Thursday, 30 April 2015

Chain Mail

Once upon a time, newspapers used to be the best way of finding out what goes on in the world. Page after page, there would be detailed write-ups of the latest news and when I say news, I mean actual news. Proper stories about important events. Of course, the political agenda of editors and newspaper owners have always influenced the tone of reporting, but in years past, you could at least read a newspaper from front to back and actually have a bloody good idea about what's going on in the world.

Then one day, they all went a bit shit. Some more than others. To be fair, it took more than a day for this to happen, but we have now arrived at an era when the latest X Factor winner is all over the front page, then a few pages in (after the tits, if it's that kind of paper), a sensationalist take on a news story that actually sodding matters. By the time you've reached the back page, you still know shit-all about what's going on in the world, but you do know who will be shagging/murdering/punching/cheating on who in Eastenders tonight.

For those of you who have followed this blog for quite some time, you may recall I sort-of touched on this subject a few years ago and things have only got worse since then. One of the worst - if not the worst - offenders is the Daily Mail, with it's horrifically twisted, right-wing agenda, scare-mongering stories and creepy, sexist descriptions of women. And that's just the start.

Like every other newspaper, the Mail has invested heavily in its online presence over the years and has developed a knack for creating all kinds of horrible clickbait. It's far too easy for some people to be drawn in and actually click the links that take them to the Mail website, then post the links, themselves, expressing their outrage, meaning that more people click the links until it gets to the point that the number of hits to the website dramatically soar and the editors of the Mail can boast about it and get some sort of award, which encourages them to keep pumping this shit out, so that the vicious circle continues.

Personally, I refuse to click any links that would take me to the Daily Mail website and I know I'm not the only one, but there are still far too many people who give in to their curiosity, therefore giving the editors the hits that they want. I do think it's important to keep track on the ridiculous stories the Mail runs with, if not to laugh at how horribly sick and twisted they are, but to also flag up any "advice" or "information" that could be dangerous or damaging to people and organisations.

So, how do we do it? Well, I think the best idea would be establish a sort of National Service-style agenda, which involves nominating one person via a ballot to trawl the Daily Mail website each day, taking screenshots of the worst articles and submitting said screenshots to a special blog or website each evening. After a month, this person steps down and another is nominated to do the same for another month, so the cycle continues. As a result, you can view the revolting bile without giving the Mail the satisfaction of swelling their website hits.

It would take a lot of organisation and all sorts of tricks and dodges for various reasons, but as the cries to not go to the Daily Mail website in droves always seem to fall on deaf ears, what choice have we got?

Then again, we could just tell them to piss off.

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