Many of you will have had your attention drawn to this distasteful piece of racist journalism in the Mail : Migrant found dead in the back of a lorry as it prepares to enter Channel Tunnel .
What was shocking about this was that the comments on this article are quite clearly moderated, and yet there were (as of yesterday teatime) just 13 comments, each of which was to a greater or lesser degree filled with hate and xenophobia.
These have been dissected at some length by a variety of bloggers – notably by the wonderful Tabloid Watch yesterday : Mail readers think death of illegal immigrant is ‘good news’
I found the “One down millions to go” comment particularly obnoxious – it is tantamount to encouraging the killing of illegal immigrants.
It was strange that as the day wore on, and even this morning when I looked at the site again in order to bookmark the link ahead of writing this blog entry, the number of comments still stood at 13 – so clearly these comments were moderated – and although the Mail is at pains to say these comments do not “necessarily” reflect their opinions, they have clearly modded out a great many more comments and just chosen these hateful few to display as representative of public opinion.
Well there’s such a thing as free speech I guess – and I also guess that the Mail would defend that right quite vigorously.
There’s also such a thing as incitement to racial hatred as well though. I feel quite strongly that publication of these comments – as “moderated in advance” clearly crosses that line.
Perhaps the Mail have been quietly convinced of that as well – because if you check out the link at the top of the article, you’ll find that there are now only two of the comments left – at least there were at 9.00 on Monday the 2nd of November 2009.
I’m glad that they’ve removed the majority of the comments – so credit to them where it’s belatedly due – but the people at the mail seriously have to think about the hatred they are spreading – if they don’t it will one day blow up in their faces – and quite probably all of ours as well.
This article A strange, lonely and troubling death . . . by Jan Moir in the Mail has dominated the UK Twitter and Blog worlds today.
I’m not going to spend time dissecting it – lots of others have done so already. Charlie Brooker of the Guardian for one : Why there was nothing ‘human’ about Jan Moir’s column on the death of Stephen Gately
No I just want to say this :
This is not just objectionable to gay people
It’s not just objectionable to left wingers & liberals
It’s not just objectionable to Labour.
It’s a disgusting hate filled piece of prejudice that most people will find incredibly offensive.
To take just one bile ridden sentence from the article :
The Mail’s a strange paper. It seems to me as a Labour voter to be an extreme right wing publication. Supporting the Tories whatever the reasoning and presenting a warped, misleading and dangerous view of the news.
I do hear Tories though, complaining that it’s dangerously left wing !
The article above is a classic. It basically says that Daniel Hannan and Alan Duncan are in trouble with David Cameron for speaking the truth, in their claims about the NHS and MP’s salary & expenses. In reality though they’re in trouble not for speaking the truth – but for speaking their mind – not quite the same thing. you know what though – if I were writing the article in a way that did the Conservatives down, that’s a distinction I’d deliberately blur – and I think it’s deliberate on the author Peter Hitchen’s part as well.
This article isn’t quite pro-Labour though – because he does actually say that he agrees with Hannan – so the article is simultaneously : publicising disagreement within the Conservative party, urging Cameron to do something more drastic about Daniel Hannan AND Alan Duncan, and finally agreeing with Daniel Hannan.
I make that riding at least three horses at once.
I think if anything this has to be interpreted as something of a “make things difficult for David Cameron” piece. Although why a Tory supporting paper should want to wade into the party’s biggest asset is beyond my comprehension – but what does a rabid left winger like me know ?
Always remember though that although they may have an interest in securing the Tories into power, at the end of the day, their stock in trade is not politics but journalism, and the more outrageous we feel their articles are, the more prompted to blog about them we become, the more they’ll be satisfied that they’re doing their job and selling papers.
Still don’t know how they sleep at night though !
(PS – Sort of puts me in mind of my comments on Polly Toynbee around the time of the Euro Elections : Polly Toynbee – is she saying sorry to GB ? )