Friday, 11 October 2013

Populism and Pathology in the British Tabloids

In a new article, Simon Cross representations of crime and responsibility in British tabloids.

He notes that the tabloid press is the section of the British media that has mobilized most vehemently on crime and responsibility. The logic of the tabloids is to sensationalize crime whilst insisting that criminals are morally responsible for their actions. However, this logic is thwarted when offenders are insane. The solution for British tabloids has been to invoke the illogical notion that mentally disordered offenders are mad and bad. The article argues for the need to understand this tabloid heuristic in relation to the politics of mental health care in the community policy in the 1990s, and the politics of tabloid populism. Tabloid reporting on the ‘mad and bad’ is further illustrated in the case of offenders housed in England’s top-security Broadmoor Hospital. By identifying hypocrisy in tabloid reporting on Broadmoor patients, the article concludes that British tabloid logic should be viewed as pathological. 

Cross, S. (forthcoming) ‘Mad and Bad Media: Populism and Pathology in the British Tabloids’. To appear in European Journal of Communication

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