Enemies of the People: the dirty Daily Mail
BY DANIEL SILLETT
Usually when I write articles, I find myself sliding in some quip about the Daily Mail. And this usually involves a passing reference to its Brexiteer readership who have bulldog tattoos on their legs, eat bangers and mash for dinner and have their heads firmly lodged in 1900.
Today, however, is different. The Mail is getting its own front-page exclusive on how it’s ruining life. And how I therefore hope it gets a strong rap on the knuckles in court this week.
A short disclaimer is necessary before I begin, though. And that’s because the individual who has triggered all this is none other than Prince Harry – who I happen to think is an attention-seeking invertebrate who has publicly humiliated his family. So, just to be clear, my attacks on the Mail are not points on the board for Harry. They are points for me. Period.
Enough of the terms and conditions nonsense. Let’s get to it.
The court case revolves around Harry’s claims that the Mail’s illegal activities have unduly invaded his privacy. The allegations – of which there are many – include bugging, bribing police officers for information and impersonation to access files and bank accounts.
That’s the case at hand; we’ll park Prince Harry in a corner. It’s much more important that, if true, this is a pretty shocking list of claims. The shock I’m getting from such scary and abhorrent allegations coming to light seems familiar… something about illegal parties, perhaps.
What’s especially interesting is that the Mail is normally the first to spout off about a case of this magnitude. It’s the equivalent of that gobby friend everyone knows – don’t tell them all your secrets because, within five seconds, you won’t have any. And yet with this ground-breaking, star-studded, landmark case, nobody has heard a dicky bird from the Mail.
Isn’t that beautiful irony? The Daily Mail will pounce like a kitten on a hot tin roof if any celebrity is caught in a promiscuous affair. They’d be the first to shout in disgrace if Rishi Sunak was snapped simply having a friendly pint down the pub. And they’d certainly plaster it over the front pages if Keir Starmer said boo to a goose.
But what do you hear when a newspaper itself is at the centre of a rowdy affair with a prince in a high-profile court case? Silence.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh – because the Mail has in fact published one single article on the case. The headline says that a private investigator has deemed the claims made against the Mail false. Of course they have. And of course all the loony lefty papers have jumped on the opportunity to slander a right-wing rival for breaking the rules.
But just take a step back from the foray for a moment and look at the bigger picture. The media industry is shooting itself in the foot. Because, if nothing else, what this case does prove is that the media simply compete for the biggest story, the biggest profit, and will go to extreme lengths to be top dog. True, the Mail might’ve been the one caught red-handed. But, to all the other papers out there, do not for one minute think you can fool us by crying wolf when you’ve been up to the same tricks.
I’ve grilled the British media before, but I think it’s time to put them all back on the barbecue. This case illuminates the fact that the media outlets will only tell you what they want you to hear.
News is political. It is not fact. True, it is ‘fact’ that Brexit was a complicated process of negotiation. But it is not a fact that UK Supreme Court judges are ‘enemies of the people’, to quote the infamous Mail headline at the time. The way news is presented matters – it’s geared towards profit.
Further, think about what they don’t tell you. I don’t want to be peevish and petulant, but nobody seems to care that I got drove home safely today. But I’d be all over the front pages if I saw red mist and ran over an old woman because you’d want to read about that, so it’s profitable. It’s a ridiculous example – and not just because I’m a better driver than Lewis Hamilton. But it makes you think.
Why do you think nobody has the foggiest idea what Rishi Sunak is doing right now? Because he’s making a pig’s ear of it? No. It’s because he’s doing a good job. And who wants to hear about that? The media won’t sell a story reporting Rishi’s triumphant policies, but they’d sell a million papers if he hacked off some investors and made your pension worth £2.10.
So, what have we learnt? Well, the Mail’s court case should bring light to the shadowy, toxic British media. Their allegedly illicit methods, destructive rivalry and fixation on profitability should raise alarm bells. And I hope it brings down the veil covering the media’s ivory towers to reveal the savage trolls that sit pulling the levers of your life like it’s Orwell’s 1984.
Your news isn’t the news. It’s a selective narrative carefully crafted by the real enemies of the people.
Image: Unsplash/Tom Mossholder