Thursday 4 April 2013

Daily Mail: Politicising child killing to attack the social safety net

April 3rd 2013 witnessed one of the most "vile" newspaper headlines in British history, when the Daily Mail used the tragic killing of 6 kids to smear the welfare system.

This kind of headline shouldn't really be a surprise from a rag that once ran the headline "Hurrah for the blackshirts", above an article written by the proprietor Lord Rothmere (a personal friend of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler) which praised Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists.

The blatant politicisation of the deaths of children in order to justify Tory attacks on the welfare system was condemned by the liberal commentator Owen Jones and several Labour MPs. 

The Daily Telegraph ran a moralising meta-reaction piece condemning the Daily Mail headline and also criticising the left-wing reaction too, which is a bit bloody rich given that the Daily Telegraph coverage of the Mick Philpott conviction was almost as bad as the Daily Mail's, opening as it did with "Mick Philpott, who has lived his life off the state benefit handouts...".

The right-wing press in the UK are sick. They have a fetish for destruction of the welfare system and they consider absolutely anything (even the deaths of children) as appropriate ammunition in their war against the social safety net.

Representatives of the right-wing press, especially the Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre have been amongst the loudest opponents of greater press regulation, which, the way the political establishment have set it up, actually looks more like a charter to restrict the freedoms and activities of independent bloggers like myself, investigative journalists and the anti-corruption magazine Private Eye than an effort to rein in the criminality of the right-wing press. It must be remembered that the whole reason for the Levenson report in the first place was the brazen criminality of the Murdoch press, yet the regulations have been drawn up in a very ambiguous way, so that independent bloggers like me can be treated as if we are publishing empires.

Grotesquely misleading and offensive headlines capitalising on the deaths of children in order to score political points, like this one from the Daily Mail, just create even more ammunition for the press regulation campaign that they supposedly oppose. The worst thing is that the Mail and the Murdoch press (that provoked Leveson and then provides supporters of press regulation with exactly the kind of ammunition they need with headlines like this) will be able to afford the lawyers to defend themselves once the new press regulations come in, independent bloggers like me are the ones that must either shut up or run the risk of being denied legal representation and bankrupted under the new "press regulation" system.

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