"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Friday, 2 July 2010

The 4th Estate

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow

I don't know why I like the prose of Shakespeare; I just do.  On a very superficial reading the quote above could cast The Times as 'fools' for introducing their paywall.  I'll miss it  because it was my favourite newspaper and I've been reduced to trawling the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail for daily 'news'.  One good thing to come out of it is that I've realised how much I don't want to read the Daily Mail, ever again.

It isn't just the headlines, which smack of sensationalism and usually have no bearing on the content of the article, it's the comments too.  Prior to the election most of the comments seemed to be quite sensible - along the lines of 'Labour Out', 'Brown's a mong', etc but since the coalition has been in govt the tenor of the comments has changed.  They're either bewailing the loss of Brown, raging against the coalition or just downright argumentative.  And quite a few want to bring back capital punishment!

Gypsies on your land?   Hang'em.
Do you have an MP?  Hang'em.
Traffic warden given you a ticket?  Hang'em.
Squirrels ate your canary?  Hang'em.

It has to be said that some of the comments are funny and show that the English sense of humour hasn't died (as Clegg now knows).  Fat people and lifestyles of 'slebs' I've never heard of seem to be quite prominent too.  The DM is always telling people how not to behave and what not to eat whilst simultaneously promoting it.  They hold people up for ridicule - nothing escapes their telephoto lens and probably the best reason for giving up on the DM is that I now know who Christine Bleakley and Lady Gaga are.  Sad to say but I've also seen Frank Lampard's pecs and Wayne and Collette's Caribbean hideaway.

This is what you've missed from today's DM:

Trench warfare
Comment: "Gordon Brown would not have allowed this. Shame on the coalition."
Comment: "This is a good idea. If some parents won't feed their kids properly then they should be forced to do it."

On the other hand, perhaps I'm being too harsh; sometimes they report what other newspapers won't.

What's happened to London?
More sensationalism for every failed 'Bond'

The DM isn't alone in this tendency to sensationalise.  In other papers today:

Big print: Actors attack girls' school that wanted gay scenes cut.  Small print:  it was gay rape
Big print: Brits are all fat, doped up and ugly.  Small print: Life expectancy continues to rise
Big print: 'Leading watchdog' says "tear your teabags".  Small print: You're drinking glue

Here's a headline to remind us that we're not alone:
Kissing in cars, feeding stray cats & building sandcastles all banned in Italy

I'll save the serious stuff:
Blair was warned of long-term damage to our Armed Forces
John Yates is a prat
Blair's buddy Browne bears more blame than Hayward, and
Wythenshawe Hospital for another day.


  1. Heh. What you feel about the DM is what I feel about the Scotsman.

    Except for articles about house prices.They are strong there...

  2. Hi Conan, sounds like good sport - I'll have to have a look! I can't seem to stay away from the DM now - perhaps it's the fact that it can be unintentionally humorous :-)

  3. Auch GV, surely the Sun, Star and Mirror are worse than the DM.

    As I said this week, at least the DM is the only paper which has kept the death of Dr David Kelly in the public eye. Many I'm sure would like it dead and buried.

    I too miss the Times but won't pay for it. That's a slippery slope for us bloggers who don't want to use advertising to create revenue.

  4. 'The Sun, Star and Mirror'? Sounds more like the title of a poem or an art-house film. I'm afraid I don't read them anyway so they're not on my radar, SR :-)

    Not many people have forgotten about David Kelly - Dominic Grieve has already said they're thinking of re-opening the investigation. The DM does keep the story alive, that's true, but their last 'news' was almost 2yrs old - still, I suppose it's not a bad thing if it serves its purpose.


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