Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. MPs must not decide what goes in the papers (Times) (£)

The public mood is for a press law. But that mood will blow over and we will look foolish if we give into it, says Matthew Parris.

2. You're not a tourist, Obama. Go to Israel with a message (Guardian)

As Netanyahu unveils his new government, the US president should echo Israel's former security chiefs: the occupation must end, says Jonathan Freedland. 

3. Nigel Farage: beware Ukip's smiling assassin (Daily Telegraph)

The Ukip leader Nigel Farage his party of 'cranks and gadflies’ have become a clear and present danger to David Cameron and the Conservative Party, writes Judith Woods.

4. The Leveson dispute could destroy our free press (Independent)

One of the principles that made me want to be a journalist in the first place and to help produce a newspaper such as this one, is at stake, says Chris Blackhurst.

5. Osborne and Cameron must cut further (FT) (£)

The choice is pain now or prolonged agony later, writes Terry Leahy.

6. Royalists make the lives of the royal family a misery (Guardian)

The monarchy locks people in a gilded cage and denies them the most basic freedom of all – the freedom to be themselves, writes Deborah Orr.

7. Charities must clean up their act if they want us to dig deep (Daily Telegraph)

Surveys show that people will donate more when they understand the purpose of the donation, so maybe charities should stop trying to function as political groups, argues Graeme Archer.

8. How to protect individuals and press freedom (Times) (£)

Our Royal Charter-plus will ensure robust self-regulation while winning cross-party support, writes Nick Clegg.

9. David Cameron's court rounds on Theresa May (Daily Express)

Every prime minister has a court, rather in the style of a Tudor monarch, says Patrick O'Flynn.

10. The new Pope promises a new approach in the Catholic Church - but will this extend to Twitter? (Independent)

Perhaps it's time for @pontifex to loosen up and add Piers Morgan, says Simon Kelner.

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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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