Why are mainstream newspapers losing sales? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. The papers concerned are produced, distributed and delivered like clockwork. They carry a variety of news, showbiz, current affairs, sport, and much more. Yet fewer and fewer people want to spend money on them. Here’s one good reason why.
Toddler James Bulger was abducted and murdered by two older children in early 1993. His mother had been shopping at the Strand centre in Bootle; culprits Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were committed to youth custody in view of their age at the time, were then released in 2001, and given new identities.
But papers like the Murdoch Sun keep on coming back to the story, because they believe it sells papers. The thought that Bootle is a district of Liverpool, where the paper is reviled and sells very few copies, is not allowed to enter. They are at it again today.
“FACE OFF … James Bulger killer Jon Venables ‘could be given taxpayer-funded plastic surgery to protect his identity’ - as tot’s dad bids to unmask him … Dad Ralph Bulger wants the anonymity order protecting Jon Venables changed because of his repeat offending” readers are told. And there is more.
“But Venables, now 35, is likely to fight any attempt to overturn it and yesterday it was claimed he could even undertake plastic surgery. The killer has been granted legal aid, likely to run to tens of thousands of pounds, to be represented in the case at London’s High Court”. Hello Murdoch goons - who is bringing the case? Not Venables.
But do go on. “[Ralph Bulger’s lawyer] told the court Ralph and Jimmy Bulger had ‘suffered enormously’ while Venables had been protected, given a new identity … It was also claimed that he could be given ‘plastic surgery’ … If the case goes to a full hearing some of it could yet be held in secret to protect Venables”.
Er, hello, this is just exploitative crap, isn’t it? The dead toddler’s mother has disassociated herself from this action. The “plastic surgery” claim is just that - there is not a shred of evidence to back it up. Its reporting is the Murdoch goons trying to incite outrage among its more easily influenced readers at the thought that someone might be getting public money which all those Hard Working Taxpayers are paying for.
Even the most basic point - the reason Venables has to apply for legal aid is because someone else is taking action against him - is slanted and twisted. He doesn’t have any alternative. The Sun won’t report that. For the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker, Venables is merely a “monster”. His role is to sell papers. Murdoch papers.
If the assembled mafiosi on the 13th floor needed any explanation as to why the paper that in its heyday was moving four million copies a day has now fallen below the 1.5 million mark, this story should provide it. It’s gratuitous, exploitative, and just plain nasty.
James Bulger was killed 25 years ago. And the Sun is so desperate to use his death to score sales that it doesn’t care what it puts the family through. Don't buy the Sun.