Extinction Rebellion prints Not The Sun, a truth-telling spoof of the British tabloid
In its latest stage of the Free The Press campaign, XR prints a 24-page newspaper distributed for free across 23 towns and cities.
- Ayla Angelos
- 23 July 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Commuters today will have likely noticed something different about their rush hour journey. While reaching for a newspaper, coffee in tow, you may have realised the morning ritual was a bit different. Well, it turns out that the Extinction Rebellion media team have distributed Not The Sun, a spoof version of the British tabloid paper known for its climate change conspiracy theories, bashful headlines and more (much, much more).
The 24-page newspaper is run by a team of unpaid volunteers, which is now distributed for free nationwide in 23 towns and cities including London, Manchester, Leeds and Leicester. It’s also the next stage in Extinction Rebellion’s Free The Press campaign, which kicked off in September last year with a blockade of printing plants in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire and Knowsley, Merseyside. The blockage stopped the distribution of 3.5 million copies of papers such as The Sun, Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph. Following this, protests occurred in London over a weekend in June, and conversations were opened around who owns and runs the country’s media.
“Not The Sun is our love letter to a form of brilliant popular journalism that could help save us all – if only it wasn’t held hostage by three billionaires who want to keep lining their pockets while the planet burns,” says Steve Tooze in the release, an ex-journalist who spent 20 years working in the UK’s national tabloids, and who also helped create this one. “Our tabloid is an honest attempt to show what our most popular newspapers could be doing every day: telling the scary truth and how to deal with – but still entertaining us and making us smile.”
Not The Sun features things like Splash & page: Denier, Denier, The Planet’s on fire & Lords of the Lies – an expose of how Murdoch, Rothermere and Barclay use their newspapers to play down climate revelations from scientists. Page three also twists the typical Page three bombshell trope and instead places Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer on the spread (an image that you will never un-see). Line of Snooty is a story about the print blockage activists who used their court case to uncover Home Secretary Priti Patel’s bullying of police; News that punches up, not down, looks at the betrayal of the NHS; Motor-free Motoring is a column on the best family-friendly bikes; and Travel that doesn’t cost the world looks at sustainable holidays.
After creating Not The Sun, the team received a few unnerving responses. “Two major printers and their lawyers refused to print our tabloid after seeing our hard-hitting front-page exposé of Murdoch’s environmental crimes,” says Steve. “They were clearly terrified of the media baron, and worried that he would seek to damage their business in revenge for printing stories critical of him and his global empire.”
Extinction Rebellion is known for taking radical action against the ecological crisis, and its latest release of Not The Sun is of equal importance to its mission. “If a little group of volunteers and activists can create and distribute a high-quality, hard-hitting national tabloid that tells the truth, imagine what the power, resource and talents of the big newspapers could do,” continues Steve in the release.
“To the journalists on these newspapers, we say – we need you desperately. Free yourself from your crooked owners and start telling us the truth about the climate crisis. To the public, we say – tell the editors of your daily newspaper that you are sick of their climate lies and that you want to start hearing the truth, every day, about the crisis. How can we act like this is an emergency until the papers we read talk about it like it is one?”
GalleryExtinction Rebellion: Not The Sun (Copyright © Extinction Rebellion, 2021)
Extinction Rebellion: Not The Sun (Copyright © Extinction Rebellion, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.