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

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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.

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Thursday’s papers: Sun and Mirror get Wayne Rooney fever, and Blackpool exploitation revealed

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Well I didn’t see that one coming. The Daily Mirror and The Sun have both gone with ‘the Wayne Rooney’ saga as their front-page splash.

Obviously I understand that the antics of the Manchester United striker are what people really want to read about.

It’s just odd to see the two most famous redtops, who are therefore in direct competition, go with a virtually identical front-page.

Clever

To be fair, there are a couple of clever headlines explaining the story, which is about Rooney being dropped as the ‘face’ of Coca-Cola.

The Mirror have gone with “Hero To Coke Zero” which I quite like. But I think those clever chaps from The Sun have done it again, with theirs being “Coke Can Rooney”.

(Following on from yesterday’s Sun there’s also another ‘exclusive’ from James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus. It’s sad to think that the paper is just exploiting her sadness just to sell newspapers. Oh well, such is life…)

Patients neglected

Switching to the ‘upmarket’ papers, The Daily Telegraph leads with a strong story about Britain’s “sickest patients” being neglected.

The story, by Stephen Adams, is based on claims from “leading emergency doctors” that the most ill patients are suffering from the need to hit waiting lists targets.

While this is clearly worrying, I can’t help feel it’s one of those things which most of us already knew was the case.

With money being cut, resources getting squeezed and the population increasing, patient care across the board is being affected. However, I’d still rather have the NHS than any of the alternatives.

Seedy Blackpool

The Times runs with a quite worrying main story, about the seedy side of seaside town Blackpool. It says there is an “endemic scale and nature” of sexual exploitation in the area.

It also claims the problem stems from “takeaway food outlets” where the abusers work. It’s sad to think that such a web of abuse exists under our noses, yet there’s little we can do to stop it.

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Ruper Murdoch’s media monopoly: Fair or undemocratic?

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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.

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