Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Daily Mail's Torrid Little War

The Daily Mail has certainly gone into overdrive in its battle against the Miliband family, with its sister paper, the Mail on Sunday, sending journalists under cover to a memorial service for Ed Miliband's uncle.

It isn't worth recounting the full saga in this post, although the Media Blog has a pretty comprehensive analysis, complete with the reminder of the Mail's own rather disreputable past as a Nazi supporting paper in the 1930s (with the present owner's great grandfather writing eloquently in defence of the blackshirts).  Nick Clegg, too, had a good line when he commented that "if anyone excels in denigrating and often vilifying a lot about modern Britain, it's the Daily Mail".

It is no secret that the Mail, in common with most other newspapers in Britain, is vigorously opposed to any regulation of it by a statutory body.  The way it's handled the Miliband affair has probably made the case for such a body stronger than ever.  The Mail is a powerful and wholly unaccountable force.  Stanley Baldwin, infuriated by the newspaper proprietors' abuse of their power during his premiership, described them as having "power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages".  The only change since then has been that harlots have probably adopted greater levels of responsibility to their clients.

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