As someone who works with journalists, it’s important to keep across what they are writing about – even if I don’t agree with their views. That’s my main excuse for reading the Daily Mail, which rarely fails to amaze with its combination of fear and fury on behalf of Middle England (if there is such a thing). Fact is though, it’s a good read too and many journalists I know admire the way it chimes with its readers’ views even if they don’t like what it stands for.
None of that really accounts for one of the oddest few lines I’ve read in a newspaper column for a long time however, on a chance reading earlier this week.
Step forward Stephen Glover. In a piece headlined: ‘If only our politicians were on the side of the ordinary people – and not the green fanatics and council jobsworths’ (note the juxtaposition of ‘man in the street’ with two stereotypes hated by The Mail), Glover lets rip at Oxford City Council for issuing him with a food waste bin a year ago.
Yes, that’s right. Not closing his local Sure Start or his library. Or reneging on a promise to build a new school. Or slashing local transport. It’s the poor old ‘slop bucket’ that has become ‘a bridge too far’.
I’ve never been a columnist, but I’ve always thought it must be difficult to find something to be angry about every other day, in a way that most people would find difficult to achieve every six months. If Glover can get angry about a food waste bin, however, I doubt he has such problems. Loosening his tie with a flurry of frustration, he writes:
“Sometimes I find myself devoting a fair bit of intellectual energy to wondering whether, say, a tattered piece of cellophane is recyclable or not.
“I try to ignore the newspaper reports that there are vast warehouses full of unsorted rubbish, and ships laden with the stuff on the high seas to China, where it all ends up in a landfill site as big as the Gobi Desert.
“I attempt to discount stories that recycled paper is sometimes rejected by paper mills because it contains shards of glass or other unsuitable materials.
“We are all in this together, I repeat to myself, as I dutifully drop the right thing into the right bin.”
2 thoughts on “Rubbish rant of the week goes to the Daily Mail”
Nice post. Your anger is justified, but I think it’s misdirected: Stephen Glover may or may not hold those opinions (quite possibly not) but it is his employer which chooses to publish them. Ignoring evidence; faking anger or outrage over petty matters; these are simply tactics which help the Mail sell itself to readers. I’ve just written a similar post about Amanda Platell (http://nsnewsflash.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/amanda-platell-vulgarity-incivility/) which comes to the conclusion that if the readers believe it, it will go into the paper (or onto the website). Not vice versa.
Just a quick FYI, too: linking to Mail Online through http://istyosty.com deprives the site of visitor stats and ad revenue, which is, I think, something we can all get behind.
Thanks – I don’t doubt that he’s writing for an audience defined by his employers. But, it’s still his name at the top of the article, so it would be quite fair to assume that the piece represents his viewpoint too. I don’t think The Mail would go quite as far as making its columnists decide not to use their food waste bin…
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