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Why are we meant to be surprised that fundamentally indecent businesses do indecent and illegal things? The tabloid press's basic trade is in creating and marketing human misery, in distracting from the powerful, not holding them to account. They're basically morally bankrupt: of course they do terrible things.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 02:51:58 AM EST
This, is a defence of the tabloids, if you like. In the Spectator.

Last two paragraphs:


Now, you might disapprove of some of the `dark arts' that tabloid journalists use -- phone hacking, for instance -- but if they always played by the rules they'd rarely get the scoop. Some of these stories are trivial and hardly of vital national importance, but others are not. Without the unscrupulous, appalling, `shocking' behaviour of red-top reporters, we probably wouldn't know about Cecil Parkinson's infidelity or John Prescott's affair with his secretary. We wouldn't know about the match-fixing antics of Pakistani cricketers or the corruption at the heart of Fifa. Yes, the ink-stained wretches regularly desecrate the graves of dead girls, but they also speak truth to power and they do it more often -- and with more impact -- than the broadsheets.

So the defence is that tabloids uncover the private lives of politicians - I forget how either of those affairs were relevant to their performance as politicians - and corruption in sports, which is so terribly important. Truth to Power, baby.


So by all means condemn the News of the World for its newsroom culture, a culture that encouraged reporters to think it was acceptable to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of an `exclusive'. But before you get up on your high horse, remember that without these Fleet Street foot soldiers Britain would be a more corrupt country in which the ruling class could engage in all sorts of nefarious practices with no fear of being caught. Without its tabloid newspapers, Britain would be France.

Is that all it would take? Kill the tabloids? I have a new plan ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 03:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without its tabloid newspapers, Britain would be France.

...because France has no tabloids...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 03:36:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comparable to British in readership, influence, and trashiness, no.

What I like is this:

corrupt country in which the ruling class could engage in all sorts of nefarious practices with no fear of being caught

France, of course. While the British ruling class...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 06:03:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd think it would take at least a few berets and some garlic to turn Britain into France, but no, just kill the tabloids.

Maybe the tabloids are bravely holding a flood of garlic and questionable headgear from engulfing the country.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 06:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
without these Fleet Street foot soldiers Britain would be a more corrupt country in which the ruling class could engage in all sorts of nefarious practices with no fear of being caught. Without its tabloid newspapers, Britain would be France.

I am so relieved to learn what has protected Britain from corruption for so long. And I wonder if The Spectator's sarcasm might have been the thickest.

There certainly seems to have been significant effort devoted to preventing these "foot soldiers" from being found out for the use of their "dark arts". Perhaps both paparatzi and tabloid jouranalists should be required to dress in Beefeater costumes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 10:12:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I find shocking is the length authorities went to cover it up.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 03:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not surprised they do terrible things - although there's some surprise about just how terrible some of those things are.

We're more surprised by the extent to which they've been allowed to do terrible things.

Not that Beaverbrook and Hirst were any better. But that was a while ago, wasn't it?

Say Wiki:

In the Mogulize Your Business system, author and creator Damian Skinner defines a Mogul as someone who creates and controls a customer's funnel of experience through three primary points of control: perception, touch points, and exposure.

It's not even about the hacking: it's about the social control. The hacking is just a symptom.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 06:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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