For as long as I can remember there’s been a News of the World. Not that I ever read it, or knew anyone else who did, it was just always there, mouldering in a corner, stinking of stale beer and cigarette smoke. When one bought cod and chips on the way home from the films on a Saturday night, as one doused them in vinegar and salt, the newsprint that came off on one’s hand was more often than not from News of the World. It fostered a working-class dream of upper-class scandals, exposing naughty debs and Lords cavorting with telly stars. It thrived on tits and bums, poofter vicars exposing themselves, MPs with a bit on the side, and sex-starved housewives luring innocent boys into their webs of shame. It came out every Sunday and, last I heard, cost two and six or, if you prefer, a half-crown.

It came from the world of the sea-side postcard; naughty but nice, suggestive but not so coarse you couldn’t send one to gran from your fortnight in Frinton. If it became increasingly strident over the years, it only matched the mood of the country. I have no idea if Murdoch’s acquisition changed it. He could hardly have made it worse. I suspect that competition from the internet had more to do with its outrageous pursuit of scandal at any price.

Who read it? No one, apparently. We were all too high-minded—though its circulation topped 7 million. And now it’s gone. But the lessons it taught English yellow journalism won’t soon be forgotten. The current crop of sleb scandal-sheets has been built on its proud traditions.

After all, when Patsy was exposed as the hag slag of some minister or other, Edina didn’t take her story to the News, she took it to Hello.

It was only a matter of time.

News of the World

Murdoch closes the News of the World [NOTW]


Save the execubots and shoot the workers always works well.

While we’re in the neighborhood, I really like the BBC version of “State of Play”. Kind of a Fleet Street “All the President’s Men”, although it involves a Quality paper, not some tawdry tab.

Main point of interest for American journalists: They pay sources for stories as a matter of course. (As does Brit Denton, so you know where he’s coming from.) It’s not unethical, just different standards.

The Ab Fab photo makes me SOOOOO happy…

Both AbFab stars have been Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, but I can’t find the videos for you guys.

I want to vomit – don’t go to any foreign countries and get suspected of a crime kiddos, because you have no idea if your host will honor the Vienna Convention regarding treatment of suspects.

@SanFranLefty: Rachel did a very thorough job on that tonight. I’m finding it hard deciding whether to focus my anger on Perry or the Supreme Court.

@SanFranLefty: Access to consular officials was the least of the problems that the Knox girl faced in Italy. Sometimes our own stupidity (not to mention that of our hosts’ local constabulary) trips us up.

But yeah – “5/4 split along ideological lines” is the new black.

Hey Benedick, the Young Royals will be in Southern California for a few days, starting today. One of their stops will be at a polo field in the very upscale community of Santa Barbara. Regrettably, I will miss their visit, staying instead in the Cape Breton highlands eating cheap lobster and watching my wife and daughters spend money.

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