Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ukraine stands on the brink – and Europe must bring it back (Guardian)

This is no velvet revolution, but nor is it an uprising of fascist Cossacks or a zero-sum game with Russia, writes Timothy Garton Ash. Europe must intervene on the side of democracy and human rights.

2. I don’t begrudge Bob Crow his holiday but I do mind his strike (Daily Telegraph)

It’s outrageous that London can be held to ransom by a minority of the RMT’s members, says Boris Johnson. 

3. Cameron's Tories are even more rebellious than Major's. Whatever happened to loyalty? (Guardian)

Conservatives are now a party more interested in ideological purity than power – and the voters won't like it, says Chris Huhne. 

4. The bare necessities of life will come to you (Times)

Most of us think the poor stay poor and inequality is exploding, writes Matt Ridley. Wrong. The evidence is that these are times of plenty.

5. Emerging-market chaos and the Federal Reserve taper mean this might be as good as it gets for Britain’s economy (Independent)

This recovery looks unsustainable, says David Blanchflower.

6. Ukip has done more than any other party to destroy the racist BNP (Independent)

For the last three years, we’ve been telling those who vote for them out of frustration but don’t agree with their racist agenda to vote for us, writes Nigel Farage. 

7. Michael Gove: inspection failure (Guardian)

It is hard to see why Lady Morgan has been knifed except on partisan grounds as the general election nears, says a Guardian editorial. 

8. Stop kicking out bright foreigners (Financial Times)

Let us use their brains to our advantage, writes James Dyson. 

9. Full marks for Gove’s state-school ambition (Daily Telegraph)

The Education Secretary's agenda represents a much-awaited rejection of bog-standard equality in favour of the excellence that typifies the independent ethos, says a Telegraph editorial.

10. Obama’s trade agenda hangs on a thin Reid (Financial Times)

The Democrat from Nevada never met a trade deal he liked, writes Edward Luce.

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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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