Why the Sun’s front-page is likely to backfire


8:38 am - July 13th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

The Sun newspaper has this front-page today, with a feeble attempt at defending itself.

It still doesn’t address the central point: where was the public interest in exposing Brown’s son’s cystic fibrosis?

It’s unlikely most people will look at that and take the newspaper’s side – no one would want details of their children’s illness to be exposed in such a way.

The Sun says today its source was a member of the public whose family has also experienced cystic fibrosis, and “had links” with the Brown family. But what kind of an idiot would expose someone else’s son’s medical condition to raise awareness of an illness while remaining anonymous themselves?

On Twitter last night, the response to the Sun’s front page was overwhelmingly negative.

A poll by YouGov last week found only 9% of people now think tabloid reporting is fair and accurate, with 71% believing it is not.

The chances that Britons will mostly take the Sun’s side over that of a grieving father is highly unlikely.

Time for another boycott campaign?

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Chris Bertram

The other reason it is likely to backfire is the stark contradiction between this story, where NI claim to have at their fingertips the exact details how how it was sourced and all of the other ones where Brooks had “no idea” where the information could have come from.

Yep. not only couldn’t i agree more, I’ve blogged similar too http://aviewfromhamcommon.blogspot.com/2011/07/has-sun-lost-its-moral-compass-or-is.html

I would comfortably say that 99% of what the tabloid newspapers print would fail a “public interest” test, but would absolutely pass the “is the public interested in it” test.

You can also be certain that the paper saw an increase in sales on the day it published that story – so rather than calling for yet another tedious boycott, why not seek to change the attitudes of the people who rushed out to buy the paper and ask them why they were so interested in reading about someone’s private life?

You are targeting the messenger – you should be targeting the audience.

Sunny

Think you need to be a little bit careful here with use of the word ‘grieving’, lest you be accused of deliberately merging the death of the Browns’ first child and the medical condition of their second. My experience is that the foremost emotion of parents dealing with their children’s long term health problems is not one of grief (Kubler-Ross famously breaks up grief into five classic stages of emotional journey anyway).

On the idea of a boycott, I think that this might actually be counterproductive at this stage. My sense from talking to people round my way is that NI is doing quite enough on its own for people to be starting to reconsider what paper they buy (in some cases this will be the first time they’ve known that the Sun, Times and NOTW are from the same stable), and word of mouth in workplaces etc may be more effective than anything we can sort out, which might in itself simply look like political expedience (rightly or wrongly).

Sorry, it may be medical condition of the Brown’s third child, not second. I’d not paid that much attention.

Well, in a way, I suppose the Tory weasels had to defend themselves. Given your average Sun buyer is a small minded bigot, I doubt too many of the cunts that buy it are interested in whether or not they hacked into Brown’s records or not.

I am going to stick my neck out here, I think the Sun are lying to save their own fucking skin.

Anyone got any ideas on the type of people who advertise in the Sun? To be honest, I never buy it, although there is normally one floating about at work.

“A poll by YouGov last week found only 9% of people now think tabloid reporting is fair and accurate, with 71% believing it is not.”

Who are the 9% anyway?

“Time for another boycott campaign?”

I’ve organised a boycott in Liverpool; it’s going really well…

8. blackwillow1

The SCUM is possibly the worst of all the NI stable, because they only know one style of reporting and they have to create enough interest to keep the readership hooked on a daily basis. The NOTW had the advantage of being a one day a week round up of all the shit that its stablematesc had churned out, monday to saturday. The SCUM needs a headline six days a week, so going for the lowest aspect of any story, or just blatantly lying, is what they do. It’s the same for any daily, but the question the editors need to ask themselves is, do they go for the easy option and risk a backlash, or put some work in and actually behave like professional journalists? As for targeting the audience, I’m afraid that may be a futile exercise, judging by the sales figures of the SCUM and NOTW. Clearly, there are a lot of people out there who identify with the mentality of those publications, either that, or they just want the freebie offers and the bingo card. But all the red tops offer that, so it’s a reasonable assumption that they buy the right wing rags, because they agree with the opinions they express.

I doubt anyone doesn’t realise that the tabloid press is immoral and nasty.

However there is a real problem that in the excitement of having News Intl on the run its opponents run into all sorts of problems by accusing them of illegal actions that turn out not to be illegal.

Hence this intervention of Brown’s is disastrous. He accused News Int’l of illegal activity and has almost immediately been proven wrong.

What other accusations hurled at News Intl may now subsequently been found to be not as illegal as first thought ? That thought has now been planted in everyone’s mind.

One can’t fight sloppy (and immoral) journalistic practices by News Int’l with sloppy evidence against them.

10. blackwillow1

I do’nt see anything that ‘proves’ Brown is wrong, just the SCUM saying they did nothing wrong is’nt pfoof of innocence. And this parent who supposedly gave them the story, why are they hiding his ID? Could it be that he has more of a connection to the paper, than to Brown, as the SCUM are claiming?

11. Billy Bob Joe

Justice for The 96… I find these pleas to be NOT LOUD enough!!! DO NOT BUY THE SUN!

Nick @ 9

But that is assuming that the Sun are telling the whole truth here. They are saying that that they got this information from a legitimate source and that is the whole truth. However, the Sun and NOTW have been telling blatent lies about this hacking for years and I have no doubt that this story is comming out now.

I dare say that some aspects of the Sun’s version of events are true, but the vast majority of it will be nothing short of lies.

I must admit I do sometimes flip through The Sun when one of its readers is kind enough to discard their copy on a bus I happen to travel on. But I’ve not seen a copy of the News of the World for decades. For some reason, its readers hang on to their copies.

And then the Browns went to Rebecca Brooks’ wedding and had her over for a sleepover.

Given your average Sun buyer is a small minded bigot,

That’s a very biggoted snobby thing to say. Stuck up lefties are worse than Sun readers IMO.

Damon @ 14

Nothing stuck up or snobby about that, I am afraid. My guess is that I meet more Sun readers/buyers (or the target audience) than most of the people who use this site. I can get on with most of them at some level or another but there is a small minded and nasty streak among many of them.

@14 Again with the conflation that Sun readers = the working class, so condemnation of the sun is snobbery. Won’t wash son, just won’t wash anymore.

17. Karl Hungus

The full story is pretty sickening, about how the Dad of the other kid with CF wanted to raise awareness about the condition. The Sun don’t say whether he was paid – if he was it makes their spin look total bullshit. Can this be established?

Brown was very explicit in not making any claims or allegations about how the story was sourced. So he was not ‘wrong’.

All he said was that he and his wife were very upset by this intrusion of their family’s privacy, and would much preferred to have kept the matter out of the press. Which is all absolutely fair enough, and nothing The Sunt has said today changes that.

Mind you, this is a case where he might actually have got somewhere by complaining to the PCC.

@16. I never said that it did. But there is a whole section of society that just does not ever buy and read non-tabloid papers, and whether it’s The Sun, the Mirror, The Express or the Mail doesn’t make much difference. They will not ever buy the Independent and would have no idea who Johann Hari is or what little twitterati drama he was involved in a couple of weeks ago. I would guess that everuone who reads this website looks at Comment is Free on occasion, and the people we are talking about rarely do. So there’s always the chance that snobbery is lurking in the wings.

What other things do liberals like to porn scorn on? Top Gear, Talk Sport Radio, ”white van man” and many football supporters. Particularly shaven headed middle aged fat blokes in replica shirts. Maybe people who go to McDonald’s more than once a week as well. How vulgar. Certainly Orangemen and all the thousands who came out in Northern Ireland yesterday to watch the parades.

Paul @ 4

My sense from talking to people round my way is that NI is doing quite enough on its own for people to be starting to reconsider what paper they buy

Yes, there could be shift. I am unaware of any real shift among work collegues at the moment, but there is a sense that what the Sun have done is wrong.

However, we should keep the pressure on and make the brand as toxic as possible. We need to remind people that it is a ‘Tory Rag’ for example and they have tried to weasel out of the blame. If an advertising boycott keeps the story at the top of the news agenda, it will keep the focus on the murky dealings within the Right Wing press in general.

If we allow the newspaper to squirm out of the spotlight, they will see it as a victory, and a license to carry on.

21. blackwillow1

I’m just wondering, is there actually any legal way of obtaining someones’ medical records? It’s hard enough to get hold of your own records, never mind those of someone you are not related to. I’m sure journalists do’nt have the legal right to request medical data, for any reason.

22. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@14 Again with the conflation that Sun readers = the working class, so condemnation of the sun is snobbery. Won’t wash son, just won’t wash anymore.

It’s all they’ve got left, the same tired old cookie cutter warbling about some imagined “metropolitan elite” though it wouldn’t surprise me if they also try and deem it ‘politically correct’ to prosecute anyone involved in this. That’s always a favourite.

23. Mr S. Pill

I assume the Sun will be suing the Guardian for libel, then.

Oh.

DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells @22. What are you talking about particularly? You did see Jim’s comment about Sun readers @6?

Find it highly suspicious that only now Brown is complaining. The source seems to be legitimate, and there are claims that Brwn’s own PR people had input into the story.

It’d do well for many readers of this blog to remember that far from being a “right wing” paper, the Sun was supporting Labour from 1997 to 2009/10.

Typical of the Left and it’s very short term memory for facts though, especially when they are to be used against their new found enemies.

Poor old Gordon. He can’t even make an attack on News International stick at the height of the hacking scandal. He could catch pneumonia in the Sahara Desert.

@25

Blair was hardly of “The Left” though, was he? Murdoch’s support for Labour was conditional on certain policies towards taxes and regulation on business being added or dropped from Blair’s policy sheet.

@25 Did the Sun support New Labour? Yes
Was the Sun, in any way, left wing? No

If the Sun have their source on record as providing the information, then it seems most likely that Mr Brown (probably about as popular and trusted as the Sun remember) has once more misplayed a political hand. Clearly he has no evidence of illegal activity (otherwise I presume the police would be investigating this), but either assumed it (understandably) or decided to jump in to the story in an attempt to further damage News International, a cynical political decision which regretably I doubt is uncharacteristic of the man.

Either way, he has turned this around slightly, and focussed interest on whether politicians are pushing this. I’d actually suggest that letting things lie as they were (as Mr Milliband seems to be doing to be fair) is a good idea.

I’m assuming the phone-hacking allegations will spread to the Mirror soon, and it is interesting that Tom Baldwin has been accused of illegal practices as well. Political capital on this story is going to be hard to get in the near future I expect (politicians’ own fault for believing the media was as powerful as they claim to be) as it will turn out that all parties’ papers and spinners were involved (albeit this may be a boost to the Liberal Democrats…).

(albeit this may be a boost to the Liberal Democrats…)

Jump leads on a corpse I’m afraid.

31. flyingrodent

Well, yes. The Sun stand accused of fucking Gordon Brown – their response is that in fact, they made love to him. I can’t see that plucking many heartstrings for the paper.

@9 …its opponents run into all sorts of problems by accusing them of illegal actions that turn out not to be illegal.

I think there’s enough illegal stuff to be going on with, no? And to be honest, every time some new outrage arises, the question of whether it’s legal is a bit less important than whether it’s an acceptable thing to be doing. “Legal” doesn’t mean “Not spectacuraly exploitative and evil-minded”, after all.

@19 What other things do liberals like to porn scorn on? Top Gear, Talk Sport Radio, ”white van man” and many football supporters. Particularly shaven headed middle aged fat blokes in replica shirts. Maybe people who go to McDonald’s more than once a week as well. How vulgar. Certainly Orangemen and all the thousands who came out in Northern Ireland yesterday to watch the parades.

I watch Top Gear. I listen to the Scottish equivalent of Talk Sport Radio; my Dad drives a white van; I’ve got a drawer full of tickets from old football games going back decades. “Shaven-headed, middle-aged fat blokes” describes a good number of my family members and friends, roughly half the people who drink in my local and those who go to the same places I do on holiday. Also, I had McDonalds on Saturday, although it was shit.

And, I still think the Sun is a foul rag. Is this the best you can do to defend News International, is it? It isn’t very good.

That said, I’ve no love for the Orange Order, but that might have more to do with me being a Celtic supporter than some kind of toff.

@31 You sure that’s a Celtic top and not a top-hat and monocle? 😉

Again with the conflation that Sun readers = the working class

According to Wikipedia (based on an NMA survey):

“The Sun had an average daily circulation of 2,783,110 copies in April 2011. Between July and December 2010 it had an average daily readership of approximately 7.6 million, of whom approximately 2.65 million were in the ABC1 demographic and 4.9 million in the C2DE demographic.”

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_(United_Kingdom)

Surprisingly, most of the readers in the ABC1 demographic aren’t exactly AB either. Who knew, eh?

34. anon aka anon

most the people I know who read the sun are either (a) football fans (b) love celeb gossip (c) geezers (d) fucking cunts or (e) all fucking four. I hate the scum. Also bollocks to that twat tyler, with his bizarre love of rupert murdoch media. He just wont let it go will he, what a dick. I hope he catches cataids.

@33 That’s three times as many ABC1 that the Guardian gets. (According to the guardian itself anyway) The snobbery angle doesn’t really hold much water, however if you were to say that tabloid readers are generally more interested in sport than politics or general news then you’re probably hitting the nail on the head.

Where are the data you’re drawing on there?

I looked at the Guardian’s site and I found this:

guardian.co.uk/advertising/demographic-profile-of-guardian-readers

So,

Percentage of Guardian readers in AB: 63
Percentage of general pop: 27
Percentage of Sun readers: 12

Percentage of Guardian readers in ABC1: 88
Percentage of gen pop: 56
Percentage of Sun readers: 35

In terms of absolute levels, well, the Sun does sell a lot more newspapers, doesn’t it, so I would hardly think that it’s surprising that it has more readers in whatever demographic you’re looking at.

IF Gordon Brown is lying, why doesn’t The Sun sue? Oh yeah……

@36 It claims so here:- http://m.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jun/12/abc-circulation-figures-national-readership-survey?cat=media&type=article

I tried dividing the Sun’s abc1 figure by 3 and ended up with circulation figures four times that of the Guardian’s actual total, so I figure there’s been some fudging going on for that article. Regardless, more of the well-to-do buy the sun than the guardian, which still proper fucks over the Proleir-than-thou argument.

I’m not sure what you mean. I just posted the figures and the Guardian readership is majority AB and Sun’s readership is majority C2DE. In other words, the Guardian is mostly read by people who are upper middle class, and the Sun is mostly read by people who are working class.

@39 And yet more upper middle class read the sun than the guardian, to claim that disliking the sun is tantamount to class snobbery is to skate on very thin ice. Especially since the sun has plenty of things to dislike about it that don’t require any sort of snobbery whatsoever. The tired argument that attacks on the Sun’s output is an assault on the working class simply doesn’t wash, and trying to claim to be the voice of a whole massive section of society just because 60odd percent of your readership happens to belong to that section is one of those claims in life that should be regarded with extreme scepticism.

Let me take another stab at this:

The average Sun reader is working class.
The average Guardian reader is upper middle class.

Many more people read the Sun than the Guardian. Consequently, many more upper middle class people read the Sun than the Guardian (actually, not that many more: 717/924=0.76; i.e. Guardian’s upper middle class readership is three quarters the size of the Sun’s upper middle class readership).

In a similar war, the total GDP of China, say, is much larger than that of Qatar. However, on average, per person basis Qatar is much wealthier than China.

It is quite correct to say that the typical Guardian reader sits at one end of the income distribution and the typical Sun reader sits at the other–because, you know, it’s true (and pretty obvious, but I digress).

42. Mr S. Pill

The irony is that The Sun – or, most specifically, its editors, columnists, and shareholders – despise the working-class with a hatred matched only by the EDL’s hatred of Muslims.

The irony is that The Sun – or, most specifically, its editors, columnists, and shareholders – despise the working-class with a hatred matched only by the EDL’s hatred of Muslims.

Evidence for that would be good? They seem to despise the mythical working class, all unionised and good Labour supporters, of some left-wing fantasies, but to be honest the working class generally does not fit to that (or any other) stereotype, being in fact a collection of individuals arrogantly gathered together by us using some labelling technique.

The News of the World and the Sun sold because they understood what their market wanted. The bulk of their market was apparently (and certainly more so in the past) ‘working class’, so what the Sun and News of the World liked and despised was hardly inimical to the ‘working classes’ was it? After all, when they did something wrong (Hillsborough most notably) they suffered for it in terms of sales.

The class snobbery comes in when people think that while it’s no problem for themselves to read the Sun, as they don’t take it seriously as they are balanced and liberal people, they are concerned that other people are more susceptible to being manipulated.
Flyingrodent, I don’t like the Orange Order either, but a huge part of the population in Northern Ireland turn out for The Twelfth. And ‘disturbingly’ – many look like decent family people.
http://www.u.tv/News/Thousands-take-part-in-Twelfth-parades/420c35a1-f24d-47a3-b1c5-26a449489f56

@41 I’m not entirely sure what your point is, are you actually claiming that the Sun’s readership represents an entire class? That the Sun is in fact the authentic voice of the working class, and any criticism of the Sun, or it’s readership represents an attack on the entirety of the working class?
Because that’s the dishonest argument I’m answering, whenever you criticise the tabloids for being shit, you get hit with the accusation of being a snob. That you yourself walk around with airs and graces and top ‘at an monocle and get your butler to bring you your freshly ironed copy of the Guardian while eating canapés, and then you leaf though your old year book from Eton guffawing at how much better than the lower born you are. It’s all a load of crap and needs calling out more.
5cc sums it up better than I could:-
http://www.fivechinesecrackers.com/2011/04/i-can-see-emperors-winky.html

Let me take another stab at this:

The average Sun reader is working class.
The average Guardian reader is upper middle class.

Eh?? I thought the average Sun reader is a cunt? I’m sure I read that somewhere, could have been a tabloid I found on a bus, mind.

All I’m doing is describing the two populations. Think of these populations as countries. Let’s call one El Granola and the other Staceyana. El Granola is very small and rich, like Switzerland or Lichtenstein. Staceyana is much bigger. Because of its size it has even more rich people than El Granola. However, the number of rich people is dwarfed by the number of not-rich people. Consequently, the average person is richer in El Granola than in Staceyana, even though there are more rich people in Staceyana in absolute terms.

Compare this situation to that of the US and Luxembourg. Since the US is relatively so much bigger, it would not surprise us if it had a great deal more rich people. However, the average income in Luxembourg is about two times the size of the average income in the US. This occurs because even though the US has a lot of rich people, it has an even larger number of poor people.

Now, were the El Granolans to attack the Staceyites, it would represent people who are on average richer and better educated (among other things) attacking people who are on average poorer and not quite so well educated.

Personally, I do not feel that there would be anything wrong with this. “Pour la canaille, la mitraille”, as the Duke of Wellington advised: For the rabble, the grapeshot. The rich tread on the poor and the liberal treads on the dunderheaded prole—all, to my mind, as it should be. But then, I am rather aspirational, eh wot.

48. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

“The class snobbery comes in when people think that while it’s no problem for themselves to read the Sun, as they don’t take it seriously as they are balanced and liberal people, they are concerned that other people are more susceptible to being manipulated.”

Well, only if they make the distinction along class lines. I can imagine an intelligent and informed person thinking “I’m safe from being misled by the Sun, but stupid or ignorant people are at risk of being taken in”. You could argue that to be arrogant and/or misguided, but it doesn’t automatically say anything about class.

@47 Very good, now where in your analysis comes the part where anyone criticising Staceyites/Staceyanna is automatically assumed to originate from El Granola?
You see THAT is what I’m going after.

50. Mr S. Pill

@43

“Evidence for that would be good?”

Aside from the rampant anti-unionism (ie: organised labour) you mean? Well there’s the whole slander against Liverpool fans at Hillsborough for one thing (the reason why it’s nigh on impossible to find a copy of the Sun in Liverpool for those unaware).

It’s amusing you talk about a romantic image of the working class when it is the Sun itself that caters to a romanticised image of a working class only interested in football* and women’s breasts* or what celebrities are getting up to* completely ignoring the section of society that is fighting for better rights at work, the people fighting to save their libraries, Sure Start centres, NHS, playparks for their children etc. There’s a massive section of society that is very busy indeed getting on with this kind of thing but you won’t hear about that from the Sun – all they like to do is bash those on benefits or those in social housing, or if that doesn’t work divide and rule and blame the migrants again. The Sun’s class hatred is sneaky because they pretend to be speaking for the very people they hate.

[* People can of couse be interested in all three of these things at the same time as being part of the society that I mention later, but you get the point.]

51. Charlieman

Another approach for determining the demographics of The Sun readers is to examine adverts. How many Audi or Mercedes adverts, how many adverts for payday loan providers?

52. blackwillow1

@47: Vimothy, a little tip. Take your head out of your arse you arrogant little twat. ‘For the rabble, the grapeshot’. For those that consider wealth and position to be indicators of a better person, a life on the breadline, a shitty low paid job, a years worth of benefit assessments in one month. You really do consider yourself above the common herd, do’nt you? Aspirational? I suggest you aspire to develop a personality that induces something other than nausea.

This whole class discussion is an obvious red herring, best ignored.

Actually, I’m currently unemployed.

Irony, pass us not by…

@ Chaise Guevara.

You could argue that to be arrogant and/or misguided, but it doesn’t automatically say anything about class.

I have this concern myself btw. Some family members of mine have never read broadsheet newspapers in their lives, and think that giving teenage girls the stupid celeb magazines to read is normal and will object to being told they are rubbish and shouldn’t be left around the house for a 14 year old to pick up.
Having worked as a dust cart driver in the past, I have often thought about my workmates reading habits. To be reading the Guardian in the cafe or the works canteen would be seen as an oddity and could mark you out for scorn.
A visiting agency driver coming in for a couple of weeks, and reading a broadsheet at linchtime will definately have his card marked as a being a weirdo.

But I can see how this discussion can easily be polarised and argued against.
Put it this way. EDL people read the crap tabloids. They don’t read Polly Toynbee and the Huffington Post. We hate the EDL because of the very kind of people they are, as well as their politics.

We should not ignore the huge unbridgable gulf there is between the liberal view of the world, which takes in a variety of media and experiences and the closed world of the lumpen working class. I watched it in action yesterday in Belfast as thousands of people paraded for their tribal group. If it had taken place in London, people would have been deeply shocked to see the white working class so united in a rather dubious cause.
It’s a very difficult thing to rationalise well though IMO. Because although I don’t like the Orange Order, thousands of people do and want to celebrate their culture as they see it.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, the simple fact is that if you are a highly visible figure, you are public property. Gordon Brown knows this. I’m not defending the Sun, but the only people who are defending their “moral compass” are the politicians, who have been waiting for this scandal in an excuse to use their collective power in Parliament to force through a restrictive privacy law in a bid to cover up their misdeeds.

57. blackwillow1

@54: So am I, BEING UNEMPLOYED DOES’NT BAR YOU FROM BEING OBNOXIOUS, as you show yourself to be, by your comments.
@55: Excellent point. I’m working class by birth and background, yet some that know me well refer to me as ‘the prof’ because I use some big clever words. The perception that the working class have a narrow view of the world, stems from the fact that, for a very long time, they have been told to concentrate on getting a job, any job, whatever pays a wage. Where as those higher up the income scale, tend to be encouraged towards a particular field. To remove the class divide, we need to kill off the idea that class is important. Give me a homeless man who says please and thank you, and a rich man without manners. I would consider the one with manners to have more class.

Evidently.

59. flyingrodent

We should not ignore the huge unbridgable gulf there is between the liberal view of the world, which takes in a variety of media and experiences and the closed world of the lumpen working class.

Oh God, yes. In fact, anyone who’s ever read a broadsheet should just hurl themselves under an oncoming train, since this thread has so clearly established that it’s absolutely, 100% impossible to be both working class and hold any left-wing or liberal ideas on all manner of issues.

Put it this way. EDL people read the crap tabloids.

I can count my friends and family members who are fans of the EDL on no hands. Have you any idea how offensive it is that every time the words “working class” are mentioned, these clans of hate-filled twats are automatically raised?

60. Mr S. Pill

I only know one supporter of the EDL and she is as middle-class as they come.

Proves nothing – all EDL supporters are class-A fuckwits of the lowest order, be they factory workers on NMW or managers on £50K & a company car.

Flyingrodent, we’re dancing around the subject and it’s already off topic and as ususal can’t be resolved in time.
Sunny posted this youtube on his Pickled Politics website, as (I think) something politically positive. The ”Just do it” direct action protesters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zavTd31qxho&feature=player_embedded

While many of them could be from working class backgrounds, overall they give the impression of being a deeply different ”class” to not only EDL supporters, but what I consider to be regular working class. But that’s a whole other discussion really.

” I’m not defending the Sun, but the only people who are defending their “moral compass” are the politicians, who have been waiting for this scandal in an excuse to use their collective power in Parliament to force through a restrictive privacy law in a bid to cover up their misdeeds.”

So stupid, you should have your vote taken away from you.

Run along silly troll.

63. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells @22. What are you talking about particularly? You did see Jim’s comment about Sun readers @6?

A newspaper of some 168 years’ standing, a public institution patronised by millions of people, has been wiped from history – not as a result of some jackbooted military intrusion or intolerant executive decree or coup d’état, but under pressure from so-called liberal campaigners who ultimately felt disgust for the newspaper’s ‘culture’. History should record yesterday as a dark day for press freedom.

You’ll never guess where, actually, you will.

Another approach for determining the demographics of The Sun readers is to examine adverts. How many Audi or Mercedes adverts, how many adverts for payday loan providers?

Quite, it’s worth remembering that advertisers couldn’t sell the (huge number of) working class readers of The Herald anything, its the very reason the sun exists.

64. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Meh, paragraph 1 & 2 in the above are from two different sources, should have put a buffer in between them, apologies.

@ 63. Well I think they had a point. The NoW certainly wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and was nasty and brutish and encouraged a lumpen outlook. But plenty of people were able to use it without suffering side effects. Like with smoking or alcohol, it was something for adults and some of the twitter activist loathing of red top scandal sheets has been about the ”damage” it does to people who don’t know better.

66. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Like with smoking or alcohol, it was something for adults and some of the twitter activist loathing of red top scandal sheets has been about the ”damage” it does to people who don’t know better.

Much like smoking or alcohol it has externalities that society now has to deal with. Whilst the consumers (who will of course escape any sort of ire for this, after all they don’t know any better do they) and Murdoch made a deal they saw to be in their best interests. The rest of society now has to foot the bill for all the investigations and any prison time people do or don’t end up doing as well as contending with any number of corrupt police officers.

Spirits and tobacco are taxed because they cause disease, the question then becomes – would you support a similar kind of (hypothecation?) tax on newspapers? Or is it reasonable to expect society to subsidise inane nonsense (and the criminality apparently associated with it) in the name of free speech?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/nov/16/news-of-the-world-bill-akass

A senior News of the World executive last night accused upmarket papers of “sneering at the working class” by dismissing celebrity exposés as “tabloid tittle-tattle” that is not in the public interest.

The paper’s managing editor, Bill Akass, told the Society of Editors conference in Glasgow that the public interest is “not merely what is of interest to a snobbish elite who represent just a tiny fraction of the public”.

Akass said the so-called “quality press” displayed “a snobbish attitude towards our readers”. “Obviously it’s not [b]politically correct[/b] (WAHEY) to do that [but using the phrase] ‘tabloid press’ is a kind of proxy for sneering at the working class,” he added.

He said News of the World readers “don’t live in Hampstead, don’t send their kids to public school and don’t buy the Guardian”.

It’s just boring now, tabloid readers are not a homogeneous mass who’s interests fail to extend beyond casual racism, tits and football, indeed if anyone is guilty of elitism it’s news corp.

Anecdotal – I once knew someone who’d bought the sun for as long as I’d known them (which was a good ten years) and one day I mentioned Littlejohn to them, they didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.

http://enemiesofreason.co.uk/2011/07/10/our-democracy-is-over/

67. flyingrodent

While many of them could be from working class backgrounds, overall they give the impression of being a deeply different ”class” to not only EDL supporters, but what I consider to be regular working class.

The bastards! How dare they be posh?

And yet, what? Working class participation in politics is, as far as I can tell, at a low for the last hundred years, largely as a result of the deserved unpopularity of the Labour Party. Does this mean participation in politics – canvassing, protesting, standing for election – is now elitist in itself? If not, then what?

I mean, it’s interesting you’d keep bringing up the EDL, who can raise – very generously – around 3,000 supporters nationwide. Every single one of the top parties can point to more working class supporters than this in every part of the country, even in a depoliticised era like this. The Lib Dems, the Tories, Labour, the SNP and the rest all have a far, far stronger claim to “party of the working class” status than the EDL or the BNP.

And here we have it – it’s the nature of politics in every country on Earth that working class citizens aren’t well-represented in national debates, largely because media and politics themselves are dominated by wealthier people. Thus, in almost every country on the planet, do we get all manner of hacks, fraudsters and conmen appropriating “the working class” to whatever dipshit politics they’d like them to speak for.

Thus, jokers in internet forums loudly proclaiming that a glorified Facebook group like the EDL speak for any significant chunk of the working class. Statements like that tell you plenty about the speaker’s rich fantasy life and exactly bugger all about the opinions of the population.

The bastards! How dare they be posh?

I’ve got nothing against posh people particularly, but when poshness combines with politics you don’t like, it becomes a deadly combination. Like it is for Cameron and George Osborne, for me it also comes into play with the middle class UK uncut activists, who by their very activities and way of doing them are a total turn off for me, and I suspect many people who can’t identify with that kind of behaving.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c-YAdTmYZ0

I mention the EDL as they are so easily identifiable. I could just as easily talk of builders, scaffolders particularly, dustmen, fork lift truck drivers, soldiers, There is a clear distinction with the likes of those people and the UK uncut people and that’s why they don’t get involved in such things. It’s my opinion that this activist politics can’t help but turn ”regular” working class people off. Sun readers for example. Who never ever read broadsheets or get involved in twitter campaigns against News International and such things.

DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells, it’s the fag end of this thread now, and I don’t want to get accused of trolling or ”dumping” quotes on to a forum, but i really thought there was something in the articles from the website you alluded to.

Writing a few years earlier, George Orwell, Eton-educated scourge of the Daily Mail and the New Statesman alike, painted a similarly relaxed portrait of the News of the World’s consumption. It was quoted in the last-ever edition of the News of the World, published on Sunday: ‘It is a Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk. You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose and open the News of the World.’ Filled with scandal and sport, the News of the World was certainly entertaining, hence its incredible popularity, but that was all. It was not to be taken that seriously.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/10750/

But I know now that those guys are so despised by many people on the left that there isn’t much point trying to explore such a point of view on a site like LC.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

It’s easy to hide behind the claim that you’re not meant to be taken seriously – it’s a bit like saying something really nasty and then saying “calm down, it was just a joke” when people take offence. The thing is that the NotW was taken seriously and knew it. If it wasn’t the editor’s intention to be taken seriously, why would they bother picking and weighting stories to further certain political viewpoints?

Incidentally, IIRC, that Orwell quote is from Decline of the English Murder, a piece about the British appetite for over-dramatised stories, and the newspapers’ happiness to feed this desire. In any case, one person’s view of the NotW half a century ago is not all that relevant to the paper that existed up until last Sunday.

@70 You know you could just sum up your position as “It’s just a joke, like off Top Gear”.

@69 even

Cylux, what I would say is that a person should be able to have very serious doubts about certain liberal and left viewpoints without automatically being under suspicion of being a terrible right winger. I think to talk of the ”twitterati” is now legitimate, and my doing so should not be seen as so hostile that I hate the left or anything, but just that I am as highly dubious of liberal and left populism as I am of tabloid – Talk Sport Radio – Top Gear type populism. A new thread talking of taking the anti-Murdoch campaign to the US smacks of this leftie populism that I’m not a fan of.

74. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Not sure “It’s a joke like they have on top gear” will wash in court,

FWIW, the NOTW, much like The Herald, was a vastly different paper before voldemort got his nasty hands on it. As an editorial I recall from the WSJ said just before he took it over – nothing he touches is ever better for it.

Is there any value to a class based analysis of the scandal? I feel that there must be, although it is a little strange to be defending this position to a bunch of leftists.

The not-so-good folk at the News of the World did some Very Bad Things. The people responsible for these very bad things should be censured and punished, and driven from their profession in shame and ignominy. I suspect that there is wide bipartisan support for punishing the guilty in this case. Who would defend the hacking of the voicemail of abducted children? Only the deluded and/or criminal. One can imagine how the NotW would cover this story if they were not its subject. “Utter scum”; “Destroy these people and harass their families”, etc, etc.

If you behave like the basest of animals then you should be treated accordingly. That’s what I believe. As for the media scrum and the associated madness of King Mob, everyone gets a turn—the tabloids taught us that. Well, now it’s their turn.

That said, one does not have to dig very deep to detect at a certain amount of schadenfreude on the part of liberal critics of NI. Steve Coogan said that the News of the World was (paraphrasing from memory) an “asylum-seeker hating newspaper”. Perhaps it is, but how is it relevant? It’s relevant because this is also a clash of two groups of people. This isn’t just about phone hacking and journalistic standards, you know. Coogan is correct: this is also about (amongst other things) the fact that the NotW is an asylum seeker hating newspaper. I.e., this is about smashing the tabloids. I.e., this is about politics.

Of course, just because the average Sun reader is drawn from one socio-economic class and the average Guardian reader from another, doesn’t mean that the political conflict, to the extent that it exists, is simply a conflict between these two classes. To infer that from my statement about averages is bad maths. No, the working class does not equal the readership of the News of the world. No the upper middle class does not equal the readership of the Guardian.

Right-wing populist journalism is popular because people like it. How can this not be true? It’s practically a tautology. Perhaps the people who like it are not, on average, as smart as you or I. Perhaps their humour is crude and their tastes vulgar. Perhaps they need to be led by the nose. But to admit that one’s power grab is actually a power grab is as about crude as page 3 of the Sun, and liberals are as likely to do so as the Guardian is to feature a Page 3. So it isn’t hard to predict that they won’t.

In the future, will we have less right-wing populism and more regulated sensibleness? Who knows, but I think the odds are good. And if this comes to pass (as a by-product, I am sure, of more noble efforts), would anyone here complain? Really?

Just to point out that the Guardian today appologised for carrying the claims that Mr Brown’s medical records were illegally accessed – I think the Sun chose the right battle there (and Mr Brown the wrong one, again…).


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. shugyokem

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm RT @sunny_hundal

  2. Sarah Graham

    RT @libcon Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  3. Meg Howarth

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  4. get_her_groove

    Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  5. Liam Hammock

    Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  6. Alan Lai

    Is “Brown Wrong” as the #Sun said today? @sunny_hundal: Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://t.co/UacvCE5

  7. neilrfoster

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  8. Tom Calvocoressi

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  9. Sarah Baskerville

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  10. Alexander McCulloch

    Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  11. Jamie Newman

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  12. James Patterson

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  13. Matt Flaherty

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  14. Sophie Earnshaw

    There is no justification RT @sunny_hundal Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  15. Jonathan Davis

    Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  16. Maureen Czarnecki

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  17. Rebecca Hardisty

    This is going to backfire without fail surely – http://bit.ly/nLpwin #thesun #tabloidtrash

  18. Top Politics Tweets

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  19. Thomas Kemp

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  20. Matt Jeffs

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  21. Nev Eryoumind

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  22. Santiago Alcon

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  23. Bindya Solanki

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  24. Ian Adamson

    wow The Sun have gone on the attack today, haven't they? http://t.co/NqlGh3I gloves are off, t'would seem.

  25. Johanna Baxter

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  26. Daniel Lee

    http://t.co/A7kfZXm The Sun is a vile paper. 4 those of u who do buy it, consider switching 2 The Star. Just as readable. As many pictures.

  27. Marvin Phythian

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  28. Megan Gibbon

    If you're in a hole, just keep digging…. http://t.co/HaJR6tM

  29. Niki R

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  30. Richard Garvie

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  31. Jon Griffiths

    RT @libcon Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  32. Simon Button

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  33. Sophie Hudson

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  34. Riyaz Laher

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  35. Charles Smith

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  36. Damian Elsen

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  37. Michelle Ho

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  38. Jean

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  39. Kevin Davidson

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  40. Jon Ivins

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  41. JaneBunny

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  42. Mick Smith

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  43. The Tweets of March

    http://t.co/A7kfZXm The Sun is a vile paper. 4 those of u who do buy it, consider switching 2 The Star. Just as readable. As many pictures.

  44. Rocky Hamster

    Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  45. michael john day

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  46. Paul Shields

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  47. Sarah Begley

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  48. Kevin Donovan

    Why the Sun’s front-page today is likely to backfire in its face http://bit.ly/qDwGzm

  49. David Parkes

    RT @libcon: Why the Sun's front-page is likely to backfire http://t.co/UbeUz66

  50. Paul

    Why the Sun’s front-page is likely to backfire | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/qh9CYxk via @libcon

  51. Lee Cherry

    Why the Sun’s front-page is likely to backfire. As if people still buy that rag http://t.co/Jg6nnxv

  52. Pigsaw Blog » Blog Archive » Bookmarks for 14 Jul 2011

    […] Why the Sun’s front-page is likely to backfire | Liberal Conspiracy"The Sun newspaper has this front-page today, with a feeble attempt at defending itself. It still doesn’t address the central point: where was the public interest in exposing Brown’s son’s cystic fibrosis? " (the_sun gordon_brown hacking ) […]

  53. Phil McDuff

    Link: Why the Sun’s front-page is likely to backfire http://j.mp/pXQxjf





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.