It seems Australia's famously stringent border controls have been unable to prevent the Daily Mail entering their country:
In a press release posted as a news story on the Mail's website, Martin Clarke, publisher of the MailOnline is quoted as saying: "The Daily Mail has been one of the world's most influential and trusted news brands [stop giggling at the back] since its launch in the United Kingdom more than a century ago. I'm excited that we can now offer Australians a local version with a strong focus on editorial integrity and campaigning journalism."
Q1. The Mail Online has reported that a "topless Kim Kardashian" has made a "shockingly gratuitous" music video including a "nip slip". How many pictures of this "shockingly gratuitous" video do you think they have included in their article?
A. None of course! Because it's "shockingly gratuitous".
B. One, begrudgingly, in order to give readers some necessary context.
C. 25 screengrabs and two video clips
Q2. For a bonus point. Do you think they included the aforementioned "nip slip"?
A. No, of course not.
B. You betcha!
Correct answers: C and B
The Daily Mail has been waging war on online porn but it seems that doesn't stop them promoting hardcore pornography if they'll get a few clicks out of it online. So today the Mail ran an article about a US writer who filmed sex scenes with a porn star:
Naturally, the Mail included a censored screenshot from the video:
And if all that makes you wonder where you can watch this for yourself, the Mail gladly informs us "an edited one-minute-six-second-long version of their sex tape was uploaded to jamesdeen.com last Friday".
And in case you were wondering what sort of website the Daily Mail is promoting, the description on the site says:
"Jamesdeen.com is packed with hardcore oral, pussy and anal action. From sweet, teen amateurs to top porn stars."
So there you go. The Daily Mail: tough on porn, but willing to make an exception for hardcore oral, pussy and anal action if it's good for web traffic.
Tony Parsons has revealed he joined The Sun on Sunday as a columnist because he believes the paper offers him a more assured future than his former employer The Mirror.
"I left [The Mirror] after 18 years. It was not something I did lightly or easily but I joined The Sun because I want my journalism to have a future," said Parsons, speaking to journalists and bloggers at the paper's London headquarters.
Although when questioned at the same event, Sun editor David Dinsmore wasn't sharing details on how many people have so far signed up for a Sun+ subscription, his latest recruit believes a paywall is essential to safeguard journalism online.
"I'm comfortable behind a paywall because I don't see how I can support my family if the people that employ me keep giving my stuff away."
"You can't keep paying somebody like me a lot of money and keep giving it away for free. I couldn't see that working for another 18 years. I kept getting paid this large sum of money while people were losing their jobs."
Although Parsons' switch from The Mirror to The Sun raised a few eyebrows he feels the move is not as controversial as it might once have been.
"I'm joining David Dinsmore's Sun, I'm not joining Kelvin Mackenzie's Sun," Parsons told The Media Blog.
The Sun also announced today a new editor for The Sun on Sunday. Victoria Newton is the latest editor to be promoted from the ranks of the paper's showbiz desk, having previously been The Sun's Los Angeles correspondent and more recently editing Bizarre.
The BBC's Simon McCoy wins the award for honest reporting from outside the hospital where Kate Middleton is expected to give birth. McCoy signed off a report today with the words:
"Well, plenty more to come from here of course. None of it news... But that won't stop us."
This followed an earlier assertion from McCoy:
"Never have so many people gathered together in one place with absolutely nothing to say."
And all over the media people have been trying to cope with the fact that there has been no news whatsoever.
Sky offered up this headline:
Many of the papers are also offering a live video feed from the hospital on their websites, enabling The Mirror to capture the dramatic moments this afternoon when a policeman folded his arms and shuffled on the spot a bit:
The Daily Mail appears to have dedicated its entire website front page to the Royal Baby despite the absence of news. Its articles include a piece about the lengths the media are going just to fill space with anything (which includes a photograph of Sky News reporter Kay Burley applying some make-up).
The Mail is also filling its time asking important questions such as:
"Will the baby be a feisty Leo or a sensitive Cancerian?"
"The nation is on tenterhooks as we wait to hear whether our future monarch is a girl or a boy but astrologers claim his or her star-sign can provide us with a telling picture of our future monarch."
They would, wouldn't they. They're astrologers.
The same paper also brought this breaking news:
"Joan Collins, Spice Girls singer Mel B and reality TV star Snooki led the hordes of celebrities tweeting ahead of the royal baby's arrival on Monday morning."
I think I would have more chance of picking the as-yet unborn royal baby out of an identity parade than I would Snooki, but it's good to know she's excited.
The Telegraph also brought us a piece about the total absence of news, alongside its own sea of coverage and The Sun brought us the potentially catastrophic claim that the world is holding its breath until the baby is born (don't try that at home, this could take hours). The Sun is one of many outlets offering a live blog of non-events as they don't unfold:
The Sun also took to Twitter to bring us the news that "things are progressing as normal". Though presumably normal does not include the massed ranks of the world's media waiting outside the hospital.
The Sun then brought us the same news nearly four hours later from its @TheSunBreakingNews account:
However, full marks to the Guardian for cutting through this newsless limbo with an option for readers to hit a "republican" button on its homepage and be delivered news free from mentions of the royal baby (as opposed to mentions of the royal baby free from news).
The Daily Mail, that campaigner for free speech, that critic of media censorship, has today claimed victory in its campaign to get "web sleaze" blocked online.
The newspaper, which has been criticised in the past for sexualising pre-teen girls and uses the phrase "all grown up" to attract readers who like to ogle pictures of young girls on the internet says it wants to preserve the innocence of children.
The paper which rails against the "nanny state" and whose own website is propped up by an unwavering column of exposed flesh, says it's time to make it more difficult to see nudity (elsewhere) on the internet.
Just don't let the stories on the right-hand side distract you from the Mail's moral crusade...
The Media Blog is now four years old. Here are the top 10 links from the first four years:
1. The Daily Mail turns the creepiness up a notch - The Daily Mail's unhealthy interest in young girls clearly shocked a lot of Media Blog readers.
2. They didn't...?: The Liverpool Echo manages one of the worst page layouts we've seen in a very long time.
3. BBC calls its own Facebook fans "saddos" - This wasn't a great start to the BBC's online coverage of the Olympics.
4. Daybreak viewers: Confused by time... A popular post has become a running joke as Daybreak viewers are consistently confused about ITV+1.
5. Footballers lives: The Twitter years - A reminder that footballers have never quite mastered the art of Twitter.
6. Ooops! The Daily Mail falls victim to spoof Steve JobsiPhone recall Tweet - Journalists too have often struggled with Twitter, especially when it comes to spotting a fake account.
7. Genius newspaper correction... This newspaper correction has been circulating online ever since it first appeared.
8. Mail blames Twitter for Tottenham riots - If in doubt, blame the internet.
9. The Daily Mail limps on with 'Big Fat' campaign - The Mail embarrasses itself with a faltering campaign against Channel 4.
10. Telegraph picture editor has Sixth Sense - A photo blunder at the Telegraph.
Thanks to all the friends, followers, spotters and hat tippers who have made the last four years such fun.
The Guardian's US colleagues are asking readers to share their thoughts on Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald who this week revealed the identity of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in one of the scoops of the year.
I hope it's tongue-in-cheek. The online form (oh yes, there's an online form) includes questions such as these...
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The Mail Online today has struck upon a new niche in its endless pursuit for opportunities to ogle and judge women:
"For most women a police mug shot is the most humiliating photograph that will ever be taken...But these pictures of 10 women arrested in the U.S. have shown that some women have managed to maintain their looks in their mug shots..."
That's right girls, arrest and capture is no excuse to let yourselves go - because it's not just the judge who's going to be judging you nowadays:
The whole thing reads like an advert for a specialist dating website:
"Lorena Taverna appears to be pouting for the camera after being arrested for shoplifting while Toni Lee Hopkins does not seem at all intimidated after she was arrested for violating statutes governing sexually oriented businesses..."
Not to mention Rachel Kathryn Lemler who "still looks good" despite being arrested for drink driving. Well done her.
Over in the US, President Obama has waded into the debate surrounding CNN's craptacular coverage of the Boston bombing and subsequent manhunt. Speaking at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, Obama joked:
"I know CNN has taken some knocks lately, but I admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story just in case one of them happens to be accurate."
Our very own Piers Morgan (though America, you're very welcome to keep him) was also singled out by comedian and US talk show host Conan O'Brien speaking at the dinner. O'Brien questioned CNN's judgement in replacing "the popular Larry King with one of the scheming footmen from Downton Abbey".
CNN today reported...
This was followed with...
That basically sums up a pretty bad day at the office for US journalism, because it wasn't just CNN who was making an almighty hash of this story, the misinformation was spread far and wide. Buzzfeed has captured it all here.
Twitter's shameful Boston chancers
Whenever tragedy strikes, the temptation now is to look away from Twitter because in the hours and days following any major incident we tend to see some of the behaviours which consistently let Twitter down - from sensationalist and wildly inaccurate media reports to clumsy ambush marketing attempts and vile jokes or hateful comments.
This has certainly been true of the terrorist attack in Boston. Whatever the motivation there are inevitably those who see a tragedy as an opportunity - to drive web traffic, to sell products, to gain twitter followers or simply to spread hatred and cause offence.
Of course, Twitter remains a powerful source of instant news and communication at such times but that is often lost amid sensationalist misinformation - both wilful and accidental:
As soon as news breaks, people seem unable to resist the urgent need to create a defining role for themselves in the telling of the story, tweeting or retweeting the most alarming details they can find - or think up - in order to set themselves apart from those who are holding out for actual news. People look to flood the news vaccuum with misinformation.
Simon Ricketts over the Guardian has written a good piece about this.
Others meanwhile rush to judgement, shamefully seizing upon the opportunity to give vent to their hateful prejudices. In this instance people were quick to blame everybody from President Obama to North Korea for the terrorist attack in Boston.
And unlike somebody holding forth in a pub pointing the finger at who they believe is guilty - or speculating about a death toll or motive - those sharing ill-informed theories on Twitter can very quickly become part of a gathering storm which has a speed and a scale unseen in the real world.
Inevitably some of the nastiest comments by far on Twitter have come from vile hate mob the Westboro Baptist Church who have threatened to picket the funerals of victims and claim the attacks were God's punishment for same sex marriage.
Another hallmark of major news breaking on Twitter seems to be that there is always at least one brand which inevitably tries to piggyback on public interest in unfolding events to market products or services.
Remember Gap taking advantage of the deadly hurricane Sandy to promote its online shopping services to New Yorkers trapped indoors?
With the Boston Marathon terrorist attack it was food website Epicurious:
The tweets from Epicurious were certainly stupid but probably crass and clueless more than malicious. We've seen such tweets enough in the past to know somebody will always get it wrong.
However, far more baffling was this attempt to exploit the tragedy, from somebody pretending to be comedian Lee Evans:
We can safely assume this bogus tweeter will not make good on the sizeable donation owed and they have now deleted the tweet and changed their account overnight.
As with most things which occur on Twitter, such behaviour is often an exaggeration of human failings. Tasteless jokes and ideas which might previously have drawn a shocked reaction from just a handful of people down a pub can now reach thousands or even millions of people.
The chancers - from the clumsy and the insensitive to the downright twisted and hateful - who would exploit a tragedy may previously have done so anyway in some real world way, but Twitter makes it easier and increases the reach. The result is often a bad taste left in the mouth and another dent in our faith in humanity.
You may remember back in February a journalist writing for the Daily Mail got a very public dressing down over at Mumsnet after she posted a rather loaded question about the NHS (see: Daily Mail journalist learns not to mess with Mumsnet).
It seems the Daily Mail has never really been a fan of Mumsnet, but since that incident the paper has published a couple of particularly negative articles about the parenting website.
You may spot a theme in the headlines: There was "Why I hate negative, judgmental Mumsnet" by TV presenter Amanda Holden and there was "Why I hate the smug bullies on Mumsnet!" by journalist Shona Sibary.
Past headlines have also included "I hate Mumsnet: Why one mum thinks the parenting website is smug, patronising and vicious".
But the latest piece has backfired slightly after the Mail was forced to publish a correction and clarification.
Not because Shona Sibary described Mumsnet as:
"...an insidious website inhabited by self-satisfied mothers whose sole purpose in life, it seems, is to lord themselves over other women."
And not because the article referred to Mumsnet members as "monsters" and a "cliquey, elitist bunch of witches".
It wasn't even because the writer suggested "behind closed doors" Mumsnet members are probably all "popping Prozac and deeply resenting the loss of identity and lack of short-term gratification that motherhood brings."
No, it was because Sibary appeared to suggest the level of bullying on Mumsnet may make members commit suicide:
"There's been much in the news recently about... a concerning social network site... that has been blamed for the tragic suicides of several teenagers. Well, welcome to the adult version - Mumsnet."
That has resulted in the following clarification being published by the Mail this week:
"The article may ...have suggested that bullying behaviour by [Mumsnet] users could encourage suicide. We are happy to clarify that no suicides have ever been linked to Mumsnet and that its members offer valuable support to those in distress or suffering mental illness."
You can bet the Mail probably wasn't really that happy about having to publish a clarification.
The BBC has revealed the breakdown of 766 complaints received about its coverage of Margaret Thatcher's death:
Yesterday The Media Blog reported the lengths to which the Daily Mail was going to make it look like the BBC's coverage of Margaret Thatcher's death contained a "disgraceful" left-wing bias (even using an old photo to make it look like newsreader Huw Edwards wore a jazzy pink tie to deliver the news).
Turning to Twitter for comment, the Mail managed to overlook the great many tweets which didn't support the story it was always going to write.
According to a report on the Mail Online we are living in a "raunch culture" where "the objectification of women's bodies is having a disastrous effect upon the self-image of girls and young women."
The Mail Online reports:
"Big business is promoting a 'raunch culture' that corrupts young girls, teachers warned yesterday... As a result, girls are becoming fixated with their figures, with many developing eating disorders...
"The bleak assessment was laid out at the National Union of Teachers' conference in Liverpool... An NUT motion stated: "The objectification of women's bodies is playing an ever more horrifying role in society and is having a disastrous effect upon the self-image of girls and young women. Growing up in a world where it is normal for women's bodies to be seen as sex objects affects the way that girls in our schools grow to view themselves and their place in society. Girls are coming under unprecedented pressure to conform with unrealistic physical and sexual ideals and modifying their behaviour because of contact with adult material."
Which makes you wonder, if the Mail Online understands why the objectification of women may be a problem, why does it work so tirelessly to perpetuate it? After all, the Mail Online has shown a fairly single-minded dedication to making itself the go-to website for photo stories passing comment on the weight, shape, size and curves of women's bodies.
At this point it is probably worth looking at a selection of the stories which the Mail Online is running alongside this piece today - though they are pretty tame by the Mail's normal standards:
Although the Mail Online's article makes no mention of the way women are represented in the tabloid media, it does include criticism of the Playboy brand and the way it has crossed over into mainstream media and marketing. Of course, the Mail didn't let that criticism put them off running this breaking news story over the weekend:
The Daily Mail has covered a planning dispute in Grimsby. Hardly the most interesting of news stories you might think - and you'd be right - but the Mail has certainly tried its best to make the story a little more eye-catching:
The story involves a couple's complaint that their old house was torn down by developers a fortnight after they had sold it along with some adjoining land which reportedly had planning permission for two houses.
The demolition of their house was described as being like a scene from Apocalypse Now by an anonymous eye-witness who as luck would have it spoke in headline-friendly soundbites.
Powerless neighbours watched in shock as the machines tore the house down, in a scene they compared to the helicopter attack in cult film 'Apocalypse Now'.
If you haven't seen Apocalypse Now - the scene in question looks like this:
The couple whose house was razed to the ground by the massed firepower of the US army, explained that they didn't really want to sell, but the developers made them "an offer they could not refuse" - making it a bit like a scene from The Godfather as well.
"Mr and Mrs Watts said: 'It's horrifying. We are shell shocked. We just can't believe it has happened. It was a beautiful family home filled with memories."
It is indeed odd to think that the new owners decided against maintaining the house as a museum to the happy memories of Mr and Mrs Watts, but this tale of suburban Apocalypse gets even worse.
Because it turns out the developers didn't apply in advance for the proper planning permission to demolish the house ...making it all just like the scene in Star Wars where the Rebel Alliance demolish the Death Star without planning permission from North East Lincolnshire Council.
The first rule of budget club is you don't talk about budget club until the Chancellor has given his speech. Of course there have been a few leaks over the past few days, regarding what we might expect, but no confirmation as to the exact content of the Chancellor's speech.
Or at least that was the case right up until the Evening Standard jumped the gun and tweeted its front page which contained a raft of spoilers they will have been given under a strict embargo.
As London's evening paper, The Standard clearly cannot risk being left out of embargoed Westminster news, so there then followed a grovelling - some might say over the top - apology from editor Sarah Sands:
"An investigation is immediately underway into how this front page was made public and the individual who Tweeted the page has been suspended while this takes place. We have immediately reviewed our procedures. We are devastated that an embargo was breached and offer our heartfelt apologies."
"Devastated" no less.
The Standard's political editor Joe Murphy also waded in on the apologising and even the apologosing:
The BBC has a list of past budget leaks and the people who have lost their jobs over them, including Chancellor Hugh Dalton who was forced to resign in 1947 after details appeared in print before he had finished delivering his budget.
Hollywood actor and Hacked Off campaigner Hugh Grant has called The Spike a "must watch", Tom Watson MP called it "what the papers say for the modern age" and comedian Rufus Hound called it "excellent".
But don't take their word for it.
This week the satirical media show tackled the misrepresentation of Hilary Mantel, a dodgy exclusive from The Sun's fake sheikh and a selection of stories which really didn't live up to their headlines.