Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: September 30, 2002 | 1 Comment »

There are some big stories around today – the opening of the Labour Party Conference and the US still trying to find a good excuse to attack Iraq are two good examples. But all of the tabloids ignore all of that and present us with news that would have been pointless even when it was current (in the mid 1980s). Anyone would think the editors are being told what to print by the Labour Party spin doctors in order to minimise the amount of coverage that the Perty Conference is getting.

This was the story about Edwina Currie and John Major. Ten years on, I still don’t want to think about that.

And at that point, Wasted Inches finishes. I can’t remember why I stopped it. I know I’d started another blog which became the main place where I wrote. But it never really covered the tabloids in the way that Wasted Inches did. These days, of course, we have many excellent blogs which spend their time pointing out the nonsense that the tabloids print. I hope they keep going as long as the tabloids do.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: September 18, 2002 | No Comments »

Classic example of misdirection in this headline from today’s Soaraway Sun. It appears with a picture of spikey-haired homophobe and pop idol Gareth Gates standing next to Big Brother winner and general waste of space Kate Lawler. We’re obviously supposed to infer that they are getting engaged, but further reading reveals that in fact they’ve just exchanged phone numbers (so they can give each other “a ring” – geddit!) If we were feeling particularly cynical we might point out that Gareth has a new single out on Monday and that the BB3 video has just been released so this could all be a big publicity stunt. But, of course, the Sun is a serious newspaper that would never allow its front page to be used like that.

Ten years on and the frantic publicity attempts of Gates and Lawler were all for nothing. It’s years since I heard anything about either of them.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: September 6, 2002 | No Comments »

Deep in the Australian jungle (well not that deep as a 5-star hotel is only 5 minutes walk away) eight British C-list celebrities have been camping for two weeks. It’s been great TV, but it’s certainly not news. However the tabloids have all had it on their front pages every day. Today they were full of the story of how Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (who is she anyway, and why is she famous?) tried seducing Darren Day (the ‘popular’ singer) by grabbing his hand and putting it in her pants (whilst she was wearing them). And the tabloid editors think this is important enough to go on the front page. On a day when car bombs had been exploding in Kabul.

Ten years on, “I’m A Celebrity…” is still running. And the tabloids still run stories about it in preference to real news. It has, however, moved to later in the year so the 2012 series hasn’t started yet. I have no idea whether Palmer-Tomkinson and Day’s relationship ever took off (and I’m confident that you don’t care). NATO troops are still on the streets of Kabul.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: September 2, 2002 | No Comments »

It must be a good headline as both the Sun and the Mirror came up with it independently. The story is, of course, the birth of a second son to a bad singer and a sportsman. The bit that apparently makes this news (tho’ we strongly suspect it would have made the front pages even if he’d been called “Fred”) is that they’ve chosen the name “Romeo”. And, according to the tabloids, this has confused the fans. It also gives the tabloid hacks a chance to show off their education by paraphrasing Shakespeare. With the Earth Summit going on in South Africa and the US once again rattling its sabre at Iraq, it’s difficult to see this as the most important news of the day, but then we don’t run the tabloids. Here at Wasted Inches we hanker for the days when this would have been a small announcement in the personal columns of The Times.

The Beckhams had one more child and names him “Cruz”. Their skills at choosing names led comedian Stuart Francis to comment “You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.” TV viewers judged this to be the funniest joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: August 21, 2002 | No Comments »

What the Sun headline writers are trying to say (in their stumbling, and very nearly English, way) is that Ian Huntley, the man charged with the murders of schoolgirls Holly and Jessica, won’t be able to convince the doctors at Rampton that he is mentally ill and thereby escape trial. As always, the Sun doesn’t let inconvenient facts get in the way of a good story. In this case they ignore the fact that either Huntley is mentally ill, in which case no conning will be required, or he isn’t, in which case he has already managed to con some doctors in order to be sent to Rampton in the first place. Logic was never the Sun‘s strong point.

It turned out that Huntley wasn’t considered mentally ill. He was convicted of the murder of the two girls and is currently ten years into a life sentence. He will not be released until he has served at least forty years.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: August 20, 2002 | No Comments »

The whole tabloid world has gone mad over the disappearance of the two young girls Holly and Jessica. For two weeks now the story has dominated the headlines. It’s obviously an important story, but do we really need to be quite so Liverpudlian about it? Today there’s no new news, but it still has to be on the front pages so the tabloid reporters have digging around in the past of the two people who are being questioned. They’ve discovered that the chap’s ex-wife got married to his brother. Obviously that’s really important news as it shows us exactly what kind of family he comes from. The kind that can oh-so-easily produce paedophiles and child-killers. Or maybe it’s not news at all and is just another example of unwarranted intrusion into people’s private lives.

This still happens and still really annoys rational people. I can’t remember who the subjects of this story are, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr - so that’s two people who are having their past exposed to the Sun’s readership for no good reason.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: August 8, 2002 | No Comments »

Two tabloids have attempted to cash in on the story of the two missing schoolgirls by offering rewards for information this morning. The Soaraway Sun offers £150,000 (and they’re giving away a free poster so you know they’ve got to be serious!) The Express have trumped them however, by offering the ridiculous sum of £1,000,000. Of course the Express offer is all funded out of pornography, so you might feel a little uncomfortable accepting the money.

This is the Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman story. At this point the girls were just missing. It wasn’t until 17th August that their bodies were found. Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr were arrested soon afterwards.  I can’t see any evidence that the Sun or Express reader paid out any money on these offers. Or that the Sun’s poster achieved anything useful at all. Terrible things like this still happen – as I write this Stuart Hazell has just been charged with the murder of Tia Sharp – and tabloids still overreact like this. I don’t remember any more appeals for information that have been backed with tabloid’s own money though.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: July 15, 2002 | No Comments »

Ever since Home Secretary David Blunkett announced last week that cannabis will be reclassified from class B to class C, the Daily Mail has been running a campaign to make him reconsider. Every day they have been running headlines on how terrible life is in areas of Lambeth where “drugs usage is rife”. They completely ignore the fact that most of the crime surrounding drugs is caused purely because they are illegal. Today’s headline is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. They have a photo of three or four people enjoying a joint in a sunny park. An innocuous enough site you might think – but not to the Daily Mail as only yards away children play innocently unaware of the fiends in their midst. It’s all total nonsense, of course.

And here’s something that doesn’t change. Both politicians and the tabloids still have a knee-jerk reaction to drugs which make it impossible to have an intelligent conversation on the subject. In the ten years since I wrote this entry, cannabis has been reclassified back to class B and the government have sacked a scientific adviser on drugs because he insisted on giving them scientific evidence on drugs.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: | No Comments »

Big Brother still isn’t news, but most of the tabloids continue to act like it is. In particular The Star has had a Big Brother story on its front page just about every day for the last two weeks. Here’s how it works. The Star hacks watch out for news the from the show and blow it up out of all proportion. Today’s headline is a great example. They claim that Jade is pregnant. Their evidence for this seems to boils down to the fact that she’s a bit porky and she eats a lot. Now I know that Jade isn’t the brightest kid on the block, but I strongly suspect she would have picked up on some other clues if she was really pregnant.

This shows one big change in the last ten years. No-one cares about Big Brother at all any more. Channel 4 realised that and they very sensibly killed it off a couple of years ago. Channel 5 have been broadcasting it since then. It’s running currently but I couldn’t name one of the housemates. I haven’t seen a single front-page headline about it this year. Of course, there are other reality TV shows that grab the headlines instead. As far as I can see, that’s mainly the talent shows.

Author: Shadowy Media Collective | Date: June 22, 2002 | No Comments »

Only one story on the front page of all the tabloids today. England losing to Brazil in the World Cup. Oh well. Can we go back to normal now please? It’s only a game.

So ten years ago England dropped out of the World Cup and the tabloids portrayed it as a national tragedy. What do you think the front pages will look like when England get knocked out of the current football competition?