“The Daily Mail aren’t the only culprits… but they’re the worst!” says Bad PR blogger

July 19th, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I’m bored of reading the Daily Mail – I don’t enjoy it, and I’d far prefer not to have to. Unfortunately, time and again, it’s the Mail who have fallen worst for printing PR nonsense as if it were news, so time and again I’m forced to cover them. The Mail didn’t get to be the most-read news site on the internet by having high standards.

Still, merrily enough, today I get to cover not just the Mail, but a whole range of the newspapers, as we learn the hand gestures which annoy people the most, starting with The Express:

THE TOP FIVE GESTURES THAT DRIVE US MAD

THE finger-flicking hand gesture meaning “in inverted commas” has been voted the most irritating of all.

The action, created by curling the index and middle fingers, beat the “talk to the hand” move as the most aggravating part of communication.

Other non-obscene gestures which make the blood boil are putting a finger to the nose to depict “none of your business” and “blah blah blah” where people touch their thumb and forefinger to imitate a chatty mouth.

The Sun’s take focused more on famous gesture-makers, providing a welcome excuse to refer to David Brent (something The Sun appear to adore doing):

David Brent’s ‘inverted commas’ gesture is most annoying

THE finger-flicking “inverted commas” motion has been hailed as the most irritating hand gesture, it has emerged.

The action to emphasise a word with a hint of irony – beloved of nerdy boss David Brent from The Office – beat the “talk to the hand” gesture as the most aggravating part of daily communication.

The Telegraph, however, take a more high-brow approach, with John McCain demonstrating the hated quote marks gesture, topping off a near-identical story to the others:

Why making finger quote marks may cost your credibility

People who like to be sarcastic by making inverted commas with their fingers may want to think twice, as it has been named the most irritating hand gesture used in daily communication.

The “speech marks” created by curling the index and middle fingers of both hands, was named ahead of motioning people to “talk to the hand” by extending one arm towards them while looking away, or touching a finger to the nose to suggest “mind your own business”.

And finally, predictably, The Daily Mail take on the story in some length.

Of course, needless to say, all four versions of the stories (and the other incarnations in print and online) are all based on the same press release – equally predictably sourced from our friends over at 72 Point / OnePoll. In fact, all four versions are so clearly taken from the same press release we can even rank their use of copy and paste:

  • The Daily Telegraphunnamed journalist – 56% copied from press release
  • The Sun – unnamed journalist – 72% copied from press release
  • The Daily ExpressJane Matthews – 81% copied from press release
  • The Daily MailRick Dewsbury – 85% copied from press release

Rather interestingly, then, the newspapers most guilty of presenting this press release unchecked as news are the ones who name their journalists. That Jane Matthews of the Express (who we know has form for this) contributed less than a fifth to her article, and Rick Dewsbury less even than that, is somewhat remarkably.

As for the source of the press release, and the service this anthropological study was set up to advertise? Quirky and frivolous iPhone app ‘Goggle Eyes’. Bizarre.