Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Matthew Norman: 'Better the unlovely British tabloids than the cosy French press'

Matthew Norman in the Independent today sticks up for the 'unloveley' British tabloids in comparison to the cosy relationships between the French press and politicians which has been highlighted by the background emerging about IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Khan, following his arrest on sex charges in New York.

Norman writes: "Whatever the infidelities elsewhere, the one lover with whom the French politician remains forever faithful is the French press. Into this cosy lovefest between twin elites, neither partner would dream of admitting anything so common and insignificant as the electorate.

"It may seem opportunistic to adduce the secretive culture which must have played a part in emboldening M Strauss-Kahn in our fight against the super-injunction. But while British politicians may or may not take liberties over traffic offences, it is unimaginable that any would behave as DSK is alleged to have done, or commit suicide by red top by racing to his defence.

"Our tabloids are unlovely beasts, but by God the terror of them tends to keep the basest instincts in check. If our papers are too easily roused – and the anguish about DSK's possible, if unlikely, IMF successor Gordon Brown lightly shoving an aide does seem a bit silly today – far better to err on the side of hysteria than that of nudge-nudge, wink-wink, rulers-will-be-rulers indulgence.

"The downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn may knock the likely end of Chris Huhne's career into a cocked hat when it comes to grandeur, melodrama and tragic epicity. But in the clash of newspaper cultures, the victory is ours and just as clear-cut. We must keep it that way."

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