Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The 'World's Greatest Newspaper' won't win a British Press Award again this year

The nominations for the British Press Awards have been announced.

Unsurprisingly, the Telegraph leads the field (with 19 nominations) after its coverage of MPs' expenses.

The Guardian (17 nominations), The Sunday Times (15), The Times (13), Daily Mail (12) and the Mail on Sunday (11) follow.

There's also a handful of nominations each for the Mirror, Independent, Sun and FT.

In fact, only two national daily newspapers failed to get a single nomination: the Daily Star and the Daily Express. Richard Desmond, who owns both, must be so proud.

The Sunday Express got one nod, for the story about Jacqui Smith putting her husband's porn film on her expenses. But that's as good as it gets.

Because the Express, Star and their Sunday versions didn't get a single nomination in 2009 either.

And it was the same story in 2008.

And, ahem, 2007.

So only one nomination for Richard Desmond's dreadful rags in four years.

And yet the Express continues to call itself the 'World's Greatest Newspaper' on its masthead every day. Its circulation is collapsing, it serves up a daily diet of hate and lies and the complete lack of any nominations in these awards means it becomes increasingly hard to understand how they are allowed to make this obviously bogus claim.

Elsewhere, it was pleasing to see the Express' Paul Thomas was left off the cartoon shortlist.

But best of all, the complete failure of any of the nasty columnists at the Mail to get a single mention. No Littlejohn. No Moir. No Platell. No Melanie Phillips. No Liz Jones. No Allison Pearson.


Not quite so wonderful is the somewhat surprising nomination for the Mail's 'Science' Editor Michael Hanlon in the 'Specialist journalist' category. This is the man who once wrote:

one soon forgets that zombies, so far, exist only in the imagination.

Does one?

Even worse is the inclusion of Kelvin MacKenzie on the Columnist shortlist. MacKenzie is so highly valued by the Sun - despite his lies about Hillsborough - that they don't put his columns on their website.

Here's a flavour of his work. On 11 February he wrote about the Muslim bus driver who had stopped his bus in order to pray. Last time the Sun wrote this story about a different driver it cost them £30,000. But to MacKenzie, the latest incident was evidence that them Muslims were taking over - solely because the driver had not been sacked. He wrote:

So why wasn't he fired on the spot? It seems there is one rule for them and one rule for the rest of us.

And when he says 'them' we can safely assume he's not talking about bus drivers.

No, he's talking about Muslims who, he seems to be admitting, aren't really meant to be reading the Sun. They're not one of 'us'. Such language if often used by right-wing tabloids and serves only to divide people, to build barriers, to cause tension.

It's hugely depressing to see newspapers talk of 'them and us' in this way. And it's equally depressing that such talk gets rewarded with award nominations.


  1. Private Eye tend to get the nicknames spot on: McKenzie was christened Kelvin McFilth, and they call Peter Hill "Mentally" (geddit?!?).

  2. I'm pretty sure Kelvin MacKenzie's column doesn't appear in the Sun's Scottish edition. I wonder why?

  3. It's a shame they don't issue an award for irony, if they did Leo McKinstry would certainy be a strong candidate after writing an article about bullying at No.10. Because obviously the Daily Express newsroom is a bully free zone!


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