IT seems that the Daily Mail is the top-selling national newspaper in Jersey. No surprise there then. All things considered, this is a bit of a Daily Mail community.
Some might say that the Island is, by and large, conservative with a small ‘c’.
Others might say that you could cap up that ‘c’ and still be not too far wide of the mark.
Just to put my cards on the table, may I confess to being a Times reader – that and the JEP, of course.
The Mail is, I suppose, adequate fish-and-chip paper, but I can’t think of too many other good reasons why it deserves to exist.
However, a few years back, after I had delivered a talk on journalism to the local branch of the University of the Third Age, an elderly lady pointed out to me one of the Mail’s great virtues: the ink used to print it does not come off on your hands.
She was contrasting its performance with the JEP of the day – then printed on the old press up at Five Oaks rather than on the new hi-tech units down at Rue des Près.
The JEP, she said, left her fingertips black as the ace of spades by the time she had reached the classified ad section.
Actually, I don’t think that she used the phrase ‘black as the ace of spades’, but I held back a bit too.
Before she had finished speaking, I knew exactly what my reply ought to be, but I chickened out and kept it to myself, not really wanting to be in the business of upsetting little old ladies.
This is what I should have said: ‘Ah, the print in the Mail doesn’t stick to your fingers, but there’s a severe danger that its words, and the all-too-often malicious sentiments that they convey, will stick to your brain.’
So, in journalistic terms, is there anything worse than the Daily Mail?
As you might imagine, I don’t have much room for the Express and even less for the Sun and the ridiculous Star, but allow me to reserve my deepest contempt for some – though not all – of the Islanders who go online, describing themselves as ‘citizen journalists’.
Given the appetite of some of these bloggers for intemperate insults, brutal character assassination, rumour spreading, absurd conspiracy theories and unabashed libels, they deserve retribution designed to fit their crimes.
Could we perhaps arrange for them to be booked in to be treated by citizen dentists?