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Will the dogs bark?

by ceebs Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 10:00:23 AM EST

Today the Sun managed to publish a dose of rabid Tory wankfantasy.  An article that managed to hit just about every single point in Benefit bingo.

Benefit Claimant
Single Mother
East European Imigrant

There was only one small problem,  anything more than cursory examination of the story and it instantly smelt funny, and so the internet went to work and found she was an actress.

Zelo Street: Super Soaraway Benefits Story Stitch-Up

As if in a perfect storm, the Murdoch Sun - always on the look-out for anyone it can smear as a "scrounger", as well as single mothers and anything EU related - has hit the jackpot: a Lithuanian single mum who is living on benefits, and who appears not to be fussed about it. And she's going on holiday to Malaga. And she buys "designer clothes". And we're paying for it all.

Zelo Street: Who Set Up The Sun?

As I pointed out earlier, the Sun's supposed "exclusive" featuring Lithuanian actress Natalija Belova presses all the right buttons: EU bashing, benefit scrounger exposing, and crafty foreigners who come over here and, er, work part time while bringing up a three year old daughter. But, as must have been obvious to anyone checking out the story, the Murdoch hacks did not just stumble on her.

Now this is interesting for several reasons,  It could be a sign that the cut-price replacement for the News of the World is running into the same problems as the other papers at the tabloid end of the market. Cost cutting is now leading to  a lack of proper checks and newspaper production  has become even more of a sausage machine than it was beforehand. As a result we will see a larger number of stories stolen and recycled between papers and PR firms without even cursory checks.

On the other hand it could be that the paper is now producing stories that it thinks will place itself  in a good position with the government, re-enforcing the voters prejudices so that instituting the Leveson recommendations will seem impossible.

The thing to watch will be the next few days issues of the other papers. It was a constant point brought up during the Leveson Inquiry that the newspapers had failed in their coverage  in the  time between The start of Phone hacking and The Dowler article in the Guardian. This failure to cover the misdeeds of each other was an apparent declaration of Omerta between papers. Will we see any coverage of such a prime example of newspaper dishonesty?

 In other countries, that a reporter had been discovered writing an article that backed the governments position dishonestly using an actor this would be seen as  worthy of mass sackings up the editorial chain, endangering the freedom of the press as the paper was interfering dishonestly in the process of government.  Freedom of the press isn't freedom to make the news up.

You would think at the very least the BBC's News department would be all over this like a rash, getting in a few sneaky blows in revenge for the recent Savile coverage, pointing out that there biggest competitor's relationship with the truth was somewhat sketchy.

But will the other papers comment?

it could be that the paper is now producing stories

It could indeed. The function of media like The Sun is to produce and maintain narratives that serve the interests of its owners and the class they represent. The relationship of these narratives to reality (aka boring fact-checking or simply avoiding pure fantasy or stage management) is of no importance.

So the only reason the other media would make a song and dance about The Sun faking it would be because their interests as competitors were perceived to be stronger than their categorial interests. We'll see.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 02:11:03 AM EST
Freedom of the press isn't freedom to make the news up.

Er - that's exactly what it is. Or has been for a while now.

I suppose there are still some people who believe the 4th Estate exists to hold power accountable.

The reality is that political parties, newspapers, think-tanks, and serious economists are all part of a single unified marketing effort which works to distract most of the population from its lack of access to democratic power, and persuades them (us) to think and act against their own interests.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 07:29:55 AM EST
I think there's just a resigned it's the Sun, what do you expect? attitude towards it. Everybody knows they lie, and occasionally they get caught

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 09:25:06 AM EST
Everybody knows they lie

It would be nice if everybody knew... but I guess there would be no Tory and no UKIP voters if that would be the case.

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

by DoDo on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 12:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I think the UKIP and tories know the Tabloids lie, they just think of it as stretching the truth to serve a greater good.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 02:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tories read the Daily Mail, aka the Posh Sun.
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 8th, 2013 at 09:20:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 12:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for Leveson, Laurie Penny has it right

New Statesman - Laurie Penny - This was our Watergate but the political establishment is being allowed to get away with it

The British press is about to change for ever but that's no thanks to the Leveson report. After another round of back-room, minute-less meetings between ministers and managing editors, it has become clear that the bland tome of equivocation and suggestion that was the ultimate result of a media and parliamentary corruption scandal that nearly brought down the UK government is going to make almost no difference. An alternative draft bill has been published by Hacked Off, a pressure group representing "victims of press abuse". The term describes a group distinct from the vast majority of us who have to live in a country where "shirker" has become a political category.

Hacked Off's report is hardly a radical document. It merely suggests that the recommendations of the Leveson inquiry be implemented in full, rather than politely ignored. In 2013, the Murdoch media empire continues to profit from the muckraking, misogyny and celebrity-gossip dross that it uses to buy and sell electoral influence to the highest bidder; Jeremy Hunt is still in the cabinet and David Cameron remains Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Jonnie Marbles went to jail for throwing a plate of shaving foam at an aged media baron and I'm beginning to suspect that he might have had the right idea all along. This was our Watergate and the political establishment has been allowed to wipe its hands on its trousers and walk away.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 09:28:25 AM EST
Only this non-austerity in Great Britain? They will even take care of emigrants' English, so that reality shows would keep audience numbers.
by das monde on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 10:59:11 AM EST
Reporters are rumouring that something big is happening in the phone hacking story tomorrow. but they can't say what.

fingers crossed its all good

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 08:19:39 PM EST

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