Reviewing (a few of) Britain’s Newspapers

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Inspired by reading some German newspapers and listening to what their media outlet is like, this week’s post is examining some newspapers that one could buy in a local supermarket or newsagents in Britain and what kind of audience and reputation they have.

In the episode “A Conflict of Interest” of “Yes Prime Minister” the comedy sketch included the following:

Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

Recognising that these words were true of 1987, are they still resonant today?

 

 

1.) THE TIMES

Myth: read by the people who actually do run the country

Regarded as one of the “big three”, The Times is considered one of Britain’s oldest and most influential newspapers. A lot of newspapers have a definitive political agenda and while The Times may known to be guilty of this on occasion, this has not always been the case. Some newspapers such as the Daily telegraph have in the recent decades been seen as notoriously Conservative and of course there is nothing wrong with that because certain newspapers appeal to a certain market. In the day of the Whigs, The Times was neither them nor the Tories focused, however in recent years the paper has come to be more conservatively alligned. Saying this, in 2001, the paper backed Tony Blair in the general elections and supported Labour once again in 2005, who were reelected after a third consecutive win. In 2010 it then resorted back to Conservative support when David Cameron became Prime Minister and so it seems that this “myth” is true.

In recent times it appears that wherever the support for The Times rests becomes or is the head of government this then begs the question, if they support UKIP could the colours of yellow and purple reside in 10 Downing Street?

2.) THE GUARDIAN

Myth: read by people who think they ought to run the country

As it is clear by the links between the myths and the certain newspaper, “the people who think they ought to run the country” are the centre/ centre-left. The Guardian is owned by Scott Trust Limited (previously Scott Trust) which was created with the intention of safeguarding the “journalistic freedom and liberal intentions of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference” with the main purpose to “advocate in the cause of reform” despite being against the founding of the NHS and being accused of anti-Semitism.

However, the foundations in which they are supported by still ring true today as they are the only British national daily to conduct an annual social, ethical and environmental audit to look at their behaviour as a company. They also describe themselves as without party affiliation which does show in that despite their historical political standings, Conservatives have contributed to their newspaper through individuals such as Michael Gove and Max Hastings.

The myth is true in the sense that this centre-left newspaper who currently write in a time of conservatism while Labour essentially put themselves back together and for this reason, I am glad they aren’t running the country.

3.) THE SUN

Myth: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

It was a “will they, won’t they” situation, this myth was almost not true. I apologise to my family in advance when I tell you that my brother and I used to buy The Sun for my parents every Saturday. If you skip the page really quickly, there is actually… an abundance of celebrity news, large pictures that take up more space than text and a decent story somewhere at the side in small print. It is an easy read and The Sun carry no pretense when saying that they are tabloid newspaper and a very popular one at that.

I was reading an article that said 2/3 of the people that petitioned for the “no more page 3” weren’t even readers of the newspaper and part of me agrees that if that’s what people want to read or look at should I say, then let them. It does not mean you have to read it but if you do read it then that’s fine. I will hold up my hands and say that I always used to read it after my parents had finished and news is better than no news, a sentence of an article may actually be informative but perhaps not that another footballer has cheated on his wide.

Do they care who runs the country? I would like to think that we are not branding all of their readers as illiterate and disinterested members of society because if we do, doesn’t that make us as bad as we think “these people” are. Not every reader of The Sun ogles the woman with the “big tits” or is a racist, the same way that not every reader of The Guardian is a centre-left.

Dont’t judge a reader by their newspaper.

Emily Simms: 10:50

 

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