I tweeted the other day that anyone who reads the Daily Star must have the intelligence of a slug. I received quite a few responses, the majority informing me that I was being offensive to slugs, but one person who wanted to point out that his dad was an intelligent chap and read the Daily Star. I replied to this person probably dismissively- although I cannot be bothered to find the tweet – and thought no more about it.
Until now. So ‘pissed off’ was this individual that they felt the need to blog about it a while later and they pointed me in the direction of the post this morning. Essentially, his argument is this: after listening to Jim Davidson being interviewed on BBC 5Live he realised that not everyone is the two-dimensional caricature we suppose them to be, ergo it would be wrong to pre-judge people based on what they read.
A fair point, I’ll concede that not everyone who buys a tabloid newspaper is a unintelligent slug. However, my exasperated insult aimed at Daily Star readers was based on yet another front page headline that was completely fictional – not distorted, not inaccurate, but purposefully and completely invented. If that is the standard being set by the front page, what does that suggest about the standard of journalism enclosed within?
As you may be aware, the Daily Star recently appeared to throw its support behind the English Defence League, with a glowing write-up about how they were going to become a political party. For the record, the EDL did not have any firm plans to become a political party, but after the Daily Star article – and the massive phone poll support they received – they are now looking into it.
Once again, bad journalism has real consequences.
Which brings me back to any individual who buys a tabloid newspaper. As Richard Peppiatt wrote in his resignation letter to the Daily Star: news article invented in an office in London can get someone’s head caved in in Bradford. Now, as a reader of the Daily Star you might claim to not be an ignorant, hateful individual and you might instead argue that you’re a rational, intelligent human being. You might be able to rationalise why you buy it, how you see past the constant, hateful anti-Muslim (and fictional) propaganda and just enjoy the ‘fun’ articles inside or that you only read it for the sport.
But I’m not convinced by any of these arguments. I look at the average Daily Star front page and see only three consistant themes: racism, anti-Muslim propaganda and Jordan. Now, call me narrow-minded if you want, but I think that if you can still buy the newspaper in spite of this you must either be a racist, Muslim-hating Jordan fan or a complete simpleton. In either case, I can excuse you buying the Daily Star: you know not what you do.
Now, if a third type of reader does exist – in this case, the intelligent dad – then I can only point out that in purchasing the Daily Star they are funding, supporting and legitimising its agenda. I just have to wonder out loud what kind of intelligent person wants to do this. I can only think that maybe its that newspapers are like banks: we tend to stick with the one we’ve always used. Perhaps the Daily Star wasn’t always such a terrible newspaper – enlighten me in the comments if you wish – and some people are only buying it because it’s difficult to break out of an old habit.
As I pondered the other day, if the average Daily Star read Richard Peppiatt’s letter of resignation and realised that much of what they read was simply made-up by journalists at the newspaper – and in particular a lot of these stories were made up to stir-up hatred of Muslims – would they stop buying the newspaper?
Well perhaps the person who I ‘pissed off’ with my blanket accusation that all Daily Star readers were dribbling morons should make his dad read Peppiatt’s letter and see what impact his has on him. If he still intends to buy the Daily Star then I guess the most polite thing I can write about him is that he is extremely loyal.