What goes through the minds of journalists working on a newspaper when they know that the information they are putting out is either demonstratively false or likely to be found to be demonstratively false? An example, if an obviously extreme one, is provided by Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie in their history of the Sun concerning the paper's coverage of the Hillsborough disaster:
As MacKenzie's layout was seen by more and more people, a collective shudder ran through the office [but] MacKenzie's dominance was so total there was nobody left in the organisation who could rein him in except Murdoch. [Everyone in the office] seemed paralysed, "looking like rabbits in the headlights", as one hack described them. The error staring them in the face was too glaring. It obviously wasn't a silly mistake; nor was it a simple oversight. Nobody really had any comment on it—they just took one look and went away shaking their heads in wonder at the enormity of it. It was a "classic smear".
No one can on the Daily Star can possibly make the same excuse for today's front page, unless Dawn Neesom is rather more fearsome than she has been made out to be and prepared to use her kick-boxing training against her own hacks,ly Star, Daily Star-watch, Muslim bashing, churnalism, racism, immigration, immigration figures, or Richard Desmond himself was personally involved:
They haven't just taken all our jobs; they've stolen them from out of our hands!
There is instead a rather more simple explanation for the Star's front page, the Express's copy/paste and the similar effort in the Sun, doubtless amongst others: churnalism. As 5cc quickly found out, the origin of these claims is that old favourite of utterly unbiased and completely reliable figures on all matters immigration, Migration Watch. Their press release on the subject has everything that put-upon tabloid hack needs for a quickly cobbled together story; all that has to be added is the huge headline and red lettering.
And, as 5cc explains, it's crap, unsourced or badly sourced like the tabloid stories themselves. As he also points out:
The great thing about this one is that it contradicts its own conclusion with the real reason so many jobs have gone to immigrants in recent years:
The British born working age population also fell during this period, so the proportion in work remained unchanged at 75.4%.So when the report goes on to say:
These employment statistics are not, in themselves, absolute proof that the employment of British born workers has declined as the result of East European immigration but it is hard to find another explanation.It looks a bit silly. The other explanation is just one paragraph above.
The journalists responsible for pumping out this bilge in most of the circumstances almost certainly don't agree with or indeed believe it. They just do so because if they didn't they find themselves out of a job. Even so, it does represent something of a continuing campaign by the Star to be the most "outrageous" paper when it comes to tackling such thorny issues as Islam and immigration. A couple of years back you might remember it took a NUJ mutiny for the paper not to run a page 6 "burqa babes special", while more recently it led with "BBC PUT MUSLIMS BEFORE YOU!". In today's paper, apart from the front page splash, there's a similarly doubtless half or not even half-true report about how a "multi-faith area" in Lewes prison had a crucifix removed from it, lest it apparently offend Muslims. The reason for why "the multi-faith space" must supposedly double up for both faiths is made plain in the last independent inspectorate report into the prison:
Worship facilities were very poor. The Christian chapel was at the top of a steep flight of stairs and inaccessible to prisoners with mobility difficulties, the small multi-faith room had been taken over for other use two months previously and Muslim prayers were held in an association area on F wing with no carpet or ablutions facilities. A new multi-faith area was due to be built as part of the rebuild. The coordinating chaplain had identified some basic errors in the design and it was unclear whether it would provide enough room for the number of prisoners expected to want to use it.
The article claims that the "independent board which monitors prisons admitted the Lewes cross was dropped after discussions with a Muslim priest", but if this is a reference to the actual prisons inspectorate, there's nothing on their site to suggest this is the case or contained in the report from over a year ago. It's the apoplexy of Phillip Davies that makes it all slightly worthwhile:
“It’s barmy politically-correct madness no doubt dreamed up by some white middle-class, lentil-eating, sandal-wearing do-gooder.
“This kind of thing does so much damage to race relations because it builds up resentment.”
Doesn't it just? I bet the percentage of the population that read the Daily Star and care about the facilities for different religions in prisons are absolutely fuming. I can't recall whether it was Simon Hoggart or the parliamentary column in Private Eye which described Davies, often mistaken for David Davis, as an "unpopular populist", but for passive aggression on the behalf of the outrageds of Tonbridge Wells who have never heard of him he deserves some sort of prize.
That label of unpopular populism probably applies equally well to the Daily Star itself. After all, anyone really that disgusted or concerned by the twin outrages of uncontrolled immigration and Muslims on the rates must have abandoned the Star a while ago: the Mail or the Express do that stuff without all the distracting women with huge tits in-between. The paper defended itself a while back with the claim that it wanted to give its readers a smile in the morning, and in fairness it's a rare occasion when the paper does go in for such front pages as today's or the one attacking the BBC, far more concerned as it with the tit situation already mentioned.
Which leads us to probably the best, most likely unintended juxtaposition of the gorgeous pouting Danielle Lloyd with the headline next to her. Lloyd, for those with slightly shorter memories, was one of those along with the single-monikered Jade and S Club 7 reject Jo whom bullied Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother. Lloyd's most well-known contribution, apart from asking in the thickest in both senses of the word Scouse accent whether "those people who eat with their hands are Indian or from Chi-nah", was that Shetty "should fuck off home". Unlike Jade, who had to develop cancer before she could be successfully re-admitted to reality television, Lloyd continued in her furrow, much thanks to the readers of Zoo and Nuts not being too picky when it comes to the ideological status of the women they one-handedly admire the aesthetic beauty of. After all, doesn't Lloyd's success in her work suggest that as yet those filthy foreigners haven't managed to steal the jobs of our hard labouring British glamour models? Isn't that something to proud of, that the Daily Star promotes home-grown talent regardless of the foreigners' insidious attempts to thieve such jobs? British boobs for British men, and nothing but the best shall do!
Labels: churnalism, Daily Star, Daily Star-watch, Danielle Lloyd, immigration, immigration figures, media coverage, Muslim bashing, Phillip Davies, racism