Why does Britain have such a popular, political and aggressive tabloid press? My quick answer…

My response to Charlie Beckett’s good question:

What makes the British tabloid experience unique is a question that, unfortunately, is almost unanswerable. It reminds me of friends coming to visit in the UK and asking me to explain why the humor present in the “Carry On” films and programs such as “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” is considered “funny” (I won’t even try to explain them in this short post). For these I would argue part camp, part ironic self-reflexivity, part xenophobia, part post-colonial angst, part arrogance and part public school wit. I would throw a number of these factors into the tabloid debate as well, in addition to a schizoid relationship with both the market and Europe (especially post-Thatcher), and an industrial nation that at one and the same time loves and hates the people who built it. Oh, and don’t forget how the The Blitz and the romanticization of World War II still permeate a lot of public discourse in the UK. Take your pick.

See how hard it is? I’m just rambling.

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About chrchristensen
Christian Christensen is Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University, Sweden.

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