Benefits Street

At the moment, Channel 4 has a documentary series called “Benefits Street”, based around one road in Birmingham where the majority of its inhabitants are – yes! – on benefits.

It’s pretty standard C4 documentary fare, and follows on from others in similar vein, including “Skint” (families in Scunthorpe who are – yes! – on benefits) and so on. And as with the other similar ones, it got Twitter, Facebook, and the media in general up in arms. The fact that all this makes for great free advertising for the programme (because people want to watch it and see what everyone else is talking about) is of course purely coincidental.

No, of course Channel4 aren’t trolling media and social media in order to boost their own viewing figures. Of course not. *cough*

I didn’t bother with it – I know pretty much what it’ll show, they’ll focus on “human interest” stories within the street, edit it to within an inch of its life, show all the stereotypes, the ‘boss’ of the street, people shoplifting, drug-growing/dealing ‘to make ends meet’ and all the rest of it.

The thing that annoyed me the most about the entire hysteria though was that people started a petition to stop Channel 4 from showing the rest of the series.  Which is inherently pointless. The programme’s been made, it’s all over and done with. Hiding it away is effectively no different to hiding away the issues of people who are on benefits.  More importantly, it’ll make it into more of a talking point, and boost viewing figures.

If you don’t like this kind of programme, there’s a simple answer. Don’t watch it. Don’t promote it. Don’t talk about it, don’t link to it. Don’t bitch about it. But most importantly – don’t watch it. There’s plenty of other channels and programmes.  Channel4 is funded by its advertisers – by the people who want to promote their goods/products within the programme and the ad breaks. The more a programme is viewed, the more Channel4 can charge those advertisers.

If you don’t watch the programme, it doesn’t get viewers. And Channel4 won’t bother making more of a set of programmes that lose money, that don’t have viewers, and they’ll do something else instead.

It really is that simple.


This year’s symptom of the media Silly Season appears to be the “False Widow” spider, which is the UK’s most venomous spider, but is also nowhere near as poisonous/bad/evil as it’s been portrayed, along with the resultant hysteria.

For whatever reason though, it’s been all over the news, with hysterical coverage about people who’ve been bittenand nearly died“. Of course, it’s hard to gauge how near-to-death anyone was when they actually survived – I could say I “nearly died” anytime I cough, sneeze, or have a particularly strenuous dump.

The latest ridiculously hysterical reaction was the closure of a school in the Forest of Dean because of ‘an infestation’ of false widows (for fuck’s sake)

Now yes, I’m quite sure the bite hurts – and that there are a tiny minority of people who react badly to said bites, in the same way that there’s a small selection of people who react badly to wasp stings, peanuts etc. But it’s a tiny minority who get bitten at all (most just introduce spider to literature anyway) and an even tinier minority therein who react in such a way. But if you read the media, they’re everywhere, and everyone’s being bitten.

I know, I know, it’s always been thus with the media – compare any hysterical theme story with people you actually know, and you’ll find that most of them are stories that only happen to a tiny minority. Supposedly it’s that fact that makes the stories “news”, but that hype then blows it all out of proportion/sanity, leaving idiots people with the impression it’s happening everywhere.

Sometimes I wish the media would just shut the fuck up about stupid hype-ridden hyperbolic stories, and (in an ideal world) allow people to get on with their lives without this hysterical bullshit constantly going on.

Funding the Daily Mail

In yesterday’s Daily Mail, a woman called Samantha Brick wittered on wrote an article about how life was so difficult for her ‘because she was so beautiful’. (That’s a link to the story, if you really must read it – but hang on before you do so)

Predictably, t’internet – and Twitter in particular – frothed up about it massively, and the story went viral. Which is exactly what the Daily Fail wanted.

According to their own follow-up story, that original article garnered 4,500 comments. And the ‘top-rated’ comment received 18,000 ‘green arrow’ upticks. (Think of a Green Arrow as being similar to a Facebook Like)

The Daily Fail lives by advertising. The Mail’s Online Ratecard shows that they charge a minimum of £20 per 1,000 advert impressions – and it can be a lot more.

The original story had (at the time of writing the follow-up) received 1.5million hits – that’s a minimum of £30,000 they’ve made on the one story. Of course, the original story/page is still live, and there’s also a follow-up piece from Brick herself. From the Fail…

And today she is sure to provoke another avalanche of strong reaction as she defends herself in a fresh article on MailOnline, insisting that: ‘While I’ve been shocked and hurt by the global condemnation, I have just this to say: my detractors have simply proved my point. Their level of anger only underlines that no one in this world is more reviled than a pretty woman.’

So to all the people who comment, or even just click through to read the story, I say this.

YOU are the people who fund the Daily Mail. Every single one of you. Now, don’t you feel proud?

Shock, Horror

At least two different media sites are today carrying the story about the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) telling clothing company Jack Wills (ever heard of them? I hadn’t) to not continue publishing their current catalogue until certain images are changed.

The story’s on the BBC here – and on the scumrag Daily Mail here.

Only one of the two stories manages to also show the image in it’s full “offensive” version.  Guess which one?

Yep, you got it – good old Daily Fail, making sure its readers know precisely what they should be offended by.

[Oh, and if you do want to know what the image is, look below the ‘More’ link]

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Yet another from the Daily Fail

Organic vs. normal

Yep, in story one organic vegetables “aren’t as good for your health”, yet in story two “pesticides on fruit and veg interfere with male fertility”.

You’ve got to have some kind of admiration – and not necessarily positive admiration – for a ‘newspaper’ that can have two opposing viewpoints in two stories right next to each other.

Raise the Double Standard

You’ve got to love the Daily Mail, haven’t you? Much as it’s a bigoted vicious racist hate-mongering shit-rag, it’s also the most hypocritical, two-faced piece of crap outside of politics.

And then they do double standards as portrayed here…

Two stories in the same day, both about Kelly Osborne