News of the WORLD?



When I was a child at home we only ever had 2 newspapers come into the house... both on a Sunday. One was the News of the World the other was the Sunday Post. My mother endeavoured to never let me or my brother see the News of the World... that was Dad's paper... but every week we were allowed to read Dundee's finest, which included "Oor Wullie" and "The Broons", although even as a child I could see that "The Broons" consisted of one story about jumping to conclusions being repackaged a hundred different ways...
Actually, I'm not too sure that a weekly diet of the Sunday Post is any more healthy than that of the News of the World... its like a moral choice between a diet of pure candyfloss and pure vodka... Both entirely legal, but neither good for you... The former moralising, the latter amoral... both appallingly parochial with no breadth or depth of perspective... both knowingly giving their contituencies what they want, because that sells, rather than what really is needed.
Like sausages, you should never reveal how tabloid news is created - and I use that word advisedly. Now, because the public got a brief glimpse of the distasteful way that the market-leading product was produced, the News of the World has been taken off the shelf by Mr. Murdoch, the guarantor of public life here in Britain. His reach into the hearts and minds of the British public since he first bought into publishing here with the purchase of the News of the World, and its transformation into the archetypal Sunday gutter tabloid, has led him, and others, to think that he can buy and sell political power in this land. But there is no doubt that the recent revelations were making it difficult for his political friends to sign off on the News International takeover of British Sky Broadcasting (for a superb dissection of that check out John Finemore's superb monologue on The Now Show of 8th July on BBC iPlayer at 6 minutes 45 seconds in before it self-destructs on the 17th July)... So the News of the World had to go, at least in its present form, and until a) their friends in government have made their decision re B-Sky-B and b) the current furore has abated and they can get some advertisers to come back on board...
There is no doubt about it, within the next few months when I'm reviewing the papers on a Sunday morning for Downtown Radio, there will be another Murdoch tabloid for me to leaf my way through wearing surgical gloves... But at least it won't be called the News of the WORLD... that is what used to get me most about that abomination... How they could claim that the dumpster-diving, gutter-trawling, celebrity-baiting that packed its pages was a window on the wider world? Sadly it was probably a good index of the "world" in Biblical terms, where that word is used as the polar opposite of "heaven", two contrasting kingdoms and perspectives...
But the greatest irony of all is that even in its demise, the News of the World is yanking all our chains and turning the whole media circus into an exercise in parochial, pseudo-moralising (and I include this blog in that)... whilst the big news in the world is that 10,000,000 people in the horn of Africa are starving to death because of the drought there. I've just sat through an entire edition of "Any Answers" on Radio 4 given over to the demise of the News of the World, on a day in which, as one commentator said, a new country came into being, the space shuttle Atlantis took off for the last time, not to mention the emerging news of the famine...
Tell you what... how about we redress the balance a little, and everyone who would normally have bought the News of the World (you know who you are) and all the companies who would normally have advertised in it tomorrow would give their money (suitably gift-aided) to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal. Indeed, how about doing that for as long as Murdoch, sorry News International resists launching the Sun on Sunday or whatever they are going to call it... actually why go back at all, perhaps this enforced cold turkey will break your addiction to bad journalism and titillating tittle-tattle masquerading as "public interest."
And then, if anyone can dig up some dirt that will result in the Sunday Post having to be taken off the shelf, then future generations will be prevented from the mental and moral scarring I was subjected to in my youth...

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