BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor
« Previous | Main | Next »

Paper Monitor

11:26 UK time, Monday, 21 April 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

"Le Stink" is such an evocative phrase. So redolent of both whiffiness and - crucially - finger-pointing at the French. When an agro/chemical pong wafted across southern Britain on Friday, the tabloids in particular wasted no time in laying the blame firmly on our Gallic cousins.

The Evening Standard, the Daily Express and the Daily Mail promptly dubbed it "le stink" - short, pithy and easily squeezed into a tight headline space. The Dutch didn't get away scott free, either. Saturday's Guardian saw the National Farmers' Union seeking to make political capital out the belief that the hum was caused by Dutch farmers spreading slurry en masse at the end of their winter no-spread period.

"We are grateful to the Dutch farmers for laying on such a pungent demonstration of what could happen every spring here in the UK if the government presses ahead with its ill-conceived proposal to implement a blanket ban on winter slurry spreading," said the NFU's communications director Anthony Gibson. A serious point, although the Guardian omitted to point out that the Netherlands' seasonal slurry-spreading ban actually ended on 1 February.

But now German pig farmers have owned up to all muckspreading at once, and "le stink" has become "der stink" in the Mail. Hurrah! Other than trying to wind up the French (who never notice), the favourite national pastime is to rile the Germans. Hence the Daily Telegraph headline, "It's called Der Gestank and those German swine have owned up".

Meanwhile, the Telegraph devotes most of pages one, four, five and six to Max Mosley. There are extracts from his interview with sister publication the Sunday Telegraph (the wife's "not best pleased"; the prostitute who sold her story did something "that most people wouldn't do for any amount of money"... selling her story, that is). And a profile of the man himself - his recreations in Who's Who are "snowboarding and walking"; and he'd have gone into party politics if he had a different surname.

"He remains convinced that were he not a Mosley, he would never have been considered such a prime target by the News of the World," the profile concludes.

Of course not. Because if he wasn't a Mosley, he'd be a politician - and the papers are rarely interested in the sexual shenanigans of those in Westminster, are they?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.