Friday, 1 February 2013

Evaluation - Red Tops

Evaluation - Red Tops:


My reading of the online article Hacking book: the difference between telling the truth and telling a story led me to the discovery of a nickname for many infamous tabloid newspapers, known as 'Red Tops'.


Red tops are generally defined as a tabloid newspaper, particularly those considered to be of a lower standard than the broadsheets. In other words, the likes of the Daily Mirror, The Sun or the Daily Star being held under those of The Guardian, The Independent or the Telegraph. Though I am usually met with a universal flurry of "Seriously?" when I utter the dreaded words "I read the Daily Mirror." the newspaper borders an entertainment show and when compared to say, The Guardian, the syntax used (even if this is the journalist's own idiolect) are on different spectrum's. Overall, reading the report of North Korea's nuclear test by the Daily Mirror will be a tad bit more humerous than one by the Guardian. And that is when the line is drawn.


Taking a typical article from the Daily Mirror's online self, the sub-headline reads:
Clearly not content by total domination of the month leading up to Christmas, Amazon now want to control Christmas Day too
Essentially, the article deals with the recently revealed as 'tax-dogers' Amazon who have started their post-Christmas sales early; on Christmas day to be precise. The simple act which is not at all headline news, but was heavily waffled and elongated into a story:
"This year greedy bosses at Amazon started their sale yesterday, on Christmas Day. Along with some other online retailers they expected to pull in an eye-watering £307million - that's 50% up on a normal day.
Clearly not content by total domination of the month leading up to Christmas, the American bosses at Amazon now want to take on Santa by controlling Christmas Day too.
Their cynicism knows no bounds."
So despite the fact that many retailers and companies are doing the same, the Daily Mirror has seemingly targeted Amazon most likely due to its recent expose that testified that Amazon have being paying minimum corporation tax. But what is most interesting is how the author, Alsion Phillips - a columnist - describes the deplorable tirade as:
So they'll carry on getting away with paying the absolute minimum. And because they won't do the right thing, we their British customers, lose out on nurses, teachers and police officers we can no longer afford to employ.
The lexicon of Phillips is interesting, while it is true that the money gained from the tax may have gone to education or welfare, it could have easily have gone to manufacturing, defense (military/navy), legal/social issues, environment, culture, safety to actually pay for the running of government itself. It is blatant filtering and is based on the drive to entertain rather than inform, surviving off of the titillation of information; an obsession with scandalous stories (both real life and celebrity) and sport. The further use of any available space to be filled in with advertisements consolidates the adamance of these red tops to generate profit. 
Millions of British families have endured a tough Christmas and many have found themselves forced on to the books of the again legal yet morally disgusting loan sharks.

But others appear to be able to carry on with their passion to spend, spend, spend.
Oddly, Phillips waffles the story even more by playing the sympathy card - a card played too much in the media. Comparing the lives of the "Greedy Amazon bosses" to those of the poorest few. Describing this whole ordeal as "a tragedy." This is typical to compare the rich to the poorest majority, seemingly manipulating their target audience. That of the the working class, white van driving 'lad', who are stereotyped as not being the most cultured or educated type of guys. As the Independent described them as "They may have less time to peruse lengthy articles – many work in manual jobs with very small commutes and short breaks, or are at home looking after kids. They want bite-sized information about the world around them, entertainment and silliness to cheer up their day." This seems a case of tit for tat as it can be blatantly seen. As tabloids rely on over simplistic information, ranging from short quick paragraphs (an entire section just for "The cynicism knows no bounds"), emotive language, snappy headlines and mass use of images, adverts and apparent 'freebies' in conjunction with its typically biased political view:



In the Guardian's Greensdale Blog, it used the above front page as an introduction to Red Tops, stating that "Clearly, the editors of The Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Star believe that a footballer's relationship with "a hooker" (alternatively, "Roo hooker") is of overriding importance to their readers." This example alone affirms what I just said, football and huge money issues (that would easily exasperate and anger the underpaid working lad) take up-most importance, leaving 'actual news' to be crammed into the left column. This type of newspaper feeds from sordid love affairs that involve successful football figures and either prostitutes and W.A.G.S. "Is that really the role of pop paper editors - to appeal to the baser side of human nature?" Greensdale writes. 


And even though this genre of news continues to sell (and be mocked by the likes of the Guardian) a poll showed that almost 70% of British public distrust red-top tabloids. Rather incredulously, the sample trusted Facebook and Twitter over an actual publication.

So Red Tab newspapers are ill-regarded, not trusted and known for manipulation (just look at how desperate their photographers are for vulnerable naked women) yet we, the majority, continue to buy what they print. They seem to generate tumult via "sensationalism", a topic I will research in the near future.  

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