Monday’s newspapers: Fat people rejoice thanks to ‘wonder pill’, and shed a tear for Simon Cowell

Leave a comment

Monday's Sun and Express (Pic: Nick Clapp)

Hurrah, it’s good news for fat people, at least according to the front-page of The Daily Express.

Their splash is about a “wonder pill” which has “more than double the slimming power” of current drugs.

Sadly, as we all know, stories like this have come and gone before.

New weapon against obesity

 Will this “new weapon in the battle against the country’s spiralling obesity epidemic” (wonderfully powerful language) work?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Page four of The Times today has a funny story about Boris Johnson getting up to his old tricks.

Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London has asked the “entire newspaper industry” to come clear about its use of phone hacking and similar methods.

Frankly, this is a pretty ridiculous suggestion, for two reasons.

Firstly, no newspaper in their right mind would confess to such tactics unless they absolutely had to.

Secondly, if they all did, then the amount of cases which would come to light would be staggering.

Shed a tear for Cowell

The most sympathetic (or just pathetic, depending on how you see it) story of the day has to be The Sun’s front-page.

It suggests that Simon Cowell’s “huge workload” could lead him to “an early grave.”

Now, not only is this completely unsubstantiated (the quote comes from a “source”) but even if it was true, it’s quite hard to believe.

Tough job

It’s not as if he’s chasing criminals or working long shifts on a hospital ward. He’s presenting TV shows. That’s not exactly stressful.

Even if it was, I’m sure he’s got enough cash to keep himself in good health.

Excuse me while I wipe away a tear.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

Advertisements

So Murdoch’s News of the World ‘hacked’ phones. So what?

Leave a comment

Is there anything wrong with phone hacking? I have to say, I don’t think there is.

Let’s face it, this kind of thing has been going on for years. To say it’s only a tactic that’s been used by the News of the World is too naive.

Journalists come and go between newspapers all the time, and so do their methods of getting stories.

All newspapers

I would bet at one time or another, all newspapers have accessed voice mails and messages in this manner.

But what’s the problem? Journalists uphold standards of journalism, and journalism in turn upholds standards of democracy.

News has a crucial role in holding to account those who need to be held to account.

Yep, in the public interest

The defence of ‘in the public interest’ has been used many times, but that’s because it’s such an important one.

As a society we deserve to know what those in power and positions of responsibility are actually doing.

It’s through methods like this (though not directly) vital stories about MP’s expenses and injustices have come to light. Surely that’s benefited society?

If those people who are being ‘hacked’ have done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to fear.

Celeb double standards

But what about celebrities? Don’t they deserve better? Well arguably yes.

But they can’t have their cake and eat it.

If they truly want privacy, why are they staging shots for the paps and doing everything they can to stay in the public eye.

You can’t phone a photographer to tell them where you’ll be to get your picture on page three of the Daily Mirror one minute, and then be complain when they try to get your messages the next. Double standards?

Our conversations have been listened to for years by the government’s own hacks as they bring about a Big Brother state.

I’d say that’s more worrying than some millionaire actor or politician being rightly held to account.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Friday’s newspapers: Independent’s Ivory Coast story breaks conventions and cash-strapped Cameron’s fly on Ryanair

Leave a comment

Whatever you say about The Independent, I don’t think anyone can deny that it often has great front-pages.

Today’s for example is striking, with a helicopter flying over the city of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, seemingly being fired at.

It doesn’t really follow the conventions.

 There are no celebs, no fancy graphics or over the top headlines. But for some reason it just works.

Brilliant

It’s brilliant front-page almost makes up for the fact the rest of the paper is full of black and white pictures, which still strikes me as strange.

There’s also an incredible story on page 11 of the paper, about a Swedish couple who went on a “catastrophic honeymoon tour”.

Understatement

Incredibly, their trip saw them go to Australia, South-east Asia and Japan. Erika Svanstrom says it “turned out to be a bit more than we bargained for.”

 That’s quite an understatement!

The Daily Telegraph has a great front-page story, about the government looking for a “Twitter tsar.”

‘Tough’ job

That’s right, someone is going to be paid £142,000 a year to send out “text messages” make initiatives “easy to understand”.

 Well, it’s a tough job…but someone’s got to do it.

The Telegraph, along with the Daily Mail, also has a fantastic picture of the Cameron’s in an airport departure lounge.

 But this isn’t first class, as you’d expect. This was with Ryanair.

 And as such, both David and wife Samantha look suitably fed up. Clearly the recession really has affected everyone.

Paying for Osborne’s petrol

The Daily Mirror has gone with a typical tory-bashing story for their splash, as apparently George Osborne “charges YOU for HIS petrol”, as they’ve put it.

Now, as much as it is bare faced cheek for him to claim petrol expenses, did we really expect anything different?

 At least it’s not a bloody duck pond! And let’s face it, if we were in a position to claim as much as this bunch of ‘politicians’ do, we probably would.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Today’s paper roundup: Mirror and Express hammer ‘hypocritical’ Nick Clegg and Sun leads witch hunt

2 Comments

Newspapers just can’t get enough when it comes to reporting about James Bulger’s murderers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.

Today’s copy of The Sun goes with a staggeringly large headline, saying “Bulger killer No2 Goes Abroad On Lads’ Holiday”.

Don’t get me wrong, those two criminals got what they deserved for their terrible actions. But, as far as we are aware, Robert Thompson has not reoffended since being given his new identity.

This means that now he is technically a ‘normal’ person, who you wouldn’t even notice if you walked past him on the street.

Witch hunt

So, does a story about him going on holiday warrant such coverage? I don’t really think so. But the media does love a witch hunt.

It seems the other ‘big’ story today is about Nick Clegg’s hypocritical stance on, as the Daily Mirror puts it, “internships for the rich”.

Flagging credibility

Arguably yes it is hypocritical. But then what did we expect? Regardless of what Clegg says it will continue.

At least he had the balls to suggest it was wrong, and something should be done about it.

But then again, is this just Clegg saying something which he hopes will boost his flagging credibility? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time…

What makes this story quite hilarious is the way it’s been covered though.

 The Mirror has gone with a lovely smug shot for their front-page, and then the obligatory toff picture for their page six story.

 The Daily Express has, amazingly, used the exact same pictures. It’s certainly odd to see two different papers, with totally opposite allegiances, use the same images.

It would be interesting to see how they’d cover it if it was Cameron, that’s for sure.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Matt Baker: David Cameron’s nemesis

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

Today’s paper roundup: Jeremy Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and Northern Ireland bomb in Libya link

1 Comment

Forget the crisis in Libya. Jeremy Clarkson’s apparent affair is obviously much more important.

At least that’s what today’s Daily Mirror believes.

 Their front-page story is an “exclusive” (always be wary about that word) about the Top Gear presenter with a “secret lover.”

Overboard

Clearly tabloids thrive on celebrity news, but today they really seem to have gone overboard. “Clarkson’s mistress” adorns page one, while two and three are taken up by Charlie Sheen’s latest antics.

 Pages four and five then give us another double dose about the BBC star before we get to any serious news on page six.

Don’t get me wrong, I like celeb rubbish as much as the next person, but with such serious things happening elsewhere this does seem a little extreme.

Luckily The Daily Telegraph gives us a sense of reality. Their splash about Gaddafi reports on how he could soon stand down after a “growing realisation” strikes the Libyan leader.

The second main story is also very interesting, regarding the death of police officer Ronan Kerr in Northern Ireland. It claims the bomb which killed him could have been “supplied to the IRA” by Libya.

Strange

 It’s very strange to think these two stories, seemingly completely unrelated on the face of it, may actually be linked.

However, even The Telegraph can’t resist a bit of royal dabbling, with Camilla and Prince Charles the main picture on the front-page. Everyone loves a bit of royal news…don’t they?

The Times runs with a worrying story for the Tory leader David Cameron about his NHS reforms, with the PM being accused of having “lost control”.

The paper clearly sees the issue as a significant one for the government, using emotive phrases like as he “scrambles to prevent the coalition from splitting” to portray Cameron’s dilemma.

 Interestingly, the paper also runs with a comment piece on the front-page about Gaddafi.

 This is certainly something which you don’t see often, which reflects the scale of the crisis.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Celeb Gossip: Why people love it

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Matt Baker: David Cameron’s nemesis

BBC’s Matt Baker: David Cameron’s new nemesis

1 Comment

When David Cameron appeared on BBC entertainment programme “The One Show” nobody expected him to get much of a grilling.

However, one of the presenters had other ideas. Matt Baker, of Blue Peter and Strictly Come Dancing fame, asked the question many of us wanted to.

As the show was coming to an end and the credits were about to role, Baker asked the PM “how do you sleep at night?”

At first I, as I’m sure many people did, thought he was asking Cameron how he was able to get away from it all and relax.

But, as the dust settled, it was clear that was not the case. The gasp from his co-presenter Alex Jones really gave it away.

Improvised

Baker had gone off script at the very last minute and stung Cameron with the improvised question.

The Prime Minister, probably surprised by the Paxman-esque hammer blow, stumbled through to the end.

Bite

In one of the strangest television moments I have ever seen, the cuddly primetime show had bared its teeth.

Cue lots of surprised commentators and a Youtube explosion as the video went viral. I for one am pleased by the moment though.

It was unexpected, entertaining and democratic, all in one swift movement. Well done Matt Baker.

That one question was probably worth the licence fee alone.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Celeb gossip: Why people love it

Ruper Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Ruper Murdoch’s media monopoly: Fair or undemocratic?

4 Comments

Debates have raged for a long time about how much power News Corporation’s owner Rupert Murdoch really has.

Some argue he doesn’t exert large amounts of control over the many parts of his media empire.

Then there are others who say his influence is profound. One such person, Brian MacArthur, worked under Murdoch for several years as an editor of The Times newspaper.

He said, in a recent guest lecture at the University of Central Lancashire, ‘The Sun Says’ section of The Sun is clearly “what Murdoch thinks.”

Opinion

It’s one thing to hear it from someone who has worked for the media tycoon. It’s quite another to hear it from the man himself.

In the above clip, Rupert Murdoch admits trying to “shape the agenda” of his news broadcasters.

Having said it himself, for whatever reason, it shows he’s willing to use his organisations for his own means.

This would probably shock many people. But should it?

After all, he is a businessman, first and foremost. He expects some kind of return on his investment.

As news providers (on the whole) don’t actually make lots of money, owners use them in other ways.

Of course, arguments against him using his own media monopoly to peddle personal views have validity.

Plurality

Someone who only watches Sky News or reads The Sun or The Times will get Murdoch’s own opinions shoved in their face.

However, we live in a country of media plurality, meaning it’s unlikely people will see news from just one source.

As long as the means is there to get a wide range of political views (which it is thanks to the range of newspapers and broadcasters) it means democracy functions effectively.

As bias is unavoidable (and objectivity can never be achieved), our media plurality is the next best thing.

Murdoch may control large swathes of the news industry. But as long we have access to a range of opinions across the spectrum, it doesn’t really matter.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Celebrity gossip: Why people love it

Gareth Bale and robots

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Related:

Media Ownership – should we be worried? (Passing Nightmare)