The tabloid fallacies of immigration

April 30, 2010

Angry Mob and Tabloid Watch have interesting things to say about the Gillian Duffy factor, especially the tabloid lie that immigration has until now been a taboo subject, except this granny has somehow, single-handedly, untied the national tongue so that everyone can shout “IMMI-FUCKING-GRATION!” from the rooftops of Britain. Except that it’s a flagrant fucking lie. Read them (↑).



April 25, 2010

That turgid moraliser Leo McKinstry is blaming broken Britain on the welfare state again. This time he claims that most of the 2.7 million claimants of incapacity benefits are in fact jolly well able to work. Sometimes the skewering of a lying scarab like McKinstry is best left to people who know what they’re talking about. Below is a comment posted in response to his diatribe. MrGradgrind01, thanks.



Mr McKinstry said: “Taking account of the 2.7million claimants of incapacity benefit – most of whom, according to the Government’s own findings, are perfectly capable of work” Which figures are these? According to the DWP’s latest figures, fraud in relation to Incapacity Benefit runs at only 1%. What the government and Freud have done is speculate about how many genuinely disabled people are capable of doing some form of work. They have used a very tough and unfair test that has resulted in this:


“A Wiltshire bureau reported that a client with Parkinson’s disease had both physical and cognitive difficulties. He went for a WCA and was found fit for work despite being unable to stand for longer than 10 minutes, a tendency to fall, deteriorating speech and concentration – he slurred his words and could not control saliva, and had very poor short term memory, with inability to recall conversations that happened a few hours previously. His mental health had also suffered because of his difficulties.”

Now, lets suppose that some GENUINELY disabled people are capable of some work. That doesn’t mean they are “work-shy.” They are limited in the jobs they can apply for and face widespread discrimination.

I am totally deaf, I have 3 A levels and a degree. I have been unemployed for a long time because nobody wants to employ deaf people. Stop picking on disabled people, Mr McKinstry.

• Posted by: MrGradgrind01Report Comment


April 23, 2010

We knew it would get ugly but maybe not this ugly. April 15 was the date that Nick Clegg punctured the political/press/PR gasbag and left them all a muddle.

I couldn’t contain a squirm of  Schadenfreude when it became apparent that the Lib Dems had lopped the Conservative tree and trampled on Labour’s rose. You can imagine the chagrin of the tabloid nexus at seeing the Tories’ lead dwindle, and the years of election hopes dashed by the third party. Labour’s cronies must be equally shocked at being outgunned by the Cleggster. What a delight to see the glib bastards rattled and disarrayed.

It wasn’t long before the press backlash began, as expected. Plenty of opprobrium was heaped on Clegg, especially on the morning of the second debate. The Telegraph had something about donors and bank accounts, the Mail a ‘Nazi slur’;  the Express screamed about a ‘crazy’ immigration policy. The criticism has been so intense that Clegg’s election coordinator, Danny Alexander, claimed that the Tories had orchestrated a media campaign.

Peter Oborne writing in the Mail found his inner Littlejohn and wrote this spiteful bollocks:

‘The truth is that Clegg is the leader of a profoundly dishonest party that is prepared to lie, cheat and on occasion issue outrageous smears on its opponents in order to win power.’

Equally applicable to all parties, more so to Labour and Conservatives in my opinion. And at least the Lib Damns have for years been advocating the reform of the political system so that dishonesty, lies, cheating and outrageous smears aren’t the modus operandi of British politics.

Despite all the violent criticism, Rasputin refuses to die–the Lib Dems remain strong in the polls. Maybe the conservative press is using diversionary tactics by obsessively focussing on Clegg  so the electorate might forget about the inconvenient Vince Cable whose ability and likeability make him one of the biggest political assets in the Commons.

Something fishy at the Express

April 1, 2010

It dawned on me recently that the best way to read a tabloid article is backwards. You might call this the Tabloid Law of Retrograde Veracity if you’re being a bit technical.

The Express leads with a big fat lie about a pet shop owner convicted for selling a goldfish to a minor. That would indeed be horrendous if true, but it’s not. The Express claims

CAMPAIGNERS last night rallied in protest over a pet shop owner who was tagged for selling a goldfish to a boy of 14.

Except, of course, she wasn’t. Trafford council, Conservative run, say otherwise

We would first like to reassure people that the main reason we took this prosecution was because the pet shop owner had caused unnecessary suffering to a Cockatiel which was found on sale in the shop. The prosecution was for the poor condition and distress a Cockatiel was found to be in at their store.

We were alerted to the fact that a young girl with learning difficulties entered the store in May last year and was able to purchase a gerbil without being asked for proof of age or given any advice about how to care for it. The gerbil subsequently died later that day after the child was unable to care for the animal. Trafford Council had, in November 08 warned the store about not supplying care information to customers. Major Pets is the only licensed pet shop licensed to sell Gerbils in Sale Town Centre.


Usually we would issue the store with a warning however a Council Animal Welfare Officer was present at the time and noticed that a cockatiel was in distress and called for a vet. The vet, an avian expert, diagnosed that the bird had a broken leg, was severely distressed and had a problem with its eye. The Cockatiel was in such a poor condition it had to be put down.

The express doesn’t mention the cockatiel until the end of the article and omits the detail of the broken leg. It also ignores the rather relevant incident of the girl with learning difficulties who was sold a gerbil which she later dispatched in a cup of coffee. Ouch. The other tabloids have parroted (sorry) similar versions of the story which feeds the world’s gone mad/elf ‘n’ safety anxiety addiction.

The Sunday Express: Families, filth and the BBC

March 28, 2010

Families, filth, BBC

Exemplary moral panic today in the Express.

Kids are watching post-watershed content on the internet websites of ‘most’ of the terrestrial channels, not just the BBC. But a tabloid must never miss an opportunity to malign the BBC, and what a delightful semantic conjunction for a tabloid’s front page: BBC=’FILTH’. The ideal triad of elements in any good moral panic are all present: The wondrous family, the sinister values that threaten it (filth), and the ones responsible for it (the beeb).

Dredging the sludge of a tabloid cover story like this will always reveal the hidden hand of some pressure group or other, and today’s hand eagerly manipulating the willing tabloid puppet is Mediawatch. You know, the one founded by Mary Whitehouse CBE, champion of decency.

Only wanton disingenuousness or dismal naiveté can explain why the moral outrage confabulator has been cranked up for a ‘story’ about kids watching grown-up terrestrial programming on the internet. At least all this content will be filtered by the censor board and not contain stuff like, um, violent pornography.

Are the bunny brains of the moral crusaders unable to comprehend the reality that most kids will have seen wildly explicit sex and violence on the internet? And have they not bothered to educate themselves that all these programmes (and so much more) are readily accessible on third-party websites for free?

Like so many newspapers the Express survives by dispensing with the costly business of journalism. Much cheaper to run as a kind of bullshit agglomerator, transmogrifying pressure group PR into a ready-made news agenda.

And we won’t mention the salaciousness of some of Richard Desmond’s other publications.


March 11, 2010

The Sun, Star, Mail, Express, Telegraph and even the Times have all run with a ‘story’ about red hair being caused by ‘weather’, chiefly Scottish weather because you can stick a picture of a Scottish celeb into your page leaving less room for embarrassingly inept journalism.  This inane story originated in a genetics student’s musings in the Edinburgh University science magazine. I’m not sure how to express in words how stupid and lazy it is for a newspaper to publish this story. For most of the British press to publish it is weird.

The Mail ‘reveals’

The 26-year-old came up with the theory, ‘genetic mutation + bad weather = red heads’, in an article about her sister’s red hair for a University of Edinburgh magazine.

Ms Pritchard conceded her weather-based theory ‘was speculation rather than scientific study, but it is plausible’.

If it was speculation then why publish it?
The Telegraph has this moronic juxtaposition: the sub-heading contains “new research has claimed” before opening the first paragraph with “The non scientific research found”.
Not only is the story based on a non scientific article, it is obvious to fucking anyone why Africans are black and Europeans are white, even if we have to wait for geneticists to find proof. And it is a theory which has been around for tens if not hundreds of years. Can the national readership be this stupid?

Not every rape victim is a drunk twenty-year-old in a miniskirt

February 17, 2010

In some newspapers there are two types of rape: rape by filthy foreigners which they should hang for; and rape of drunk young slappers who climb into bed with a strange drunk man and then wonder why in the world he’s having sex with them–surely they were asking for it?

Ann Widdecombe enlightens the Express readership:

“Rape is always wrong but so are theft, murder and other crimes yet, while we all accept that we have a responsibility to avoid exposing ourselves to those dangers, it is somehow argued that rape is something which one need not take any steps to prevent. That is absurd.

If I leave a purse lying around or my house unlocked or my car  window open that does not make me guilty of theft but it does make me  responsible for facilitating it, even if the act of stealing is of course that of the thief alone.

Similarly if a girl wears very little, gets inebriated and climbs into bed with a likewise inebriated man she is asking for trouble big time.”

There, it’s in the last line. Argh, it’s tabloid rape! Just like accepting some responsibility for one’s murder or burgled house, one naturally takes some responsibility for one’s rape. This is a rather bizarre rationale yet it insidiously prevails in the press.

Ann, like many other social conservatives, likes to think that rape is a kind of symptom of contemporary women’s aberrant behaviour wrought by “women’s lib and the gradual death of the protective instinct in men”.

The tabloid rape fallacy ignores some uncomfortable truths like most rape victims knowing their perpetrator. But ignorant commentators like to peddle the lie that somehow, really, sorry but you have to confess–she kind of had it coming. This is indefensible and easily repudiated by statistics which abound on the internet, just a few clicks away. But never let facts get in the way of a good Tory.