The Daily Mail print edition led with a front-page on the terrible case of the mother and daughter who were tormented by ‘feral youths’ to such an extent that the mother killed herself and her daughter. There is nothing wrong with highlighting this horrific story and it rightly deserves to be discussed, if nothing else it should serve to remind each of us of the terrible consequences of sustained bullying. However, I do not believe that those at the Daily Mail will ever take a moment to reflect on their own role in bullying and tormenting others. I wonder if Natalie Cassidy was to take her own life because she finally got too distressed by constantly being called fat, ugly and badly dressed by the Daily Mail and it’s cruel and cowardly commenters, would the Daily Mail face the same condemnation as these ‘feral youths’.
The Daily Mail were quick to highlight and document those that they felt were responsible for the torment of the mother and daughter, will they now also highlight and document those within their own offices who are so keen to torment and bully others behind the secrecy of the ‘Daily Mail Reporter’. I mean, if the Daily Mail really believes that this issue is serious and they want to be part of the solution, should they not hand other the tormentors in their ranks to help stop terrible things like this happening in future?
Of course they will not, the Daily Mail isn’t interested in solving problems, only whinging about them or raising public fear by constantly implying that there are no solutions – Britain is ‘broken’ so we all may as well just have a bloody great whinge before buggering off to sunnier climes as soon as we’re able. The trouble with the Daily Mail is that it is bigger and more evil than the sum of its’ parts, the ‘Daily Mail’ – as an entity, a newspaper, a commentator – never ages, it isn’t too fat or too thin and it is neither rich or poor, male or female and it isn’t human. It can therefore attack anyone with impunity because you can’t attack an inanimate object (or concept if you prefer) so it is free to be hypocritical, to lie, to slander and to stir up hatred against any person or group that it does not like. The only way it can be stopped is if people stop buying it, stop feeding it with the only thing that it really cares about: money.
Take today for example, whilst they dedicated the front page to a moral crusade against the society that is (in its view – today at least – indifferent to the suffering of others) it can print the following article on its website and not see that the message they send out to readers completely undercuts the anti-bullying sentiment the front page carries:
The Daily Mail’s instinct to mock those who differ from its own perception of reality even slightly seems every bit as vicious, uncaring and tormenting as the ‘feral youths’ they are so quick to condemn on their front page. Perhaps the difference is that the Daily Mail scatter-gun of torment moves so quickly between targets that the victim never has time to respond, or at least any consequences are never reported because you simply can’t keep up with which individual or group is being tormented.
This is not to say that there are not consequences to the Daily Mail’s targeting of groups – the rise of the EDL has real roots in the tabloid newspapers deceitful reporting on those practicing Islam and immigrants in general (I do not mean to blur two distinct groups here, but I have to put them alongside each because to the EDL and the Daily Mail the groups seem virtually interchangeable) – or individuals. Furthermore, I vividly recall Richard Littlejohn saying the following in January 2008:
My Geordie mate, Black Mike, would take one look at her in her absurd “Goth” outfit and remark: “Gi’ us a stick and I’ll kill it.”…When her owner – er, fiancé – Addams Family lookalike Dani Graves tried to take her on to a bus, the driver stopped them, saying: “We don’t let freaks and dogs like you on.”
The couple complained that it was a “hate crime”… They should be neutered.
Barely two months later a woman was beaten to death in a park purely because she was dressed as a goth. Perhaps the Daily Mail would argue that Richard Littlejohn as responsible for this girl’s death? Given their fondness for post hoc scare stories – such as today’s reporting of the danger of Cervical cancer immunisation because a young girl died after having the injection; even though no medical link has yet to be established – you think they would immediately blame Richard Littlejohn for this murder.
I think they would even have a fair point for once, for whilst Richard Littlejohn cannot be solely blamed for the muder, he certainly made a significant contribution to the darker aspects of society that create such murders. Richard Littlejohn completely dehumanises goths above: ‘Gi’ us a stick and i’ll kill it.’ is something you’d say when confronted with a bug, or something that disgusts us too much to touch it; the stick isn’t needed as a weapon, it is merely a device to avoid contaminating the hands. We neuter animals, not human beings. The bus driver labelling them ‘freaks and dogs’ nicely concludes that those different to us are animals, and Richard Littlejohn is quick to mock even the idea that this could be considered a ‘hate crime’ (Will Self has pointed out that Richard Littlejohn has a tendency to dehumanise his subjects of abuse).
I might therefore argue that the perpetuation of the attitude that those that are different from us are not human plays a vital role in creating young people who feel the need to attack those who are different to them. Furthermore, when we step back and ask ourselves (as a society) how such horrific crimes can be committed against another human being, we have to realise the major role that the media plays in dehumanising its targets, in the eyes of the perpetrators perhaps they no longer see a certain group as human beings – you could argue that they couldn’t carry out the acts without dehumanising the victim first.
Sadly, the Daily Mail doesn’t do reflection, not just because it is a faceless entity and literally cannot participate in the act, but also because there is money to be made from justifiable attacks on the darker side of humanity on one page whilst feeding it on another. The Daily Mail doesn’t really exist to moralise, but make money. Anyone looking for any kind of moral consistency in the Daily Mail would do well to remember this and give up their task accordingly.