Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Tabloid Press

For the benefit of Daily Mirror readers who today believe that a young Maths teacher killed his fifteen year old lover, he didn't. If anybody killed anybody it was the mother who 'killed' her relationship with her daughter by setting the forces of Interpol or whoever in a pan European hunt for a daughter who skipped off with her lover in a way that lovers have done for centuries.
One of the interesting things about the tabloid press is it tries very hard not to say anything. In this case it makes out the mother to be reasonable. In general you can't easily work out, for instance, if Murdoch is interested in politics or not, despite his enormous influence. That's the trick. For millions of readers the appearance of balance lets them rest safely back on their own preconceptions with nothing to worry about. In fact, the British press tries very hard to make sure nobody thinks at all, or reassures them that if they are for a moment caught out by events, their preconceptions are just fine. Since the preconceptions have been built up steadily via decades of misinformation this might be seen as a problem.
Certainly in this case, the baying of the masses for what might as well be the lynching of the unfortunate lover is callous beyond belief, and anybody who thinks things are ever going to work out in that particular family after this ridiculous episode is an idiot.
However, in the USA things may be even worse. I read last week that viewers of FOX news (a Murdoch channel) are deemed more stupid than people who don't watch the news at all.

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