70 percent of the sun, daily mirror and daily star readers fall into the social classes C2 (skilled manual) D (unskilled manual) E (casual labourers and the unemployed). These social classes are not, stereotypically, regarded by society as being highly educated or highly literate. With these groups making up 2/3 of tabloid readership, they are required to be succinct, and pithy, using everyday colloquialisms and language in it’s reporting.
Implying that it is conversing with the individual reader directly. With tabloids claiming the majority of U. K. newspaper readers, they can have significant affect on people’s views, outlook and political allegiances. Newspapers in Britain are not obliged to be impartial in accounting for the political process. “Whoever can speak, speaking now to the whole nation, becomes a power, a branch of government, with inalienable weight in law making, in all acts of authority. It matters not what rank he has, the requisite thing is that he have a tongue which others will listen to; this and nothing more is requisite” (Thomas Carlyle) It seems that in Britain the “tongue, which others will listen to” is that of the tabloid press.
Throughout the 80’s the sun newspaper support Margaret Thatcher and her conservative party. However in the 1997 election it chose to switch allegiances to Tony Blair and the Labour Party, who won the election that year. A similar thing had occurred in Australia, when a Rupert Murdoch owned paper switched its support from one political party to another with that party subsequently winning the election. Proving that the tabloid press has the power to influence political debate. Finally, one of the biggest contentions people have with the tabloid press is the objectification of women.
This being best illustrated by the “page 3 model”. Carried by the sun and the daily star. The sun featured its first nude page 3 models in 1970 which shocked some people, while others embraced the candid, unashamed stance of the paper. The tabloid traditionally tries to target the working class man, with its mix of sex, sensationalism and sport. The page 3 models are a deliberate ploy to attract this group of society. However in doing this some women’s groups say that in issuing just one of the pictures the tabloids have set back women’s rights and the way women are viewed in society at least one hundred years.
However, this has not translated into the readership figures. The average number of men and women reading tabloid papers in 1994 according to figures from the coverage and profile demographic analysis were men 58% and women 42%. “We acknowledge what many journalists were anxious to forget – that the basic interests of the human race are not in politics, philosophy or economics, but in things like food and money, sex and crime, football and television. But we did not deal with these things to the exclusion of all others… we tried ceaselessly to make a newspaper, which mattered.
A newspaper that got it first, and got it right. A newspaper for people not for Fleet Street. (Larry lamb, former editor of the sun) I believe that tabloid papers perform a much needed service in eneter4taining, and bringing news in away that makes it easily understood to people who might otherwise not encounter the news. Their tactics in reporting their stories can sometimes be questionable and some might say immoral. But we need to ask ourselves whether or not the ends justify the means. It’s down to the individual readers to decide that for themselves.