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Friday, January 23, 2009 

Londoners still getting the papers they don't deserve.

You really have to admire the breath-taking chutzpah of the London Paper, owned by that notorious progressive, Rupert Murdoch:

News International's the London Paper ran a full-page house ad yesterday gloating about the sale of rival title the London Evening Standard to Alexander Lebedev "for the price of a chocolate bar".


Branding the sale of a 75.1% share in the Evening Standard by Lord Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail & General Trust, as a "fire sale", the ad claims the reason is simple – that "Londoners wanted the paper they deserved".

"Our great capital had grown tired of a newspaper that had long abused its monopoly to portray the most vibrant, dynamic city on earth in a negative, reactionary light, alien to the majority of its inhabitants," the ad said.

Strange then that this great country has not grown tired of a newspaper that has long abused its monopoly to portray the most vibrant, dynamic country on earth in a negative, reactionary light then, isn't it?

While the above could apply to both the Daily Mail and the Sun (and only they could describe this country as the most vibrant and dynamic on earth while in the next leader comment denouncing welfare scum), the only reason that Evening Standard has been sold off is because the market itself was collapsing even before the arrival of the new free papers. All of the London daily newspapers are dreadful, including the Standard, but the Standard was the least worst because it actually contained the odd piece of news. The London Paper and London Lite by contrast aren't newspapers, they're celebrity freesheets, filled with utter crap stolen from the daillies and the other stuff that even the Mail and the Sun won't print. The only reason TLP could be in the slightest described as non-reactionary is because it doesn't contain any political views, or comment; if it did, you can rest assured that it would the same low-rent garbage that appears in the Sun or Mail.

In those circumstances, you could describe the sale of the Standard as a triumph for News International. After all, what they've always wanted is either no political comment whatsoever, or political comment so skewed to the right that the average 3-year-old can blow holes through it. Both intrisincally defend the status quo, which is want Murdoch wants more than anything.

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Thoroughly disagree. London's 3 evening papers are all pretty bad, but the London Paper is the only one which isn't arse-wipingly so, because Murdoch's minions sensibly make it a mini-Times rather than a mini-Sun. The Lite and Standard are nasty far-right rags, whereas the LP is a distillation of vaguely moderate opinion.

Don't get me wrong, it's churnalistic and dumbed-down - but it's definitely aimed at a more liberal audience than the other two, and the opinions, cartoons, and even news angles make that clear.

I ought to be clear that I'm basing my opinion only on my odd trips into London and journeys on trains where I pick up the numerous scattered papers left behind. Perhaps the TLP is more liberal than the others when you're familiar with them all and have been over time, but for the average reader the free ones are much of a muchness, while the Standard is better in that it at least contains the occasional actual news story. The London Paper does have a better design and is much cleaner though, I'll give it that.

While I agree with the broader point about their news value, John B is right. The London Lite and ES always tried to lead with scary Muslim stories and terrorist stuff or some kid getting knifed.

Whereas the TLP is a bit more cheery and led with positive news than 'omg London's gonna collapse' sort of crap all the time...

I'm sorry but The London Paper is indeed 'arse-wipingly' bad.

True, it's slightly less about the 'Eep! Terrorists!' stories than the Lite but it can never seriously be described as a 'newspaper' - it's a limp Lily Allan gazing, only-print-news-if-the-headline-ends-in-an-exclamation-mark, GCSE journalism student hack job.

I usually pick up the Lite, TLP and the Metro for a laugh on my way home from work. Combined, they just about provide enough material to tide me over during the 10 min ride from Goodge St to Waterloo.

To go off on a slight tangent, the hounding/stalking of Allen is disgraceful - she must be followed everywhere, which isn't even necessary considering her interaction with fans. I can't even stand her and think it's the kind of thing that brings the press into disrepute.

London has a GDP on the order of half a trillion US dollars and a population on the order of eight million. If it were an independent state and member of the EU, it would be seventh by GDP, between Poland and Belgium, and it would be sixteenth by population, between Austria and Bulgaria.

It's pretty worrying, then, that London only supports one paid-for daily and two free dailies and not a single weekly paper, particularly given that none of the three papers mentioned are particularly good.


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