The media

Rendezvous in Northern Ireland?

Martin McGuinness shaking the Queen's hand offended socialists because of our contempt for the institution of monarchy but his motive at least was progressive, and also republican in the sense defined by the founder of modern Irish republicanism Wolfe Tone — “to replace the name Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter with the common name Irishman”.

In a hugely symbolic moment on 27 June, during a royal visit to Northern Ireland to mark her jubilee, the former commander of the IRA shook hands with the Queen.

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The continuing attack on Charlie Hebdo

Author: 

Patrick Murphy

On Sunday 26 April I saw a Facebook posting which carried the pithy comment “anyone still Charlie”? The posting shared a story from “OurAfricaBlog” about an allegedly outrageous cartoon which, the blog claimed, appeared in the French satirical magazine whose leading staff members were brutally murdered by religious fascists earlier this year.

The determination of much of the British left to smear Charlie Hebdo, months after the murderous attack on their office can seem incomprehensible at times. The persistence and desperation has all the appearance of an especially odd obsession. We should resist that conclusion though. It is nothing of the sort.

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How to insult your readership

Author: 

Harry Davies

I’m under strict editorial instructions to leave the Daily Mail alone this week. Which is the first time anyone’s ever said that to me.

So I lazily rolled across the barricades to the Mirror, a paper I’ve not had much connection with since they stopped running Garth the first time around. But their election coverage is quite interesting, for all sorts of reasons.

It’s primarily geared around people not intending to vote; an admirable move, for sure.

The Mirror's election coverage is quite interesting, for all sorts of reasons.

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Stop calling Ed “red”

Author: 

Harry Davies

It’s that time of the week when I read the Mail and whimper slightly.

I skipped past an article on polyamory (“‘The man who lives with two girlfriends!”‘) because they had made me feel angry enough about their coverage on mental health last week and it’s starting to feel a bit personal.

Anyway, party politics dominates, but the Mail is still insisting on not being insistent about anything.

The Daily Mail and the General Election.

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Stigmatising mental illness

Author: 

Harry Davies

I’m trying to summon some grit in order to explain the Daily Mail to you. This is a difficult task because my recurrent thought — “intolerant small-minded newspaper publishes astonishingly offensive and insensitive intolerant small-minded commentary” — is a. not that original and b. news to none of you.

In Daily Mail world, all pilots are Dan Dare and only foreigners and lefties are weak-minded enough to admit to depression.

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Stifled Story of the Month

Author: 

Harry Davies

On 20 January, The Guardian reported on academic research showing benefit sanctions push people into destitution, not jobs.

The 1.9 million benefit sanctions that were imposed between June 2011 and March 2014, stopping people from receiving jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and the 43% of those sanctioned subsequently ceasing to try to claim the benefit, did reduce the unemployment figures. No surprise there. Massaging unemployment figures is what every government since the 1980s has done. 

But only 20% of those who went off benefit said they had found work.

The government is applying wildly unfair and fantastic sanctions against millions of people. No one really knows what is happening to the most vulnerable people in society. But can we read about it or hear about it in the general press? Apparently not.

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The Sun “drops” Page 3

Author: 

Rachel Barnes

Supporters of the No More Page 3 campaign celebrated a victory on Monday 19 January as rumours of The Sun getting rid of bare breasts in its newspaper did the rounds on the internet.

Apart from a tweet from its head of PR (who told followers that page 3 would be in the same place it’s always been, between pages 2 and 4), the newspaper has given no formal statement on the matter, only removed nipples gradually from its print over the last few months.

Supporters of the No More Page 3 campaign celebrated a victory on Monday 19 January as rumours of The Sun getting rid of bare breasts in its newspaper did the rounds on the internet.

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Cameron versus the Pope

The Pope’s repsonse to the murderous attack on the journalists and workers at Charlie Hebdo was essentially “the wife beater’s defence”.

“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal... You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

The Pope’s repsonse to the murderous attack on the journalists and workers at Charlie Hebdo was essentially “the wife beater’s defence”.

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Journalists repressed the world over

Every year Reporters Without Borders produce a World Press Freedom Index, looking at how 180 countries rate on press freedom and the degree to which journalists and bloggers are targetted by militias, criminal gangs and the armed far right (both fascists and extreme Islamists). It is a window on how dangerous and unfree the world is.

The 2014 Index highlights the effects of the Syrian crisis. 130 journalists were killed between 2011 and the end of 2013; more since then have been killed, arrested or intimidated by Bashar Al Assad, ISIS and Kurdish PYD militia.

Journalists and bloggers are targetted by militias, criminal gangs and the armed far right (both fascists and extreme Islamists) around the world.

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Don't believe what you read in the Mail

Author: 

Harry Davies

Over the last fortnight the national press has picked up a story about a violent incident at Hinde House School in Sheffield.

To take the version initially printed by the Sheffield Star and then picked up by the Mail... three Roma Slovak pupils attacked another boy following an argument “about a football”. The victim was “punched to the ground” and left with a broken nose. The school has now, the reports continue, been presented with a 1,600 name petition demanding that, in the words of one parent “something be done”.

The national press has picked up a story about a violent incident at a school in Sheffield.

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