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Why the Left hates the Daily Mail

Daily Mail clock, image by Alex Muller http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daily_Mail_clock,_closeup.pngLoathe as I am to pounce upon yet another bandwagon by adding to the dacreage of comment on the Daily Mail‘s ill-judged bust up with Ed Miliband, I cannot refrain from doing so. You see, as a leftie, as someone who values reason, equality and the labour movement, I’m de factoobsessed with the paper – at least that’s what its beleaguered editor thinks. However, just as England very occasionally confounds expectations and turns in a decent performance befitting the paper value of the squad, Paul Dacre is broadly right. Why?

  1. The Mail and their fellow guttersnipes in the hard right tabloid press lie. They say the most outrageous things and peddle the most ludicrous confidence tricks to amaze, entertain and scare their shrinking print readership. They attack, they traduce – yes, traduce – and smear whatever target(s) are in their sights, be it a politician, a celebrity or a member of the public.
  2. The Mail doesn’t just lie. It hates. Of all the tabloids, The Mail has a record to be ashamed of by their own execrable standards. No one else has quite consistently given it pages over to the hatred of Jews, LGBT people, minority ethnicities, immigrants, women, the young, the disabled, the poor, the working class. Mail hacks and Dacre might point to their “campaigning”, particularly around the Stephen Lawrence case, but that does not absolve them of the hate they peddled beforehand or since. The one example of when The Mail did the decent thing stands all the more starkly against the shocking relief of stupid bigotry and wilful, cowardly ignorance that is its daily fare.
  3. The Mail is shamelessly hypocritical. It has the gall to lecture and condemn whoever the paper’s hating on that particular day in the name of a spurious morality it uniquely claims as its own. The right to private, dignified lives is out the window when its utterly unscrupulous editor thinks some hapless innocent needs to have their name dragged through the mud. It rails against the premature sexualisation of the young – especially young girls – and barely bats an eyelid when it publishes semi-naked photos of 13, 14, 15-year old celebrities.
  4. The Mail is political poison. No other paper has openly given its support to a fascist party either back in the day or in more recent times. You can be rest assured that wherever privilege, prejudice and position are challenged, The Daily Mail will pitch in for the powerful.The Mail dreads nothing more than the ‘decent working people’ it allegedly represents noisily barging their way into politics and threatening to remake the social order from top to bottom.
  5. The Mail plays to people’s anxieties. It feeds the deep sense of unease, that widespread but intangible sense of insecurity that leaves millions of people prey to rubbish like the Islamic invasion of Britain, backdoor sovietisation by the EUSSR, snowmageddon, Cultural Marxism, and paedophiles in every school. The shivers it desperately tries to force down the readership’s spine is the essential preface to its hang ’em, flog ’em, deport ’em politics.
  6. The Mail‘s hysterical frothing is absolutely inimical to reasoned debate and informed political discourse.

The left, whatever its hue, hate The Mail because more than any other paper, party or movement on the “mainstream” right brings to life on its pages everything the left and the labour movement stands against: elitism, lies, bigotry, irrationality. The Mail debases our national life and is a stain upon what passes for Britain’s journalistic culture. The left hates it because the paper is our antithesis. It is the worst of British values dressed up as the best, as Alastair Campbell put it.

Yet here’s the thing. As much as the left hates the Daily Mail, it is also the one right wing paper we’re most likely to read. Its multiple offences against the real world, its foul attacks on powerless victims, the hyperbolic, apocalyptic spin it gives to the mildest of social democratic policies can – and does – fuel a sense of outrage among the left. Just the sheer quantity of left comment generated when the Mail finds itself at the heart of periodic media storms suggests more than a view people with sensible politics regularly keep tabs, at least on its online version. And the marketing bods at the paper know this, they know a substantial minority of its regular audience absolutely hates its guts. Perversely The Mail has a clear commercial imperative in keeping them coming back for more, and the hacks are only happy to oblige with more twisted, hate-filled copy. And that’s even before you get sucked into the vacuous but strangely alluring purgatory of the sidebar of shame.

The sad thing is while the left absolutely, genuinely, sincerely despises the Daily Mail; it loves to hate it too.

This post first appeared at A Very Public Sociologist. And for those who love to hate it even more, the following video is by Dan and Dan films

3 Comments

  1. Andy Newman says:

    However, I am pleased that the Mail on Sunday have described me as “a good fit with the affluent Wiltshire seat [of Chippenham]” and that my “CV bears the hallmarks of a modern Labour politician”

    kind words.

  2. Robert says:

    You old Red you….

  3. ibbe says:

    You forgot a key ingredient (not to sound full of myself or degrade your analysis): The goal for the daily mail is to keep uneducated little englanders in fear of their own class- by defining the ”others” as a dark swarm of invading gypsies, overly sexualized women hating muslim extremists, disloyal left wingers. The daily mail is more genius than what meets the eye; It’s soft power at its peak. Millions of poor uneducated mostly white englishmen identifying along class lines and self interest instead of blaming the polish floor sweeper for their two- decades long economic decline certainly wouldn’t be ideal for the owners of this nation.
    The goal is to distract ”ordinary” people from the obvious fact: England is owned and controlled by 1% of the population, most of it inherited, the other made from gambling on peoples savings. My argument is not about more or less government neither is it about left or right. It is about economic self interest. Who owns the heights of the economy? Who controls politicians? Keeping poor people from asking: how come 1% of the population own 77% of all stocks is vital. Therefore the daily mail is check and mate. Leftwingers used to be good at using the exact same tool but for the opposite purpose.

    Best, IGM

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