Monday, 23 May 2011

Daily Mail Website: The Web-Portal to Hell

I drifted aimlessly to the Daily Mail website, with the obviously high expectations one has when one flits over to the portal of journalistic excellence that is their website. Within literally nanoseconds (Several thousand nanoseconds, but still, technically, nanoseconds) these high hopes were crushed like a cartoon character who was woefully caught beneath a falling anvil or piano, or one tonne weight. Dismayed, my optimism turned quickly to bitter “What the hell, Daily Mail!?” exclamations ringing around my head. Still! I persevered and, located beside the stories of “Mrs Paddy McGuinness” getting a tan on her hen party (Featuring titillating images of the soon to be bride in little more than a skimpy bikini) and Paula Hamilton revealing that she was lucky enough to lose her virginity to Simon Cowell (Most personal moment of anyone’s life… Better reveal it in a national newspaper!) was a story about SHOCKING hen party antics involving teachers! Teachers, as we all know, shut down after school, and rest, face down, at their desk, until 8:00 the next morning, when they are programmed to wake. So to see them, outside, having fun!? OUTRAGE! They used the word “Disgrace!”. That’s how I knew it was outrageous. Left to my own devices, I would have assumed teachers, in their own time, drinking together and going out, was fairly alright behaviour, but thank God the Daily Mail has morals far stronger than mine. The same morals that publish FAR more raunchy photos of celebrities than these teachers published of themselves. Good thing that they also think it’s tickety-boo to find your kids’ teachers on facebook, find the photos, print them off, and post them through other people’s doors with a note about how outraged you are, otherwise the mental parent who, let’s be fair, stalks their kids teachers, might look odd. Still, a parent went down to the school, and was told to “Mind his own business”, apparently. The unnamed father said “She said what she and her staff did out of school was up to them.”, which is apparently too absurd to imagine. Thank God the Mail knows it’s okay to pry into people’s private lives, which in no way affect their work. They’ve surprisingly neglected to mention the whole Syrian crisis at all, nothing about the ongoing scuffle in Libya, and WORST OF ALL, nothing about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accusing the West of rain-theft. The Daily Mail contains literally 0% of your daily required Newstrients. Everyone who reads it dies of lack of Current Affairs. Or Old Age, given that the average reader is 94 years old (That is what I like to call a “Daily Mail Fact” in that it’s not true, but is a wild exaggeration to make a point).

I like to imagine what it’s like to work at the Daily Mail, sometimes, when it’s late at night, and dark outside. I like to sit back and think about what it would be like in the offices of the Daily Mail, behind the shimmering doors and reception, the offices in which these people work. And what I imagine is a separate world, a place unto itself, where Richard Littlejohn and Paul Dacre have posters of their face on every wall, where thousands of cubicles spew out hate and anger and rage unto the world, churning out outraged columns about anything and everything, and I like to focus on one woman who works there. Let’s call her Samantha, Sam to her friends. She has blonde hair, and thinks she looks good in a skirt and those shear tights. Sam’s got a story in her hand, it doesn’t matter what it’s about, but for imagination’s sake, let’s be devils and say it’s about import of foreign apples into Britain, a nation perfectly capable of generating its own apples. She idly hums as she researches the statistics on apple consumption in the UK over the last 25 years, and asks Steve, from graphics, to knock up a quick graph of the figures. She goes to speak to the editor and asks “How do I play this story sir?” and what he does, is he directs her to a giant coin drop machine, and asks her if she wants to drop the coin this time. She giggles excitedly, and her face flushes as she grabs the Mail’s “Coin of Outrage” (A ten pence, painted black in 1994 and ceremonially repainted every year) and drops it into the top. “Ooooh, I hope I get to be FURIOUS about this!” she squees, as the coin bounces and bobbles its merry way down the wall. The circle soon reaches its fate-determined basket, which, in this case, is in fact, merely “Mildly peeved”. “Awwww.” Says Sam, as her editor says “One day you’ll get Furious, I promise.” To her. She slumps, and shuffles back to her desk, where she starts writing the story. She plays with the headlines, “”Apple Import Shock”? Naaaah….Oh, I’ve GOT IT! “Britain’s Foreign Apple Shame”!” she says in her head, and earnestly starts typing. “New figures revealed by the Office for Non-Citrus Fruits today showed that imports of apples from abroad are rising, despite Britain’s capability to easily produce our own levels of apples.”. But then the graphic comes back from Steve, via carrier pigeon (I imagine they’re still afraid of email) and she sees the downward trend in the graph, and then she thinks “Expose on Britain’s falling apple consumption?!”. She carries on with her story, all the while letting this other story slowly come through.
“Apples, from as far away as New Zealand and Japan, have been coming into the country, despite the prevalence of orchards in our own countryside. This increase in imports has come despite Britain’s falling consumption of the humble Apple. We can only ask what happened to Britain’s apples? We asked one farmer, Joseph Kipps, who said “I used to be able to produce over 4 tonnes of apples a year, but with cheaper imports and a lack of subsidies from the Office of Non-Citrus Fruits, I can only afford to run the orchard on half-capacity. Of course, this has all come from global economic speculators driving the prices down for the farmer and driving the prices up for the consumer, which makes apples even less popular, which drives our prices down even more. Most of my apples are “bought”, if I can really use that term, for a pittance by a desk in New York.””. Sam showed her story to the editor, who said he liked it, but “I want a story, not a lesson on global economics through the medium of apples. Cut down his quote a bit, luv. We’ll make a reporter of you yet.”. And with that, my mind’s eye zooms out, having taken all it can tolerate, back to the safety of home.

No comments:

Post a Comment