The Murdoch doggies at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have significant previous form when it comes to their incessant pursuit - and its accompanying commentary - of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne. That pursuit is now verging on the obsessive. It is yet another example of the ability of the Fourth Estate to leap headlong from gutter to sewer in the ever more desperate attempt to flog a few more copies.
Tabloid papers major on sport coverage, and especially football. This sells papers. Those same papers also major on coverage of slebs, because they too sell papers. Footballers who are also slebs are therefore always going to be pursued by the tabs in search of that last drop of coverage. Unfortunately, the hacks cannot stop themselves pursuing well known sports people even when they suffer setbacks in their lives.
So it has been with Gazza: even when he was awarded damages as a result of the Mirror’s phone hacking last year, former Sun editor Kelvin McFilth ranted “£188,000? Gascoigne the wife-beater not worth £1.88”, tried to dig up dirt to smear Mr Justice Mann, who had made the award, and made sure his readers knew the Mirror would get the award significantly reduced on appeal (they didn’t).
It got worse last Saturday when the Sun told readers “Paramedics treat Paul Gascoigne at home for three days running before he is rushed to hospital in ambulance … Fears for ex-England footie ace grow as he is spotted being helped into an ambulance in bare feet with a cut head”. Fears of a drop in Sun circulation if there are no more intrusive Gazza stories, more like. But that was nothing on yesterday’s instalment.
“AGONY OF SICK GAZZA Paul Gascoigne new low as he exposes himself in the street on the hunt for more booze … The footie idols [sic] was seen stumbling in a dressing gown to buy gin and fags before accidentally flashing passers-by” told Matt Wilkinson, claiming an “exclusive” because no other paper was so depraved, vicious and desperate enough to prey on a sick man to the extent of having his apartment watched.
Once again there is the faux concern: “THERE were new fears for Paul Gascoigne last night”. Like hell the Sun is concerned. If it were genuinely concerned, the paper would not run this intrusive, exploitative drivel. It got worse still: “Slurring his words, Gazza, 49, climbed into a taxi before returning with a bottle of gin, cigs and painkillers”. How do they know what he bought? Followed him to the offie and bunged someone for the info?
There was even “An onlooker said: ‘He stood there in the middle of the street where all the neighbours could see him … It was a sad final public indignity for Gazza. We are all worried for him’”. Baloney. The only “onlooker” was whoever was tailing him. If they were so worried, they would get help for Gascoigne. They didn’t, because they’re not.
The Sun’s hacks should desist from their obsessive pursuit of Paul Gascoigne and then get him the help he needs. They won’t, because they couldn’t give a shit about him. Tony Gallagher is the lowest of the low for sanctioning that article, incapable of hanging his head in shame, or even understanding he has done something wrong. The folks on Merseyside had it right all those years ago: DON’T BUY THE SUN.