Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks "a dozen" times a day

The PM's text exchanges with Brooks could soon be published.

Peter Oborne's excoriating column on the Tories and the Murdochs in today's Telegraph includes the revelation that David Cameron texted former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks at least 12 times a day. Oborne writes:

A fresh embarrassment concerns Rebekah Brooks, who providentially retained the text messages she received from the Prime Minister, which I’m told could exceed a dozen a day. These may now be published, a horrible thought.

If true, it evidences why David Cameron's upcoming appearance at the Leveson inquiry (he will likely appear in mid-June) could prove so embarrassing for the Prime Minister. Indeed, last week's Sunday Times (£) reported that Brooks is "ready to disclose any text messages and emails between herself and David Cameron if required." (Cameron reportedly signed letters to her "Love, David".)

It's easy to see how the news  of Cameron's daily contact with the striking Brooks (Tweeters are already quipping about her being his "Monica Lewinsky") could permanently reduce him in the eyes of the public.

David Cameron with former Sun editor and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The internet dictionary: what is a Milkshake Duck?

Milkshake ducking is now more common than ever.

The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! Oh, apologies. We regret to inform you that the duck is a racist.

This is the gist of a joke tweet that first went viral in June 2016. It parodies a common occurrence online – of someone becoming wildly popular before being exposed as capital-B Bad. Milkshake Ducks are internet stars who quickly fall out of favour because of their offensive actions. There is no actual milkshake-drinking duck, but there are plenty of Milkshake Ducks. Ken Bone was one, and so was the Chewbacca Mask Lady. You become a Milkshake Duck (noun) after you are milkshake ducked (verb) by the internet.

Bone, who went viral for asking a question in a 2016 US presidential debate, was shunned after five days of fame when sleuths discovered his old comments on the forum Reddit. In them, he seemed to express approval for the 2014 leak of the actress Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos and suggested that the shooting of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 had been “justified”. The Chewbacca Mask Lady – a woman who went viral for a sweet video in which she laughingly wore a mask of the Star Wars character – was maligned after she began earning money for her fame while claiming God had made her go viral for “His glory”.

Milkshake ducking is now more common than ever. It embodies the ephemerality of internet fame and, like “fake news”, reveals our propensity to share things without scrutinising them first.

But the trend also exposes the internet’s inherent Schadenfreude. It is one thing for an online star to expose themselves as unworthy of attention because of their present-day actions and another for people to trawl through their online comments to find something they said in 2007, which they may no longer agree with in 2017.

For now, the whole internet loves milkshake ducking. We regret to inform you that it still doesn’t involve milkshakes. Or ducks.

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear