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Saturday 21 August 2010

Priorities, Priorities

What are the most important issues in the world right now? The Aussies are going to the polls – could be a tight finish – and Stateside the arguments are still continuing over the Cordoba Centre. Here in the UK, Crewe Alex have just put seven past Barnet – one better than the Arsenal – and the usual suspects are being blamed for a rumour that Charles Kennedy is joining the Labour Party (because he isn’t).

Plenty there for any half decent paper to get its teeth into. But not the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. Yesterday, for instance, the front page was dedicated not to any great world issue, or anything political or economic. Instead, Rupe’s distinctly downmarket troops splashed on David and Victoria Beckham’s decision to reduce the number of their staff by a whopping, er, fourteen.

And, to make it look really dramatic, the headlines include the word “massacre”, which would be interesting if it were even slightly near the mark. Did Posh put them up against the wall and empty an Uzi into them? Even the online version uses the word “culled”, not the usual term associated with the acquisition of a P45.

But this is only a temporary lapse, isn’t it? Today will have the Iranian nuclear reactor being fuelled, or maybe Michael Ashcroft not leaving the Tory stage. Well, no it won’t: top story for Rupe’s downmarket troops today is Cheryl Cole being unwell – and on TV. And that’s the day’s biggest news? Heck, it happened weeks ago.

News it isn’t. Although the piece has the occasional unintentionally humorous aside – Simon Cowell is 50. Yes, Simon, and that hair is what colour, exactly? And you wouldn’t have been doing an Eddie Jordan, of course. But this is to miss the point: news entirely about slebs is not news.

Which puts this branch of the Murdoch empire in the same part of the ballpark as much of the output from our friends at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

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