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Thursday, November 16, 2006 

Scum-watch: A disgusting exclusive.

I've cropped Jordan off the front page as seeing her makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs and feed them to the nearest passing cat.

Exclusives don't mean anything. Everyone knows that. The complete downfall of the term has become all too apparent in recent years - the term can't get much lower than being used to describe a Sunday Mirror gossip page story about Dannii Minogue buying a new car - yet it's still used all too frequently, especially by the tabloid press when there is absolutely nothing exclusive about the report at all.

Even with this in mind, today's Sun front page "exclusive" breaks new ground in tastelessness. SUN EXCLUSIVE screams the front page, before it nonchalantly reveals that a 13-year-old girl has been raped. There's something deeply unpleasant about regarding the news that anyone has been the victim of a sexual assault, let alone an underage girl, as an "exclusive," something to be used to sell newspapers. The word "tact" never seems to have occurred to the sub-editors involved.

This being the Sun though, that doesn't even plumb the depths of the base lack of journalistic morals at the centre of this story. As the salaciousness continues, the Sun reveals the girl was allegedly raped by one of the trainers working on the "reality" tv show Cirque De Celebrite. Only halfway through does the article mention that Cirque De Celebrite is a Sky One production.

Yep, that's right, this so-called exclusive is derived entirely from a television show made by BSkyB (Chairman: R. Murdoch), is about a teenage girl allegedly raped by a man employed by BSkyB (Chairman: R. Murdoch) and is being printed by a newspaper owned by News International, itself owned by News Corporation (CEO and Chairman: R. Murdoch). Only at the end of the article does the Sun actually seek a comment from Sky One itself, with the rest of the detail being given by an "insider" and a "source."

Still, I'm sure that the family of the girl are delighted that the Sun has seen fit to splash the misfortune of the teenager on its front page. Perhaps all those who for some reason decide to go see the hell on earth which is Cirque de Celebrite should be given a disclaimer before they enter the arena that if any unfortunate crime should happen to them while they're there that the Murdoch empire reserves all right to fill the Sun newspaper with it.

P.S. In other Murdoch related news, Fox News is giving O.J. Simpson the opportunity to explain how he would have killed his ex-wife and her friend, if he err, actually had. As well as being able to do so as a "two-part event", Regan Books, which is a division of HarperCollins, owned by News Corporation (see above) is paying Simpson $3.5m (£1.85m) for an accompanying book, titled "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened." It seems tastelessness is no barrier when it comes to making Murdoch money on either side of the Atlantic.

P.P.S. Via Curious Hamster:
The elections and Rumsfeld's resignation were a major event, but not the end of the world. The war on terror goes on without interruption.... [L]et's be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraq insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled Congress.

The question of the day, and indeed for the rest of Bush's term, is: what is the Dem plan for Iraq?

That would be the fair and balanced briefing on the aftermath of the US mid-term elections, as detailed by Fox News's John Mooney in an internal memo.

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