Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/The Quibbler
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Magic|
|Features||"Supermarket tabloid" of the Wizarding world|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix|
The Quibbler is a sensationalist newspaper or magazine, much like the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News in the Muggle world. It prints stories that have been rejected by the established press, typically because they are apparently nonsense.
We first see The Quibbler when Luna Lovegood is reading it on the Hogwarts Express, deciphering a page which is deliberately printed upside down. It carries a story that suggests that in fact Sirius Black is in London, where he is performing in a rock band using the alias "Stubby Boardman". Luna is upset at Hermione's dismissal of the paper, saying that the publisher of The Quibbler is her father, Xenophilius Lovegood.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Harry is being pilloried in the traditional press for speaking honestly about his adventures, Hermione arranges with Luna and Rita Skeeter that Rita will interview Harry about Voldemort's return and write it up for publication, and Luna's father will then publish it. This results in Harry's story getting widely known, particularly at Hogwarts, where Professor Umbridge, a Ministry stooge, bans the paper as part of her attempts to cover up Voldemort's return.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a party of refugees mentions in Harry's hearing that The Quibbler is now printing stories about what is really going on, and exhorting its readers to help Harry. Later, Luna Lovegood is taken hostage to force The Quibbler to toe the party line. Before any of these new "party line" issues are actually released, however, Xeno Lovegood is himself taken hostage, and it is not mentioned whether The Quibbler is converted into another Ministry mouthpiece after this or simply shuts down with the absence of the editor.
The purpose of The Quibbler, quite simply, is to give us an alternate channel of publicity from the establishment press. If the establishment controls the news reporting, it can slant and censor the news as it chooses; without an alternate channel, the government's views are the only ones that will see the light of day. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rita tells us that Fudge and the Ministry are leaning on The Daily Prophet, which is part of why they are slanting the stories the way they are; the other part of it is that nasty stories, like the ones Rita wrote (she is on imposed hiatus at that point), sell papers, and selling papers is actually the whole point.
A secondary purpose of the Quibbler is apparently illustration of just how necessary to an unjust regime it is to control the means of dissemination of information, and the steps they will take to that end. In the article on The Daily Prophet, we see how it becomes, over time, more and more a mouthpiece for the Ministry of Magic, until it finally seems to exist only to parrot the propaganda generated by Voldemort's minions. We note in that article that the Prophet is easier to influence than The Quibbler, because the Prophet will follow the money, where The Quibbler to a large extent will follow Xeno Lovegood's heart. It is unsurprising that Xeno, having found that he so rapidly sold out of the issue with Harry's interview in it, should continue to publish articles about Harry. Equally, it is unsurprising that he should continue to do so after the fall of the Ministry, as he has been, in his own mind at least, fighting the Ministry all along. It helps, no doubt, that articles about Harry would be popular among the resistance at that point. It is somewhat surprising that Death Eaters would resort to kidnapping Xeno's daughter as a way of controlling his press, but it is possible that, like Harry, Xeno is able to resist the Imperius curse.
It is worth noting that this sort of personal violence against publishers is not unheard of in the Muggles world. It is also possibly worth noting that, in nearly every aspect which we can see, by the time the Ministry falls, The Quibbler is classic "samizdat", printed in relatively small quantities and distributed through a back channel rather than on the news stands. Unfortunately, and possibly because of the relatively small size of the Wizarding population, The Quibbler is susceptible to threats of violence against a single person; and Xeno is not in a position where he can go into hiding and still keep publishing.