A slow night for the ‘quality’ papers, with quality a little thin on the ground. The story most worth reading, however, is the Times’ attempt to lead with the exact same story that the Telegraph ran with over two weeks ago!
The Guardian – “Police to question Wikileaks founder over extradition bid” Very surprised that the Guardian is the only paper to lead with the plight of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, especially considering how little other news there is out there. Admittedly is has been running all day but they have been giving so much coverage to the leaked cables it feels slightly wrong not to report on Assange’s potential demise. The story is a straight retelling of the fact that he is wanted in British courts to face an extradition case over sexual offences in Sweden.
The Telegraph – “Offenders get freedom to ignore community sentences”
The paper splashes with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke’s latest policy announcements, which are due on Tuesday, and really rips into the proposals. It claims that the review of sentencing policy will propose tearing up “two-strikes-and-out” rule by giving more power for probation officers to decide on whether criminals should go back to jail will mean that criminals can breach community orders without fear of further sanctions. Interesting that the paper, and the right of the Conservative party more generally, are turning so viciously against Clarke only months after he announced the ‘softening’ of jail sentences. If the Lib Dems are winning anywhere in the coalition it is in the shape of the old Tory stalwart.
The Independent – “HSBC ‘took kickbacks to keep Madoff in business’” The Indy follows a US lawsuit against the corrupt former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff in which it has been alleged that the HSBC ‘looked the other way’ to keep him in business. Only three paragraphs on the front page, and I fear that this story, while interesting, will struggle to enthuse the average punter.
The Daily Mail – “Overdraft charges soar to record 19%” While the Indy falls into the ‘worthy but dull’ category the Mail has a stronger story. Overdraft fees in October reached 19%, the highest since records began. There is a brilliant piece of illustration of what 19% means, with the line “If you were overdrawn by £1,000 for a year, the cost would be nearly £200.” They also continue their campaign against Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock with a picture of a beautiful woman under the headline “Spy case MP and another Russian blonde.” The sad fact is this is a woeful attempt to justify a scantily clad woman on the front and there is no accusation that she was involved with Russian intelligence whatsoever.
The Times – “One dose of aspirin a day cuts cancer risk” Sometimes doing this blog I get a sense of déjà vu and that a story has been reported on before. But in this case I am absolutely right. On the 24th of November the Telegraph splashed with evidence from scientists at Oxford University that older people should all take aspirin. Now I find that the Times is leading with the EXACT SAME STORY! This isn’t reworking of the evidence, it is the exact same evidence the Telegraph had (albeit the Telegraph had a speech while the Times has the actual data). Absolutely bizarre decision to lead with it…
If you only read one: The Times for sheer audacity.