Sunday, January 29, 2006


We get the press we deserve

I had been tabloid free for 18 months when I noticed a frightening consequence. I became completely out of touch with the shared national conciousness - even quality broadcasters such as the BBC referred to tabloid items like they were real news. They gave little background to the stories meaning that anyone not purchasing a red-top had no idea what they were talking about.

One mild example was the "Let's be 'aving you" speech by the tipsy Norwich FC chairman Delia Smith to her club's supporters which I had missed. For two weeks after, I had absolutely no idea why everyone was repeating her drunken rant. Too frightened to ask colleagues what it was about I realised for the first time how powerful the tabloids really are. I had always feared their power and ridiculed their stories but [naively] thought their effect was limited to the 'idiots' who read them. It was when the "Let's be havin' you" story became an item on BBC's Newsnight that I realised the true scale of their omnipotence.

Given the fact that in 1997, The Sun 'newspaper' declared it was them "what won it" it is hardly news to you that the tabloids set the national agenda and collude with the government in controlling policy and social progress but if you are anything like me, you will not have realised the power they had over YOU. You think that you are immune from their stories because you only read the News of the World at the cafe over a full breakfast on a hangover Sunday but like a pernicious cancer, they penetrate into your sub-concious and slowly and surely take over your rational mind.

And yes... I realise that I now have to read the tabloids in order to write this blog so I have made this deal with the devil. I will only 'read' a paper that has been left at work, on the train or that is on the table in a coffee shop I am patronising.

This means there is a vast amount of tabloid column inches that needs scanning and dissecting and that is where I hope to get the assistance of you and others who can contribute to build up a record of their hypocrytical brainwashing.

and don't get me started on Big Brother which is the biggest offence to the electromagnetic spectrum since the Nagasaki nuclear explosion.

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