This week has provided another example of the Daily Mail (also known as the Daily Fail amongst some Twitter based communities, hence the hashtag #dailyfail stepping into recent prominence) managing to take a non-story and turn it into a hate-magnet. It’s a constant tabloid tactic, and nothing new. But let me start this blog with a few FACTS about something that happened this week:
- A group of travellers asked a landlord if they could rent his field for a week.
- He said ‘yes’.
- They promised to leave in 5 days time.
- Some residents were unhappy he’d done so without giving the village any notice.
Not exactly story of the year, is it?
So it may surprise you to know that the following two (TWO!) stories have appeared in the Daily Mail this week. A NATIONAL FUCKING NEWSPAPER. Firstly “Village Is In Lockdown As Religious Festival Is Over-Run” and a second – printed the following day – “Travellers Prepare To Pull Out After Laying Siege To Village“.
The Daily Fail Strikes Again
Baring in mind that at this point, not one person has been arrested, convicted, or even questioned on suspicion of, ANYTHING illegal, and the travellers BEING in this village affects AT MOST a few hundred people – Is this really a national news story? I mean, EVEN if after today, the travellers decide NOT to move on, it would perhaps be a story to be picked up by local news, and could perhaps be re-reported by national papers as an example of the law needing to change so it is less easy to flaunt… MAYBE.
…BUT: NONE OF THAT HAPPENED: Everything so far has been above board. In fact, all that’s happened so far is that a bunch of religious types have gone through the CORRECT channels to have a mini-festival, and journalists at the Daily Mail have seen fit to demonise these people purely because they are travellers and therefore a story about how they are supposedly fucking everything up is presumably ‘on brand’. Meanwhile, both stories attract reams of disgusting, ill-thought-out, racist, small minded bile from internet readers. Good Mail. Clever Mail. Hateful Mail.
How Daily Mail Coverage of 500 Travellers In Field Almost Outweighed That Of Pakistan Floods
Interestingly, the Daily Mail’s has – as far as I can tell from their website – only published two stories this week about the floods in Pakistan that have claimed the lives of more than 1500 people. Attracting a grand total of 46 comments from readers, including the following:
“We were flooded in June 2007 and no-one helped us. Gordon Brown never pleaded for help for British victims. I will not give a penny tp Pakistan, we had to live upstairs for eight months and relied on our families to cook and wash for us. Charity should begin at home.”
The two stories about the 500 travellers setting up camp for a week in a tiny Cambridgeshire village attracted more than 130 – MORE THAN DOUBLE the feedback prompted by A GLOBAL DISASTER. I think some people need to check their priorities.
Daily Mail – Please Get Your Priorities Straight
Gripes from a few NIMBYs in a village no one had heard of is not National news. If the travellers had set up camp in Buckingham Palace without permission, or the they were all driving tanks, or the festival had actually been organised by Aamon Holmes and Justin Bieber, THEN maybe it would be national news, until then – To print it in the Mail (and subsequently the Express and Telegraph) is just bollocks. Misleading, irresponsible, boring bollocks.
The journalists who turn these sorts of non-stories into propaganda to stir up tension within not just local communities, but the UK in general should be utterly, utterly ashamed of themselves.