Picking apart the bullshit in the Daily Mail's frothy-mouthed bollocking of the Guardian 5 years ago

Picking apart the bullshit in the Daily Mail's frothy-mouthed bollocking of the Guardian

"Fake news, the fascist Left and the REAL purveyors of hatred," the headline said.

Oh dear, the Daily Mail is out of bed again, and they've really got some terribly fidgety ants in their pantaloons this time.


You may have seen the Martin Rowson cartoon published in the Guardian recently, depicting the van used in the Finsbury Park mosque attack, in which one man died and nine others were taken to hospital.

Here it is, in case you hadn't seen it.


As you can see, the cartoon takes aim at the Sun and the Daily Mail, the insinuation being that the two papers were in part responsible for radicalising the man responsible.

The Daily Mail were not happy about this. Today, the paper published a lengthy editorial defending themselves and attacking the Guardian for publishing the cartoon.

There was a bit of a fuss about it all.


The published piece is just under 1,500 words and is, in places, absolutely breathtaking, in both the levels of underserved incredulity, the deftness with which the Mail deflects responsibility, and the unrelated people and institutions the paper manages to have a go at while they're at it.

Let's take a look.


"First, an apology to our readers. We realised that they are not interested in our differences with other newspapers, which inevitably risk being seen as self-obsessed navel-gazing. But this week the Guardian published a cartoon so sick and disgusting – so deranged and offensive to the four million decent, human and responsible people who read us – that we owe it to every one of them to lay to rest this malicious smear."

You can stop at the first sentence, really.

The Daily Mail could just apologise for all the things they attempt to absolve themselves of in the following 1,447 words, sparing their readers the lengthy bugle-fart diatribe that could fill every pothole in Portsmouth, but then there would be very little left to fill tomorrow's edition.

It's interesting to see that the noble, courageous, thick-skinned and stiff-upper-lipped Daily Mail could be so easily brought to its knees by a cartoon of a van, qualifying, in the Mail's eye, as both "sick and disgusting" and "deranged and offensive". They want to go on a night out in Gloucester and get some perspective.

"The calumny in question was a crude drawing of the van in which a white man, believed to be a racist thug and drunken social inadequate, mowed down Muslim worshipers earlier this week. Emblazoned on the side of the vehicle were the words: ‘Read the Sun and Daily Mail.’

"The implication was as unmistakable as it was poisonous. The Guardian was telling its followers that the Daily Mail and its readers are vicious bigots with the blood of innocent, peace-loving Muslims on their hands."


'Calumny' is the first of many words and phrases that you only ever find in the Daily Mail. 'Social inadequate' too, because despite both papers having a remit of demonising the working class, only the Sun tends to use the word 'scum'. The Mail is a little more upmarket than that, so 'social inadequate' it is.

"If this had been an isolated example of the Left’s bilious malice, we might have let it pass with nothing more than shudder of revulsion. After all, cartoonists, including our own, are traditionally allowed great licence.

"But this is far from a one-off insult to our readers, who – as should go without saying – were as horrified and appalled as the rest of the country by the Finsbury Park attack.

"No, hardly a day passes without another dirt, drip, drip of mendacious vitriol and bile from Guardian writers, attacking us and our readership and, by implication, all fair-minded, small-c conservatives who make up the great majority in this country."

What's clever about this piece is the Daily Mail makes its readers the primary target of the Guardian's cartoon, rather than the paper. This way they can lift themselves from the wallowing hole of self-pity and take up the mantle of heroic defender, shielding their little old readers from the vicious onslaught of the liberal media.

"Here comes the Guardian, come to rob you of the sovereignty of your home!" the Mail cries, sword held aloft. "Here they come, ready to turn your two-bed semi in Banbury into a commune for the Hairy Women's Feminist Literature and Group Sex Society.

"Here they come, armed with tote bags and quinoa! Look out, Nigel Slater's got a marrow, and it looks organic! Run for it!"

This is, of course, a heap of sweaty old bollocks. The cartoon was obviously pointing the finger at the Mail and the Sun for publishing divisive and inflammatory headlines (which are obviously few and far between), continued exposure to which could fan the flames of hate and lead to heinous acts of brutality.

Unfortunately, that would be far too logical for the Mail to actually combat, so the focus must be shifted from the words published by the paper and onto the people who read them, as this next paragraph will demonstrate.

"Earlier this month a Guardian online columnist, Sophie Heywood, tweeted: ‘Genuinely excited for a future in which the Daily Mail readers are all dead.’

"She later deleted it, but nothing can wipe out the bigotry and hatred in her original tweet."

Even though this is part of a cunning-yet-cowardly ploy to shift focus away from the Mail's own despicableness, it's a fair criticism. "Hate the sin, love the sinner," they say. People read the Daily Mail for all sorts of reasons - you cannot underestimate the power of free compost, you really can't - so it's not very sporting to wish death upon their readers.

That said, the average age of a Daily Mail reader is 58, so Sophie Heywood won't have to wait for long for a good chunk of them to cop it.

"In March, attacking us for lightheartedly comparing Theresa May’s legs with those of Nicola Sturgeon, the Guardian’s jejune and excitable Leftwing columnist Owen Jones described the Mail thus: ‘It comes to something when this open sewer is still capable of showing us with its stench.’"

Pay attention, folks, because this is how you spot a bully.

Back in March, the Mail published a front page on Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon's Brexit talks, running with the headline "Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!", inviting punters to have a butcher's at the most prominent British stateswomen's legs and to read Sarah Vine's column on the matter.

The ensuing revulsion from the public, politicians and fellow press forced the Mail to soften the front page in a later edition, claiming it was a "light-hearted verdict on the big showdown".

This is the classic tactic of a bully: belittle until you get caught, then claim you didn't mean it anyway. "It was just a joke, Miss!" the Mail squeaked. 'We was only messing! They're just being too sensitive, Miss!"

The Daily Mail is the snotty little shit at school who put chewing gum in girls-that-they-fancied-but-were-too-cool-for-them's hair, then pretended to cry to get out of detention when they got dobbed in. You can see their snivelling little face now, can't you? Just remember the time they pissed themselves on that school trip to Cornwall. Ahh, good memories.

"Earlier this week, a Guardian writer attacked the Daily Mail for carrying comments by the controversialist Katie Hopkins. That was a lie. The Guardian and its writer know that Ms Hopkins has nothing to do with the Daily Mail, but works for Mail Online – a totally separate entity that has its own publisher, its own readership, different content and a very different world view.

"The Guardian knows this, because the Mail has told it countless times, but, hey, why let a little lie get in the way of a good smear?"

Let's be clear about something: the Daily Mail and Mail Online are two different things. Their owner, DMG Media, has taken great pains to differentiate the two brands.

They have separate editors, with Paul Dacre running the Daily Mail and Martin Clarke helming Mail Online. Dacre is also editor-in-chief of DMG Media which, as we said, owns Mail Online, but he will he probably has little power over the fantastically successful and independent Mail Online.

"I have known and worked with Paul for almost 30 years," Clarke told MediaGuardian in 2016. "I would not say his power was waning." Ah well.

But look, there's more proof: they have different websites. Dailymail.co.uk leads to the Mail Online website, while mailonline.com leads... back to dailymail.co.uk. You see? You see the difference? They're different!

To be fair, they proved their point by not syndicating this editorial to Mail Online, meaning I had to type every word out myself, like the royal mug that I am.

"Only yesterday, the Guardian published a half-witted reader’s letter, accusing the Mail of complicity in acts of mindless violence – including last year’s hideous murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox, whose husband the Mail interviewed over two pages last week, urging readers to join in one of his reconciliation street parties at the weekend."

So the Mail doesn't like it when people have a go at their readers, but are more than happy to call the readers of other papers "half-witted"? I would accuse the Mail of hypocrisy on this front, but then I'd have to roll over into the road and wait to be killed by a passing bus, because that is the foot of a mountain I just don't have the life force to climb.

"With an awe-inspiring lack of self-awareness or respect for the truth, its correspondent ranted: ‘The main organ of hate speech in Britain, as everyone knows, is the Right-wing extremist Daily Mail, also the main author of Brexit. So why on earth is it not being held to account?

"‘If any actual person stood on the street shouting the sort of bile that paper producers daily, they could be prosecuted for hate speech. Surely it is time to launch a group action by victims, on behalf of us all, against the Daily Mail for hate speech and general incitement to violence. ‘"

This is mainly a quote from the Guardian, but it's hard to argue with. Hold on though, the Mail are about to take a whack at it.

"For the Guardian’s editor to publish such deluded, defamatory nonsense – which in itself is a naked incitement to violence (though the paper clearly lacks the nous to see this) – speaks volumes about the hatred that grips this ‘voice of liberalism’.

"But then the examples of its over-the-top ranting are countless, accusing the Mail without a shred of foundation of fanning the flames of Islamophobia and racism and generally advocating Right-wing extremism."

Hmm, yes. No foundation. None at all. Evidence? What evidence? I see no evidence. That's not evidence. What's evidence?

One suspects that if the Guardian turned up at the Mail offices, arms full of carefully annotated issues of the Daily Mail, clearly explaining exactly where the flames of Islamophobia and racism were fanned, the editorship would just look directly up and respond to any question by reciting their payroll numbers.

"Of course, it wouldn’t matter so much if these infantile lies were confined to the pages of a little-read dying paper. But in this age of social media, they are spread and amplified through the great distorting echo-chamber of the internet, where the mob really does rule – and gleefully repeated by BBC ‘comedians’ when they are not indulging in their normal staple of lavatorial humour."

This is the Mail at its best, breathlessly having a pop at social media, the internet and the BBC in one swell foop. They even manage to have a go at 'comedians', taking a leaf out of the Mail Online commenter's playbook by invalidating things they don't like by putting them in inverted commas.

It doesn't really work when it comes to jobs though. Whether you think they're funny or not, professional comedians are comedians. Jim Davidson might be as funny as trench foot, but he's still out there telling jokes for a living.

Who are they even having a go at, anyway? Which of the BBC 'comedians' are they on about? Lenny Henry? David Mitchell? Mrs Browns Boys?

And don't be having a crack at 'lavatorial humour'. Fart jokes are the foundation of civilisation, and if you can't even manage as much as a smirk at a piece of well-timed flatulence then I never want to meet your children, because I am sure they're creepy and sleep with their eyes open.

"For the record – not that this matters of the fake news the Guardian creates about the Mail – this paper has always been against UKIP, so much so that Nigel Farage blamed us for this lack of electoral success."

There is some truth in this, but then there is also some non-truth in this. In one Daily Mail Comment article, "Send the shameless Madame Fifi packing", published ahead of the 2015 election, the Mail said, "If Ukip candidates were as sound as most of their policies, this paper would be tempted to support the party.

"Indeed, Nigel Farage deserves great credit for addressing public concerns over such issues as mass immigration and the scandalous waste of overseas aid – the former treated as taboo by the political class, the latter as sacrosanct.

"But though mainstream politicians have only themselves to blame for the party’s existence, the Mail most emphatically does not support Ukip."

Fair enough. But in the same article, the Mail says, "But in three Labour/Ukip marginals – Great Grimsby, Dudley North and Heywood & Middleton – the Tories have no hope. Here, we urge conservatively inclined voters to support Ukip."

Another article, "Rest in peace Ukip, one of the most effective forces ever to shake up British politics", doesn't exactly lend credence to the idea that the Mail has "always been against UKIP", but perhaps we're splitting hairs. Perhaps, from time to time, hairs need splitting.

"For the record, the Mail was consistently against Blair’s and Cameron’s wars in Iraq and Libya, arguing that such illegal incursions would stoke a sense of grievance among Muslims world-wide – a grievance that has been the animus behind so many of the terrorist attacks in Britain today. We were also the first paper unequivocally to condemn Guantanamo Bay and consistently opposed Britain’s involvement in torture. Is to argue that Islamophobic?"

The Daily Mail may well have been consistently against the wars in Iraq and Libya. They may well also have been the first to condemn Guantanamo Bay. But the Guardian didn't publish a cartoon of a van with 'The Daily Mail was in favour of the wars in Iraq and Libya, and thought Guantanamo Bay was brilliant' emblazoned on the side.

This is a bit like getting done for fly-tipping, then claiming that you donate £10 a month to Dogs Trust to prove that you are actually a good person. Look, there's even a little picture of Fido in your wallet!

"Yes, this paper argued strongly for withdrawal from the EU (an unforgivable sin in the eyes of the Guardian’s metropolitan europhile readers). But to claim this paper is the author of Brexit, as the Guardian’s letter writer did this week, is simply insane.

"Our views on the EU – held consistently over 25 years – are shared by 17.4 million loves of British democracy from every part of the political spectrum, including huge numbers of traditional Labour voters who certainly don’t read the Mail.

"But to the Guardian, of course, those people are stupid, uneducated racists, who are not intelligent enough to understand the virtues of belonging to a vast undemocratic behemoth which has reduced the economies of several member states to ashes."

If the Daily Mail had a penis it would be tiny.

There's nothing wrong with having a tiny penis, but the Daily Mail would be the kind of man that struts around the tavern, boasting about the nine-inch schlonger dangling between its knees - and wouldn't that buxom young thing at the bar like to get a taste of it, eh? Eh, lads? Yeeeaahhhh! - despite having little more than a chipolata and two cherries to show for himself.

"We also readily declare that we have called for restrains on mass immigration – a wish shared not only by a large majority in Britain but, as a Chatham House survey found this week, by tens of millions of working people throughout Europe.

"But, as we never cease to stress, we harbour not the faintest animosity towards others on account of their colour of creed. On the contrary, we have unfailingly acknowledged the contribution to our society made by hard-working settlers from overseas, while expressing strong admiration for many of the virtues espoused by Islam.

"Indeed, the Mail has a very considerable readership among British Asians, who share our commitment to family values and aspirations."

"How can I be racist? I know loads of brown people. The bloke at the shop knows my name. We chatted for 10 minutes the other day - he was asking after you, actually. Tariq, I think his name is. Or maybe Tarqual. Tarqual's a name, isn't it? He's one of the turban lot. Good people. Good food. Not many lookers, but still."

"No, our sole motives for demanding border controls are to relieve the pressure of numbers on school places, hospital beds, wages, housing, transport and other infrastructure, preserve our national identity and improve our security and social cohesion."

School places - good. Hospital beds - good. Wages - good. Housing - good. Transport and other infrastructure - good. Preserve our national identity - not racist not racist not racist not racist. Improve our security and social cohesion - good...

"Indeed, we will not take lessons from the Guardian about compassion for members of other races. After the Manchester atrocity, we launched an appeal whose proceeds will be shared among victims and interfaith charities, working to promote harmony between members of different religions.

"Within hours of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Mail’s management were the first to offer practical support, giving £100,000 to the victims, with a remise to match staff contributions up to a further £50,000."

"Here's some more good stuff we did that proves we're not racist!"

"Nor will we take lessons on racism from the Guardian. Our campaign to bring Stephen Lawrence’s murderers to justice, for which the editor of this paper could have been jailed, did more to improve race relations in this country than anything the Guardian has ever achieved.

"Nor will we take censure for inciting violence from a paper that damaged the West’s ability to combat terrorism by publishing classified email leaked by those egregious traitors Assange and Snowden."

"Stiiiiiiill not racist! In fact, we're even more not-racist than the Guardian, so nyahhh."

"For the Guardian – which, because of criminally stupid business decisions has lost hundreds of millions of pods over the years – we have one question: in the name of sanctimony, what, when you handle your own affairs so badly, gives you the right to sit in judgement on other papers?

"Your jaded product is addicted to subsidy and steeped in public sector mentality – which is why you merely preach the same failed answer to every problem: throw more public money at it."

It's no secret that the Guardian, like many old media titles, is in a bit of bother over its finances. Anyone who visits the site will have seen the begging letters, asking users to donate £5 a month to keep the Guardian operation going, the "subsidy" and "public sector mentality" the Mail are referring to.

It's not the only option available to the Guardian. They could set up a Mail Online-style 'sidebar of shame' to get the clicks in, offering tantalising glimpses of Gwyneth Paltrow's "plunging white dress", the chance to gawp as "Emma Watson flaunts her sensational cleavage".

Or they could give readers the chance to creepily leer over the then 14-year-old Elle Fanning as she "shows off her womanly curves" in an Instagram post, in which she "wasn't afraid to flaunt her curves for the camera" in an outfit that "allowed her to pop her leg out the side".

But wait, no. The Daily Mail and Mail Online are Two. Different. Things. Why am I having such a hard time separating the two publishers that are owned by the same company, have the same editor-in-chief, share content with each other and have the same URL? It beggars belief, it does.

"Mail will, however, confess to one sin in the Guardian’s eyes: we love our country, fear its enemies, and believe everything possible should be done to protect its people.

"Nobody is obliged to agree with the Mail’s views. We ask only that the Guardian should stop so malignly misrepresenting them – and stop hating the millions of decent, small-c conservatives who share them."

Yeah, the Guardian! Stop misrepresenting Daily Mail readers! In fact, start misrepresenting them so we can tell you to stop misrepresenting them!

"The truth is that the Guardian and the fascist Left are the REAL purveyors of hate in this country."

See, this is why we don't have Christmas with your family.