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.
Football journalism is a tricky affair. The need to create sensation from dust is testing. Before Manchester City and Liverpool’s big Premier League title decider last night (there are 18 games to go! – ed), the Sun’s Neil Ashton told us that Liverpool are on the up: “Recent history is with them. The night they shook the Kop in last season’s Champions League quarter-final and the stirring 2-1 victory at the Etihad in the return leg are in their favour.” Indeed. And last night Liverpool could easily have drawn a tight encounter that ended 2-1 in the host’s favour. Ashton continues: “The 5-0, when City ripped apart Liverpool’s defence in September 2017, is a distant memory. Notably, that scoreline was also prior to the arrival of the Dutch colossus, Virgil van Dijk.”
Van Dijk has been terrific. But you’d expect little less from the world’s costliest defender. “At £75million, Van Dijk is starting to feel like a snip,” says Ashton. Or as he put it previously:
Ashton told us: “…the Reds blew their brains out to sign the Dutchman.” It was suicide. No worries, though – Liverpool fans don’t read the Sun.
Solid clickbait work by the Daily Express which managed to make an SEO-friendly tourism guide to Strasbourg in the wake of a murderous attack on a Christmas market in the French city. The suspect, one Cherif Chekatt, is helping police with their enquiries. Let’s hope the coppers have better luck establishing facts than the Press, parts of which can’t even wok out what country Chekatt’s from.
As the papers debate his roots, the Express produces a handy article entitled “Strasbourg shooting : where is Strasbourg”. This is a clickbait trick de rigueur among newspaper websites. The drones spot a tending story and then dice it up into its elements – ‘Man bites dog : what is a man?’ / … what is a dog? / …what do we mean by bites? / …do dogs bite?’
So a nutter murdering five people near a Christmas market in Strasbourg becomes a chance to rank for the trending word. As people are mourning loved ones, the Express tells readers and the more important Google bots: “Strasbourg is a city in the capital of the Grand Est region, which was previously known as Alsace, in northeastern France. The city is also the formal seat of the European Parliament and sits near the German border.”
What is a barrel – and how do you scrape it?
A “gunman” shot three people dead and injured 12 others at Strasbourg’s Christmas market. The Guardian says gunman is “a 29-year-old born in Strasbourg”. And that is all. Any idea why he did it? One day on and the paper tells us the wanted man is what the French call “gangster-jihadists”. His name is Chérif Chekatt. He is from a family “with Moroccan roots”. He moved into “Islamic extremism”. What else do we know?
Disappointing to see BBC and Sky News lead with “Allahu Akbar” in their headline on the awful shooting in #Strasbourg vs. ITV and Al Jazeera who are being far more responsible.
This matters and it’s wrong. pic.twitter.com/62rEDMVbdq
— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) December 12, 2018
At what point do you report that the suspect is an Islamist?
The Express makes it plain on its page 2, the headline reads: “Massive hunt for Islamist who shot three dead.” He’s a career criminal (paragraph 1) and “radical Islamist” (paragraph 2). He is “of Algerian descent”. Not Moroccan? Or is it all the same – British, Irish, German – all much of a muchness? Another report tells us Islamic State terrorists target shoppers, including those in Britain.
The Mirror features the story on page 11. The headline tells of the “gunman who killed two”. He is an Islamic terrorist (paragraph 1). He “screamed Allahu Akbar” before opening fire (paragraph 3). Again we read of the fear that Islamic State supporters will attack shoppers in the UK. The threat is ranked as “severe”. what he said and why he said it appears to be relevant.
The Sun calls Chekatt a “French terror fiend” He is a “butcher”. We read that he yelled Alluahu Akbar in paragraph 5. He is of “Algerian decent”. He’s been jailed in Free, Germany and Switzerland.
The Daily Mail calls him the ‘Xmas killer”. In paragraph 5 we learn that Allah Akbar man ‘god is great’ in Arabic. Only the Mail mentions the victims. One is a Thai tourist called Anupong Suebsamarn. We’re told Chekatt “was radicalised in a French jail”. But we don’t know that to be true. The Mail then adds a touch of Brexit, noting, “Free movement rules mean he would not have to show a passport” if he closed the border into Germany. The paper says Cherkatt’s parents are Algerian. At no point does the Mail use the words Islam, Muslim or Islamist or Islamism. Chekatt’s religion is not mentioned.
In “Strasbourg shooting: What we know so far”, the BBC refers to Chekatt as a “gunman”. It is only in paragraph 7 we get a possible motive: “Along the way he opened fire several times and also used a knife to seriously wound and kill people, Mr Heitz added, saying the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) during the rampage.” His religion is not mentioned.
The Telegraph finds space to add: “Investigators are trying to establish whether Mr Chekatt travelled to Syria or Iraq to join an Islamist group, or whether he was radicalised entirely in France, according to sources close to the case.”
Such are the facts.
It was the 117’s finest moment, the day they voted for a new Tory Party leader and to defenestrate Theresa May. They lost. May won by 200 votes to 117. May remains – but not before she’d pledged to leave her job before the next general election in 2022. Tory rebel Jacob Rees-Mogg said the result was “terrible”. No, not for him, the MP who led calls for the confidence vote and lost it – for her. “She said that in her heart she would like to fight the 2022 election,” said Rees-Mogg, “but that she recognised the party did not want her to, and therefore it was not her intention to. But the word ‘intention’ is a classic politician’s word, because intentions can change.” Thanks for stating the bleedin’ obvious, Jacob. Maybe with his plain talking and being in touch with the man on a private road in Latin-Speaking Surrey he could stand for party leadership? “Several Cabinet ministers already well advanced with their plans”, says The Daily Telegraph. Jacob isn’t one of them.
Maybe Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn can cross the house and have a bash at being PM? “Theresa May has lost her majority in Parliament, her government is in chaos and she’s unable to deliver a Brexit deal that works for the country,” said Corbyn. So what would he do? Dunno. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king, and all that jazz.
Now back to Brexit. May is in Brussels for yet another EU summit. She wants legally binding assurances on the Irish backstop. The EU leaders says they can’t be arsed to renegotiate any points of the deal. What’s done is done. Ireland sniggers. A former leader of Luxembourg puts a drink. May leaves with nothing.
But wait a moment. The Sun has momentous news on page 2. Leo Varadkar, the Irish PM, wants Sinn Fein’s seven MPs to take up their seats in Westminster and support the Tory government’s Brexit deal. Good idea, Leo. Close you eyes and see Sinn Fein’s MP swearing their oath of allegiance to the Queen and backing one nation Tories. Now close them once more and see flying cows, Terry Waite’s chocolate radiator and Scotland winning the World Cup. Perhaps now is the time for the UK to boycott of Irish goods until they agree to sort the border issue out and stop siding with the EU’s vengeful, fearful thugs?
Back in the tabloids, and the contest is on: which one can harp on about Brexit for longest. Here are the results:
The Sun: 9 pages
Daily Mail: 12 pages
Daily Mirror: 6 pages
Daily Express: 6 pages
Daily Star: Brexit triggers lap dancer crisis!
More to follow…
You do what you can to upset the opposition, right? Raheem Sterling was collecting a ball at Stamford Bridge when a group of Chelsea fans of a type that used to constitute a large chunk of the club’s fans before Roman’s billions bought success shouted at him. What was said is the subject of much heated debate. According to the Daily Mail, one of the fans opined: “I’m deeply ashamed by my own behaviour and I feel really bad. But I didn’t call him a black cunt, I called him a Manc cunt. I’ve been going to Chelsea for 50 years now and, because of where I sit, I’m picked up on the camera most weeks. If I had a history of saying this sort of thing I would’ve been caught by now.”
Police are investigating. No arrests have been made. Chelsea have suspended four people from attending their matches, pending further investigations into allegations of racial abuse directed at the London-raised England player.
The fan adds: “I offer him an unreserved apology. Even if it wasn’t racist, it’s not right what I said.” You can argue amongst yourselves if this Chelsea fan is deserving of an epithet before expressing in four-letters what he might or might not be.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police adds: “Officers continue to review footage and CCTV to determine whether any offences have been committed. Officers are in possession of the details of those reportedly involved – there have been no arrests at this time. The Met continues to work with both clubs and a number of inquiries are ongoing.”
Why don’t they just ask Raheem Sterling what he heard?
PS: More on Chelsea and what they did and didn’t say, here.
Is Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling singled out for special attention because he’s black? At Stamford Bridge last weekend, he was verbally assaulted by four people in the section reserved for Chelsea fans. A fan at Stamford Bridge allegedly called Sterling a “fucking black cunt”. Sterling says the abuse is driven by a racist media that portrays black footballers in a bad light. John Barnes, who had bananas lobbed at him by Liverpool fans when he joined the club, says “black people in the inner cities go through this [discrimination] every day”. Don’t blame the media for appealing to its readers’ prejudices. Look at the bigger picture. And wonder this: why are black kids seen as cool, an act of rebellion for whites to like black fashions and music? Is it something to do with blacks as the perpetual outsiders, their existence something other and less wholesome than the rest of civilised society?
Musa Okwonga wonders.
You think this is your England because you read the most popular newspapers in the country and they agree with you – they agree with you that black footballers, like children, must be seen and not heard, that the second they decide to do anything more than score spectacular goals they become a threat. Those newspapers remind you daily that there is no aspect of criminality to which a black footballer cannot be connected.
But sticking with media, in the Times Henry Winter looks at how tabloids focus on the bling:
Breaking news: for those in the media reporting that Raheem Sterling’s new house in Cheshire boasts a three-car garage, well it did when he bought it but doesn’t now, as the fitness-conscious Manchester City and England player quickly transformed it into a gym to work out after training. For those in the media obsessing about the size of Sterling’s garden, well he’s redesigned part of it into a pitch with full-sized goals so he can practise finishing…
Sterling’s not flash. He’s not extravagant. He’s an exceptional professional, pivotal to club and country, a role model to a generation and deserving of proper respect.
I’d take issue with one point: Sterling’s no role model to anyone but his children. Sterling’s his own man, an exceptionally gifted athlete possessed of the talent and drive to make it in top-level sport. He’s no more a role model for the great unwashed than Winter is.
Will Winter consider the Sun’s take on “Obscene Raheem“, the boy who did well enough to buy his mum a house and was attacked for doing so? Yes. Although not by name. “Why do media outlets publish breathless pieces dripping with sanctimony about his new house being close to a dogging site,” wincers Winter, “ignoring the fact that some well-known neighbours live closer. They’re white by the way. No one mentions them.” Winter can make a short walk to find out – the Times and Sun share an owner and office space. Winter gamely takes on the The Times’ sister paper. “Whereas some white players down the years are forgiven for their excesses as loveable rogues, Sterling receives the “Obscene Raheem” opprobrium. The media really needs to look at itself at times and it was encouraging to hear some contrition from concerned parties after Sterling’s powerful calling out of the media yesterday.”
What says the Sun? Lots. Sterling has touched a nerve. The Sun has responded with a host of stories in support of Sterling. Its picked up the mood and run with it, as all good tabloids must:
What about the Mail? Sterling used two screenshots, one of a Daily Mail story and one of a Mail Online story, to support his claim that the press treated black footballers unfairly compared to their white peers. The Mail says Sterling is wrong to claim reporting in Mail titles is racial motivated:
The Press Gazette has news:
A story by former Mail Online reporter Anthony Joseph was among those shared by Sterling. He said Sterling had raised “some very valid points” that the media “needed to listen to”. Defending his own story, Joseph said: “The story was done at a time when BT had a documentary on teenage footballers earning millions.
“It was topical and there was a huge debate about it. The same day there was at least an hour segment about it on Talksport. The original story, which I followed up, appeared in The Sun. I spoke to the player’s agent, who had no issue with story and how it was represented. Reporters don’t do headlines, but I still don’t feel it vilifies him. It was just topical at the time, nor did I even make a connection of his colour – it didn’t even cross my mind.”
Joseph added that Sterling raised “some very valid points” that the media “needed to listen to”.
Good stuff, then. Sterling has spoken out and the media has responded. Racism is an evil that sticks and corrodes. The better news is that the story of racism is newsworthy because it is now rarer now than it was. Next up: why are there no black editors of national newspapers – not one; never has been?
How do you illustrate Brexit? The papers go with a photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas. The front pages feature a picture of Theresa May beneath a black umbrella. Her eyes are looking at the ground. We are approaching the “End of May’s reign”, says the Daily Mirror. “Tory rivals line up to oust May”, says the i. They’ve been lining up for so long a few have passed out. Someone should check their pulse. May’s not sheltering from a storm beneath that brolly – she’s keeping the drips off.
The Times hears “a leading Tory” MP says he “believes” Conservative MPs will file the 48 letters needed to trigger a confidence vote in her leadership. He also believes, allegedly, in free school dinners, man-made climate change, the Jews did it and the youthful effects of grey beards. Another anonymous MP tells the Daily Telegraph May knows she will not win Tuesday’s vote.
May, he says, reminds him of Charles Dickens’ Wilkins Micawber, who was forever insisting that “something will turn up”. Micawber also says: “Welcome poverty!..Welcome misery, welcome houselessness, welcome hunger, rags, tempest, and beggary! Mutual confidence will sustain us to the end!” Hurrah for the eternal optimist. The poor live fuller lives than the rich. Bring it on. And if it fails, we can all leave for a new life in Australia.
As MPs dust off their York Notes to kick up a quote in place of original thought, readers wonder why they should chose to appear anonymous whilst sticking the knife in. The MPs’ vanity is clear – these people actually believe the great unwashed know who the hell they are. Dream on.
But there is a plan. The Sun commands May to head to Brussels and demand further concessions. The Mail agrees. And the Express. Well, it alone supports May.
Eyes up, Theresa. Keep yer powder dry. The sunny uplands await us.
England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says media bias does “fuel racism”. Sterling was allegedly racially abused by Chelsea fans at the weekend. We’ve long pointed out how ‘Obscene Raheem” (source: The Sun) is treated differently in the media to other players – also here, here and here. And it appears Sterling has noticed. “I just want to say, I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point heard I will speak up,” he posted on his Instagram page. “Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game, as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better.”
Sterling invited us to compare and contrast two Mail articles. One shows Tosin Adarabioyo under the headline: ‘Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on mansion on market for £2.25m despite having never started a Premier League match’; the other shows another City teenage midfielder, Phil Foden, and the headline “Foden buys new £2m home for his mum.” Tosin is black. Phil is white. Tosin is a lucky swine. Phil is a loving son.
“You have two young players starting out their careers – both play for the same team, both have done the right thing, which is buy a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are,” wrote Sterling. “But look at how the newspapers get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player. I think this is unacceptable, both innocent, have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded.
“The young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an[d] aggressive behaviour. So for all the newspapers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an[d] give all players an equal chance.”
Is Raheem Sterling black? Let’s see some other Raheem news:
Here’s more on Foden and the new home he bought this mum and dad. The Mail said:
The 18-year-old’s parents, Phil and Claire, are thought to have been involved in choosing the house and he is determined to keep the close-knit family together despite his emergence as one of England’s outstanding talents.
We never were told if Raheem’s mum, who raised him in less than salubrious surrounds, helped chose the bricks and furnishings for her “obscene” home (price: £3.5m), nor how the new home kept the pair together. But for Phil it’s all terrific:
The move is likely to change little for the player who has always lived at home, doesn’t drink and doesn’t yet drive. He takes cash, rather than cards, on nights out and is thought to have taken out a substantial mortgage on the new house.
That really takes the cake.
As for Sterling’s point about the media fuelling racism, is he right?
PSST! Wanna see young men inhaling nitrous oxide, you know, like medical students and junior doctors used to do? Well, you can, reportedly. Photos of Arsenal players inhaling balloons of what is allegedly nitrous oxide are all over the Sun. Lest you suppose young men larking about during their summer holidays is no big deal, the Sun tells us the men are “role models” – for who is unsaid; maybe their children – and the gas is “hippy crack”, a nickname that manages to make light of actual crack cocaine – the crap that erodes your head – and gives laughing gas a dangerous edge.
The images will, says the paper, “horrify fans”. No, not drugs fans upset that that this airy rubbish, this balloon juice is being likened to Grade A ‘good stuff’. The “fans” are football fans who looks for life guidance to Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi. For them this is a disaster. Of course, anyone who considers a stranger and not a big brother, mum, uncle or someone they meet regularly a “role model” most likely has other issues that need professional help.
Over pages 4 and 5, we learn that the “aces” were at private do where alcohol – that legal poison – was freely sold at exorbitant prices. There was scotch – aka Hippy Buckfast – champagne – aka Vagrants Thunderbird – and vodka – aka Peasant Fuel. All legal to possess – just like hippy crack!
Yes, folks, the story is grim – men break no laws at private do! The horror! The horror!
After all the guff, bluster, grandstanding and outright lying let’s see what the tabloids make of Brexit. Page after page is given to dissecting the meaning of yesterdays voting in Parliament. The Government suffered a triple defeat in the Commons. A few MPs might be regretting their decision to vote against Theresa May and allowing Parliament to control Brexit should the PM’s plans be voted down next week. Can they vote again? Can we have a People’s Vote on that, or is one vote among MPs enough? These MPs, the people who approved the Brexit referendum, these representatives of the Labour and Conservative Parties who made exiting the European Union and enabling the will of the people a key part of the manifestos in the last General Election, these people now arguing amongst themselves as to what the word “leave” means are doing their best to scupper democracy. We could wade thought page after page of partisan commentary. But let’s just go with the editorials, the paper’s ‘last word’ comments.
The Mail: “Britain Will Never Forget A Brexit Betrayal.”
Most MPs are Remainers, and so in “conflict with the will of the people”. To allow them to dictate Brexit is a “recipe for chaos and betrayal”. Choosing to stay in the EU spits the faces of the 17.4 million of us who voted to leave. It is a “Judas kiss”. What to do? Vote for May’s deal, says the Mail. It’s not prefect but it “satisfies the main referendum criteria”. May’s plan is the “only hope of Brexit”. Vote it down and risk the chance of a Labour / SNP government under closet Brexiteer Jeremy Corbyn, which could “wreck” the nation and “split the UK for good”. Scotland leaves. And Northern Ireland follows. The Mail says John McDonnell, the show Chancellor and another closet Brexiteer, “longs” for a United Ireland. Be warned. Vote May or it is the end.
Daily Mirror: “Time for Plan B.”
Which is? What is Plan B? Invade France? That for later. For now the “will of the people must be respected”. Brexit must happen. But May has “lost all authority”. The PM must produce a Plan B. Aha! You thought the Mirror was about to reveal the second plan. No. It just wants one to happen. Maybe it can cite Labour’s plan. But Labour doesn’t have one. So, come on “weak and wobbly” May, get to work!
The Sun: “Utter Mayhem.”
After the pun the details. May has “all but lost control of Brexit”. An “enraged public” will have a second referendum foisted on it. But the DUP might suddenly realise that the Brexit deal on offer is better than letting Parliament’s Remainers “impose something worse”. The Sun reasons that the DUP’s support is key to May getting her way. She should “ditch the toxic Irish backstop” or insert a “route out of the restrictive customs union it sets up”. She must woo the DUP. She must do this or Corbyn will win the day. He’s already “measuring the curtains at No10”. Labour, were told, is putting its own interests ahead of the nation’s. Labour will “renege on its manifesto and back a second referendum”. Hard to disagree. Labour has no plan. So the simple thing to do would be to just repeat the act that went before.
Anorak Says! But hold on. Doesn’t the aforementioned McDonnell want to renationalise, well, everything? He does. And won’t the EU see that as illegal state aid? Surely it will. Really think Labour wants to scupper Brexit? If it does, it’s plans will be damaged – to say nothing of the party’s dying links to the working-class who voted to Leave.
Daily Express: “Remainers must not be allowed to eat Brexit.”
Yesterdays votes were “proof” Remainer elites” want to stop Brexit. The vote allows the Commons to block a “no deal Brexit”. The only way ahead is to back our “courageous and indefatigable Prime Minister’ and vote for her plan.
May losses three votes in the Commons! May wins!! Ain’t democracy grand.
Arsenal are back. Well, so says Mark Irwin in the Sun. Unai Emery has “brought the nastiness” back to the Gunners, he tells his readers. The Gunners are no longer a “soft touch with diminutive midfielders who can be trampled all over”. If size was everything, Manchester United’s giants would be top of the table. It isn’t. This we know because the best player on the pitch at the weekend’s North London derby which Arsenal won 4-2 was Lucas Torreira. The 22-year-old from Fray Bentos, Uruguay towers 1.66m in his socks and weighs in at 60kg. In post-Brexit terms, Torreira is 5ft 4 inches high and tips the scales at under nine and a half stones.
Yesterday the FA changed Arsenal and Spurs with failure to control their players. Even the little ones…
Meet Carl Beech. You know him by his nom-de-plume ‘Nick’, the man who claimed child murdering VIP paedophiles were operating with impunity in and around Westminster. The Times “revealed” Mr Beech has been an “ex‑school governor” – you know, one of those adults who actually enjoy playing at schools. It was Nick who told us, often via the Daily Mirror’s titles, about pedophile “rings” – child sex abusers always appear in ‘rings’ because it satisfies our love for a conspiracy. Anyhow, Nick, sorry, Carl’s not in the news because he’s a dad of one “who formerly lived with his mother” (spoiler: most of us did), is “a Church of England priest” and worked as an NHS nurse, rather the 50-year-old whose claims triggered Scotland Yard to launch Operation Midland is being tested in court. Mr Beech, faces 12 charges of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud after the collapse of one of the Metropolitan Police’s most prominent inquiries. We know his real name because yesterday a judge at Newcastle Crown Court lifted an anonymity order.
He is accused of profiting from alleged lies about murder, abuse and torture by fraudulently claiming £22,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. His identity can be revealed after legal restrictions were lifted… Mr Beech is accused of deceiving detectives over four years with false claims of a historical paedophile ring made up of senior politicians, military members and other prominent figures.
On the word of Nick, a desperate Scotland Yard blew £2.5 million (in the Sun it rises to £3m) on an inquiry that besmirched Lord Bramall, 94, a former chief of the defence staff, and Harvey Proctor, 71, a former Conservative MP. Both are entirely innocent. Two other former top Tories, Sir Edward Heath and Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, are also innocent. Although they’re dead – and one thing we know about corpses is that they unlikely to defend themselves and mud sticks.
Like former PM Heath, Operation Midland is also dead. Sir Richard Henriques, a retired High Court judge, read the bilge and told us that it was “littered with errors”. Of course, if you love a conspiracy, well, it was all to be expected. Better to equip the police with flaming torches and thumb screws.
For someone once so verbose, Mr Beech spoke only once in the dock. He answered “I am” when asked whether he was Carl Beech. the court will see him again on February 11 for a pre-trial hearings.
You might suppose the Mirror and its sister title The People would be all over this story. You’d be mistaken. There is a ‘Nick’ on the paper’s front page. But it’s TV presenter Nick Knowles now appearing in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! The otherNick – Carl Beech – is nowhere. Not a word. Nothing.
Not that the Sun goes large on Nick. He’s on page 22 and 23. The Mail slaps ‘Nick’ all over Page 5. Beech’s barrister tells us: “We expect the matter will be fully contested.” It’d be useful, too, if the role of the police was investigated. Why did they follow up Mr Beech’s claims with such gusto?
Transfer Balls: The BBC leads with news that Spain international De Gea wants Manchester United to offer him a five-year contract worth about £350,000 a week. Why so little? The wage will, says the Beeb, match what Alexis Sanchez earns. Odd, no. Doesn’t Sanchez earn £500,000-a-week? BBC journalist Simon Stone told us Sanchez was costing Manchester United half a million quid every week:
“#MUFC have committed to paying Sanchez £180m over four and a half years”
— BBC 5 Live Sport on BBC Sounds (@5liveSport) January 18, 2018
The numbers are utter tosh, then. But the media loves to guess. The Sun says: “De Gea will then be offered a new £400,000-a-week, five-year deal.” The Mail agrees with the BBC that it’s £350,000 a week. And the Standard says the deal “could be worth up to £300,000-a-week”.
And just a few days ago Joe Bernstein told Mail readers:
Such are the facts.
The Daily Express’ report on Arsenal’s 1-2 win at Bournemouth is the same report you can read in the Daily Mirror. Both are written by Neil McLeman. The Express and Mirror are both owned by Reach. Surely this sharing spells the end for one of the titles. A clue to which tabloid is getting sidelined comes on the Express‘ back page. In a story about Spurs player Dele Alli, the paper tells readers the article continues on page 55, column 3. But page 55 doesn’t mention Alli once. In fact, it doesn’t mention football at all, preferring to focus on England’s win over Australia in the rugby union. There is news of Alli on page 53, column 2.
As for the Ozil story so good it’s repeated in two daily tabloids, well, it’s some balls about Mesut Ozil being left in the “cold”. The German was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s win. Asked why Ozil didn’t play, Emery replied: “It depends how the match is going, what the result is. I decided for other options.” He added: “The match was very demanding…with physicality and intensity.” Put that though the tabloidese machine and you get: “Unai Emery admitted he needed players who could cope with the physicality and intensity of Bournemouth.” Can anyone think of a Premier League game that isn’t intense and physical? Answers to the Mirror and Express. Two cover prices – but one second-class stamp should cover it.
Know this: Prince Harry’s wife “Meghan Meets Diana’s Secret Daughter!”. This exclusive is brought to you by Globe. Th daughter is Princess Sarah. She was allegedly “conceived in a bizarre fertility test before Prince Charles and Diana wed”. She met Meghan on Mrs Harry’s trip to New Zealand. And that’s huge news for many reasons.
We’ve been here before, of course. In September 2016, Globe told us Charles has now fewer than “four! secret love children”. They had been “Found!”. So big was this news Globe was tempted to punctuate each word with an exclamation mark.
We read that Princess Sarah was living in New England, USA. Her “surrogate” mother was “secretly” impregnated by her doctor husband who’d stolen a royal embryo produced by Charles and Diana on the orders of his mum, Her Maj. Sarah discovered the ‘”truth” because everyone told her she was a “dead ringer” for Princess Diana.
But Sarah’s parents and Diana are all dead. And Sarah is also dead. In June 2016, Globe told us: “Prince Charles Murdered Princess Diana’s Secret Daughter!” He did it, allegedly, on May 15.
So who can we ask to corroborate the story? Meghan? More to follow as Princess Sarah communicates from beyond! the! grave!
The Daily Mail today warns about the “Epidemic of Child Gamblers”. Yippee! The future for betting companies is sound. If there is one industry that has truly embraced the internet it is betting. The Mail understands this. Just cop a load of the offers and inducements to gamble on its website. Kids should look away now:
The Mail is upset by underage gamblers. Apparently 55,000 under 17s “have a problem”. A further 70,000 are “at risk”. One in seven 11-16s year olds bets regularly, which is “worrying”. The cash – on average £16 a week – is risked on bingo, betting shops (online) and fruit machines. And “close to a million youngsters have been exposed to gambling through ‘loot boxes’ in computer games or on smart phone apps.” To say nothing of adverts to gamble in newspapers, TV ads and slogans slapped across football kits.
But that’s not all. Tim Miller, of the Gambling Commission – “We regulate commercial gambling and lotteries in Great Britain” – says kids prefer to gamble in “informal environments”, like on private bets between friends and or “playing cars with their mates for money”. In other words: kids are doing what their parents and their parents and their parents did.
The Gambling Commission’s Young People and Gambling report “reveals that gambling participation by 11 to 16 year olds has increased in the last 12 months but remains lower compared to all previous years. However, the research indicated that more children are at risk of being harmed by gambling”.
“Key findings” are:
14% of 11-16 year olds had spent their own money on gambling in the past week, this is up from 12% in 2017 but still lower than rates seen prior to 2017
This compared to 13% who had drunk alcohol in the past week, 4% who had smoked cigarettes and 2% who had taken illegal drugs
The Mail nots that “More than one in ten young people (12%) follow gambling companies on social media”. A pox on social media! It does not relay the report’s other facts, chiefly:
- 59% agree that gambling is dangerous and only 14% agree that it is OK for someone their
age to gamble
• Almost half of young people (49%) said that someone had spoken to them about the
problems gambling may lead to
• 66% of young people have seen gambling adverts on TV, 59% on social media and 53%
on other websites
• 49% had seen or heard TV or radio programmes sponsored by a gambling company and
46% had encountered gambling sponsorships at sports venues
• 7% claimed that they had been prompted to gamble by a gambling advert or sponsorship
Isn’t all media part of the “problem” then? The report found that 33% of under 16s had seen adverts for gambling in newspapers. The Mail makes no call to ban such ads.
As for the survey: just 2,619 under 16s were polled. And most “problem gamblers” are aged 16 – old enough to get married and join the Army:
Is it a big problem? It all smacks of authoritarianism. And whenever a censor is about, they pull out their trump card: what about the kids? They must be protected. But by and large they seem fine – no worse off than their predecessors. It’s just that now the nippers are presented as victims-in-waiting – abused by the internet, children sit around in a perpetual state of slack-jawed passivity unable to think for themselves. Paternalistic government wants to ban adverts that turn the young on to gambling. And, yep, many of these same knowing politicos and protectors want 16 years olds to have the vote.
Transfer Balls: Following the Mirror’s news that Frenkie de Jong had agreed to join Manchester City for £60m comes news in the, er, Daily Mirror that he hasn’t. But he might. The paper of record (surely clickbait factory – ed) says City will have to pay a club record £75m for the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder.
It’s been three days since the Sun said Frenkie de Jong to City was done deal – three days since the Mirror told its readers City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”.
That was all tosh. But worry not because the Mirror has more news:
The paper reports in an “exclusive”:
Manchester City will have to pay a club-record £75million in the upcoming bidding war with Barcelona for the new Johan Cruyff…
However, Spanish champions Barca are also very keen on De Jong, and several other top clubs are monitoring the rapid progress he’s making this season.
Why is £75m the fee in a “bidding war”? It’s more than the £60m it cost city to sing Frenkie three days ago.
That the story of Madeleine McCann has taken on a life of its own is not news. The single thread story – child vanishes – has been spun. But the tabloids love to find a new angle. And they do it in the shape of David Baddiel, the comedian, who “lashes out at McCann trolls”. What he actually did was to see ‘Our Maddie’ trending on Twitter and tweet: “Most people don’t know what it’s like to lose a child and should shut the fuck up.” That’s considered polite discourse on Twitter. But a BBC comic exchanging barbs with fellow twitter users passes for news. And it allows the Star to fill half a page with no news of the missing child.
The Sun also has no news. “‘MADDIE ‘COULD BE ALIVE’,” says the headline. “Madeleine McCann investigator claims missing child could still be ALIVE and hidden in a lair.” Could. Claims. More facts? Can we handle more facts? “David Edgar is convinced Maddie was abducted by a child sex gang and could still be being held in Portugal, where she vanished 11 years ago.” Edgar pulls on his media suit and tell us: “She is most likely being held captive, possibly in an underground cellar or dungeon and could emerge at any time.”
Is that the “new hope” another Sun story hints to? “NEW MADDIE HOPE,” says the paper. “Madeleine McCann parents meeting with Scotland Yard detectives to discuss TWO ‘specific and active’ new leads.”.The Mirror echoes the news: “Fresh hope in Madeleine McCann search as police pursue two vital new leads.” Both scoops stem from a “Whitehall source” telling the Daily Mail: “Metropolitan Police officers had a sit-down meeting with Madeleine’s parents to tell them exactly where they were with their inquiries. They informed them they had two specific and active leads that still needed to be chased and that although the investigation was taking longer than they initially thought officers said they were confident and hopeful they could get a result.”
Why the source is unnamed is moot. Is it a secret? What are the leads? We’re not told.
But let’s end this round-up with where we began: trolls. “‘MADDIE 0 RANGERS 21’ Madeleine McCann troll slammed after comparing £11.75m search fund to Rangers footballer’s price tag,” says the Sun. It’s a tweet the Sun is happy to reproduce:
“Cost Of Madeline McCann Search: £12,000,000
“Cost Of Alfredo Morelos: £1,000,000
“Goals For Rangers: Madeline: 0 Morelos: 21”
The Sun senses a story. “But a number of people were furious at the comparisons, replying to the post with fury,” says the paper, possibly contains its furious fury. “One person commented: ‘Not a good tweet!!!'” No. A better tweet would be from someone famous or in a position of authority. Then it could be front-page news, and they could be publicly shamed and hounded from their job. Try harder, twitter.
You can tell a fair bit about someone’s convictions by the form their apology takes. Kevin Gaiderman has been invited to apologise for naming a stuffed toy he brought back from a school trip to China ‘Ping Pong’. Gaiderman is head teacher at Chellaston Academy in Derby. Some parents say the name is “offensive” and “racist”, as reported in the Sun and Daily Mail. The stuffed cloth’s full title is ‘Ping Pong the Panda of Perseverance’.
Having upset a few parents with a name inspired by his enjoyment of table-tennis, Gaiderman said: “We told leaders of the Chinese school this was what we were calling our panda due to the resilience and sporting connection we enjoyed.” What screams resilience better than a stuffed panda? Get a load of that steely, unblinking gaze.
Mr Gaiderman has published a fulsome response on the school’s website:
I am taking this opportunity to write to you and thank you for the overwhelming support I have received in what has been an incredibly challenging week for myself personally, my family and our school community.
On Wednesday this week, an article appeared on the Derby Telegraph website, relating to the naming of a panda bear brought back from our recent trip to China. The article subsequently appeared in the next day’s edition of the paper and in some national publications.
Whilst on the trip we witnessed great determination and resilience from our students who were experiencing a whole new culture and were involved in a significant amount of travel around China including visiting Beijing, Hefei and Shanghai.
Two of our students had disabilities but coped brilliantly with what was asked of them. Many of the students themselves bought gifts including cuddly toys and gave names to them. Whilst in Hefei 50, our partner school, our students played several sports with students and indeed my Head of PE and I played ping pong (table tennis) against their students. Reference was made to the work we do here at Chellaston on growth mindset and resilience with reference to Matthew Syed’s book ‘Bounce’ and his work nationally in this field which we refer to with staff and students. Matthew being a former international table tennis player (ping pong).
During the trip the panda we purchased was then referred to as ‘Ping Pong’ and it was agreed that on return each week staff could nominate a student who would receive the panda as a simple recognition for their own resilience.
I take great inspiration from my students and staff and my intention was to capture the nature of the amazing young people we are privileged to work alongside, by awarding this token on a weekly basis.
Pandas are synonymous with China as we know – our partnership and friendship with staff and students at Hefei 50 is developing and growing since my visit last year. Indeed, we told the leaders of the school that was what we were calling our panda, due to the resilience and sporting connection we had enjoyed. We have an equal award we give to staff on a Friday briefing which is always received with delight and staff express how much it means to them to receive it. We also sent a full summary of our “first of its kind within the City” visit to China to the DET which, as yet, has not been published.
Once again thank you for your support and enjoy the weekend.
Kevin J Gaiderman – Executive Principal
If you want to show real resilience, next time being back a real panda bear and try to get it to mate.
“Spurs set to beat Barcelona to Dutch wonderkid Frenkie de Jong,” screamed EuroSport on November 16. Two days later, the BBC tells us Frenkie de Jong is on his way to Manchester City.
The Mirror says Manchester City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing of the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. The Express agrees: “Barcelona and Tottenham STUNNED as Manchester City win £61m Frenkie De Jong race.” The Sun also agrees: “Man City win race to sign Ajax ace Frenkie de Jong and will pay £61m for long-term Fernandinho replacement.” We’re told Barcelona and Manchester United were both ready to bid fo the player. They just never got round to it.
And then you realise it’s all utter tosh. The Sun admits as much: “De Jong is believed to be keen to work with Guardiola and would favour a move to join the Spaniard rather than across town at Old Trafford.” So nothing is agreed. It’s rumour. There will be “a potential summer bidding war for the midfielder”.
Why the BBC, which runs fact-checking news segments, features this utter balls as fact is lamentable. It doesn’t need to compete commercially with the tabloids in a time of falling newspapers circulation, so why does it bother?
Writing clickbait for football fans is hard graft. All those budding hacks who dream of talking truth to power are reduced to spinning for clicks at sister newspapers the Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror.
Language is mangled. Simple facts are “revealed”. “Five things” are learned from watching paint dry. Rumours are mutated into ‘fact’. But every so often, clickbait talent emerges to connive a new meme for the SEO gurus running websites to applaud. Right now everyone at Arsenal – fans, players, Gunnersaurus – is “baffled”.
“Arsenal fans left baffled by Graeme Souness’ comments about Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mirror, October 23
“Lucas Torreira baffles Arsenal fans with what he did in training” – Daily Mirror, October 10
“Arsenal fans left BAFFLED at staggering claim: ‘Are you mad? He can’t be serious'” – Daily Express, November 14
But it’s not just Arsenal being “baffled”:
“Jurgen Klopp baffled by remarkable Liverpool statistic” – Daily Mirror, Oct 19
“Graeme Souness leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, Oct 22
“Mohamed Salah leaves Liverpool fans baffled with social media post” – Daily Mirror, Oct 24
“Matteo Darmian leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, October 25
“Cesar Azpilicueta baffled by inconsistent Chelsea’s struggles” – Daily Mirror, Oct 26
“Celebrity Gogglebox: Fans baffled by Dele Alli’s composer comment” – Irish Mirror, Oct 26
“Man Utd news: David De Gea baffled by what Jose Mourinho said” – Daily Express, October 31
“Chelsea news: Sky Sports pundit baffled by one Maurizio Sarri” – Daily Star, Nov 4
“Manchester United fans left baffled by Paul Pogba’s ‘heartbreak’ haircut” – Manchester Evening News* Nov 4
* The MEN is sister title to the Star, Express and Mirror. It’s true? Unless you’re a football fan, in which case it’s baffling!
What do you want: Brexit, Brexit, Brexit and Brexit or “Her Majesty’s bizarre way of eating bananas”? ‘Nanas it is. As the rest of the tabloids were distracted by Brexit news, the Star delivers the real front-page story: “The Queen eats bananas with a fork to avoid chomping ‘like a monkey’.” Yeah, just a fork, which runs the very real risk of her being mistaken for an American.
The news is revealed by Darren McGrady, her former chef, in a new book. If you want to eat a banana like the Queen, here’s how.
Next week: My Life as a Chimpanzee, by Prince Edward.
“YOU’VE 6 More Months to find Maddie.” You. (Me?!) Yes, you. You might qualify for the huge reward the News of The World posted for information leading to the return of the papers’ ‘Our Maddie’. But that money most likely vanished when the paper was spiked. Of course, its not really about you. The Star’s headline, which you’ve just read, refers to the police working on Operation Grange, the investigation into the child’s disappearance in May 2007. The front-page news is that coppers have been given a further £150,000 to “chase a final line of enquiry’.
Wondering what this final line might be, we race to page 7. We hear from the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell. He says Kate and Gerry McCann, the girl’s parents, are “very encouraged that the Met Police still believe there is work left to be done in there each for the daughter.” Ergo: the police have yet to find her or what happened to her. We’re told Operation Grange has “cost taxpayers £11.75m”. And a Home Office spokesman says money will fund the investigation until March 31 2019. Things are “ongoing”. But there not word on what the “final line of enquiry” is.
As for the other tabloids which once featured Madeleine McCann on their front pages, the Sun shows her only on page 8. In a slim, short column punctuated by an advert for an M&S meal deal and news that Goldie Hawn, the actress, is still blonde at 72, we get the figures and news of that “final line of enquiry”. The Express (Page 10) adds news that police have been “secretly visiting Portugal in the past year”. But it’s not a secret is it. Its entirely expected. And in the Mail, nothing.
Madeleine McCann is missing. And that is the only thing we know.
Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho if the club fails to achieve Champions League qualification this season. So says the BBC. And so says the Sun. The paper offers no fact to support its back-page story. Not that the Express needs more to echo the news as an exclusive. “Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho to be SACKED unless he does one thing,” says the clickbait farm. That one thing he must do is to be successful. Who knew?
Not the Daily Mirror. Its readers out think Mourinho has been sacked, his role replaced by a stunt double:
Back in the Sun, we’re told United still fancy recruiting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. Well, they should do. He’s been great at Spurs. But he’ll win nothing but plaudits there, so surely the Argentine wold fancy managing United with all that extra money to spend on top players? Real Madrid want Poch, too. But the Sun says his contract at Spurs is “almost impossible” to break. Which is utter balls, of course. Everyone has their price. If United can spunk £31m on Victor Lindelof, surely they can get their manager for around that fee?
The pressure at United would be different to what Poch feels at Spurs. In today’s Mirror, there are three pages on Manchester United losing and one mention of Spurs – columnist Stan Collymore says Pochettino is very good. Spurs are not mentioned once in the Sun – but there are four pages on Man United.
In other united news, the Times reports that Mourinho’s faith in Nemanja Matic is upsetting some of this team-mates. And in the Mirror former United “guv’nor” Paul Ince says United are “scared” of Manchester City. Surely, City just have better players. It’s not fear. Its ability. It’s better recruitment. Nonetheless, seven Mirror hacks respond to the poser, “What on earth can United do to narrow the gap?” Darren Lewis advises “attack from the outset”. Away to Manchester City, United should attack form the outset? Tom Hopkinson says – I kid you not – “It’s simple: new manger, new team.” Andy Dunn says United must stop being “archaic”. And David McDonnell suggests a “radical overhaul”.
The biggest question is: where were the fans who can remember when United didn’t win the title for 26 years? When did titles become entitlement?
Clickbait Balls: a look at newspapers tricking readers . Today, as ever, it’s the Daily Express, which thunders: “Arsenal news: Gareth Bale transfer EXCLUSIVE, Unai Emery revelation, Wolves team news.”
It’s the first bit that bites, right? Can it be that Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale – formerly of Spurs – is on his way to Arsenal? Surely not? Or maybe… So you click. Your click triggers – get this – 32 adverts and sponsored links. But the news will be worth it. James Walters has the “exclusive”. Just get a load of that URL: “Arsenal-news Gareth Bale transfer exclusive”:
Gareth Bale EXCLUSIVE
Arsenal must go in for the best players on the planet – the likes of Gareth Bale – if they are to challenge for the Premier League, John Hartson says…
Hartson exclusively told Express Sport: “No disrespect to Arsenal, if say for arguments sake, a Gareth Bale becomes available [they won’t go in]. I know he’s ex-Spurs and it may not happen.
“But if a top player like that became available and he’s £95m with £40m wages over the next four years, will they go in for him? They might not.”
May. Might not. What a scoop!
Treating your readers like mugs is anti-journalism. But let’s give the Express a chance. How about part two of the sensational headline, the part about an “Unai Emery revelation”:
Arsenal are a more solid under Unai Emery compared to when Arsene Wenger was in charge, Matthew Upson claims.
And..? And nothing. That’s it. When ex-Gooner Upson speaks to the BBC it’s a “revelation”. The man’s a prophet. finally, how about that “Wolves team news”? It’s that Danny Welbeck, the bloke with the broken ankle, won’t be playing. More on him here.