Interviews and overshares

Frances Bean, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain

One of the interesting things about the fallout from this hacking scandal is that it’s made a lot of people re-examine issues of integrity in the press.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Guardian has (rightly) accused the other papers of being crass about Amy Winehouse, The Times‘s readers reacted with outrage after it published the Facebook updates of the as-yet-uncharged suspect in the hospital poisonings case, and in another post the paper complained about the giant amount of bulls*** that goes into the interview process. Overall, what people want is fairness and honesty. Continue reading

Write and wrong: quotes from a scandal

News of the World Dylan Thomas Alamy Economist

The stench of corruption is sickening. I’d always said that the difference between Brits and Americans is that the Yanks trust people and the Brits trust institutions, but now ours lie in tatters and we’re floundering. On the one hand, it’s easy – and right – to react with shock and outrage at just how deep this toxic rabbit-hole goes, but on the other, any sensible person has to recognise the potential for a hysterical witch hunt that does nothing to restore our confidence in the institutions that we need to trust in to function.

We all “know” that newspapers are dirty and politicians corrupt and that there will inevitably be a few rotten coppers on the force – but to see it there writ large as hacks are jailed and police accused of being paid off? That’s not naiveté on the part of the public. It’s a seismic event in our culture that could send shockwaves around the world.

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The F Word

Although, growing up, it was a word I was aware of, it wasn’t one I used. Nobody else I knew used it either, except in a broadly technical sense, and even then, very occasionally. Perhaps standards have changed, and times certainly have, but I hear it everywhere I go these days. There’s no escaping it. Every newspaper, every magazine, blog and publication is f- this and f- that: the sheer saturation is overwhelming. I’m starting to wonder if people have nothing else on their minds. I’m talking, of course, about feminism.

Until about a week and a half ago, I had a pretty solid grasp of feminist polemic. To auto-generate your own blog piece, just grab any rant from the Daily Mail on immigration, CTRL+H the words “black people” with “men” and then top-and-tail it with some patronising assumptions about how billions of people are magically silenced and only able to communicate via white middle-class over-educated underachievers. You don’t need to confine it to stuff about women, either – just lump in anything that white-middle-class-guilt-ridden-lefties are angry about and you’re good to go.

Then something very strange started happening: the general shrieking cacophony of the popular press started to make sense. It’s not that my own opinions have changed, so much as everyone else has miraculously stopped being absurd. It all started at the Guardian. Continue reading

Today’s inspiration: YOU!

One of the joys of “web 2.0” is the snippets of snark we get to enjoy from some of the wittier reader comments. Readers leaving feedback on newspaper sites seem to be on particularly good form this week.

First up, reader Jambon at The Times was alarmed by reports that police were called to Longleat, stately home of the 79 year-old Marquess of Bath, when a fight broke out between two of his girlfriends over whose turn it was to sleep with him:

“Oh dear – he looks like a scruffy badger who has been dragged backwards through a hedge.”

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The secret diary of Osama bin Laden

The Times reports today that Osama bin Laden’s diary has been found in Pakistan.

“A US official described the diary as a ‘journal of ideas'”, reported the paper.

The question we’re all asking ourselves right now is “what does it say?” Even those of us lacking the prurient curiosity to see his corpse must be wondering about the scribbled ravings of a cave-bound lunatic.

Fortunately, a source close to the White House has released some extracts exclusively to Reinspired.

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Why I gave money to Rupert Murdoch on the same day I campaigned against him

I finally caved today and subscribed to The Times website. The venerable newspaper put its site behind a paywall, which most people thought was a pretty bad idea, until they realised one thing about The Times: once you go without it for long enough, you miss it and want it back.

I’ve never been an avid Times reader – more of a Guardian or Independent type by nature – but even though the Indescribablyboring (as Private Eye used to call it) used to claim the centre ground, it’s really just a Liberal Democrat version of the Guardian, and if you read both and nothing else eventually all the handwringing and bleating just gets a bit … much.

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