Tabloid bullshit of the month award - May 2011

There was a pop, a flash and a faint whiff of ozone. A yelp. A jump.

My laptop blew, which explains this month's low number of posts, the less often even than usual Tweetage and the late arrival of this here post.

But fear not! Now there's a pop, a flash, a whiff and plenty of jumping and yelping for the 5cc tabloid bullshit of the month award for May 2011! Hear the cheers as literally some people read the blogpost they'd forgotten was due and wasn't bothered about in the first place! Look at their mostly uninterested faces as they prepare to find out that tabloids are full of a bunch of bullshit. Again. Er. 'Ray.

There was a fair bit of competition this month. This included:

A Daily Mail story about video games that dislpayed as much respect for the truth as you'd expect, taking a report that said playing violent games appeared to cause less aggression than sports games and turning it into 'Playing football games on computers 'makes you more aggressive''. This was covered by CVG.

The Sun's heavy handed crap propaganda, including a Photoshopped piece of crap showing David Cameron as Superman saving Britain. You know what, just fuck off, the Sun.

'BRITAIN'S 40% SURGE IN ETHNIC NUMBERS', a race for the racist crown in which the Express counted white people not born in the UK as 'non-white', forgot that 'white' is an ethnic group too and filled imaginary trousers over the knowledge that there were more people who aren't white in the country than there used to be. Who knew?

'81% of new jobs go to foreigners', the Sun's creative interpretation of how things that aren't actually jobs went to people who aren't all actually foreign. Go, the Sun!

Those last two only missed out on being proper contenders because I said I wanted to move away from the staple of looking at immigration scare stories last month.

There was other stuff too, but I either missed it or can't be arsed to include it in this list, so on to the winner.

We have a second-time winner this month. It seems there's so much bullshit out there it's impossible to stick to my original rules of giving the award to the best bullshit article. There's just so much of it about from the same sources. The winner is...


Here's the email:
Dear Mr Hall,

I am so overjoyed that I could literally muster enough energy for some rolled eyes and a slow handclap to accounce that you, yes you, are the winner of May 2011's 5cc tabloid bullshit of the month award! Yes! That makes you a second time winner and up there with big time tabloid bullshitter, Jack Doyle of the Mail.



  • No it doesn't.
  • Seriously, it doesn't.
  • Of course, you know this, which is why you've dropped the claim in the opening sentence and moved on to talking about 'carving up Britain' and merging 'some parts of southern Britain and Northern France' by the third.
  • What you might not know is that this is rubbish too. Here is the Arc Manche website's list of objectives. You'll notice that none of them say 'merge Britain with France' or even 'merge parts of Britain with parts of France'. Oh, hang on. You do know that, which is why you admit it was formed to "forge closer links between local councils".
  • It seems the most evil things you can find about this shadowy cabal of baddies is that they've funded cycle paths, travelling art exhibitions and clown shows. Damn those Eurocrats for, er, providing us money for transport and arts projects. Damn you, Europe! Not the cycle paths!
  • I mean, "EU chiefs have been quietly pouring around £1billion a year of taxpayers’ money into the regions." The bastards! Giving money to us? Why it's almost as if the UK has benefitted in some way from some EU funding.
  • This is all hardly an up to the minute scoop, since you say halfway through that Arc Manche was formally launched six years ago, which to be fair is only nine years out. After fifteen years, the closest we've got to a merged UK and France is some clown shows? Is that the best you can do?
  • Of course, the entire justification for this shoddy piece funhouse hucksterism is based on things Eric Pickles, Nigel Farage, the Taxpayers' Alliance and tory backbenchers have said. I probably don't need to point this out, but those guys are about as reliable on the reality of EU policy as, well, you.
  • "However, one Whitehall aide yesterday rubbished the emblem as “a bid to subvert the St George’s flag and the Union Jack”." Did he, Macer? Did he really?
  • No there won't be.
  • Seriously, there won't be.
  • My favourite thing about this article is that the 'angry revolt' is just illustrated by some couple of fat blokes burning an EU flag. Look at the fury on their smiling, podgy faces. Okay, one of them's scowling a bit, but still, it's hardly Little Big Horn, is it?
  • I also love the way you've used a quote that appears to trash the article to support it. "A spokeswoman for the Department said: “There are two flag poles outside the departmental building of Eland House, and it is the policy of the department always to fly the United Kingdom’s Union Flag in the superior position.”" She probably said that because the whole fly the flag or face a fine thing experienced by 'scores of public buildings across the country' is actually cobblers.
  • Of course, the Taxpayers' Alliance and Eric Pickles are the sources of whatever pretend fury there is, but we know how reliable they are, don't we?

Both stories

Here's the best bit. If the headlines and your byline weren't enough to clue us in to their reliability, letters to your editor that he decided not to print might help. According to spokespeople from the EU:
We are as surprised as your readers to hear that your newspaper believes the EU wishes to merge Britain and France. The suggestion that the “EU wants to merge UK with France”, 2nd May, is absurd, and of course, untrue.
Regarding your front page of today, only 2 buildings in the UK are expected to fly the European flag for Europe Day and the Commission would not fine countries that did not do so.
You might not have seen these as your editor doesn't have to do anything with this sort of thing since your paper withdrew from the PCC.  Nice to see you fellas staying classy after that development.

That was lucky for you, eh? You have a bullshit crusade of scaremongering to do, as you remind us by saying:
The Daily Express crusade to get Britain out of the EU has won massive support. We delivered a petition of 373,000 signatures from readers demanding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU to 10 Downing Street earlier this year.
in , er, both articles. Word for word. Hey, did you check those signatures for duplicates, 'Mickey Mouse', 'Pete ZaHutt' and 'Syph Ellis' style hilarity? Of course you did.

And with articles like this, you'll end up with a few more signatures from gullible marks concerned, patriotic citizens in no time! What can we expect in the future? '"Cyclists: wear a beret, hooped shirt and onions or face a massive fine" EU says', 'Now EU renames Scotch Eggs 'Northern European pork and oeuf product bready balls', 'EU bans legs'.  Maybe they'd sit alongside stories about how there are too many darkies, or 'ethnics' as your colleague Sarah O'Grady and, er, you prefer to call them, in a lovely xenophobic, racist stew.  Who can say?

Since the Express isn't in the PCC anymore, the answer is no-one. No-one can say.

I'd like to give a big thank you to TabloidWatch for covering these articles. If he hadn't done that, I may never have seen them.

Right, that's it! As you may remember, I'll be reproducing this letter over at Five Chinese Crackers - plus, you're eligible to win the 5cc tabloid bullshitter of the year award at the end of the year. Since this is your second monthly award, you're in the front running with the Mail's Jack Doyle. Good luck!

You're also more than welcome to have an acceptance or rebuttal published over at my blog.  Just reply to this email (that way I'll know it's you) and I'll publish it - and send you the image file of a crap drawing of a trophy that's the official prize for this award.

I'd love to hear a justification for your nonsense this month, but I won't be holding my breath. Strangely reluctant to defend yourselves, you lot. Go on, be the first hack ever to reply! Let me know why it's okay to say scores of buildings have to fly flags when the real number is two and tha the country will face massive fines when it in fact won't.  I'm all ears.

Cheers then,

Okay people, that's it for another month. At the end of June I'll be back as close to the last Saturday of the month as I can manage for more snarky sniping at easy targets.

UPDATE:  Hat-tip to Matt for emailing me the Mail sports games story and the reaction from CVG.


Unknown said...

Superb letter, as always! I just really, really wish they'd reply... Just once...

Patrick Neylan said...

Do you think they ever tire of this? Thanks for sharing this cretinous idiocy: it saves me buying the paper.

NickPheas said...

A splendid peice of ranting there 5cc.

Philip said...

snarky sniping at easy targets

"Easy targets" just means they deserve all the snark you can snipe.

Word Verification: ghterni, something not particularly nice involving pasta and gherkins, which will have replaced all indigenous British food, pets and road signs by 2021.

Anonymous said...

Love your work! Like Mr Thought i'd love to hear of a reply, surely the recipients have some shame, even on some intuitive level? no?