This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Sunday 28 June 2020
Yes, It’s The Pravda On Sunday!
How we laughed at Pravda and Isvestiya as they told us how Leonid Brezhnev was in rude health, when we knew that he was lurching from one health crisis to another before finally shuffling off and leaving a crumbling Soviet Union for someone else to sort out. We roared with laughter at Chinese state media telling us how remarkably fit Mao Zhedong was, not long before the old tyrant waved to his adoring public for the last time.
And we hoot with derision at Ri Chun-hee as she reinvents reality on behalf of the régime in Pyongyang. Yet we are supposed to take this kind of shameless personality cult revisionism seriously when it comes from our free and fearless press, and come from them it has this morning, in the shape of the Mail on Sunday, our very own Pravda.
The paper’s front page would not have been out of place in early 1980s Moscow, with its blustering faux patriotism. “Exclusive interview … Boris does press-ups for the MoS! As PM says he’s ‘fit as a butcher’s dog’ (and proves it) and is helping with nappies and night feeds, he announces massive revival plan … BILLIONS TO GET BRITAIN BOOMING”.
All hail the new record in tractor production! The sun shines over our motherland! The workers control the means of production! The struggle of the urban proletariat! The great leader sends the counter-revolutionary running dogs packing! In one mighty bound he emulates Vladimir Vladimirovich and Il Duce! Let us go forward with Himself!
Yes, it's well fishy
No, sorry, this is total crap. The only surprise is that this week, it is political editor Glen Owen consigned to taking dictation, rather than his sidekick, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole. The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker might as well hand over production of the MoS to CCHQ. Or perhaps they already did.
Observers looked on cynically at claims such as “Boris on fatherhood, nappies and night feeds … I’M BOTH PRESENT AND INVOLVED IN A DETAILED WAY”. Mic Wright reimagined the headlines: “In the country formerly known as Great Britain, regime media reports on the leader's health, with a staged photo in which the premier, a rotund and often breathless ideologue, fakes doing press-ups for the tame reporter”.
Matthew Pudner added “a real journalist would have noted the flared elbows, flexed neck and arched back and duly recorded that the prime minister does not even lift”. Richard Bartholomew compared and contrasted the MoS with Chinese coverage of Mao’s swim.
But LBC host James O’Brien was not amused. “People will be checking the date on this front page for years to come while refusing to believe that the man doing the press-ups was in the midst of presiding over an absolutely catastrophic response to a national emergency that left thousands of people dead. It’s heartbreaking”. He then added more.
“Don’t know why but that press-up picture has really brought home the scale of the crises still to come. It’s taken four years flat to turn our lovely country into a clown car. And Johnson is barely out of the blocks”. Owen Gibson of the Guardian refused to take the MoS seriously: “Next week: Boris throws a shoe over a pub”. It would, to be fair, divert attention from all the fighting following that first all-day session since March.
And the press wonders why its trust ratings have collapsed. I’ll just leave that one there.
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