The Daily Mail obsession with Nazis

This month so far:

  1. ‘Karen Gillan has a Steve McQueen moment fleeing the Nazis on the set of Doctor Who’
  2. ‘The ‘perfect, pitiless, Nazi’: German soldiers’ confessions reveal how troops driven by bloodlust killed innocent civilians for fun’
  3. ‘Hitler sent German U-boat carrying secret agents to terrorise New York during World War Two (but it got wedged off Long Island)’
  4. ‘Revealed: The sketches of Hitler’s official artist who erased his name from files in shame after WWII’
  5. ‘Nazi death camp guard who died before answering charges of killing 430,000 Jews ‘may have been assassinated”
  6. ‘Killer sausages: How the Nazis plotted to fight back after losing the war’

A quick search of the Mail website for the word ‘Nazi’ returns 1399 results. From what I can discover the Daily Mail website was not launched until early 2004, 59 years after the end of World War II. This means the website has averaged around 200 articles per year on the Nazis.

Just pointing this out as I seem to be seeing even more articles on the Nazis recently than is usual.

Not Really ‘Shameful’

You can learn an awful lot about the opinion of the Daily Mail by its use of inverted commas in headlines. Inverted commas can mean a number of things but normally they mean that the the text contained within them is untrue, or that it is laughable.

So, what can you make of this headline: ‘Class greets German twin town visitors with ‘shameful’ Nazi salute‘. This seems to imply that greeting German visitors with a Nazi salute isn’t actually shameful, but rather than the PC brigade have labelled such action as ‘shameful’.

Considering the letter printed in the Daily Mail today, I guess this isn’t really a surprise.

Still, you cannot argue that the Daily Mail doesn’t know its audience:

Nazi Salute


In response to ‘shellsuitwarrior’ (thanks for taking the time to comment) below I’d just like to add that I completely understand their point and I can see that there is an argument that the Daily Mail is trying to appear neutral with this headline.

However, I would like to point out that as mentioned by the Mediawise submission [PDF] to the PCC Governance review: headlines are not covered by the accuracy clause and are in fact treated as ‘comment’ by the PCC. This ruling came about in response to complaints made about the Daily Express headline ‘Bombers are all spongeing asylum-seekers’ in 2005 – something which clearly not true, and as the PCC ruled, doesn’t even need to be.

I’d therefore argue that the Daily Mail is perfectly able to use headlines as comment, and given the huge amount of Daily Mail headlines in particular that bear no relation to the content of the article I would not be overly inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt here.