Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Everyone who loves the NHS must fight to defeat this health bill (Observer)

This misguided bid to impose a free-for-all market on our health service must be stopped, says Labour leader Ed Miliband.

2. The credibility of politics itself will be in the dock with Huhne (Sunday Telegraph)

The trial will be a compelling soap opera for those who usually switch off when they hear the word politics, writes Matthew D'Ancona.

3. Why more of the Lib Dems now want to be like Chris Huhne (Observer)

He has resigned from the cabinet just as his party adopts his more belligerent approach towards coalition politics, says Andrew Rawnsley.

4. David Cameron should start preparing for an early election (Sunday Telegraph)

The Coalition is fraught with tension and is unlikely to last beyond 2013, argues Iain Martin.

5. Public interest should trump self-interest (Observer)

The judiciary seems to have a skewed view of what the public has a right to know, says Nick Cohen.

6. If you will play happy families, Mr Huhne... (Sunday Times) (£)

The private decisions of politicians can have a public bearing, argues Martin Ivens.

7. 20 wasted days: the Clegg campaign for a 'better Belgium' (Mail on Sunday)

Under pressure from his Coalition partners, the Prime Minister has accepted that a Lords reform Bill will be a major part of the Queen's Speech, reports James Forsyth.

8. Huhne is the missing green giant (Independent on Sunday)

After selling out on tuition fees and Europe and losing their eco warrior, says John Rentoul, the Lib Dems look flimsier than ever

9. Must honour really be a thing of the past? (Independent on Sunday)

We would do well to recall an age when those embarrassed by their own behaviour did the right thing before it became unavoidable, writes Paul Vallely.

10. The lessons of the fall of communism have still not been learnt (Sunday Telegraph)

The events of 1989 are crucial to any understanding of the present world, argues Janet Daley

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The economics of outrage: Why you haven't seen the end of Katie Hopkins

Her distasteful tweet may have cost her a job at LBC, but this isn't the last we've seen of Britain's biggest troll. 

Another atrocity, other surge of grief and fear, and there like clockwork was the UK’s biggest troll. Hours after the explosion at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 mostly young and female concert goers, Katie Hopkins weighed in with a very on-brand tweet calling for a “final solution” to the complex issue of terrorism.

She quickly deleted it, replacing the offending phrase with the words “true solution”, but did not tone down the essentially fascist message. Few thought it had been an innocent mistake on the part of someone unaware of the historical connotations of those two words.  And no matter how many urged their fellow web users not to give Hopkins the attention she craved, it still sparked angry tweets, condemnatory news articles and even reports to the police.

Hopkins has lost her presenting job at LBC radio, but she is yet to lose her column at Mail Online, and it’s quite likely she won’t.

Mail Online and its print counterpart The Daily Mail have regularly shown they are prepared to go down the deliberately divisive path Hopkins was signposting. But even if the site's managing editor Martin Clarke was secretly a liberal sandal-wearer, there are also very good economic reasons for Mail Online to stick with her. The extreme and outrageous is great at gaining attention, and attention is what makes money for Mail Online.

It is ironic that Hopkins’s career was initially helped by TV’s attempts to provide balance. Producers could rely on her to provide a counterweight to even the most committed and rational bleeding-heart liberal.

As Patrick Smith, a former media specialist who is currently a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News points out: “It’s very difficult for producers who are legally bound to be balanced, they will sometimes literally have lawyers in the room.”

“That in a way is why some people who are skirting very close or beyond the bounds of taste and decency get on air.”

But while TV may have made Hopkins, it is online where her extreme views perform best.  As digital publishers have learned, the best way to get the shares, clicks and page views that make them money is to provoke an emotional response. And there are few things as good at provoking an emotional response as extreme and outrageous political views.

And in many ways it doesn’t matter whether that response is negative or positive. Those who complain about what Hopkins says are also the ones who draw attention to it – many will read what she writes in order to know exactly why they should hate her.

Of course using outrageous views as a sales tactic is not confined to the web – The Daily Mail prints columns by Sarah Vine for a reason - but the risks of pushing the boundaries of taste and decency are greater in a linear, analogue world. Cancelling a newspaper subscription or changing radio station is a simpler and often longer-lasting act than pledging to never click on a tempting link on Twitter or Facebook. LBC may have had far more to lose from sticking with Hopkins than Mail Online does, and much less to gain. Someone prepared to say what Hopkins says will not be out of work for long. 

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