Tabloid press

There seemed to be a topic that was not able to be addressed in the last episode regarding the nature of the tabloid press in the US

Rita Skeeter is clearly based on some of the appalling rags in the UK (sometimes known as the gutter press). Her tactics are not out of step with what has been used 

We even had a scandal where the phones of celebrities and victims of crime had their phones tapped. And of course no one went to prison for it

So is this element of the print media a thing in the states ?


  • Not in quite the same way. In the States there is a more clear divisions between what would be called a 'newspaper' and a 'tabloid.'  Newspapers range from the venerable (New York Times, WSJ) to the local papers covering cities of 100,000 and mostly relying on wire services for any non-local reporting. All of these are essentially the 'respectable press' and while there is the occasional reporting scandal this the exception rather than the rule.

    On the other end of the spectrum are 'tabloids,' most famously the National Enquirer. Although they do occasionally uncover real stories (eg the NE was by far the first to report that then Kris Jenner was considering transitioning) there is so little journalistic scruple that some of the stories are indistinguishable from fiction. These tabloids are given so little credit that even when they do uncover a real story, no one really pays attention until a more respectable publication starts covering it (as was the case with Jenner).  

    Tabloids in the UK, while 'appalling' seem to operate a middle ground which does not really exist in daily print media here. They don't resign themselves to the journalistic standards of their betters, but are legitimate enough to be taken seriously by much of the public.

    I also think that journalism as portrayed in HP is reflective of British journalistic tradition in some other ways. Even among more respectable publications in Britain there is a penchant for sensationalist headlines that you don't see in the States.

    In some ways the closest equivalents in the States are things like talk radio, and more recently some cables news. Although the comparison isn't quite right as these outlets are more characterized by their explosive commentary then their poor journalistic practice (as most aren't doing a lot of journalism).

    The other comparison in more recent times would be internet news sights such as Gawker, whose rise and downfall was based on the type of questionable practices that Ms Skeeter would no doubt approve of. 
  • I think the closest US equivalent would be something like Gawker or TMZ--but did they even exist when GoF came out? They both seem heavily influenced by British-style tabloids. 

    But, even without the large tabloid press, we definitely have Skeeter-like reporters here, so when I first read GoF, I understood the indictment on a more microlevel.
  • Possible spoilers

    We'll eventually see the Wizarding version of an actual tabloid, one generally not respected or believed. Rita works for a respected newspaper but displays a complete lack of regard for ethics, truth, or even consistency in her endless mission to provoke and prey on the public's emotions. (I really think of her as a dementor in human form. But I'll stop going on about it now). 
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