The UK boasts universal healthcare, tea flowing like wine, and Conservatives who sound like our Democrats when it comes to gun control and reproductive justice. A foreigner unfamiliar with the journalism landscape in the UK would have no reason to question the country’s progressive values.
The Sun is the UK’s widest-circulation newspaper and is read by more than two million people every day. It is published by News UK, a subsidiary of News Corps, and owned by Rupert Murdoch – i.e., it’s about as far right as the UK gets. I never purchased The Sun, but for the entire four years I lived in the UK I saw it most days I ventured out of my house; it’s absolutely everywhere. The paper costs £2 (just under $4.00), boasts amazing sports coverage, celebrity and political news and a TV guide. But where The Sun sharply diverts from newspapers we’re used to in America is on its third page. Page 3 is a cultural institution: in every issue for the past 40 years, there has been a topless young woman on the third page, referred to as “Page 3 girls.”