Tuesday 28 July 2009

The Quail wants YOU

Respect, riches, fame, a tan. All things that will never be achieved by blogging.

Despite this, an ever growing number of otherwise well-adjusted members of society continue to flock to the bleak void known opaquely by regular people and the mainstream media as 'The Blogosphere'. It's been three years since Time Magazine patronisingly named 'YOU' person of the year for, among other things, scribbling nonsense in the rationality vacuum that is the internet, instantly rendering it uncool, but still blogs proliferate like Swine flu on the pages of tabloid newspapers.

Against this backdrop of exponential new media growth, traditional media - especially newspapers - find themselves increasingly marginalised as they flail about online desperately trying retain the odd visitor with an inane mix of fear, sensationalism, titillation and low relevence/high traffic/short-tail keywords.

For newspapers to survive, they must become more professional, more trustworthy, more accountable, and more responsible. Presently, a great many are amateurish, deceitful, largely unaccountable and irresponsible.

To effect change in the way newspapers operate, they must be made aware that readers are dissatisfied with their content and object to being lied to and manipulated. It only takes a cursory glance at The Mail, The Sun, The Express or The News of the World's frontpages to see that they care little for actually conveying news to the masses, and yet these titles are still the most widely circulated in Britain.

In fact, most of the content carried by the above four is comically stupid. It doesn't end there either; all of the national news outlets run poorly researched, reactionary rubbish with sad regularity. As aspiring graduate journalists fight for firecely contested unpaid placements on national newspapers, useless, willfully ignorant columnists like Richard Littlejohn, Allison Pearson, Carole Malone, and John Gaunt churn out endless streams of outrage-inducing drivel. I don't think newspapers can improve while this pattern continues.

They're crying out for some consistent skewering. I've been pointing and laughing at them for nearly a year now, and there's a host of excellent blogs which do the same (if you haven't already, bookmark or subscribe to The Enemies of Reason, MailWatch, The Sun Lies, Tabloid Watch, Angry Mob, Stirring up Apathy, Five Chinese Crackers, Obsolete, Eric the Fish, Hagley Road to Ladywood, No Sleep Til Brooklands, to name a few).

The problem is, the sheer volume of crap produced by the mainstream media is so vast it's impossible for an individual, or even a circle of bloggers, to wade through it all. It's hard enough keeping up with The Mail's prodigious bowel movements of banality, let alone the rest - and that's just the papers. There's plenty of nonsense on TV too.

With this in mind, I'd like to cordially invite you to come and laugh at the nation's purveyors of piss-poor journalism with me. I firmly believe that humour is an excellent tool in exposing tabloid shoddiness, and making the spouters of bile and inciters to hatred an object of amusement is a great way to let everyone know how silly they really are.

So, next time you stumble across some moronic slap-dash piece in the paper or on the web, take the piss and send it in so we can all laugh at it together. The more people are aware of just how ridiculous news reporting often is, the better. If the papers themselves come across people laughing at them (and they do look out for this stuff), great. If readers who may not have otherwise realised how much rancid piffle they're being spoon-fed find it and get irritated by it too, even better!

I've set up a form thing HERE where you can send in your own parodies, piss-takes and interesting stuff about stupid news (or 'Quails' as I like to call them). Hopefully it will work. It's pretty easy: find an article, strip out the gumph, and rewrite it to say what the author really had in mind. It can be as short as a few lines or a single image or as long as five or six paragraphs.

Happy Quailing!


  1. I'm in - are you accepting international entries? The Mail has a kindred spirit in the Herald Sun in Australia.

    Is the Bournemouth Echo too fish in a barrel for you?

  2. I'd love to give things an international flavour, even if it does taste of Fosters.

    As for the Bournemouth Echo, there is no fish too small. I'm a petty man.

  3. Ah here, we've not brewed or drunk Fosters since 1981, I can't be blamed for that.

    Very well, the Echo shall have a new echo.

  4. The Herald Sun is superb. 'Fun murderer gets off light', says the front page, next to 'Muffy the dog's amazing journey'. Splendid.