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Paper Monitor

11:38 UK time, Friday, 1 May 2009

A service celebrating the riches of the daily press.

The Sun has gone all public service today. Well, OK, not all public service. But in an inspired move (which takes the Magazine's gallery of anti-flu messages a stage further) it has reprinted a Ministry of Health pre-War poster advising you to use a handkerchief.

Paper Monitor has vague memories of seeing previous such Sun posters being displayed in people's front windows, but these have more normally been along the "Backing Our Boys" or "Come on Tim!" variety. If anyone sees today's poster actually being put up, please report it using the COMMENTS field below.

There's some moving coverage of the end of British operations in Iraq. The Daily Telegraph, preaching to the choir, has the headline "In the crushing heat, the British legacy and sacrifice in Iraq is remembered" with timeline, names of the fallen, reports from the day and a discussion about "was it all worth it?"

Several papers give it top billing. But the Guardian seems to be muted in its coverage - a single story on page 25. And strangely the Times too puts the story a long way into the paper - page 37 - even though the headline does indicate a degree of weight: "The names of the dead were read, then the flag was lowered. The war was over."

Odd decisions, no, when the British presence has been such a controversial feature of the nation's life for the past six years?

Moving on... it's an uncomfortable subject, but Paper Monitor wouldn't be doing its job if it didn't mention the completely graphic explicit photographs of the attack on the Dutch royal parade. If the photographs don't capture the exact moment of death of some of the victims, in one case still in the air after being hit by the car, then they capture moments very close indeed to the moment of death. Anyone uncomfortable with this?

But now back on more relaxed terrain, regular readers might remember the unrequited friendship between Paper Monitor and the Times's Hugo Rifkind. Since he didn't turn up to the Magazine's fifth anniversary party last year it's really cooled, but it's still hard not to admire his work. Today he writes about the kinds of people who complain about adverts.

"Who are the 840 people who found a Barnardo's child abuse campaign advert so upsetting that they had to complain about it? How would they prefer their child abuse? Soft focus? Set to a Simon and Garfunkel track? Who are the 204 people who complained about the Department of Health one, because they'd made it look as if children were smoking cigarettes?

"God, what must it be like to work [at the Advertising Standards Authority]? 'No sir, the nodding Churchill dog cannot see your soul.' 'Yes, ma'am, we all want to do that to Michael Winner.'"

Cracking stuff. But "ma'am"? Does he know something about HM we don't??

PS. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new kid on the block, Web Monitor. If you like to fritter away your afternoon not helping the economy get back on its feet, but rather looking at stuff on the internet which "apropos of nothing" just happens to be interesting, then Web Monitor's arrival is good news for you. Just not for the economy.


  • Comment number 1.

    Quick point - you're still referring to the comments box as being "below". However, following your makeover the link is actually above the text. Just wanted to point that out, mainly because I can't think of a caption for this week's caption competition.

    And while I'm here - loving your work PM. I don't feel I say that enough anymore...

  • Comment number 2.

    After reading this I convinced my Sun reading colleague to put the poster up on our notice board. I wonder how long it will be until the boss sees it and takes it down...


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