The British Press Essay Research Paper It — страница 3

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something different or more than just ‘news’? Has the popular press developed its sensationalistic paparazzi attitudes because there is a public desire for it? It is human nature to ‘gossip’ and perhaps that is what the tabloid provides. The following quote was taken from a web site bulletin board devoted to commentary on the tabloid press from ordinary people: “The truth is that the tabloid press is a product of our society. But not a passive one. It is a consumable that consumes our basest fears and twists them for its circulation (all in the public interest, of course). The tabloid press is the bastard offspring of Britain’s lowest nature and it finds plenty to feed on in our [the public's] half-baked fears.”2 This opinion and many similar to it are based on

themes which are increasingly noticeable in the tabloids – they include xenophobia, ageism, sexism and classism. This is not to say that the broadsheet press do not have elements of bias – there are few papers that take no political stance however subtle. Peter Leigh has picked up upon the discrimination that papers such as The Sun and The Star push as being in the national interest. This is particularly the case as regards sport and national teams. The 30 March 2000 issue of The Sun covered a story about the U-21 European Football Championship Finals, involving Yugoslavia and England. The headline (see attached) reads “WILKO KIDS TAME THE YUGO THUGS” – the piece refers to the racial abuse of Emile Heskey, an England player. The journalist (Brian Woolnough) begins his

article with this lead: “Emile Heskey got a taste of things to come when he was punched, kicked and spat at by a bunch of dirty Yugoslavs” There is an obvious element of racism in the article which is evident from this quote, but what is odd and inconsistent is that the journalist goes on to claim that “Heskey [who is black], 22, was the player targeted for special treatment from Yugoslavia – and FA officials even had to step in to halt the disgusting racial abuse and monkey noises hurled at him by opposing fans”. When authors in the tabloids are so clearly hypocritical when using phrases like “dirty Yugoslavians”, “Yugo thugs”, “the odious Milan Obradonic” yet shouting the cause of racism for English people (or English players), how can they avoid

criticism? With this kind of attitude put forward by a paper that has over 10 million readers, is it any wonder that football ‘fans’ are encouraged to fight and be misguidely ‘patriotic’. Tabloids actively encouraged the ‘Hun-bashing’ attitude of the England fears during the 1998 World Cup – is this what society really needs? The image of women in the tabloids is also a bone of contention, and has been for the past three decades. The typical image of a women in a tabloid is ‘curvy’, slim, pretty and young, and more often than not semi-nude. “Page 3″ began in the 1970s with “a ‘half-dressed Swedish charmer’ as well as a news story about a man described as a ‘walking lust automat’” 3(Williams, p. 221). These presentations of an ideal women is

highly criticised by feminist commentators who argue that the tabloids are perpetuating this idea of a perfect women, which has such a wide reaching influence that ordinary women are expected, and thus to, look the same. Another criticism which has gained momentum in recent years is the increasing pursuit of celebrity news. The death of Princess Diana is the one event which ricocheted throughout the world. The criticism that the paparazzi “hounded the Princess to death” is one held up by many critics and has led to calls for stringent press regulation. The organisation CATT4 have web sites which claim that “the attitude of most people is that because someone is in the public eye, they should expect to have their lives put under a microscope … freedom of speech and the

freedom of the press [should not] invade someone’s privacy in the practice of these two rights” CATT claim that they are not “only fighting the paparazzi, but the whole tabloid empire”. It is true that the tabloids do perpetuate the invasion of privacy attributed to the paparazzi. The public, according to CATT, are the only people with the “power to stop it”. In Newspapers and the Press5, Curran attempts to describe what has shaped and influenced the press as it stands today. According to Curran in a liberal society like Britain, the press is “an independent institution that empowers the people” and it became so through these steps: the agency of the state, the adjuntiveness of the political parties and the massive and unparalleled rise of commercialisation. In