Skip to main content

The declining power of Dead Trees

The supposed defection of the British Sun Newspaper from supporting Labour to supporting the Conservatives got me thinking about the overall state of health of the Newspaper industry, and why anyone would really care what some foreign-owned rag thinks about British politics.

Like an increasing number of people I read much of my news online. I will focus on certain stories and try to get differing points of view. However the UK tabloid press generally has pretty awful websites, so I typically don't bother to read them.

When in the UK I will sometimes go and buy an actual newspaper, and I vary them; with the Independent probably being first preference, then the FT, the Daily Telegraph, the Times and then the Guardian. Of course when I do this I will see the front pages of the other newspapers. Sometimes the Sun amuses with some absurd pun, or the Daily Express with some shrill screech of paranoid outrage, or the Mail with some sanctimonious and unpleasant bigotry. However I don't take these papers seriously as sources of information. Indeed on the rare recent occasions- usually flying on SAS for some reason- that I read the Mail beyond the front page I am generally astonished at the low standards of journalism. Essentially the Mail, the Express or the Sun will dress up opinion as fact and then attempt to create some kind of spurious campaign to demonstrate that they are "in touch with the people" and therefore have some place of influence.
However such nastiness is as much alienating as it is anything else. I was so disgusted with some Mail bigotry against foreigners that I have now vowed not to read the filthy rag ever again. As even the circulation of the Sun continues its inexorable decline, I for one would not miss these papers much. Meanwhile the troubles at the Independent and the Observer are equally serious.

In short the "dead tree press" seems to be dying itself.

Perhaps the fact that journalism has become a closed world where many journalists are not just from the same high schools and universities, but the same families as well may be part of the decline. Certainly the power of the fourth estate as part of the establishment is demonstrably not what it was.

Perhaps it is the hackneyed writing, the ugly and ignorant opinions or the simple tedium of the drudgery of a weekly column (I sympathise!), but it is hard to point to a single columnist with grace or style. The parodies of journalists in Private Eye: Glenda Slagg, Phil Space, Polly Filler, Mary-Ann Bighead ring very true to life.

I guess within a couple of decades we will soon look back on The Sun rather as we do to the "Penny Dreadfuls" or the news sheets of the 18th century- a quaint curiosity.

Comments

Newmania said…
why anyone would really care what some foreign-owned rag thinks about British politics.

Don`t you like foreigners then , funny you should say that ?I am increasingly wondering why anyone in England should care about what the Scots think about our country. If you watch a Question Time from chilly Jocko Land what strikes you is a complete incomprehension, North of the border, about how bizarre being lectured to by a people who want nothing to do with us sounds . I appreciate there is still a formal tie but as the programme is usually otherwise filled with anti English bitterness and Nationalist assumptions the “Cake and eat it” premise , rings very hollow down here .Good grief we have had ten years in which the majority of the English have had socialism foisted on them by the Scots and still they are whining

Should you not be observing the same polite deference in discussing our country as we are obliged to observe discussing yours ? Its nice you have a view but is it really your place ?

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

In praise of off-shore tax havens

The last few years has seen a spate of "scandals" about the use of off-shore tax havens. The hacking and subsequent leaking of data about who does and does not hold assets in off-shore jurisdictions has become an old perennial in the British press, rather like the "COLD weather happens in winter and QUITE HOT weather happens in summer", whose alarmist capital letter laced headlines are such a lazy part of contemporary "journalism". 

The increasing sophistication of the hackers, whether Russian-inspired or not, has resulted in a steady trickle of information becoming a torrent. After the relatively filleted release of data in the so-called "Panama Papers", the data release of the "Paradise Papers" is even larger.  Of course, just natural curiosity dictates that the off-shore ownership, or even just "ownership", of assets is of general public interest.  Celebrities, from the Royal family to the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys, are …