Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Fail

You asked me why I hate that “newspaper”. The one whose “reputation is so bad it can’t be libelled”. Let’s have a look at its headlines and articles today.

Mother who beat her son to death is given en-suite luxury cell with own key” – in other words, she is now in solitary, unable to use the bathrooms with other inmates, and is in such danger that she is able to lock herself in her cell when normally, in the day time, cells are open for inmates to walk around.

Look how she’s bloomed”  - always with the paedophilic articles about young teenagers who are offspring of the famous or work in Disney or other children’s entertainment, accompanied by numerous photographs with gushing articles about long limbs, flawless skin or other masturbatory commentary.

Dutch learner drivers can now pay for their lessons with SEX” – Their emphasis. So, without reading the article I know that the Netherlands has ratified bartering, putting official guidelines in place to cover a practice that has been is use for thousands of years. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, so can be used to swap services with another business. Reading the article, yes, it makes clear that this law was actually put in place to protect everyone involved, that there are now legal age limits in place for example.

Skipping over the medical articles that cancer is now caused/cured by coffee, wine, exercise, or whatever, there are always articles on whatever other medical outrage has been manufactured. “Wild West Industry Puts Patients AT RISK despite calls for clampdown” – in this case, “rogue” clinics are offering a completely legal cosmetic procedure, botox injections. How dreadful. There may have been calls – by whom? The newspaper? -  to regulate the industry, but until then the procedure is completely legal, and calling the clinics “rogue” or “wild west” insinuates otherwise.

The articles that have been hoovered up from Reddit, Facebook, Buzzfeed et al, generally without attribution are generally rather boring. I read them on the original sites several days ago and they are old news put in place as filler. It is not news-worthy that a little girl has a cute dance during dance class. If my friend puts it on her FB feed, it’s cute and funny and I like it. In my newspaper it is out of place. It’s very interesting that someone on Reddit did the maths and worked out how much Joey owed Chandler, but it certainly isn’t worthy of being placed in a prominent location in my paper above politics and warfare.

Mockery of Justice” – no matter what this article is, if you investigate it will always be about a case that has been dropped by CPS for lack of evidence, or found innocent during trial on a point of law. Whatever the actual case, the point is that our legal system is in place for a reason and therefore it isn’t a “mockery” when that happens.

Flesh-eating disease killing our dogs!” While this is an awful and horrifying disease, please get the statistics in place here. We have 10 million dogs in the UK. Twenty died last year from this awful disease and 4 more have died so far this winter. That’s one in 45,000 or a 0.0002% chance. In other, not so obviously found, news there were 160,000 RSPCA investigations into cruelty last year, at least 10% of those went to trial. Your dog is at more risk of being attacked by a samurai wielding pensioner wearing Hawaiian lei than of catching Alabama Rot.

Refugees taken on £100,000 jollies, and guess who is paying for it?” – Well, it isn’t you, unless you donated to the charity that organises this. Gosh what a bad charity it is too! It looks at these children who have had their homes bombed and families murdered and sisters raped and have been dragged through seas and forests in the dark and cold and it thinks, hey, we should give these kids a bit of fun at a theme park to help counter all the shit they have been through. How terrible. And the charity, as all charities are entitled to, has applied for help once from the lotteries fund; something set up to help all charities, funded by people buying lottery tickets voluntarily. This isn’t your tax money going to help these kids. And let’s be fair, if someone set up a lottery with the same pay-out chances yet who kept all the profits you would STILL buy those tickets to give you that tiny chance of being a millionaire. You don’t give a stuff what happens to the lotteries fund, you are not buying those tickets with the welfare of others in the forefront of your mind.
Tucked way down - way, way down - down where that article about the dancing toddler should be, is an article about a full boat of migrants that drowned. Priorities, eh?

Senseless! Refugees foisted on remote area with high unemployment and poverty”. Dear God. You don’t want to live there, so why do you care that we dump refugees there? The residents have left, looking for employment and education elsewhere. The article itself admits “the blocks of flats where they now live have been associated with ‘problem’ tenants — those with alcohol, drug or social problems”. The article is littered with words like “threatened” “tensions” “forced”. “Eyebrows are raised” over the children using a church hall to play with donated toys, while their parents are outside, smoking - the horror of a parent nipping out for a five minute break with their peers when they know their children are safe, while the evilness of smoking goes without saying.  Naturally, it is pointed out that these spongers have mobile phones, often iPhones, while the poor, downtrodden residents make do with old flip phones. Regardless of the fact that 12 months ago these people lived in nice houses with nice things with possessions paid for by their nice jobs, in areas made safe by their nice taxes. They are dentists and teachers and shop workers, just like you. Believe me, if my country went to hell and I had to run, I would have my phone with me and I’m not going to feel guilty that it’s a smartphone and it manages to keep me up to date with the news, entertain my children and keep me in touch with my family all while sliding safely into a pocket when not in use. Oh, and that “55 year old church-going pensioner” in another article will be called a “layabout sponger”. He isn’t a pensioner when he’s too young to claim a pension, he’s just unemployed, and when it suits them they will absolutely change their direction of bile. Also, my mother has an old android phone that she calls an iPhone, while my grandmother had an old flip-phone that was pressed on her by her younger family with pleas to keep it in case of emergencies. The older generation, with apologies for the stereotype, tend not to be that au fait with technology, so perhaps their flip-phones are more apathy than preference? Oh, and as should never need to be said: the words, “I’m not a racist but” are always indicative of racism and have no place in real journalism.

There are no less than five articles about the same b-list celebrity who had a minor slip when drunk. Five. Who cares? Following that is an article that confuses me as to its point. There are many photos of beautiful women in bikinis. Something, something, instagram? I’m not sure. It’s lite-porn used to distract so no doubt a few articles down is something important. Oh yes. A tiny article about rape victims testifying at the UN, including a sobbing woman given as a teen to a war thug who let his soldiers beat her and use her until she was unconscious. Following that is a huge tree about “naff” Christmas trees, because readers of this paper are so non-U they need etiquette experts with fairly regular columns reminding them not to use the words “serviette” or “pardon” and will blindly follow articles proclaiming that “posh” people only buy from x-store although this isn’t an advert, of course.

I’m not even halfway through the page and I have had enough. I can’t read anymore, it’s too infuriating, so I’m closing the site. Please note that I have not given links, sources or citations for any of this. The newspaper doesn’t and everyone believes them without thought so I expect exactly the same respect. Why, why do people read this and take it as gospel? Information is so easily found these days. Google is literally at your fingertips, yet a newspaper that literally makes articles out of whole cloth (see:  false viral story of drunk Santa crashing sleigh ride), is adept at insinuation and unpleasant innuendo, and has taken over Page 3’s role as a paedophile’s wet dream is one of the most popular in the country? Oh wait. It’s that last one, isn’t it?

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