I generally enjoy reading & contributing to some of the discussion threads on SFN because, as Catharine had cause to point out recently, it is based around a dinner party ethos.
Sometimes the discussions can get a little warm & opposing views can fade & turn a little personal. On a number of occasions my views have been countered not by an intellegent counter view but by the assumption that I must have read the Daily Mail & just repeat what has been written. Comments like this make huge assumptions not only about one's politics but also about the ability of one to assimilate information from various sources to come up with one's own take.
Newspaper sales are in the decline affected no doubt by the fact that most can also be read online but the figures for sales of UK national papers still make interesting reading. The much scoffed Mail is the second most popular in the UK which means that a hell of a lot of people buy it. The Guardian & the Independent are the lowest respectively. I do not read the Mail personally but when I need information concerning a news event its online service may well be one of the sources of information, along with many others including Al Jazeera. So armed with a cross section of editorial influenced reporting of factual events I am able to form my own view. This view my well run contrary to those held by others & many do not hold back in putting their side & so the discussion begins. Don't let the posts of a few bully you!
As thing progress & opinions digress some resort to virtual shouting & sarcasm & at that point things can get heated. Telling people that reading the nation's second most popular newspaper is not going to give any facts is quite honestly laughable! You don't get to that position by printing lies. The Mail, like all the others, will reflect the views of its journalists, editors & owners but at the end of the day it has to make money which means appealing to as broad a spectrum as possible. It seems to be reasonably successful...
One can be very quick to put a label on others & I am guilty of that too. If others can conclude that I read the Daily Mail (& why not?) then I should be free to speculate on other peoples choice of reading material & speculate on their politics. For instance, anyone who uses multiples of letters in made up words, for instance "Waaaaaaah" or "Woooooahhhhh", must still be at the Beano comic book stage & has yet to tackle grown up papers & would be difficult to take too seriously. Others, though, may also hold an opposite view but express it using examples from more adult sources. This makes for a challenging discussion.
For those who think that they know how my mind works I leave you with this.
I used to live in Kent at the time of the 1984/5 miners' strike, within a mile of one of the collieries.Initially I had no particular views about it one way or another - I was newly married & was struggling to make ends meet myself. To help things along I would work evenings as a minicab driver, making my days quite long. As the strike progressed the TV news covered many of the events including the reports of charity handouts of food to the families of strikers. One day the news came through about the death of a minicab driver who had been hit by a lump of concrete dropped on him by striking miners up north. My reaction to this was much the same as anyone's who was not directly affected - sympathy for the family but otherwise not much.
A couple of days later I was doing my shift when I was called to a pub to collect 3 guys going to a night club. The 3 got into my car & off we went. It was obvious that they had already had a few drinks. Half way to the club one of then asked me if I had heard this joke. He then repeated the news story about the death of this minicab driver "Did you hear the one about the minicab driver who was killed taking a scab to work? You are not laughing, driver, don't you think my joke is funny?" I did not say a word, nor did I change my expression but this did not prevent this individual from suddenly punching me in the side of the head repeatedly while I was still driving! He was eventually held back by his 2 mates & I was able to complete the journey.The personal experience allied with the TV news enabled me to form an opinion about striking miners based on the behaviour of the 3 I had in my car. I was annoyed that, although some families were relying on charity, there were some who could still afford a good night out & spend more money in a night than I earned in a week. The news was saying one thing but I was seeing another. Combined with the unprovoked attack on me & the sick joke let me form an opinion, right or wrong.
There are no miners left in England - good!