Grey Cardigan

Online indignation didn’t kill the Page 3 lovelies

YOU KNOW, it’s no wonder that old people like me get confused in this modern digital age. Last week the Twittersphere was up in arms about the attempted censorship of a tiny French magazine that printed vile and offensive cartoons; today the Thought Police are claiming victory in their battle to censor Britain’s best-selling newspaper. Can somebody please explain?

Whatever the feminists would have you believe (and since when has feminism been about telling women what to do with their bodies?), the Sun’s apparent decision to drop bare breasts from Page 3 had little to do with online indignation and everything to do with simple pragmatism. Uncle Rupert flagged up months ago that he thought the tabloid trademark might have had its day, not because of the hairy-legged harridans at his gate but because the majority of Sun readers are now women – a straightforward marketing decision. And if sales now drop, expect the return of sexy Sadie and her informed opinion on the situation in Syria pronto.

And what is this ‘victory’ anyway? Page 3 of today’s newspaper might not have nudge-and-wink nipple action, but it still has scantily-clad ladies cavorting across the page in bikinis. Is that any better? Je suis a right pair of Charlies.

The really scary thing is to ponder what’s next in line for the Twittermob treatment now that this ‘battle’ has been won. Because the one thing we know about self-appointed censors, they’re never happy unless they can tell you what you can’t watch, read or think.

AT LAST, a confession – and confirmation – of what I have been banging on about for what seems years. A senior suit – in this case Tom Thomson of the Herald & Times group in Glasgow – finally comes clean on the financial reality of the modern media business by admitting that 90% of his company’s revenue still comes from its flagship print title.

In that case, I’m bound to ask once again why newspaper managers have butchered their titles by binning editions, closing district offices and massacring staff numbers while pumping out yesterday’s news tomorrow, just to piss millions of pounds up a profitless paywall. I await an answer with interest.

THOSE BASTARDS at the Guardian, who are largely responsible for the collapse of the newspaper industry by convincing consumers that all content comes for free, are just taking the piss now. After running a lengthy feature on ‘how to make toast’, their latest effort is a ‘taste test’ on packets of cup-of-soups.

This isn’t educating and informing their audience; it’s just taking the piss out of poor people in Bedlam-style, point-and-laugh mockery. I suppose we should just be grateful that they didn’t illustrate it with Lego models.

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Grey Cardigan

Written by Grey Cardigan

The Grey Cardigan has been in newspapers since the days of hot metal and expense accounts. After a lengthy career as chief sub on several regional newspapers, plus a multitude of shifts on the nationals, he was appointed editor of the Evening Beast in 2009 before being ignominiously 'rationalised' last year. He is currently collecting gas in jam jars in case the Russians cut us off. @thegreycardigan

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