If like me you missed this earlier in the week, there’s an excellent article in The New Yorker called Mail Supremacy – How the Daily Mail conquered England. It concerns The Daily Mail, one of the UK’s biggest selling tabloid newspapers, and probably the most controversial – at least, after last year’s closure of the News of the World.
As I’m generally a liberal person, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m not a Daily Mail reader, and generally look down on those that do, in the way that us Brits look down on people that we feel morally superior to. The Daily Mail is very right-wing, although as the article points out, unlike its American televisual counterpart Fox News it does not unequivocally back a political party; its views wavering broadly between those of the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party but supporting neither. Indeed, it has been very critical of the government of late.
Beyond a difference in viewpoints, my objections to the paper also come down to its issues with science reporting – its apparent mission to deduce whether everything can cause or cure cancer is documented by the Kill or cure? web page. although ironically it has reported that some things, like aspirin and caffeine, both cause and prevent cancer.
Its sensationalist headlines are also open to parody, as the Daily Mail-o-matic demonstrates by generating random headlines based around the subjects that the Mail frequently focuses on – working mothers, gypsies, house prices, the working class, binge drinking, homophobia, Princess Diana, paedophiles, Christianity, the monarchy, political correctness, tax, pensions… the list goes on.
And yet, it’s one of Britain’s biggest-selling newspapers, and its web site is now allegedly the most-visited newspaper site in the world, despite not really existing prior to 2004.
The article is well worth the read, even though it is rather long.