Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from the papers.

1. The giants of the green world that profit from the planet's destruction (Guardian)

A new movement has erupted demanding divestment from fossil fuel polluters – and Big Green is in their sights, writes Naomi Klein.

2. Panic is pointless. UKIP’s not a serious party (Times)

Nigel Farage is benefiting from a move away from two-party domination, but protest parties always fizzle out, says Philip Collins.

3. Wanted: a leader who can unite the warring Tory tribes (Daily Telegraph)

The modernisers and the right of the Conservative Party need one another to create a winning coalition, says Iain Martin.

4. We know spending on the arts makes big money for Britain. So why cut it? (Guardian)

Whingeing luvvies are easily mocked but it just doesn't make sense to give way to this purblind, anti-cultural bias, says Polly Toynbee.

5. Will Osborne choose politics or prudence? (Times)

If the Chancellor rushes to give away bank shares, he will reveal his true priorities, writes Sam Coates.

6. Will Carney be a man of independent mind? (Daily Telegraph)

Chancellor George Osborne has made himself clear, and the new Bank of England governor may face an early test, writes Jeremy Warner.

7. No such thing as ‘historic’ rape (Independent)

There no reason – legal or moral – for such crimes to "expire", particularly given the trauma that often results, says an Independent editorial.

8. Threats to Asia’s fragile power balance (Financial Times)

The world’s most vibrant region is also potentially its most combustible, writes Philip Stephens.

9. Charging headlong towards a secret state (Daily Mail)

Secret arrests are an assault on Britain's hard-won freedoms, says a Daily Mail editorial.

10. Holland is proof that the less power a monarch has the more we seem to love them (Independent)

When nations fall into crisis, their populations cry out for the saviour figure, writes Peter Popham.

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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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