or email: investigation@findmadeleine.com.”

Exactly. If you know anything, tell the police. If you know nothing, tell the readers.

The Sun: “MADDIE SUSPECTS – Convicted British paedo, heroin-addicted burglar and bogus charity collectors among main suspects in Madeleine McCann disappearance, says top cop.”

The top cop is Sutton As as for the smack head being a child snatcher, well, he told the Mirror: “Junkies don’t take three-year-old girls.” The convicted British paedo is Raymond Hewlett. He’s dead.

Having conjured suspects from the ether, the Sun adds in a second story: “WAS MADDIE KIDNAPPED TO ORDER? Top Brit ex-cop says Madeleine McCann could have been snatched by traffickers to replace grieving parents’ own dead child.”

As Sutton of the newsroom guesses – is that big reward still on offer? – and the newspaper lap up his thoughts, the Mirror turns to another ex-cop for more theories.

Sunday Mirror: “Ex-top cop breaks Madeleine McCann silence to say where he thinks she was taken.”

Madeleine McCann was snatched and taken to a warren of caves nearby that have never been searched, a Portuguese investigator has suggested.

The theory comes from ex cop Paulo Pereira Cristovao – who became the boss of Portugal’s missing children agency in the same year the three-year-old disappeared.

He says: “I think this case has lots of mistakes – from many persons, from many situations, from the police and maybe from the government. At the end of the day we all forgot one person: Madeleine McCann.”

No. We don’t. There has been ten years of reporting on the case. The innocent child has not been forgotten – she has, though, be turned into the benchmark for all missing children and used to sell papers. And, like all ex-ops with opinions, Cristovao didn’t take long to add a “maybe” to what he thinks.

We’re not told why Cristovao is talking now, only that he has imagined what he’d have done if he had kidnapped a child in Praia da Luz. He thinks Madeleine McCann is dead:

“I put myself in the role of someone who knew nothing about the streets or the region. Where would I put the body of a girl? I stood at the apartment door – to the right is the town of Portimao. There are lots of people there, lots of buildings. If I had kidnapped her that’s not the way I’d want to go. I would want to go left, and find the first side road. I put my car on that road, and I went straight to Burgau. It’s a nearby beach, with a lot of rocks with caves.

“It’s a good place to put somebody. As far as I know the police never went there, because you would need divers.”

As far as he knows. Good idea to check, no? Aren’t facts useful when you’re investigating and theorising?

“In a case where you hear theories like aliens and gypsies kidnapping Madeleine, I think this is as good as all the others.”

Alien abduction is notoriously hard to verify. Police divers looking in a lake less so.

“We’ve heard theories so stupid over these 10 years,” he adds without irony.” When we don’t understand something, we complicate it. I think sometimes – always – the best solution is the simple solution.”

Clydebank Post: “Madeleine McCann breakthrough: Aussie TV show claims to have solved mystery of tot’s disappearance.”

Pull up an armchair. You too, detectives.

Channel 7’s Sunday Night show has released a teaser clip of this weekend’s programme in which it promises to be a “landmark television event”.

The video claims the show has a new line of inquiry which could bring investigators closer to solving the mystery of the youngster’s disappearance.

Trailing a theory about what happened to Madeleine McCann is grim. A post on the channel’s Facebook says:

“The disappearance of Madeleine McCann has continued to captivate the world for nearly ten years. Maddie was only three years old when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal. The police search that followed became the largest in Portugal’s history – but no trace of the missing toddler was ever found. Now, new developments in the case could finally reveal the truth about what happened to little Maddie.”

Could. Or could not. Stay tuned. We’re right back after these ads.

Daily Star: “Madeleine McCann: Missing Maddie now 13 and looks like THIS.”

She’s alive! The Star knows it. In the paper’s rush to dash out an “exclusive” artist’s rendering of what the child might look like, it produces this (below). The person on the left looks a lot like Kate McCann.

madeleine mccann daily star

Daily Record: “Cop in Madeleine McCann case remains utterly unrepentant after damning book blaming Kate and Gerry.”

The hatchet job on Goncalo Amaral begins:

Despite becoming a shadow of his former self, Goncalo Amaral still has no sympathy for the parents of the missing youngster.

F*** the policeman:

On the side of the run-down apartment building, the grafitti reads “Foda a policia”. You don’t need to be fluent in Portuguese to figure out the expletive-laden translation.

This crime-ridden Lisbon estate is home to the ex-detective once tasked with solving Madeleine McCann ‘s disappearance.

So crap at police work is Amaral that even his own home if plagued by crime. We then get a potted history of his life, which is portrayed as unrelentingly sad and failed. We learn that he was “sacked from the Maddie probe after criticising British police and making mistakes”. He “then penned a damning book pointing the finger of blame at her parents, Kate and Gerry . He accused them of covering up her death and faking her abduction. The couple sued, sparking an eight-year libel battle that the ex-cop has now won.”
It was always risky to sue in a country where free speech has been so hard won.
The Mirror then get personal:

In the early days, he was alleged to work just four-and-a-half-hours a day. Sporting a large beer belly, he regularly enjoyed three-hour lunches.

Amaral, 57, split from second wife Sofia in 2012, blaming the pressures of the case. He moved back to the tough Lisbon suburb of Olivais, where he grew up. His expensive suits and fedora are gone.

So too has the beer belly and chauffeur-driven Mercedes, replaced by a battered Citroen Picasso.

His slimming is a negative?

But the arrogance remains – as the Mirror discovered when we confronted Amaral last week. Amaral also refused to apologise for the mistakes that hampered the early days of the probe. Instead, he threatened to have our reporter and photographer arrested.

But it was his cruel refusal to offer any sympathy to Kate and Gerry that was the most damning.

Is the purpose of the Mirror’s barrage of ‘Our Maddie’ articles aimed at securing an exclusive with the McCanns?

Daily Mirror: “Madeleine McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry met as junior doctors and had perfect life until their daughter vanished.”

That’s pretty much the entire story, which shows no sign of reaching an end.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Mirror news trust: Arsenal and Theresa May are both for turning

How about this for wraparound newspaper cover. The Daily Mirror’s front page leads with Theresa May’s “U-turn”. Having said there would be no General Election before 202o, May has called one for June 8 2017.

 

daily mirror u-turn may theresa

 

If it’s all about trust, what are Mirror readers to make of the paper’s back page news story that Arsenal have made it clear Arsene Wenger will still be manager next season? The paper says Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac, 23, has been been told Wenger will remain at Arsenal for a further two seasons.

June 8 is one for the diary. And while you’re on that page, you might care to put a line through another event scheduled for that month. On June 30 2017, Arsene Wenger is to quit the club. We read that in the Daily Mirror.

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 19th, April 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Politicians, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Mail health warning: breathing gives you cancer

daily mail cancer health

 

It’s Health Tuesday in the Daily Mail. In today’s issue readers are asked: “Does your lifestyle put you at risk from Air Pollution”.

If you don’t breathe, you’re ok. If not, read on…

Air pollution can increase your risk of getting – deep breath (and so hastening you’re death? – ed) – heart disease, cancers, a stroke, asthma and dementia.

You are at most danger if you are on the school run, an urban cyclist, the owner of a wood burner or on a train commuter, says the paper. But the list should include Daily Mail readers because there’s a chance that what the Mail tells you places you in peril.

November 2016: The Mail tells its rears that wood burners are ace:

One way of making a home more cosy this winter – and potentially saving money along the way – is installing a wood-burning stove. While the initial outlay can be expensive, they can reduce your fuel bills, while at the same time being a fashionable addition to your home.

October 2016: Cycling to offices and shops is great, says the Mail:

Cycling to work drastically lowers your risk of having a heart attack – even if it’s just for 30 minutes a week

January 2017: Commuting longer distances makes sense.

House prices drop by £3,000 for every minute of train travel out of London – try our interactive map to see how much commuters could save

As for the school run, well, the Mail says you’re all mad and more likely to kill than die from air:

How stress on the school run is turning mothers into maniacs – STRESSED mothers are putting their children and other road users at risk as they race through the streets on the school run.

Don’t worry. Most likely you’ll be dead by tea time.

Posted: 18th, April 2017 | In: Tabloids | Comment


Digging deep for Scarlett Moffatt’s topless photos

They are, says the Daily Star, the topless pictures Scarlett Moffatt does not want you to see. They are the “sizzling pictures” topless Scarlett Moffat hoped had been “lost for ever”.

 

SCarlett Moffatt

 

We are invited to see Scarlett go “completely topless in unearthed pics”. But how far into the earth did the Star have to dig to retrieve photos of topless Scarlett? One day after the papers were full of news that Scarlett, winner of last season’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, is to front a spin-off show, we learn that in 2013 she went “completely topless” on MTV’s Beauty School Cop Outs.

 

scarlett moffatt mtv

 

In case you missed it, in July 2016 the Mirror showed photos of topless Scarlett Moffatt getting a televised spray tan on the show.  “Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt snogs Jeremy McConnell before stripping naked in jaw-dropping footage,” declared the paper.

That same month the Sun thundered: “The incredible moment Scarlett Moffatt snogs Jeremy McConnell and strips NAKED.”

But what about Scarlett being embarrassed by her “raunchy” past? Well, in June 2014, the Star told readers: “Gogglebox babe Scarlett Moffatt will flash her boobs for every England World Cup goal.” Said demure Scarlett: “I will flash my boobs for each goal.”

One month later, Scarlett told Star readers: “I’ve seen threesomes on the bar’ Gogglebox Scarlett exposes ‘soft porn’ of Magaluf mayhem.” Said Scarlett: “I’ve been working in Magaluf over the last two months now and have seen first-hand the crazy shenanigans that happen most nights. Yet to the tourists downing alcohol like water and spreading their legs more often than you lose coppers, it’s not that big a deal.”

The pictures are less the hidden photos Scarlett didn’t want to see than they are the topless photos that get an airing whenever the reality TV star scores a new job.

Posted: 17th, April 2017 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


The Last Easter: nuclear war, nuclear bunker puzzles and killer eggs

It’s Easter, when Christians thank God for being alive. But will they make it to next Easter? The newspapers are full of doom.

On the Mail, it looks like two reality TV stars are threatening to blow up the world. But it’s not Kim Kardashian, of course, it’s Mr Kim, North Korea’s hereditary leader, and Donald Trump, formerly of The Apprentice and now as President of the USA giving top jobs in USA Inc. to enthusiastic amateurs, not all of whom he’s related to.

 

kim's threat north korea trump

 

At least the Mail is looking on the bright side of life with this brilliant front page.

 

easter trump

 

Over in the Mirror, help is at hand for all of you spending the holiday in nuclear bunkers. The paper’s tales of Armageddon are padded by a full eight pages of puzzles and games. The world might well be “IN CRISIS”, but there’s no excuse to be bored at you await annihilation. You can even place a bet, and those cheeky bookies will most likely lay odds on you being alive to collect any winnings and them being around to rub their stumps when you don’t.

 

daily mirror death trump war

 

And hold any thought of enjoying your Easter chocolates left by the housebreaking Easter bunny. Those Easter eggs are out to kill you, says the Daily Star.

 

daily star easter

 

Happy Easter!

 

Posted: 16th, April 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: hiding in ‘plain sight’

More news on Madeleine McCan in our occasional look at reporting on the missing child. And the news is huge. The Sunday Express thunders: “Madeleine McCann alive but hidden in plain sight.”

She’s not hidden at all, then? Which begs the question: where is she? And then we read the paper’s news that this is not a fact. This is the view of “an expert”. He says the missing child whose picture travelled the world “could be living in an isolated property just miles inland from seaside towns on the Algarve”. She could be. And, then again, maybe she isn’t.

In this “exclusive” bout of speculation the Express  hears from former police detective Dave Edgar, “who was hired by Kate and Gerry McCann for three years to try and find their missing daughter”. That he didn’t find the child is clear. But his work has formed an opinion. “There is every possibility that Madeleine is still alive and could be being hidden somewhere,” says Mr Edgar. It’s possible she could be alive. So says the expert, who adds: “When you get up beyond the main strip of the Algarve there’s countless isolated properties where Madeleine could be being held.”

So she’s not hiding in plain sight, then? She’s being “held” in a remote property. Maybe. Maybe not. We heard much the same eight years ago. Why is a man’s old theory presented as news today?

Having wondered aloud about the child’s whereabouts, Edgar then reads minds. “I would suggest that 10 years, while it seems a long time, would not feel like that to that person with information,” says Edgar. “What happened on that night would still be fresh in their mind.” Unless they’re deranged, demented, ill or forgetful.  Or dead.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, April 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit blamed for Croydon attack on Kurdish asylum seekers

Grim news from Croydon, where a 17-year-old Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker has been beaten up as he and two friends – also Iranian Kurds – were at a bus stop. Police are calling it a “hate crime”, which of course it is. Any violent attack is hateful. The Mail calls it a “suspected ‘hate crime'”.

Why are the police so sure it was a hate crime and the Mail and Guardian less certain? According to the CPS: “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.”

If you think it is a hate crime, then it is a hate crime. Were the thugs who beat up three teenagers waiting for a bus looking for asylum seekers to further a racist cause or violent people looking for an excuse to hit someone? The police know. The rest of us should be less certain.

We should also wonder why existing laws are not enough and the State thinks we need a new kind of crime to cover what looks like a brutal attack?

What happened?

The teenager was set up by upon by up top eight other youths, who chased him down the road and kicked him unconscious. Croydon’s Metropolitan Police Borough Commander, Ch Supt Jeff Boothe, calls it “a frenzied attack by a large number of people”. As the victim was being kicked, “members of the public [were] asking them [his attackers] to stop”. This “horrendous and frenzied attack” only ended when the police arrived.

Gavin Barwell, Croydon Central’s MP, labels the attackers “scum”.

Det Sgt Kris Blamires has more:

“At this early stage it is believed that about eight suspects approached the victim as he waited at a bus stop with two friends outside The Goat public house in the Shrublands. It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from, and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack. He has sustained critical head and facial injuries as a result of this attack, which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers.”

Four 20-year-olds, a 24-year-old woman and 24-year-old man have been arrested.

The Agenda.

But can this attack be politicised? Can any agenda-driven soul find political mileage in a violent assault about which all facts are not known? Yes. Al Jazeera links the attack to Brexit. The police – those right-on champions of civil liberties – know a hate crime when they see one. Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, tells the Sun: “Sadly, this is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes that this Tory government is yet to offer any effective response to.”

She adds: “With rightwing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate. We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society.”

It’s no longer a very nasty incident outside a pub at 11:40 on a Saturday night. It’s a politically-triggered attack. Well, it is if you want it to be.

UPDATE.

Posted: 2nd, April 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Madeleine McCann: Spain’s gypsy child kidnappers

The absence of anything beyond theorising has turned Madeleine McCann into a commodity. And like all goods and services, the media’s speculative assault on Madeleine McCann means ‘Our Maddie’ can be exported to become any nation’s very own Maddie. BrazilIsraelAmericaSpain, New Zealand, Panama, Greece and Holland have all had their versions of the media’s benchmark for missing children.

 

madeleine mccann daily star gypsies

 

On March 31, the Daily Star led with news of a “Spanish Maddie ‘kidnap'”. That the word “kidnap” was served to readers wrapped in inverted commas promised a story light on facts. Line one told us: “A Madeleine McCann lookalike has been grabbed by a ‘scar-faced’ gypsy” in Estepona.

The “British girl’s mum said the abductor grabbed her daughter’s hand and tried to take her away after promising sweets”. The man known locally as “Paco” was already with a young child, “whom he used to strike up a conversation with the girl”. Paedo gypsy child kidnappers? (Always the gypsies.) “When the girl’s mum began to scream the man with a scar on his head ran off.”

So not all that much like the vanishing of Madeleine McCann, then. Unless you, like the Star, considers it relevant that the “girl bears a resemblance to Madeleine McCann”.

 

maddleine mccann suspect

Is this Paco?

 

maddleine mccann suspect daily star

Paco’s dead?

 

In other ‘Their Maddie’ news, the Sun says the remains of “America’s Maddie McCann” have been found. This ‘Maddie’ was called Isabel Celis. Her parents last saw her alive at their home in Tuscon, Arizona, in April 2012. “The mysterious case sent shockwaves around the world,” says the Sun, “and bore a haunting resemblance to the disappearance of Maddie McCann”.

 

Isabel Celis

Isabel Celis

 

But kgun9, Tuscon’s local news station, makes no mention of Madeleine McCann at all as it delivers the grim news of a dead child. Isabel Celis was 6-years old at the time of her disappearance.

But the Daily Mirror does. “Harrowing 911 calls from devastated parents of ‘America’s Maddie McCann’ on morning she vanished after police find remains,” comes the headline. The paper invites its readers to listen in. Come on, readers, pull up an armchair and watch the parents.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


England, Millwall and Spurs fans sing what they want to

Still no news on what the police and FA are going to do about Millwall fans shouting “DVD” at Spurs’ South Korean “labrador muncher” * Son Heung-Min. No news either on those Spurs fans who called Millwall supporters “pikies”.

You’d think that with Spurs and Millwall “in the dock” over such terrible racism, England’s other football fans would button their collective lip. But no. They only went and sung songs when England played Germany in the Fatherland. The Independent was horrified. “English football dragged through the mud once again by braying beer-fuelled scum who sing anti-German war songs,” the paper chimed.

 

achtung germany england

 

One writer on the Sun, the paper which this week beamed its logo onto the White Cliffs of Dover to mark Brexitnoted: “There, hundreds of boorish, inebriated men continued to glory in a world war which ended 70 years ago, bellowing out tedious chants about German bombers and swaying around, mimicking aircraft.”

Right now the Football Association is studying police videos for signs of a member of The England Supporters Travel Club making offensive chants and not simply joining those righteous minds in “do-do..do-do-do-do..da-da..da-da..da-da,da,do-doing” along to the god-awful supporters’ bands’ rendition of the theme to Escape to Victory.

“Unfortunately, little of the wit and imagination that goes into our club football songs is reflected at England games,” stated the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF). Crap songs, yes. But crap fans?

Surely the point is to goad the opposition. Spreading your arms like one of those “Ten German Bombers” or hymning the historical fact of “Two World War One World Cup” could do with an update. But until some bright spark creates songs mocking the Germans’ EU-backed battering of Greece or Boris Becker’s latest jacket, we might have to make do with the jingoism.

It’s not easy coming up with insults that are catchy and popular but not insulting enough to be offensive. Maybe the Germans can help? After all, their English is often better than ours. As an Arsenal fan it’s often been my lot to be serenaded by Bayern Munich fans’ chants of “You’re not very good”, “We can see you sneaking out” and “Can we play you every week?”.

Of course, what this is is the latest episode in the State’s purge on people like ‘them’ at football grounds.  Those “scum” who use vulgar words and say nasty things, who emply mockery and insults to taunt other fans in the pantomime of football need hosing down.

But the people who dish it at the match can also take it. “The Germans I spoke to were not offended by the puerile chanting, they were just embarrassed for us,” said one Daily Mirror writer. If grown men and women want to behave sadly, let them. It’s their right to sing what they want to, however stupid, witless and arcane.

* That’s how some Tottenham fans refer to Son in the chant: “He’ll shoot / He’ll score / He’ll eat your Labrador / Son Heung-Min.”

Posted: 31st, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit triggers a return to Page 3 and home-made British porn

Of course, if your really want to celebrate the UK leaving the European Union, you don’t need Nigel Farage’s underwear. You don’t need any underwear. You just need the Sun to reinvigorate Page 3 and invite Rhian Sugden to show everyone the “BUST IN BRITAIN”.

 

page 3

 

Those Europeans can take back their Finnish bestiality videos, Danish XXX-rated filth and weird German stuff that you regret ever seeing. Britain will make do with a saucy topless stunna, cheeky postcards, nostalgia-proof sex comedies and other more traditional and essentially British aides to masturbation, like the Argos catalogue, Katie Price and her Jordans, Helen Mirren’s washing-up gloves and Emmerdale.

It’s time to roll back the years to those halcyon days when Britain’s censorship laws meant that continental style porn couldn’t be shown.

(Unless, of course, you’ve got a Sky box and get your smut on pay-per-view.)

Posted: 30th, March 2017 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Farage becomes the tabloids’ Great British Mascot

Nigel Farage beams from the front pages of the Daily Express and Daily Mail. Legs crossed to best display his Union flag socks-styled socks, a half-drunk pint of the warm stuff in his paw and a patriotic red, white and blue tie about his throat, Farage is politics’ answer to Ken Bailey, the man who dressed as John Bull, helped restore Erica Roe’s modesty after her Twickenham streak, and followed the Queen and the England and Bournemouth football teams across the world. Subbuteo even honoured him with his own model.

 

ken bailey

 

Farage is the figure who heralds the main event before vanishing from the field of play.

Including the cover, there are 6 pages given to Brexit in today’s Mail – and Farage’s one and only mention appears in the caption to that front-page photo: “Unions Jack socks: Nigele Farage in Westminster yesterday.”

 

Farage pint daily express mail

 

And there he is again on the Express. No socks. But lots of British teeth. One page on and we do get to the socks. “Today’s the day the impossible dream came true,” says Farage sat on patio furniture. “I’m delighted.” And so too is the man dressed up as Godfrey of Bouillon across the page. Godfrey’s the bloke who led the Crusaders when they captured Jerusalem in 1099 and massacred so many Jews and Muslims, it was said, “the streets ran with blood.”

If the foreigners don’t come here to be hated by Express readers, you can always visit them.

 

Farage pint daily express

 

Farage pint daily Mirror

 

As Farage tartily wafts his socks and waves on the main event – we suppose the UK-supporting Express would have featured a UKIP MP if such a creature existed –  the opposition are notable by their absence. Not a single one of them (well, not unless you count Theresa May who wanted to remain ‘In’ the EU), is pictured in the Express.  Biased, of course, but the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror also ignores Jeremy Corbyn, preferring its readers to hear from former Labour leader Gordon Brown. The paper finds space to feature an unflattering picture of Farage looking not a little gnome like. But not a sign of Corbyn.

Indeed, there is not single photo of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, in any tabloid. There’s not even a picture of the Labour leader wearing his signature tatty vest. Just lots of Nigel Farage and his underwear.

Phwaor!

Posted: 30th, March 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


The Mail’s Legs-It cover triggers a race to the bottom

When Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon had a chat in Glasgow, the Daily Mail noticed that both women had legs. It wasn’t just a meeting between two leaders of British political parties; it was a beauty contest. It was also an eye-catching front-page headline and photo. If newspapers set out to be relevant and capture their readers’ attentions, the Mail did a fine job of it.

But many leading voices – most of whom don’t much like the Mail and don’t buy it – were quick to accuse the paper of “sexism”.

 

legs sturgeon may daily record scotland

 

Reaction to the Mail’s cover has been loud. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn looked beyond mere policy and leadership to decry the picture’s “sexism”. “This sexism must be consigned to history,” Corbyn tweeted. Labour MP Harriet Harman found the Mail’s headline “Moronic!” She checked her calendar and added with not a muon of wit, “And we are in 2017!”

Conservative MP and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan accused the paper of “appalling sexism”.

 

womack daily mail

 

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the The Green Party of England and Wales, ruled that the cover was “treating women with contempt”. She went further than most and complained to IPSO,  the Independent Press Standards Organisation. To her mind the over was “breaking the Editors’ Code”.

The Editors’ Code of Practice covers:

Accuracy
Privacy
Harassment
Intrusion into grief or shock
Reporting Suicide
Children in sex cases
Hospitals
Reporting of Crime
Clandestine devices and subterfuge
Victims of sexual assault
Discrimination
Financial journalism
Confidential sources
Witness payments in criminal trials
Payments to criminals
The Public Interest

Which of those topics deals with a picture of two clothed women and a silly comment on their legs? You can try and guess but you’d be hard pressed to nail it. Helpfully, Womack says the Mail broke clause 12 of the code which says editors must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”.

Of course, drawing attention to the leaders’ legs story gives Womack a chance to draw attention to herself. Like all other ‘Outraged of Westminster’ moaners, Womack uses the Mail to showcase her own clean lines. The paper must love it. At a time of falling circulations, the Mail is one newspaper still able to rile and matter. People really do care what it says.

The Mail online even features a report on its own front page:

 

mail legs

 

And what of Theresa May, the poor woman being objectified by the nasty Mail? She called the cover “a bit of fun”. Which it is.

In next week’s Mail: “Put ’em away Jeremy!”

Posted: 29th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Ted Heath: no rest for those suspected of wickedness

9th January 1979: Edward Heath, British Conservative politician and prime minister (1970 – 1974) playing the piano to the amusement of Kermit the Frog and Paddington Bear. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

 

It’s been a quiet few months for Ted Heath. Dead, of course, the former Prime Minister remains mired in allegations of sexual depravity. In today’s Mirror,  the enjoyable Fleet Street Fox looks at men of Kent, of which Heath was one. Other sons of Kent’s darling, budding soil are: Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, and Adrian Elms, also known as Khalid Masood, the nutcase who murdered three people in a ‘loon wolf’ attack on Westminster.

In a list of rogues and reprobates born in Kent, the Fox includes Heath. The man known for his sailing, political U-turns and organ playing is billed as “suspected paedophile Ted Heath”. How’s that for a legacy? Of course, once you’re dead you can be a suspected paedophile for as long as people want to call you one. There will be no court case because the accused is dead and can’t defend himself. Justice hasn’t been denied. It’s been buried with no realistic hope of resuscitation.

In future the sane and sensible thing will be for all of us to be cryogenically frozen and, should allegations be made against us at a future date, defrosted in the white heat of a criminal trial.

Over in the Sun, news is that Heath is not to be dug up and beaten with sticks. “The £1million child abuse probe by police against former PM Ted Heath is set to be ditched,” says the paper. “Last night it was claimed the cops will close it after finding no evidence.”

Yeah, but he’s still a suspected child molester. Until you can prove he wasn’t one, the mud will stick to his bones. The paper’s next line tells us: “Detectives are investigating the former Tory leader accused of being part of a group which stabbed, tortured and maimed 16 children in churches before gorging on their blood.”

Disprove that!

 

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: the ‘abductor’s secret confession’

Madeleine McCann: A look at reporting on the missing child. Today the Mirror leads with news that “Someone is protecting Maddie’s kidnapper”. They are? Maybe. Who?  Dunno. It’s a ‘SEARCH COP’S CLAIM”. A “detective inspector” is “convinced” the “abductor has confessed to a friend”.

 

maddie mccann kidnapper daily mirror

 

It soon turns out that the “COP”, the “detective inspector”, is a “former Detective Inspector” called Dave Edgar. Having established that the front-page headline is a little light on facts  – the “cop” is no longer a serving police officer; the “detective inspector” isn’t a detective inspector – readers might wonder at the point of the story, let alone why it’s worthy of the Mirror’s front page.

Reading on we learn that retired Det Insp Dave Edgar, for it is he, “broke his silence for the first time to open his files. Revealing findings, that a child-sex gang most likely took the three-year-old.” He tells the paper: “Someone knows what happened and it’s time they came forward.”

What is “most likely” is not a fact. But if you thought that woolly, the next line tops it: “Mr Edgar believes an abductor has secretly confessed to the crime.”

A detective deals with gathering evidence and facts. But this story is one of belief and an imagined secret. The story continues:

Calling for an end to the agony of Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry, he pleaded: “If anyone confided in you, now is the time to come forward.”

Now. Or, indeed, any time in the last ten years.

We then get what Edgar, “one of the top experts on the case”, “also believes”. There’s a list:

There is no evidence to suggest Kate and Gerry were involved.
It was a well planned abduction.
There was no evidence against two prime suspects of abducting her from Praia Da Luz in May.
The motive for taking three-year-old Madeleine was sexual.
There is still hope she is alive.

With no child to look at, the Mirror just looks at the parents, raking over old ground:

After Madeleine vanished from the McCanns’ Warner Ocean Club holiday flat, while her parents were dining with friends, Portuguese police named Kate and Gerry as “arguidos” or suspects.

Yes. They were.

But Mr Edgar dismisses that, flying in the face of last week’s Lisbon court decision to uphold the right of Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral to publish his book alleging Madeleine had died and the McCanns covered it up.

And:

“I was looking at everything and that would include them,” he said. “If I found any evidence against Kate and Gerry I would have given it to the police immediately. Kate and Gerry would expect no less. But I found no shred of evidence. We obviously look at all factors – motive, preparation, opportunity – and there was absolutely nothing.”

Fair enough. But why do other theories get aired? Is there evidence a sex gang stole Madeleine McCann? Is there evidence the child was abducted? Is there evidence she is alive? Isn’t broadcasting theories what caused the McCanns and Robert Murat to be libelled?

Mr Edgar was “paid for by the Find Madeleine Fund” to crack the case. That he didn’t is regrettable. But why are we now listening to what he believes? Surely it’s wise to stick to what he knows and has found?

He [Edgar] has heard dozens of theories about Madeleine – that she had wandered off, and been run over, become the victim of a random burglar or taken by someone wanting to raise a child for themselves.

So much for the theories. What of the facts?

He believes it was a planned operation by a lone kidnapper or a gang.

No facts. Well, only one: a child vanished.

Almost 10 years after the story began, a national tabloid is leading with speculation, just as many have done ever since May 2007. Says Egdar: “If the motive was gang-related child prostitution, there might have been more than one involved.”

Believes. If. Might. And on it goes, this guessing. However educated and based on well-trained hunches the theorising is, it remains guesswork. Get a load of this line:

Like millions of others, the retired detective clings to the hope that Madeleine is still alive, possibly being held prisoner and potentially still in Portugal.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


‘Workshy’ Prince William cheats death by being on holiday

First up, we can reassure you that Prince William is ok. Alpine nightspots, rhinos and the Surrey ribbon-makers guild can all sleep easy. Your patron is safe. But had Williams been at work he could have been a little less safe. Anglia Two, the rescue helicopter William occasionally pilots, was in the air when a remote-controlled drone flew too close for comfort. No-one was hurt. Although the mentally negligible berk flying a drone in the ‘copters air space should be, or at least have his toy confiscated.

 

prince william helicopter

William split-second from next holiday

 

And how does the Mail on Sunday interpret the news? “Wills cheats death,” it thunders. Wills was not onboard when, as an official report into the incident states, “a collision had only been narrowly avoided”. Two pilots and three medial staff were on the helicopter then the “terrifying near-miss happened at 1,900ft”. The vehicle was “flying almost directly over a McDonald’s restaurant filled with families”, none of whom are believed to have been the Windsors.

Other media agree that this was William’s helicopter.

“WILLS’ CHOPPER DRAMA Prince William’s horror as drone comes within ‘half a second’ of hitting his air ambulance in shocking near-miss” – The Sun

“Prince William’s air ambulance in near miss with drone” – Telegraph

The Mail says it was a” fluke” that Wills was not on board at the time.

Was it? Just one week ago, one Mail on Sunday writer called William an “idiot”, an “ungrateful, workshy party-goer who doesn’t think he or she has to put a fair shift in to justify their lavish life at the tax-payer’s expense”. William’s part-time job with the East Anglia Air Ambulance service “requires you [Wills] to do a maximum of just 80 hours a month”.

It’s more of a fluke he’s ever on the thing.

 

Posted: 26th, March 2017 | In: Reviews, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Mail assures terrorists: it only takes two minutes to learn how to murder on Google

Like most of you, we had no idea a knife or a car could be used by terrorists to kill and maim until the Daily Mail used its front page to advise us that Google is the go-to-place for learning about weaponising your cutlery drawer and vehicle.

It turns out that everyone who ever stabbed anyone ever or used a vehicle to carry explosives and run people down learned how to do it via the media.

 

google terror daily mail

For just 65 pence, single mums and immigrants are able to buy the Mail and therein get directions to websites dealing in death. Moreover, we found copies of the Mail on display in shops, often on the bottom shelf where children can read them.

Says one worried mum: “I’m shocked they allow that muck on sale. I for one won’t be buying it.  I’ll read it for free online.”

 

Posted: 24th, March 2017 | In: Tabloids | Comment


Carole Middleton’s Easter party tips leave a bitter aftertaste in the Mail

pippa middleton book mail on sunday

 

The battle between the Daily Mail and its sister organ the Mail on Sunday continues. Sebastian Shakespeare uses his Mail social diary to tell readers about “former air hostess” Carole Middleton and her daughter Pippa Middleton. Carole has written a “banal” story for a children’s magazine about ways to celebrate Easter. This is not in the spirt of giving, rather in the hope it will “boost sales at her mail order paraphernalia business”.

Carole’s “fatuous” tips (tip 1: “Chocolate bunnies and eggs are favourites”) are evert bit as “anodyne” as Pippa’s entertaining tips, which “were published in a widely panned book”.

Indeed they were. They were also published in a newspaper. No prizes for guessing which one? Yep: the Mail on Sunday.

Posted: 22nd, March 2017 | In: Celebrities, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: horror in Cyprus and trolling the McCanns in the Sun

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

We begin this round-up with news in the Sun that the missing child’s parents are posting on their official Facebook page. In “BEATING THE BULLIES” we read that Kate and Gerry McCann have re-opened their Find Maddie Facebook account amid a “huge outpouring of love and support” after “taking a ‘break’ from trolls”.

You might well wonder how that is news. But social media functions as something nasty for old media to look down on, like a school gates mum gathering her PTA pals around to snipe at the gauche new arrival. “As the page administrator switched it back on,” we’re told “she vowed to ‘continue to turn the page off if we receive hateful posts’.”

But you can’t turn off the Sun’s comments section. Beneath the paper’s story “MADDIE PROBE SLAMMED – Good Morning Britain viewers in meltdown over ‘ridiculous’ £11million bill for the Madeleine McCann investigation as top cop declares it a waste of money”, the Sun’s bleeding hearts offer lots of opinion. These are the comments in order of appearance on the Sun’s story:

 

the Sun Madeleine MCCan

the Sun Madeleine MCCan the Sun Madeleine MCCan

 

The “TOP COMMENTS” are:

 

the Sun Madeleine MCCan

 

One site’s ‘Bullies” and “trolls” are another’s commenters and readers.

Having made not an inch of progress in finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann, the voracious Press see if they can have any better luck with a new ‘Maddie’.

“My daughter could have been the next Maddie McCann,” says the Mail’s headline. “Mother staying at five-star Cyprus hotel woke to find maid trying to snatch her one-year-old.”

The maid did it!

Siobhan Prescott, 25, “claims she woke to find her one-year-old daughter Harper crying as a dark-haired woman in her 40s attempted to pick her up out of her cot at the five star King Evelthon Beach and Hotel Resort in Chloraca Bay, Cyprus.”

As parents cancel their family summer holiday and eyes “dark-haired” women (in Greece!) with suspicion, the Mail tells us what happened next:

The horrified mother claims she was powerless to react because she was sleeping naked, so screamed out for her partner Simon Smith who was on the balcony of their room.

Who knew British holidaymakers were so demure?

Anyhow, Simon came running.

He confronted the sheepish woman, who was dressed in a maid’s outfit, and demanded to know what she was doing.

The woman said something in another language, before bursting into tears and trying to flee the room – but stopped to make a phone call from the room phone.

Eh? She made a phone call before legging it? So there are finger prints, a number to track and you got a good look at the would-be abductor. Right now the only thing Madeleine McCann-like about his story is that readers to examine someone else’s parenting skills.

“I was napping when a maid snuck into the room and tried to snatch my baby,” says Siobhan. “The only reason I woke up was because Harper screamed out, otherwise she could have been the next Maddie McCann.”

Well, yes, aside from the fact that this time both parents were in and the child never did go missing. What the incident could have been is the subject of the thrilling headline, but what actually was it?

“We were furious and we made our way down to the reception and demanded the hotel manager immediately,” says Siobhan. “I was absolutely hysterical, but the hotel management just said she was cleaning the room and picked up my baby to check she was alright. But it was rubbish. That woman had no cleaning products on her and it was the afternoon so our room had already been cleaned. I was naked in the bed, what kind of person walks into a room when a woman is lying naked on the bed? She let herself in with the aim to try and steal our baby.”

“TOT SNATCH HORROR,” thunders the Sun. “Brit mum reveals terrifying moment maid tried to snatch her toddler from cot on holiday and says ‘she could have been the next Madeleine McCann’”.

A TERRIFIED mum said she feared her daughter could have been the “next Madeline McCann” after she woke to find a hotel maid looming over her cot.

Siobhan Prescott, 25, claims the worker was attempting to pick up one-year-old Harper, who was screaming hysterically.

The baby was crying. The woman picked her up. The Sun writes:

The family were on a dream holiday to Cyprus between February 22 and March 1 when the horror unfolded.

It was weird and unsettling, no doubt. But a “horror”?

They claim they were later told by the hotel that the same maid had been sacked two years previously following an “incident” but was on her first day back in work.

So the woman “dressed as a maid” was a maid, which is why she was dressed as one. Is that right?

Siobhan said: “I am lucky to have woken up, but if I hadn’t God knows what would have happened. Harper could have easily been snatched and we would be in the exact same situation as Kate and Gerry McCann.”

What, hated by Sun readers?

Posted: 22nd, March 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


Chuck Berry: the King is dead so let’s give his body a good kicking

chuck berry hail

 

No sooner is Chuck Berry dead than the Mirror pulls on the boots and gives his bones a good kick. The rock’n’roller who gave full throat to all the taboo-busting stuff the olds hated is the subject of the front-page yeller about his ‘Dark secrets’.

For readers to be shocked by anything, Berry would have to have been extraordinarily depraved. Having seen knights of the real and papacy exposed as predatory paedophiles – You never can tell, right? – and knowing your internet-based readership is reared on Rule 34 – ‘If it exists, there is a porn of it’ – you wonder how dark Berry’s darkness got to warrant front-page news.

 

chuck berry crime

 

A clue to things being not all that dark comes on pages 8 and 9, where the Berry abyss becomes more ‘murky’ than inky black. And those ‘secrets’ become anything but. Berry’s ‘three spells behind bars’ are well documented (robbery, tax dodging and transporting a 14-year-old prostitute across State lines to work at one of his clubs – when he sacked her she grassed him up to the law; he says he never slept with her), as is his conviction for sticking a hidden camera inside the ladies’ toilets at one of his restaurants.

And that’s it. There is nothing more. No ‘Nick‘ to talk of dead children. No priapic visits to the mortuary. No Satanic cults. No octopus porn.

One of the most influential musicians of all time, the man who brought joy and light to millions with his swagger, wit and infectious songs will not be airbrushed from history. So great was Berry that even the Mail, a paper not given to shying away from moral panics, overlooks the ‘shadows’ and ‘secrets’ to hail the ‘Godfather of Rock’, the ‘musical genius’ who inspired Britain’s biggest stars’ and led an ‘outrageous life’. Chuck Berry’s the man who grew up on the wrong side of racially segregated America and got white and blacks dancing in the aisles.

And so without further ado, here’s Chuck Berry. Hail, hail, Rock And Roll:

 

Posted: 20th, March 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Prince William turns into his feckless father as mute Kate awaits her Diana moment

prince william dancing the sun

 

It’s the third day of the Sun’s Prince William expose. On Tuesday the paper led with news that Wills had ‘sloped off’ to the Swiss Alps to pranny about his pals on a lads’ holiday, where he met an Australian model called Sophie Taylor. So much the norm for the super-rich. But the Sun was aghast, saying that Wills should have been at a Commonwealth Day service with the rest of his kin.

Over pages 4 and 5, we saw Wills ‘sloping off again’, ‘snubbing’ the service at Westminster Abbey. Wills does a ‘high skive’ palm slap with Sophie as he ‘chills ‘with ‘topless model’ Sophie and his mates.

On Wednesday it was more of the same. There was Wills on the Sun’s cover page, his lips pursed in disapproval as he stared into the paparazzo’s lens. Wills has an ambivalent relationship with the Press. The photo-ops that make him looks good and chummy with the hol polloi are great; the ones where he’s seen larking about for the 30-plus weeks of the year in which he isn’t ‘working’ as a military-lite soldier and celebrity lifesaver are undesirable and invasive. The narrative is that the paps did for his mother, but what really hurt William’s mother was his father, cheating Charles, who refereed to Princess Diana as ‘Diana the Martyr‘ as she carved out a life for herself that involved more than being the Windsor clan’s latest ‘brood mare‘.

And it keeps coming. Wills is ‘Throne Idle’. He is – yet again – ‘sloping off’, having performed ‘just 13 royal duties’ this year (although it’s at least a couple more if you include telling the secretary to tell the nanny to wipe Prince George’s arse and smiling at Kate in public) to the Queen’s 24.

Over pages 6 and 7, we see Wills in ‘Boogie-wonderland’ getting ‘crown on it’ at Verbier’s Farinet club. We hear from a ‘stunned’ onlooker who “couldn’t believe” Wills was ‘gyrating to a rap song with lyrics about smoking cannabis’. It’s unbelievable. Where’s the future King’s sense of tradition? What happened to getting goofed on opiates, impregnating peroxide-tinted serfs, murdering dumb animals and giving Nazs salutes? It was good enough for his ancestors, so why not Wills? The snob.

“William clearly isn’t interested in taking his role seriously and I really wonder if he wants to be king,” says the chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic.”He’s not living up to the hopes that people had of him and does seem to be taking all this for granted,’ adds a ‘Royal historian’.

And so to Thursday’s Sun‘s lead story. We hear that Sophie did a slut drop’ dance in a rarified Swiss club. On pages 4 and 5, we learn that Wills was ‘cavorting on a club dance floor with two beauties’.  We also learn that the slut drop is a dance move ‘made famous of Geordie Shore’, the TV show in which orange-skinned Geordies shag on camera and then read each others tattoos by the light of their teeth.

What it all amounts to is not very much at all. Unless you consider Kate, the missing part in all her husband’s life of privilege and privacy. The Sun invites its agony aunt Deidre to ‘imagine’ what Kate would write about her husband. Imaginary Kate is worried that her ‘boring and ‘balding’ husband ‘has been pictured with his hands all over some girl’. She wonders, ‘Has the magic gone?’ Above all she is terrified he’s turning into his father. We hope, of course, that Kate learns from Diana, a woman who touched the shunned and sick (literally) and attempted with no little success to turn a life of public virtue and private vice into something the subjects can look up to.

Over to you, Kate…

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment