Focuses On The Real Cause Of Dishonest, Bullying
and Unethical Tabloid Journalism
The Leveson Inquiry has,
thus far, clearly identified the underlying
philosophy and ethos of British tabloid
Central to this ethos has
been found to be dishonesty, bullying, political
manipulation and a complete disregard for what
might be considered as civilised standards of
'The Inquiry is now moving
on,' confirmed Lord Justice Leveson, this week, 'to
examine what has led to this pitiful and
A common theme in the
testimony of tabloid representatives has been the
pressure that the tabloid press has been under
from their readers to plumb greater and greater
depths of squalor and bad taste.
A clear indication of this
was the circulation figures for the News of The
World on its final Sunday. This was 4.5 million,
the highest since at least 1998. At that point
many of the questionable practices adopted by the
News of the World had already been exposed.
All the circulation revenue
of the final edition was donated to charity.
However, it remains true that each person buying
that final copy of the newspaper was, in effect,
supporting phone hacking, media harassment and
disregard for the normal values of society.
In order to understand why
so many people would behave like this, the
Leveson Inquiry today interviewed Mrs Mavis
Reader, who was selected as being a typical
representative of the tabloids' readership.
Below is a transcript of
Leveson (LJL): 'Hello Mrs Reader. Thank
you for agreeing to give evidence to this Inquiry.'
Mavis Reader (MR):
'Pleased to 'elp.'
you know, this is an independent inquiry into the
culture, practices and ethics of the media in
Britain today. You have been invited as an
example of the quintessential tabloid reader.'
quinty. . . er. . . what you said?'
means that you are typical of most tabloid
readers, and so your opinions will represent
those of the tabloid readership.'
always done me best to be average.'
tell the Inquiry why you read tabloid newspapers.'
there's the 'oroscopes an' the CDs an' the
special offers. Then there's the news, o' course.'
What sort of news interests you?'
like best the stuff about what celebs are sleepin'
wiv what uvver celebs.'
favour the salacious material, then?'
sally. . . . er. . . what you said?'
I like to read what the uvver arf gets up to.
Mind you, you get a bit jealous of 'em too, so it's
always good when they split-up, get arrested, go
into drug re'ab or sommit like that.'
the veracity of tabloid articles concern you?'
very. . . er. . . what you said?'
means that many of the things written about
people may not be true.'
MR: 'I s'pose
it'd be better if stories were true - except if
it made 'em borin'. I'd sooner read sommit
interestin' and untrue than sommit true an' borin'.'
about other news?'
papers confirm what I already know about millions
o' good for nothin' asylum seekers comin' into
this country an' committin' all the crimes. An' 'ow
all kids are drunk 24/7 an' attackin' everyone -
them that aint bin abducted by paedos, that is.
Then there's the revelations about 'ow they keep
lettin' all them people get away wiv it.'
lets which people get away with what?'
dunno, it changes every day. If it wern't for the
papers, I wouldn't know what to be outraged about.'
Reader, as you know, you are one of the last
people from whom we are taking testimony.'
testy. . . er. . . what you said?'
are one of the last people to tell us things. The
tabloids have already been forced to admit that
they are not too concerned about truth; that they
generate interest in celebrities in order to
later vilify them; they promote paranoia and
anger by selective reporting of bad news -
particularly about young people and immigrants;
they hack phones; they bully people and they even
try to control the behaviour of the government.'
terrible. Someone should stop 'em.'
say it's your fault.'
They say they feel dreadful about doing all those
terrible things but, if they didn't, you wouldn't
buy their newspapers and then they and their
families would starve.'
yes that's true, but. . .'
tabloid editors said they'd had enough of being
blackmailed by you to print more and more sleaze
and scandal. I gather they're going to run a
series of articles exposing you and your fellow
readers, revealing how you mercilessly drove them
to the unsavoury depths they now plumb.'
the papers are campaignin' against it, then I'm
wiv 'em. Someone should do sommit about us