I found out via Twitter today that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) chairman – Baroness Buscombe – has lofty ambitions for the PCC; such as extending its remits to the blogosphere. As the Tweeter (Unity) pointed out: they might want to actually start regulating the press first. Baroness Buscombe has a long history of working within industry and has spent the two previous years to taking up this role as Chief Executive of the Advertising Agency. Somehow, I don’t think she’s the sort of person who’s going to be on the side of the little guy against the abuses of the tabloid shit factory. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the PCC won’t get any better under her leadership and that if she thinks that the PCC is doing such a fine job of regulating the printed press that they should branch out into the digital media field of blogs then we may as well give up on the PCC as an effective regulatory force until it gets some leadership that hasn’t been groomed from within the media industry.
The whole issue of what an utter farce the PCC is has been brought home by the recent advertising campaign run by the Sun newspaper. Every time one of their adverts comes on the screen I want to put my fist through it and punch every smug, ignorant and bullshitting fuck who appears in the advert. You see I’d like to think that the newspaper that printed the headline ‘The Truth‘ and lied about the behaviour of Liverpool fans – innocuous things like accusing fans of pick-pocketing the dead, urinating on Police officers and trying to beat up people giving mouth-to-mouth – and never properly apologised for it wouldn’t have the gall to pretend that they are a serious journalistic bastion of truth and decency.
However, what becomes more apparent every time we are inflicted with a Sun advert is that the complete failure of the PCC to punish any excess of the tabloid press – and such excesses happen daily – is that newspapers start to believe a false sense of their own self-worth. We have to listen to Sun writers – people barely able to form a coherent sentence or an argument without making smutty jokes about gays or blaming immigrants for everything – talk to a camera as if they’re the modern equivalent of Swift’s pamphlets. These people are responsible for the absolute bile that the Sun spews forth each day yet they somehow are under the illusion that they can portray themselves without any apparent sense of irony as serious writers.
The whole thing is bizarre and if it is some kind of joke I really do fail to see the funny side. Perhaps they are being slightly ironic, perhaps they are blaming the members of the public that are stupid enough to lap this shit up and buy the newspaper each day. They state that the Sun headline is ‘part of the British culture’, which I imagine includes ‘The Truth’ headline. As an example of how everyone loves a Sun headline they wheel out the ‘FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER’ as if we’re supposed to go ‘Oh yeah, great headline, wow aren’t the Sun a great newspaper’ and totally ignore the fact that the whole story was a complete fabrication. Perhaps the Sun does have a sense of humour if they want to celebrate the fact that they are best known for making stuff up and printing it in huge block capitals on the front of their newspapers. Wow, don’t I want to celebrate this wonderful anniversary of the newspaper equivalent of a pub bore drunkenly telling me ever more ridiculous lies to try and get me to listen to them.
Simon Cowell in the ad talks about the Freddie Starr headline and says something like: ‘It wasn’t true of course… which just about sums it up’. I’m not quite sure why the Sun left this in unless they really were having a celebratory wallow in their own shitness. Maybe they’re celebrating the fact that they’re a load of shit but they still sell enough newspapers to make a profit, so who cares?
Whatever the point of the adverts one thing is abundently clear: even newspapers and journalists as utterly fucking shit as the Sun and its writers think that they are doing a fabulous job. With the PCC a complete and utter farce I can’t see any reason for them to change their grand opinion of themselves, can you?