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An Evil Legacy and Why an Apology is Long Overdue
I know it’s exactly what the Daily Mail was after, but I am so fed up of their trolling scandals. What other function could Samantha Brick, Jan Moir, and Geoffrey Levy have? (Other than upsetting people so that the Mail Online website can receive a massive influx of hits, subsequently driving their advertising rates sky high). It really is the lowest method of ensuring success amongst an increasingly competitive newspaper market. The best thing you can do to stop the Mail pulling more of these stunts in the future is read transcripts of what was said on other websites – those with added sarcastic commentaries are a hilarious bonus. Some people would say the best thing to do would be to avoid it, but I don’t think they’ll do us all a favour and go away until it is actively challenged where it hurts: the finances.
I’ve been angry before, but this time, when looking over pages and pages of commentary surrounding the latest Daily Mail scandal, I can’t help but being reminded of a classic quote from US sitcom Friends:
“Over the line?! You’re so far past the line that, you can’t even see the line! The line is a dot to you.”
This kind of scandal is depressingly far from being new. I could literally have spent the entirety of this post listing examples of the Daily Mail’s callousness, but others have done it far more eloquently than I probably could.
And the hypocrisy, don’t get me started [too late]. After some were jubilant on hearing of Thatcher's death they ran a headline stating, 'this bilious hatred and lack of respect for the dead is a disturbing new low in British life'. Seems like they forgot describing the circumstances surrounding Stephen Gately’s death in 2009 as ‘more than a little sleazy’. You can almost imagine them defending themselves: “It’s fine, he was a homo”.
The same disregard for human emotions is perfectly clear in this case as well. Ok, it’s not the day after Ralph Miliband’s death, but there are still several people with personal memories of the man – none more so than his own children. Ed Miliband quite rightly defended his father, but what did he really expect when he went to the same vile newspaper to print his response? The answer from the Mail was essentially, “we acknowledge your right to reply, and we’ll use it to wipe our sh*t from the walls”.
I’m sure with the Daily Mail’s self-assured glorious and untarnished history, this was a wise strategy. How would they like it if there was somehow, somewhere, some obscure piece of dirt on the Daily Mail’s proprietor’s ancestor? Oh…right…yeah, any basic tracing of the Rothermere (Harmsworth if you’re not up for using pompous terms of nobility) family tree would reveal that their family’s past is shamefully embarrassing. Thanks to the internet, this has come out for all to see. History does not look kindly on them, which is why their archives are guarded with such high secrecy (I know, I’ve tried to access them).
The Daily Mail has stayed in the family for generations. Prior to the First World War, the first owner Lord Northcliffe (the current owner’s great-grandfather) had ‘done more than any living man [next to the Kaiser] to bring about the war’ through anti-German propaganda. So that’s 16,563,868 deaths effectively on their hands if you choose to believe in Northcliffe’s immense influence. I’m sure Northcliffe did have some redeeming qualities. I just can’t be bothered to find them. I’d much rather take that one segment of his life and use it to slander his name. Seems like a winning tactic.
Ok, well that’s pretty bad I guess, but that was a long time ago, his predecessor can’t have been that bad right? Right?! [I know you know where I’m going with this, just run with it]
WRONG. The 2nd Viscount Rothermere used the Mail explicitly for propaganda purposes. In the lead up to the Second World War he was a staunch supporter of the British Union of Fascists as well as the German Nazi Party. ‘Hurrah for the black shirts!’, the newspaper notoriously praised. The Daily Mail consistently supported the appeasement of Hitler, and were consistently Nazi sympathisers…but they loved Britain so it was ok.
While I’m on that point, so what if Ralph Miliband didn’t love Britain when he was 17? If anything were taken from a diary I had when I was 17 and taken as gospel, then you’d discover that my lifetime ideology was to pass my driving test and be less nervous talking to the opposite sex. It would be ridiculous to suggest this…I have passed my driving test. The point is that Britain was full of nationalist sentiment at the time; much like the Daily Mail was full of Nazi sympathisers. If we are looking to the past for indicators of a corrupting influence over future generations within the two families, I think it’s blatantly obvious which one of them is the more dangerous.