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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Tabloid Readers Shamed

Editors of the British tabloid press united today to speak-out against those who buy their newspapers.

‘They’re only interested in sleaze and scandal,’ angrily accused one editor. ‘For too long they’ve blackmailed us into harassing celebrities and other public figures, and then compelled us to print pernicious lies about them.’

Another editor, who was too frightened to be identified, tearfully told of how he feared for the safety of his family. ‘If I didn’t print what those lascivious, sadistic, bigoted bastards demanded,’ he sobbed, ‘they’d stop buying the paper, and my wife and children would starve.’

Others underlined the courage it had taken to finally stand-up to their readers. ‘I couldn’t have done it alone,’ said the boss of a leading national tabloid. ‘The Tabloid Editors’ Support Group helped me to realise I wasn’t alone. In therapy, we spoke of how we had all come to hate ourselves for dispensing with truth. We had all lain awake at nights mortified at the interest we had generated in celebrities for no purpose other than to later vilify them.’

There is also huge guilt among tabloid journalists about the way their readers have forced them to portray immigrants and young people. ‘There are not millions of asylum seekers freely entering Britain, and they are not committing all crime,’ protested one reporter, ‘but if we even implied this, circulation figures would plummet.’

The same reporter recalled the apology that his newspaper had been compelled to issue when it had inadvertently suggested that not all young people were drunk 24/7 and that not all fourteen-year old girls were pregnant. 'The article had commended the dedication and hard work of young people and the credit they were to Britain,' he revealed. 'My editor had feared that it might lead to violent protests by readers.'

A spokesperson for British tabloid editors confirmed that they were no longer prepared to be the passive and helpless victims of their readerships. She stated that the newspapers had unanimously resolved to gradually move towards a radical new policy of publishing stories that were balanced and factually accurate. She also confirmed that they would be running a series of articles, ruthlessly exposing their readers. ‘The reports,’ she promised, ‘will unflinchingly reveal the truth about how these conscienceless psychopaths have mercilessly driven tabloid journalism to the unsavoury depths that it now plumbs.’