Saturday, 17 October 2009

On the J*n M**r hate piece

I was one of the many who wrote to the Press Complaints Commission in protest at Jan Moir's homophobic piece in the Daily Mail. I wouldn't have even read it had I not been directed towards it by my Twitterati. So I duly responded, feeling a bit sheep-like and knowing this was an inconsequential gesture, but knowing I would look better doing so than not, especially as my first responses were cynical and could even have looked negative.

My concern about the futility of the gesture is not just that, by Tweeting her onto the news headlines, we had elevated Jan Moir from a minor journalist of whom no-one outside the Daily Mail had heard, to someone whose value and brand-recognition within the right wing press has now quadrupled, although that is undoubtedly the case. My concern was not that the PCC is chaired by Paul Dacre who edits the Daily Mail and that, by the time I sent in my complaint, they'd already set up a standard rejection letter detailing reasons why your complaint will never ever be looked at.

No, my concern was that I think most of my Twitterati, who are largely writers, entertainers and like minded lefties like myself, haven't looked at the Daily Mail very often and don't realise the Mail publishes homophobic and right wing conservative articles like that EVERY DAY.

Last week the headline, on their front page, about the death of Matt Lucas's ex-partner used the words (from memory) "...death of Lucas's 'husband'." In inverted commas. They put the word husband in inverted commas. Even in reporting a death they could not resist hammering home their prejudice that it wasn't a real marriage, he was an inverted commas 'husband' because he was a poof. (Of course the Daily Mail would never use so offensive a word in print, but they're just as unlikely to use 'gay', preferring homosexual which sounds much more like a condition).

So I worry that this is a disproportionate protest that we could only keep in perspective if we were to protest equally strongly and in equal numbers to every homophobic (and anti-islamic, racist, anti-feminist, anti-comedian etc) piece in the Daily Mail. And you know we won't. Because our reactions may be strong, but not as strong as the reactions of the truly reactionary.

1 comment:

pmrussell said...

Good for you! I heartily agree. As one who took journalism in college, I can say that it is supposed to be unbiased with unopinionated reporting of the news. I would get bad marks for every remotely opinionated or personal word I used when writing a news story for my class.Later when writing magazine articles, all word that were remotely personal were removed. Any reporting like that was an editorial and not news.

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