A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone


11:01 am - July 15th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Buoyed by the success of the advertiser boycott, several readers on Libcon and on Twitter keep asking when the boycott of the Sun newspaper or the whole of News International will take place.

Look, I’m not fan of the Sun newspaper by any stretch of the imagination, but this isn’t going to happen any time soon. If we do strike, it would have to be at the right time.

That isn’t to say a group of us haven’t discussed this already. The problem is, for a boycott to work would require a big scandal of that motivates lots of people outside the usual suspects.

The phone-hacking scandal has so far only enveloped the NotW. I have no doubt it will spread as more names and practices come to light but that means we will have to bide our time.

Yesterday, we were on the verge of launching a campaign to demand an FBI investigation into News Corp’s activities. We got that wish before the campaign even got off the ground.

There are three directions I am now considering.

Our immediate focus now is to line up American allies and push for a corruption investigation into News Corp in the US.

A secondary focus is on Andy Coulson. We need to establish who (within the Conservative party) was warned about his past before he was hired, and why they didn’t inform Cameron before he was employed (if Cameron is to be believed he didn’t know about all this prior to hiring Coulson). A timeline of what has been said by Cameron on the issue would be a good start I think.

Third, since the PCC is dead, there is a debate to be had about what press regulation should look like. And after that, a campaign to push for those ideals I think.

Any thoughts?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


There is already a boycott of the Sun, and has been for 22 years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster#The_Sun_newspaper

Without a doubt the PCC…the others are focused solely on a small spectrum of issues, and all to do with Murdoch. By concentrating on the PCC demise and what can come out of it, you also help to take some of the bite out of the other press companies

You realise you didn’t bring down the NotW, right?

[deleted]

Why are people asking when the boycott takes place? Why would anyone be buying it anyway? I know I’v seen plenty of people on twitter cancelling their Sky subscriptions – no one on my timeline is saying ‘I’l do it if you do it.’ People can take responsibility for their own purchases and media consumption without necessarily organizing it with other people. Not everything needs a group consensus.

I think, maybe, you should consider invading Poland……

You’re probably asking a load of people who don’t buy the Sun, to boycott the paper. If anything I suspect you’ll see circulation go up, as it pulls in the NOTW readers.

We need to look at NI and try to identify why it was so powerful and if possible mould the Regulatory frame work to ensure it can’t happen again (or to dismantle NI’s current advantage – because they are wounded not dead)

1. Sheer numbers of papers sold. If this is the case there isn’t much we can do about it. We can’t make people buy the Daily Mirror, and even if we did most Sun/NOTW readers actually vote Labour. Given the deep pockets it needs to set up run a paper press “barons” will tend to be right wing or establishment figures. We can hope the decline of physical newspapers and the rise of online does the job, but we can’t legislate.
2. Numbers of titles. If we ignore the Daily/Sunday split Murdoch owned two titles (albeit the best sellers on a Sunday). Did this give him such influence? If so can we restrict ownership to one national Daily and Sunday title? Presumably we can ignore all other publications such as weekly magazines, local papers etc as they don’t have much impact
3. Cross Media ownership. Was it the ownership of the papers and Sky News that gave NI such power? If so can we make it a requirement that anyone owning a Broadcast News outlet should not own a newspaper? Seems easy at the minute but where do Websites and online media fit in eg if the Daily Mail (already the biggest online newspaper) started a online only News Video channel – how would that fit in?
4. Corporate Tactics. Is NI influence simply down to them playing the game better than anyone else? Was their power simply the down to their willingness to change sides? In which case the Daily Mail / Mirror haven’t had such influence because they have remained loyal and there is little point courting them (I think Blair did try the Mail for a short while post 97)

Sensible call – any attempt to boycott the Sun would probably come across as petty or political (and I doubt you want the Sun directing its readership’s ‘anger’ at this site – even a few impressionalbe idiots could (with the help of the likes of sally) keep you very busy).

I’d suggest your best bet of success is to go for NewsCorp, as you’ll have a wide spectrum of support (even some true conservatives in the US don’t like NewsCorp – and they’re smart enough to know Fox is too profitable to change its editorial stance whoever owns it). I’d be happy to support a campaign against their influence – since they play politics, they have to accept it. But be clear on your objectives – an attack on Fox or the Wall Street Journal will not work without ammunition, whilst an attack on NewsCorp itself can be made on the basis of their perceived influence and acceptance of corruption elsewhere.

On the Coulson thing, I think there is only limited traction – lots of people had lots to say when he was appointed, but without specific allegations being made, I think Mr Cameron can get away with it – ‘warnings’ about people are all very well, but you should not make a judgement on rumours. He is probably ahead enough of the problem now to have an effective damage limitation scheme ready. Also, if you want Labour to benefit from this (not necessarily the aim – if you don’t the more anarchic right-wingers will probably support you happily enough) then you have to be sure that there is no-one (Tom Baldwin?) in similiar positions with similiar problems. I suspect this may be why Ed Milliband has not pushed this particularly myself, so as a way forward you have to consider what the aim is. If it is to bloody the politician-media nexus further, go for it; if it is for political advantage for Labour, are they standing in the right place to take it?

The third one clearly needs to be done. Your only question is do you want to do this with open political ends in mind, or in the interests of equity (i.e. with everyone having their own biases but not expressing thier intentions)? As you might guess, I am not sure the first is worse than the second – at least the arguments are in the open.

10. Barrington Womble

Liberal Conspiracy boycotting The Sun would be about as effective as Conservative Home boycotting The Morning Star.

We can’t make people buy the Daily Mirror, and even if we did most Sun/NOTW readers actually vote Labour.

Not by a long chalk last time round. 43 Tories 28 Labour.
http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2476&view=wide

Tanya,

You’re probably asking a load of people who don’t buy the Sun, to boycott the paper. If anything I suspect you’ll see circulation go up, as it pulls in the NOTW readers.

As News of the World published on Sunday, whilst the Sun (ironically) doesn’t at present, perhaps their is a problem there.

Sunday sales are higher – many people only read a paper on Sunday – and those who do not tend to have a favoured paper anyway.

Tim J @ 11,

Since Labour voters in some Midland cities seem to be more likely to be found in ‘middle-class’ than ‘working-class’ areas this may not be a surprise. In large areas of England and probably Wales, Labour is not really a working class party any more (if such a concept is viable)…

13 – Maybe, but 43/28 is not so very disproportionate to the actual result of 37/28. If you want really partisan readerships look at the Mirror (16/59), the Mail (59/16), or the Telegraph (70(!)/7).

As I was saying on another thread, the NI newspapers are actually pretty mixed in their readership. Oh, and for people who are overly concerned that newspaper endorsements compel their weak-minded readers to blindly follow suit, I suggest they look at the Financial Times, which from 1992-2005 was a Labour endorsing newspaper, with a solidly Tory-voting readership.

I already know about a few soldiers who won’t buy the Sun now.

I have been boycotting the SUN all my life.

17. the a&e charge nurse

“I’m not fan of the Sun newspaper by any stretch of the imagination, but this isn’t going to happen any time soon” – so what would the Scum need to do to provoke a boycott?

After all, a little grit and determination can go a long way
http://www.anfieldroad.com/dont-buy-the-sun/

Perhaps you need to take a leaf out of our Billy’s book?
http://www.billybragg.co.uk/sun.php

18. Ben Stanley

It’s just possible that somewhere on the internet today a blogpost more deluded than this one has appeared. Possible, but extremely unlikely.

19. the a&e charge nurse

“If we do strike, it would have to be at the right time…”

Yes, otherwise you might find that it has no measurable effect whatsoever and that people start comparing you to Captain Mainwairing.

21. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

You’re straying into Tim Ireland territory now Sunny, time to pull it back.

22. Luis Enrique

I’m very worried about unaccountable indiviudals wielding excessive power and influence.

You’re probably asking a load of people who don’t buy the Sun, to boycott the paper.

The original boycott was never about boycotting the NotW itself.

24. wibble wibble

Seeing as the Mirror is allegedly ahead in the hacking stakes, will there be a boycott of that paper too?

As Michael remarked at the start of this thread, there’s long been a boycott of the Sun on Merseyside. However, posing the question on this website is to miss the point; anybody with half a brain will already know the nature of Murdoch’s rags & shun them accordingly.

Sunny. I agree with the proposals re action in the UK. Trying to organise a boycott of the Sun or Sky would be futile — and would really distract attention from the hard work that needs to be done re engaging with the debates and proposals that should feed into the Inquiry.
However, this is a long-standing issue re Sky Sports and its ‘monopoly’ (does not require 50+)on football broadcasting and the associated ‘monopoly’ that requires pubs and sports bar to contact with Sky if they want to draw in sports enthusiasts. There is a petition proposal on 38 degrees on this here:here

Re the USA. There are many many organisations who are already organized, with focussed (eg MediaMatters) or mass memberships(eg MoveOn), on top of the issues, and who are fully aware of the relevant laws, cultures of US journalism and how to operate this politically. Feed them information on the progress of things here; no need to push for/try to frame activities and investigations in the US from the UK. People can find these – Uk based – interventions counter-productive (eg why not work on the issues/laws in your own country.) I have received about four petitions so far from US campaigning groups on this issue.

Keep the focus on UK issues and start framing input to put to the inquiry from a blogging perspective.

maybe theres an unofficial boycott going on already. i’ve noticed a large pile of unsold suns in my newsagent on wed,thu and today friday. never seen that before. are there any official circulation figures out yet?

the suns power is broken,even cameron doesn’t want a murdoch endorsement. now if only he would answer the question about whether the bskyb deal was discussed between cameron and rebekah last christmas. where is cameron today ? doesn’t seem to want to show his face. i guess its one way to avoid being asked the question.
the mail was the top user of private detectives ,more than the news of the screws. are you worried mr. dacre?

Media plurality and the PCC are important. After all, if NI are forced to sell or close more of their titles in a fire sale who will replace them? Richard Desmond? The Barclays?

I’m boycotting Liberal Conspiracy, i encourage you all to do likewise….

Joe,

I stopped advertising here a long time ago, and don’t pay to read the site. Not sure what more I can do to bring about it’s downfall.

Although some commentators do seem to be determined to do that by posting silly comments…

I have been boycotting the Sun since 1969 when New International took it over. [Old, ain’t I!] At that point, the Sun was the ‘re-incarnation’ since 1967 of the beloved and dearly loved voice of the Labour movement, the quality newspaper Daily Herald. News International turned it oh so quickly into the scandal rag it is today. All those great journalists who worked on that paper over the years….

Anyway, Billy Bragg has a free download on his website of the song ‘Never Buu The Sun’ :http://www.billybragg.co.uk/sun.php

Bet he sings it at Tolpuddle this weekend!

and there is even a facebook site to promote it: Let’s get Billy Bragg’s ‘Never Buy The Sun’ to No.1

that’s a different Joe.

34. Thornavis

“There’s a debate to be had about what press regulation should look like ”. How about invisible ? You and the other fake liberals just can’t wait to strip off and get down to some really dirty censorship can you ?

35. the a&e charge nurse

[34] isn’t there a difference between censorship and boycott?

There’s a difference between censorship and boycott but a very fine line between censorship and regulation. We don’t need regulation of the press there is already the criminal and civil law to deal with wrongdoing, those advocating more regulation are doing so entirely out of a desire to impose their own political views on the press and pretending that it’s all about creating a more diverse and responsible media, some of them probably even believe that themselves deluded as they are. Who would be doing this regulating ? Who would be drawing up the necessary legislation, it wouldn’t by any chance be the same politicians and self appointed opinion formers who were perfectly happy to be brown nosing Murdoch & co. not so long ago ?

just can’t wait to strip off and get down to some really dirty censorship can you ?

Boy I love me some DIRTY CENSORSHIP

Hey, former News of the World Readers: This Sunday I’d recommend trying one of the broadsheet papers – they really are a lot better than the tabloids. You won’t regret it.

39. Thornavis

@ Sunny Hundal

Yes I expect you really do. You and Polly Toynbee should team up.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://bit.ly/pb30kq

  2. Mike Barton

    #murdoch #notw A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://t.co/5gXOVz8

  3. Nicola Chan

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://bit.ly/pb30kq

  4. The Daily Quail

    Um, does Liberal Conspiracy think it brought down the #NotW? http://t.co/UVoaZ7x

  5. Tamsin

    RT @DailyQuail Um, does Liberal Conspiracy think it brought down the #NotW? http://bit.ly/qKPlOx -> @hangbitch FFS.

  6. ally

    What a bellend Hundal is – http://t.co/Gbf58f1

  7. steve conway

    What a bellend Hundal is – http://t.co/Gbf58f1

  8. CAROLE JONES

    RT @libcon: A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://bit.ly/pb30kq

  9. Boycott Murdoch

    RT @libcon: A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://t.co/2aH346m

  10. Rocki Stone

    RT @libcon: A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://t.co/2aH346m

  11. Heresiarch

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/oz6NH1 — Unintentionally hilarious

  12. Steve Mosby

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/oz6NH1 — Unintentionally hilarious

  13. Sean Court

    http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press

  14. David Chiverton

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/oz6NH1 — Unintentionally hilarious

  15. Zoe Stavri

    http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press

  16. Stephen Coltrane

    RT @libcon: A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://t.co/2aH346m

  17. Max Hawkins

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/oz6NH1 — Unintentionally hilarious

  18. Graeme Robertson

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://bit.ly/pb30kq

  19. John Brissenden

    http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press

  20. kyle keen

    RT @libcon A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://bit.ly/pb30kq the next move is critical, on both sides of the pitch…

  21. Panda

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://bit.ly/pb30kq

  22. Graeme Robertson

    [del.icio.us] A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/ruwyAc

  23. Jennie Cole

    What a bellend Hundal is – http://t.co/Gbf58f1

  24. Nev Eryoumind

    RT @libcon: A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! http://t.co/2aH346m

  25. Bet Haderej

    RT @seancourt: http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press @j… #bethaderej

  26. Emily

    What a bellend Hundal is – http://t.co/Gbf58f1

  27. Paul Cunliffe

    What a bellend Hundal is – http://t.co/Gbf58f1

  28. Trakgalvis

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/p0ZQvp5

  29. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/zAGXKi5 via @libcon

  30. debaucherydean

    @VhatYouTalking http://t.co/l8mwYxq the article is lol-some in itself but the comments are better

  31. Liz Hewitt

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/VLg1M7I

  32. Kate B

    @gwenhwyfaer Did you see this this morning…? http://t.co/eDJlYWC

  33. Monica Fader

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/0qALV87 via @libcon

  34. Kate B

    @vitoria_e_certa …I retain an affection, but here you go: http://t.co/eDJlYWC

  35. Steven Partridge

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Htxu2Or via @libcon

  36. HarpyMarx

    http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press

  37. Murray Robertson

    http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press

  38. Bet Haderej

    RT @seancourt: http://t.co/ythUbqY Behold the liberal messiah, he who wields the power to destroy the right wing press @m… #bethaderej

  39. twitt service

    A boycott of the Sun? Hold your horses everyone | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/nyJnjqR via @libcon

  40. linda connolly

    @ShutDownTheSun this is definately worth a read. I know it's the US but if they needed a major scandal they've got one http://t.co/bAaMmPEg





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