Friday, 5 April 2013

Daily Mail Danger

When I worked as an early morning cleaner, a colleague of mine would play a game every Sunday called 'Daily Mail Danger' in which he would start inserting Mail on Sunday supplements as late as possible, and try not to let the Mail readers catch him before they were done. Of course there wasn't a great deal of real danger involved - the punters were hardly going to kick him to death if they did catch up with him, and they didn't get their free knitting pattern / glossy magazine / Bonnie Tyler album. Whilst it might be shocking, Daily Mail readers tend to be a lot nicer than their newspaper choice would suggest.

This week, we haven't been able to move for people attacking the Daily Mail for their coverage of the Mick Philpott affair. It doesn't take a genius to realise that the Mail has overstepped the mark, but similarly, the moral indignation at what they've done is wearing a bit thin.

Every single day, the Daily Mail publishes things that make me physically shake with anger. This is no different. In one swoop, a national newspaper links his crime with his benefits bill, suggests that he's evil and then talks about how he 'bred' seventeen children - like an animal rather than a human. The whole thing is disgusting.

A shocked person.

But, well, it's the Daily Mail. It's not as though they don't have previous here.

This is the newspaper that published a story suggesting a man's death was linked with the fact that he was gay when he actually had a heart defect. This is the newspaper that every single day publishes content that reduces women to boobs, bums, and bitching.. It's the newspaper that employs a woman to write about stealing a man's sperm.

It's the bloody Daily Mail.

My issue here, isn't over whether it's wrong. The Daily Mail is very often as wrong as you can be. My issue here, is why are people suddenly angry now? Why has it apparently taken this long for people to realise what a horror this newspaper is? Why are people 'shocked and saddened' when the Mail has been doing this for years?

The way that I deal with Daily Mail Danger is to only look at it if I actively want to be annoyed. For most LibDems, reading the Daily Mail is like running off a list of 'anti's' and knocking on doors for a merry old time. What frustrates me, is that actually what has happened this week, is like running off a list of anti's and then moaning about the fact that you've had a horrible afternoon being shouted at.

Yes, I think people are right to make complaints about the Daily Mail's conduct. Yes, we need to work to make sure that the lies told by all national newspapers are challenged, but please, let us not be diverted by resigning ourselves to anger.

For those who have been angry this week, you're right, but this is the tip of the iceberg. This is what we're up against.

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