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Monday, May 29, 2006 

Skewed priorities. Again.

It shouldn't be shocking. It shouldn't be deeply depressing. It shouldn't even be surprising. Yet it's still difficult to believe that only two days after an earthquake which has now killed at least 5,000, injured 20,000 and made homeless 200,000, only the Guardian and Times find any space at all for it to feature on their front pages.

Sure, it can be argued that there's little the average person back here in Britain can do about it, other than engage in fake anguish for those that they don't know, or donate a few pounds to the numerous charities already gathering funds to send help. Even so, it seems callous and even disturbing just what the tabloids especially think is more important than the stories of those who have just had their lives destroyed.

The Sun, as well as laying in like most of the other papers into John Prescott when he was photographed on Thursday playing croquet, decides that Victoria Beckham talking to Theo Walcott's girlfriend is more important. Similiarly the naming of Angelina Jolie's child is given more prominence than the deaths of thousands.
The Sexpress, continuing the Prescott-bashing theme, also prints a photograph of Mariah Carey wearing a revealing bikini top, somehow connected to a piece about celebrity diets. Also revealed is the spy in the sky that looks into your garden. Could it possibly be the same spy that took the photographs the Daily Mail was "giving" away a few weeks back?
The Mail itself leads on how babies are increasingly be aborted for what they call "not being perfect". The story is almost entirely based on figures released from the Office for National Statistics which revealed that 20 babies between 1996 and 2004 had been aborted after 20 weeks because they had a club foot. It's worth wondering how many people who have club feet regard it, as the Mail does, as a "minor cosmetic defect". Still, 20 children which had not yet been born are obviously more important than the 4,200 confirmed dead when the Mail went to press last night. Like the Scum, except accompanied by an even larger photo, the Mail also seems to think the naming of a child is similarily fascinating.
The Mirror, like the rest of the so-called popular press, also finds the news that a celebrity has given a child a stupid name front page worthy. Alongside we have the bombshell that Big Brother contestant and former porn star Lea at one time weighed 22 stone, which comes as a surprise to those of us who thought that her comedy sized breasts must easily come close to that. That story is covered in full over two pages inside, on the 13th and 14th pages to be precise. The earthquake is relegated to 3 quarters of a page back on the 23rd.

I could go on, but I'm sure you can already guess that the Daily Star didn't hold the front page for the earthquake victims either. Nor did the Independent, which being characteristically different goes with a story about, err, plastic water bottles. Do people genuinely not seem to care, or is it the news agenda of the editors which is out of line? Both the BBC and Guardian currently consider the earthquake either second or first in line of 'priority' on their online services, something that the editors of Britain's dailies certainly don't seem to agree with.

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