I’m sure everyone is now fully aware of Jan Moir’s hateful, ignorant and homophobic article about Stephen Gately. It was covered on this site and just about every other blogger I know so I will not go over old ground by repeating things that have been covered elsewhere. Instead I want to focus on what should happen next, in general, with the tabloid media. There are now many blogs that exist to point out the hatred, racism, homophobia, misogyny, made-up science and general ignorant fear-mongering that makes up most of the content of tabloid newspapers but Friday was a rare event in that such bloggers rode a wave of anger over one particular article and a tabloid newspaper was forced to respond.
What surprises me isn’t that such a vast number of people took a few minutes out of their day to register their disgust at Jan Moir, it’s that such people don’t do it more often.
Why was there not a similar uproar for example over the Daily Express headline this week that stated that all Muslims were calling for complete Sharia Law in the UK, when it is patently clear that it is only one small faction – statistically insignificant within the Muslim population. A number of blogs covered Amanda Platell’s racism and ignorance a while back when she bemoaned in an article about population rise that:
Sadly, though, it is not the indigenous middle-class, hard-working, tax-paying population that’s exploding.
According to statistics, our latest baby boom is partly down to high birth rates among immigrants, and partly due to rising numbers of younger mothers.
The Explosion that Amanda was referring to was the rise in migrant mothers from 23.2% in 2007 to 24.1% in 2008, so the ‘boom’ is actually an increase of 0.9%. Yes it appears lies, racism and general bigotry only starts to rile the population if it is aimed at a popular figure. In my opinion everyone should take time out to counter any instance of a tabloid newspaper behaving in such a way – although that is a big ask considering just how frequently tabloid newspapers behave in this way. However, if we don’t apply consistent pressure to the tabloid press then they’ll simply be able to brush aside the Jan Moir reaction and carry on just as they did before. This year Richard Littlejohn has been named Poison Pen: Polemicist of the Year by the Comment Awards run by Editorial Intelligence which gives out a clear signal that homophobic, racist writers who constantly skewer reality and fact to suit their own hate-filled agenda are to be rewarded rather than chastised.
Remember, Richard Littlejohn is the writer who said of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda: “Does anyone really give a monkey’s about what happens in Rwanda? If the Mbongo tribe wants to wipe out the Mbingo tribe then as far as I am concerned that is entirely a matter for them.” And wrote the following about the murder of 5 Ipswich women in 2006:
…in the scheme of things the deaths of these five women is no great loss.
They weren’t going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur. The only kind of missionary position they undertook was in the back seat of a car…
Frankly, I’m tired of the lame excuses about how they all fell victim to ruthless pimps who plied them with drugs. These women were on the streets because they wanted to be.
In 1995 Littlejohn made an hilarious comment on South Yorkshire Police Force’s attempts to become more aware of the concerns of the gay community where he claimed to have contacted a “tyke friend of mine” who “reliably informed me there are no homosexuals in South Yorkshire. [The friend said,] ‘Not live ones, anyway. We send them all down to London.’” Week after week Littlejohn repeats lies about ethnic minorities and makes hilarious snide digs about homosexuals, his lies are picked up every week by bloggers who point out that Littlejohn never conducts any research – even when a simple Google search would have told him his ‘story’ was utter rubbish. He merely regurgitates the already badly skewered news agenda of the Daily Mail and adds a further of layer of lies and hatred to obscure any passing resemblance that the story might have to reality.
Yet his reward is not to be mocked by his peers, but rewarded with a salary that is reported to be over £800,000 a year and awards from organisations that you’d hope would recognise what a sad joke of a writer he actually is. The tabloid media wallows in the reward of hateful, ignorant and base writers – as Tabloid Watch points out, just this week The News of the World has appointed Victoria Newton as its Deputy Editor; Editor Colin Myler commented:
‘I am delighted to welcome Victoria to the News of the World. She is one of the brightest journalists of her generation’.
Hmm. Really? Perhaps he should take a look at the wonderful Vickywatch blog, which proves what a hopeless, lazy and dishonest plagiarist she actually is.
Sadly, all too often tabloid writers get away with poisening the world with their ill-informed rants with only a ripple of discontent on blogs like this one. What Friday demonstrated is that with a bit more support change can happen, tabloid newspapers can be targeted because companies do not want their brand associated with any form of bigotry. Perhaps if certain brands advertising on the Daily Mail website were more consistantly reminded that the Daily Mail brand stands for racism, homophobia, dishonesty and functions as a detached mouthpiece for the BNP and other fascist organisations then they might look at removing their advertising revenue more permanently.
The tabloid media attempts to make everyone scared, hateful, paranoid and tries to always wedge lies and fear between communities. It feeds off of ignorance, paranoia and people who want someone to blame for whatever it is that gives them displeasure in life. The only way to defeat it is to make people like Jan Moir realise that the vast majority of people do not think or feel the way that she does, the Daily Mail and its readership need to realise that they are a minority, that their hate-filled vision of the world is not the norm. Advertisers need to realise that the vast majority of the UK marketplace abhors the values of the tabloid press; if people really want to stand up and destroy it then all we have to do is boycott any company that advertises through the tabloid media.
If we do not, Friday would have been for nothing.