Coleen Rooney has taken on the invasive reporting of the Sun. What she did was just brilliant. But it also showed exactly what we’re up against with the establishment media now Boris Johnson’s prime minister.
“I came up with an idea”
On 9 October, Rooney shared a Twitter post explaining that “someone who I trusted” kept sharing “private posts and stories” with the tabloid. So she blocked everyone, bar one account, from her Instagram and started sharing fake stories. Sure enough, the Sun ran these, and Rooney was able to pinpoint the account leaking the news.
This has been a burden in my life for a few years now and finally I have got to the bottom of it…… pic.twitter.com/0YqJAoXuK1
— Coleen Rooney (@ColeenRoo) October 9, 2019
BuzzFeed shared headlines of these stories, billed as ‘exclusives’, which the Sun has since deleted. One, for example, claimed Rooney had travelled to Mexico for “gender selection” treatment:
Rooney tracked the account to Rebekah Vardy, who has since issued a denial claiming that other people used her account:
— Rebekah Vardy (@RebekahVardy) October 9, 2019
With a circulation of 1.26 million copies, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun is the UK’s best-selling paper. Yet when its so-called ‘reporting’ doesn’t feed on people’s private lives, it spreads misinformation and fuels dangerously racist tropes.
News Group Newspapers – its owners – currently face legal proceedings from Prince Harry “over alleged phone hacking”. He also previously accused the tabloid of “racist and sexist” undertones when reporting on his relationship with Meghan Markle. In September, cricketer Ben Stokes also slammed the disgraced right-wing rag for publishing “extremely painful, sensitive and personal details” about his family. As Stokes said, the Sun uses:
the lowest form of journalism, focussed only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence.
The tabloid recently joined other right-wing outlets to spread misinformation following the Supreme Court judgement against Boris Johnson.
As The Canary reported, satirical artist Darren Cullen called the Sun out for its “long history of demonising communities… thought to have some kind of latent support for terrorism”. Historically, this was Irish communities; and since 9/11, this extended to Muslims. As Cullen explained, the Sun has “consistently played on those fears”, but also has “the ear of the British government” because of its huge readership.
“Coleen Rooney’s incredible tweet”
Some declared Rooney “the hero we need right now” for her brilliant takedown of the Sun:
All hail Coleen Rooney, the hero we need right now https://t.co/6GqDpHMbOe
— The Trashies (@TheTrashiesUK) October 9, 2019
But as others noted, Rooney’s tweet also draws attention to the rising use of ‘anonymous sources’ from Boris Johnson’s government. In particular, the BBC‘s Laura Kuenssberg keeps quoting ‘senior ‘ without ever naming them. As Channel 4‘s Krishnan Guru-Murthly astutely noted: sources
Can we get Coleen Rooney to find the “source” in No 10?
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) October 9, 2019
And he wasn’t the only one:
Have just shown an EU diplomat Coleen Rooney's incredible tweet.
"That is AMAZING", the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity in Brussels.
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) October 9, 2019
Comedian David Schneider, meanwhile, put the EU in Rooney’s shoes:
First Coleen Rooney makes her big revelation, now this from the EU. pic.twitter.com/0nHoTPmPzX
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) October 9, 2019
All power to Rooney for calling out the Sun‘s continued, despicable stories. But she’s also drawn attention to the wider actions of the whole establishment media, and that’s something we mustn’t forget. Because the Sun‘s just the lowest of the low in this corrupt political and media landscape.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?