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the sun has got its lynch-mob hat on

Good God. Remember I said in my last post that the Sun was edited and written by fuckers? Well, here's further proof. I am not particularly sorry that Shipman is dead, apart from the fact that now there's no way of finding out if he killed any more people, but to celebrate it? And to encourage another prisoner, no matter how vile, to kill himself? What the fuck is wrong with these people?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2004 06:34 am (UTC)
ick. found a copy of the daily mail left behind in the library this morning and flicked through it - was similarly fucked up in attitude :(
Jan. 14th, 2004 06:44 am (UTC)
I do love your post title!

They talked to several relatives of victims on the ITV news last night and did a few random voxpops, and they were almost universally furious that he'd killed himself. It was seen as a copout and a cheat, and a way of regaining control by the relatives of the victims. I thought it was really interesting, suggesting that the Great British Public actually agrees with me that seeing murderers grow old in jail is preferable to watching them die.
Jan. 14th, 2004 08:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, I thought the reaction was interesting too. I think I'd probably be furious and feel cheated if I were a relative of a victim, but then I'm also a believer in the rotting-in-jail rather than the lynching option.

Re The Sun. Ninety percent of tabloid journalists don't believe in what they write; they're writing for an audience. Some of that audience want to be shocked, some of them hold the opinions being espoused by the writers. The interesting question is a chicken/egg one. Which came first, the audience or the media influence? I'm sure someone out there did media studies in college and has written a thesis on it (Middle Class Journos Moulding The Opinions Of The Masses, or somesuch) Seeing as how there have been tabloid journalists since Ancient Rome, I'm inclined to think it's an audience thing. Sure, shame on them for not writing what they believe in, but not everyone has that luxury. The only way to protest is not to buy the blasted things. I've always found the layout gives me a headache and their headlines regularly make me feel slightly nauseous - combination of disgust like you registered above and amusement at their abysmal / impressive punning techniques.
I've heard it said that tabloid journalism is more difficult to write than broadsheet, but as I've no experience with the newspaper end of journalism, I don't know how much truth there is in that. It's certainly more difficult to write in a prescribed style than using your own natural "voice" and I imagine it must be quite difficult to maintain the scandalised tones of the Red Tops on a regular basis...
Jan. 14th, 2004 09:06 am (UTC)
As a broadsheet journalist, I think the tabloid style would be pretty easy - it's a very distinct style, and almost easier than writing "proper" stuff, because it's basically like writing to a formula.

I used to read the Sun every day when I worked in the Tribune offices, and even though I rarely see it now that I'm a freelance layabout (I got the above link from another LJ), I'm all too familiar with it. The thing is, even if the writers don't really believe what they write, the soulless cynicism that entails makes them almost as bad as if they did believe it. And I'm pretty sure that the likes of Gary Bushell and Richard Littlejohn do believe what they write - unfortunately.
Jan. 15th, 2004 02:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, you can't get much more cynical than a tabloid journalist. That said, I know some people that are doing it because they badly want to get into a particular area of journalism, but can't right now for whatever reason, and have had to settle instead. Plus it's apparently quite difficult to write in that "loaded" style AND avoid being sued left, right and centre (or mostly right, heh). And yeah, there's always Littlejohn, but then the broadsheets have their own wankers, and if there's one thing more dangerous than a fanatic, it's an intelligent fanatic who writes with style...
Jan. 14th, 2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
The tabloid formula is, at heart, simple enough. The first paragraph is not an introduction, or even a lead per se, but a super-condensed summary of the point the writer wants to get across, which may or may not be directly supported by anything in the article, depending on the intellectal honesty of the paper. Subsequent paragraphs either repeat information to reinforce a point, or add information in an atomic form, i.e. one paragraph, one new factoid. As the article continues, nothing is dependant on anything that might follow: i.e. you can't put in a placeholder like: "The investigation revealed problems with management compensation, safety regulations and waste disposal" and then proceed to detail those problems over a number of following paragraphs.

The reason for all of this is that 1) structurally, it makes very few intellectual demands of the reader (there's no 'stack' of ideas that must be held in mind), 2) it allows the sub editors to edit articles for length by simply going to the end of the article and deleting paragraphs until it fits onto the page (cutting right up to the first paragraph if need be) and 3) It allows you to state the opinions/biases of the author/publication right up front.

It's not an inherently evil formula -- for example, arguments can be made regarding the structure in that it prevents writers from circumlocution or obfuscation, where they manage to escape actually saying anything concrete by losing readers in the idea stack. There is such a thing as good tabloid journalism, but the formula does lend itself all too well to the ends that Fleet Street desires, especially when combined with sensationalism, something that's really orthogonal to the tabloid formula itself.
Jan. 15th, 2004 02:22 am (UTC)
The broadsheets use that upside-down triangle formula when reporting as well, don't they? Main facts in first paragraph and less important stuff as article progresses, to allow for similar sub-editing. I assume the vital difference between the two is that in the broadsheets opinions are kept to the "Opinions and Comments" pages? But then you can find subtle points of view in apparently straightforward reportage in the broadsheets as well, depending on the political leanings of the paper and so on, I suppose.

Thanks for that, though, it makes sense. And I don't think tabloids are inherently evil - they perform a service for which there is clearly a huge demand. Like brothels! 'Tis just human nature...
Jan. 15th, 2004 08:47 am (UTC)
the broadsheets use that upside-down triangle formula when reporting as well, don't they?

Yes, the shape is the same, but the atomic nature of the paragraphs takes it to the extreme.
Jan. 14th, 2004 09:55 am (UTC)
God, that's a terrible, disgusting article. How vile.

At the same time, I think I believe that the right to suicide is a right that everyone of sound mind should have - including convicted criminals. Of course, that begs the argument, is anyone who contemplates suicide of sound mind, by definition? And who gets to define soundness of mind? It's a mess, and I'm neither a psychologist nor a criminologist - but I don't believe that justice is served, or ethics upheld, by a criminal being either executed or held in prison until they are incapacitated and elderly, rather than by their suicide. Messy question: especially as, as far as I know, middle-class people like Shipman (and ourselves) tend to become extremely psychologically damaged extremely quickly by being held in medium- to high-security prisons.
Jan. 14th, 2004 04:40 pm (UTC)
oh, my god. i knew this was going to be a bad link, but i wasn't quite prepared for that.

daily mail when myra hindley died:
Jan. 14th, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC)
this was another example
of people seemingly being nothing but reactionary. The hope that he might reveal his reasoning,etc. for his actions at some point is wishful thinking. We have tons of insight into why people commit crimes yet we continue to simply lock up the evil and do nothing with what they tell us.
The amount of bloodthirstyness of the audience is a sign of how truly uncivilized the human race truly is.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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