3:24 pm May. 2, 2012
Whenever there's talk here about whether our media are a civilizing or brutalizing force in the culture, I just close my eyes and think of England.
Today The Sun kicked up a completely gratuitous controversy with its cover story about Roy Hodgson, the well-liked, intelligent former footballer and longtime turnaround coach who will take over as manager of the England national team later this month.
Hodgson, who speaks five languages but displays rhoaticism in his pronunciation of English, is largely lauded in the substantive commentary inside the paper. But the cover is another story.
"WOY GETS ENGLAND JOB" reads a line of text across the top.
Next to his picture:
"BWING ON THE EUWOS! (We'll see you in Ukwaine against Fwance)."
Also unlike the States, complaints about the Sun, a Murdoch tabloid, are already burning up the lines at the Press Complaints Commission, which actually is in a position to issue a reprimand!
It serves as a reminder of what it's like over there for our British colleagues, and in some ways suggests we ought to welcome British journalists to our shores with the same condescending charity with which we have always welcomed immigrants after hearing horror stories about their homelands.
Consider the latest New York media import from Britain, Ted Young, who Joe Pompeo reported earlier today has come over to run the digital side of the Daily News.
One night not long ago, when he was working as executive editor of The Daily Express, a great rival to the Sun, he got a visit from the proprietor, Richard Desmond. (Desmond is a whole other kettle of fish.)
According to a complaint filed by Young, Desmond was dismayed that the Express was not printing a story about the death of 60s pop star Carl Wayne, lead singer of The Move.
"Mr Desmond, who seemingly knew Carl Wayne and must have been upset at his death, was upset the story did not appear in the Express and made his views very clear to Ted Young, and then tried to strike him to the head," Mr Savitt claimed.
"Ted Young avoided that first blow, then Mr Desmond jabbed him in the stomach in full view of other members of the Daily Express editorial staff."
Mr Savitt said his client had returned to work the following day, a Friday, then spoke to family and friends over the weekend, before deciding not to return to work.
Desmond denied the claims in a statement, but settled for six figures with Young. Welcome, buddy!
And Young's own boss, Colin Myler, must also be glad to be off that rock, what with Parliament accusing him of lying to them about the nature and extent of phone-hacking at The News of the World. Although there, he worked for Rupert Murdoch.