Sunday, 7 March 2010

Not front page news

Today's Mail on Sunday is a very good example of what not to put on the front of your newspaper:

Ignoring the cheap watch giveaway, we'll start at the top of the page, which is, ironically, also the bottom of the barrel.

Piers Morgan. Talking about celebrities. Urgh.

Morgan and inanity go together like 'Viglen' and 'dodgy share-tipping'. The only surprise is he didn't put himself as the number one celebrity who 'matters most'.

Instead, he chose Simon Cowell, which has absolutely nothing to do with Cowell being Morgan's boss on Britain's Got Talent.

Morgan says Cowell:

constantly takes risks.

Really? He came to most people's attention with Pop Idol, based on the already 'successful' format of Popstars. Pop Idol was an ITV 'talent' show where hopefuls performed in front a panel of judges and gradually got eliminated based on a public vote.

He then did The X Factor, an ITV 'talent' show where hopefuls performed in front a panel of judges and gradually got eliminated based on a public vote.

And then he took a huge 'risk' with Britain's Got Talent, an ITV 'talent' show where hopefuls performed in front a panel of judges and gradually got eliminated based on a public vote.

And that's not even mentioning his involvement in American Idol and America's Got Talent.

Morgan and Cowell's fellow Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden turns up in 24th place, while X Factor tear-factory Cheryl Cole is 3rd.

It's almost as if Morgan is just trying to impress his famous friends and show how terribly important he is - if you can possibly imagine him doing such a thing.

His definition of 'celebrity' for the purpose of this list seems to be anyone who is British and famous. You would be hard pushed to class Sir Michael Caine, Sir David Attenborough and Jeremy Paxman as 'celebrities'.

He includes Attenborough at number 96. So according to Morgan, Sir David 'matters' less than Coleen Rooney (67th), JLS (59th), James Corden (41st), Susan Boyle (37th) and Jordan (28th), and only matters slightly more than Heather Mills, who he puts in at 100 because she's:

brilliantly talentless.

It is an absolutely missable read.

The main story on Mail on Sunday's front page isn't much better. David Cameron's wife 'might' have voted Labour in the past and 'might' do again this year, it says, rather incredibly. It's based on a claim made by Shadow Culture Spokesman Ed Vaizey in an upcoming Andrew Rawnsley documentary about David Cameron.

As a front page news story, it's thin gruel. And it doesn't say much for the Mail on Sunday. Either they put this on the front page without properly investigating the claim. Or they had three fairly firm denials, and decided to go ahead with it anyway.

Whichever is true, it reflects poorly on Editor Peter Wright and Editor-in-Chief Paul Dacre.

The online version contains Samantha's denial:

‘I did not vote for Tony Blair in 1997 and I have never voted Labour.’

And then Conservative Central Office's statement that as Samantha had taken five weeks off work in 1997 to campaign for the Tories, it's highly unlikely she would have then voted Labour.

And there was Vaizey himself:

'I haven’t a clue whether she voted for Blair and I would be very surprised if she did. She married David in June 1996, so of course she voted for him in 1997...I don’t think Sam ever voted for Blair.'

Of course, they all would say that, wouldn't they? But it doesn't really seem very likely and certainly doesn't seem worth splashing all over the front page of your paper.

The same is true of the other story the Mail on Sunday decided was more important than anything else going on in the world today. What is it?

Dog ate my pearl earring.

Yes, really.

Remember how the Mail newspapers never once put the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Haiti on their front page?

But a spaniel swallows a piece of jewellery?

Now that is important...

[Update: the above has been corrected, based on the comments. I'm glad to say my knowledge of crappy reality shows isn't that good.]


  1. Piers Morgan: there are few as talentless and relently inane as him. Why does anyone employ him, and why would anyone care about his thoughts on a bunch of people no one should even care about anyway.

    Not just the front page of the Mail on Sunday, but also the lead for an advertising campaign. The Mail really is the pits.

  2. Regards the 100 celebrities thing... even better is his criteria for ignoring folks. At number 3 "A lot of stars haven't made it because they're just too irritating (Robbie Coltrane), too vile (Christian Bale) or too old hat (Queen)." I wonder why the DM website is refusing to take readers' comments on this article...

  3. Erm Simon Cowell didn't do either Pop Stars or Pop Stars - The Rivals. If you are going to have a go at others for inaccuracy....

  4. A pedant writes: actually Cowell wasn't on Pop Stars - he was on Pop Idol. So that's even less of a risk, because he only started doing that sort of thing when it was established as a popular genre.

  5. Anonymous - Yep, it was an error. I've never claimed to be perfect. But here's a difference: look how quickly I've corrected the error, compared with 'others'.

    Chris - thanks, have amended the post.

  6. Heather Mills brilliantly talentless? Morgan had a direct role in Mills and McCartney meeting - he met her at a Mirror charity awards bash while Morgan was editing the paper, the story of which is in his Insider diaries.

  7. Yuk!

    Morgan is a delusional idiot and I felt physically sick seeing this list- he keeps ramming Cowell down our necks, constantly mentioning him on every page- at one point he says the key to success is avoiding over-exposure and Cowell is a master of it?! WTF?!

  8. I just love the irony of Piers Morgan telling us which celebrities "just think they [matter]". I couldn't think of a better description of him, this list being a perfect illustration.

    As for Simon Cowell's "risk-taking", don't forget that all of those talent shows are essentially beta tests of potential clients, giving them massive exposure at the same time as revealing which has the most public appeal, at the end of which they "win" a contract with him. In other words, getting the public to do his work for him, and paying premium rates for the privilege.


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