Why I dislike the Daily Mail.
So last months’s Samantha Brick sensation wasn’t only about the fact that an ordinary looking woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and a cute dog whose view of herself was stuck in the 80s had written such inane comments against all women she met. No this was also because so many of us can’t resist a pop at anything Daily Mail. Something that the younger generation may not remember the 1980s were a highly political time for daily newspapers and The Daily Mail represented the NIMBYs who were liberal as long as it didn’t directly affect them.
When I first moved back to the UK in 2001 I searched high and low for a daily paper that I could commit to. Prior to the free papers I found myself more drawn to The Independent and The Guardian than anything tabloid based but I tried them all. Yes even The Star and The Sport. I wanted to be fair in my choice after all.
I dislike most newspapers but for I have hated the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard for a lot longer. Yes their pictures are good and it targets a more female audience but those are the only compliments I have. If someone sends me a link to their site I can’t bring myself to read it. I have threatening to unfriend persistent offenders. In fact I still haven’t actually read the Samantha Brick piece. Normally my life is such that I can avoid Daily Mail readers. But my dislike of a newspaper that was racially divisive was compounded by jury service.
I was doing jury service a few years ago which is the government’s attempt to show you, the voter how you can be included in the legal system. What joy. The case had racial undertones as the accused was from Africa accused of a crime involving a potential passport fraud. We heard the evidence and went back to deliberate. If I’m honest I was just glad to get a case as sitting in the pen waiting all day had become soul destroying. I couldn’t imagine that any case this clear cut would take us long as it appeared to be provoked by the overzealous passport control officers. Open and shut case. I called my partner and told him I would be home by 2pm latest.
And that’s when it started. There were 2 irrationally angry women who somehow figured that he was a terrorist and a threat to their children. They wanted him to go down for years. We had the passport and according to one of the women it was obvious it was a fake. 10 other people couldn’t tell and yet she, with her jaws set tight made a comment about all of them being in on it and that it was a terrorist threat to us all. Did I mention he was North African? It was these sorts of spurious comments that swayed those that were on the fence over to the logical side. Some of us, yes my precious I wasn’t going to let this man go down, had to fight hard to convince the idiots that there was no evidence to suggest he was guilty and definitely not a terrorist. How had we taken such a leap? And then I saw it. The copies of the Daily Mail they had. He walked free that day as there was no evidence to suggest he was guilty. The judge said that based on the evidence we had made the right decision and all was well with the world again.
I have no problem with people reading daily newspapers. What I do have a problem is with those that believe every headline that is written then tries to justify it on flimsy evidence. The prejudice of a paper like the Daily Mail is distasteful. Where there is an opportunity for them to take a position that raises anxieties in its readers it relishes it. You have to be able to defend your daily newspaper of choice in the same way you would your football team. This is like supporting Millwall F.C. and saying you are pro an integrated, pacifist England. I just won’t believe you.
So this is why Samantha Brick will get more flak from her thoughtless article than other narcissists. Secretly many of us hate the Daily Mail and the lower middle class anxieties it evokes. But also we don’t like writers who use it as a vehicle to push agendas that are either trite and insignificant or divisive and inciting fear or hatred of others. I think after reading her I am now meant to be nice to pretty women because they are so vulnerable?
Sorry Daily Mail your missioned failed this time around.
© Chelsea Black