As the tabloids go, so goes the UK?

Liverpool, 9March2015, Photo: Anthony Moretti

The New York Times offers a fascinating look at how the British tabloids have struck a populist tone that will continue to influence the UK as its divorce from the European Union develops.

Among the key excerpts:

Their readers, many of them over 50, working class and outside London, look strikingly like the voters who were crucial to the outcome of last year’s referendum on membership in the European Union. It is these citizens of Brexitland the tabloids purport to represent from the heart of enemy territory: Housed in palatial dwellings in some of London’s most expensive neighborhoods, they see themselves as Middle England’s embassies in London. …

The tabloids say they merely reflect the concerns and fears of their readers. But their critics say they poison the debate by playing to people’s worst instincts and prejudices, distorting facts and creating a propaganda ramp that mainstreams intolerance and shapes policy. …

At their best, Britain’s irreverent tabloids report without fear or favor, aggressively holding the political elite to account. But they can be selective about whom they hound — and boastful. …

The Sun, which recruits some employees straight out of high school, has an almost personal relationship with its readers, like that with a trusted friend down at the pub. …

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