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Paper Monitor

11:14 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Newspapers are like sausages: however much we like consuming them, we don't want to know how they are made. So, it would appear, most editors of the UK's national press have concluded.

Of course, there are exceptions that are happy to talk us through, in gory detail, the fatty, gristly process. Both the Independent and the Guardian peer into the mincing machine to explain the latest developments in the ongoing News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

But other titles are somewhat more reticent.

In the Guardian, media pundit Professor Roy Greenslade notes that, while the affair has raised the spotlight on the industry's "dark arts", several titles have "largely ignored the revelations".

He adds: "While newspapers cry out for greater transparency in politics and in business - indeed, in every sphere - it is ironic that they are so opaque in their own dealings."

To give credit where it is due, however, the Daily Mail's Peter McKay does offer a spirited defence of Fleet Street's more salacious offerings under the headline: "Hurrah for good old British sex scandals!"

Referring to recent allegations about the private lives of Lords leader Lord Strathclyde and former Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson, McKay declares cheerfully: "At last, some proper political scandal involving sex and hypocrisy!"

The appeal of these stories, he argues, is that they are essentially reassuring.

"We can't expect politicians to be any more sensible than the rest of us when it comes to sex," McKay observes.

"The best any of us can do is try always to reduce the collateral ­damage and see the funny side of it."

Paper Monitor enjoys a Sunday morning serving of scandal as much as the next person.

But like sausages, it's not always so edifying pondering how each offering makes its way to the plate.

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