It’s the economy, stupid, YouTube’s under siege and Markle’s sparkle

The Headliner podcast

4th December 2017

It’s the economy, stupid, YouTube’s under siege and Markle’s sparkle

A number of announcements have dripped out of this week’s news agenda following last week’s Budget and the OBR’s dismal forecast for the economy.

On Tuesday, the OECD released its Economic Outlook for 2019. It was not pretty for the UK—downgrading the 2017 growth forecast for UK to 1.5%, making it the weakest economy in G7. As we’d expect, The Guardian focuses on Brexit as the leading cause, with its headline: UK missing out on rising global growth because of Brexit. But even the Mail quotes Brexit uncertainty as a driving force of the pessimism. All told, the mainstream media seems to be breaking ties with its scepticism of ‘so-called experts’.

Also on Tuesday, the Bank of England released the results of its ‘stress test’ Stability Report on banks, to see if they could cope with the ‘worst possible Brexit’. This is where it gets a bit more partisan. The Express gleefully reports that UK banks WILL prop up the British economy if there’s a Hard Brexit, insists Bank of England.

The Telegraph confirms its long-held theory that UK banks would deem Brexit-proof in Bank of England stress tests.  But it concludes: “I wouldn’t get the party poppers out at Canary Wharf just yet.” You might think that was it for a dreary Tuesday in November. Alas… not one day prior, the Government had released a white paper for industrial strategy.

This is where the media gets its daggers drawn. That’s because it hints at a debate that goes right to the heart of modern politics: how much the state should interfere with the market.

The FT welcomes the paper, although merrily points out that Europhile and Tory Grandee has suggested that a much better way of improving growth would be to ‘stop Brexit’.

But it’s the Mail which is positively furious about the lack of oomph behind the paper writing that “when it comes to the real world of business, the Government’s new Industrial Strategy has more holes than a colander.”

There’s been a lot of press around Taylor Swift of late—she isn’t exactly backwards in coming forwards when it comes to launching an album. These have ranged from Buzzfeed staff searching for ‘easter eggs’ in her videos, to all the music editor reviews, to the New York Times gushing with praise as she brought Jimmy Kimmel to tears with her song New Year’s Eve in his first show after his mother passed away.

But perhaps there’s a deeper story afoot. The Verge writes cuttingly that Swift is the “modern celebrity we all deserve,” and that it “takes a real weirdo to write a song like Look What You Made Me Do; a real compelling anti-heroine to make spite the driving force of her entire life”

And this week, the Guardian’s editorial asks if she is an envoy for President Trump’s values, noting that her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the “alt-right”.

YouTube under siege

A landmark deal in British media was finally cemented on the 22nd as rival publishers Telegraph Media Group, Guardian News and Media and News UK banded together to combat the ‘duopoly’ of online video advertising held by Google and Facebook. The Verified Marketplace is “designed to attract advertisers seeking large audiences and to ensure their brands do not appear alongside inappropriate material, as well as assurance their money is not wasted.”

Coincidentally, the announcement came only a few days after an investigation by The Times revealed that big brands were being marketed on YouTube videos attractive to paedophiles.

Adidas, Mars and Diageo withdrew campaigns from the platform immediately and ISBA called an urgent meeting with Google executives to demand more proactive policing of its video platform, lest the lost advertising revenue would not be readily replenished.

Markle’s Sparkle

And, to sweeten the deal, we’ve got a Royal wedding to look forward to with Prince Harry proposing to actor Meghan Markle. Clarence House shared the news on Monday via Twitter and there was a photo-call at Kensington Palace Gardens. The couple were also interviewed by BBC journalist MishaI Husain. It was broadcast at 6pm on the BBC News, then shown in full on The One Show. Kate and William were interviewed by ITV’s Tom Bradby. The Mail Online noted that Argos carries a very similar engagement ring—on special for £32.99.

The wedding will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May, Kensington Palace says. We won’t get a day off. 🙁