Specific parts of “How the Daily Mail Conquered England” that made me laugh out loud on the subway (for a variety of reasons)
One editor told me, “The paper’s defining ideology is that Britain has gone to the dogs.” Nor is the Mail easy to resist. Last year, its lawyers shut down a proxy site that allowed liberals to browse Mail Online without bumping up its traffic.
In 2010, a bearded, guitar-strumming band called Dan & Dan had a YouTube hit with “The Daily Mail Song,” which, so far, has been viewed more than 1.3 million times. “Bring back capital punishment for pedophiles / Photo feature on schoolgirl skirt styles / Binge Britain! Single Mums! / Pensioners! Hoodie Scum!” Dan sings. “It’s absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail.”
Trufax: the lyrics led me to believe it would have fit in well on Mongrels.
Its columnists range from sensible to unhinged. (One, Liz Jones, recently wrote about stealing her husband’s sperm in an attempt to have a child without his permission, earning her the nickname Jizz Loans.)
Harry Simpson, of Northwich, Cheshire, wrote recently:
I’m sick of Melvyn Bragg, Hugh Grant, Joan Bakewell, and Anne Robinson. I’m sick of Vince Cable, the entire Labour Shadow Cabinet, and all the politicians.
I’m sick of squatters and travellers, pop music, the BBC, surveillance cameras, my rotten pension, terrorists, Anglican bishops, and having no money, and I just want to die.
My country, which I loved is ruined. It will never be happy again. It is all self, self, self, moan, moan, moan. I cannot wait to get out and rest in peace.
He had forgotten wind turbines and E.U. bureaucrats.
American traffic was up sixty-two per cent last year. Its home page has become furtively prevalent in Manhattan cubicles. In January, when Mail Online surpassed the Times, a spokeswoman for the latter said, “A quick review of our site versus the Daily Mail should indicate quite clearly that they are not in our competitive set.”
Harmsworth, who received a baronetcy in 1904 (he joked that he’d gone from “Mr. ’Armsworth to Sir Halfred”) and became Lord Northcliffe in 1905, browbeat public opinion without compunction.
Because Dacre tends to refer to underlings as “cunts,” the daily meetings are known as the Vagina Monologues.
He was especially interested in One Direction, a previously clean-cut post-pubescent group that had celebrated its win for Best British Single by downing numerous bottles of champagne in full view of the cameras.
“We’ve got to do this boy band, don’t we?” he said. “After all, all boy bands come and go. Are we going to have an idiot’s guide to this one?”
No one had any ideas.
“But I repeat,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. “Is it worth doing this boy group?” (It was.)
Dacre’s first job after graduating was as a reporter in the Manchester office of the Daily Express. When we spoke, he recalled “the thrill of seeing my first story in hot metal.” I asked him what the story had been. “It’s too absurd for words,” he replied, smiling. “It was six pages about a donkey derby in Blackpool.”
On January 25th, the model Kate Moss went to some parties in Paris. The next morning’s Mail read, “The Croydon beauty had very obvious crow’s feet and lines beneath her eyes as well as blemished skin from years of smoking and drinking.” Another journalist, interviewing her that day, asked why she thought the Mail was so focussed on her aging.“I don’t know. ’Cause it’s the Daily Mail?” Moss replied. “They just get on everyone’s tits, don’t they?”
At another meeting, Simon Heffer, a columnist, expressed sympathy for the French far-right politician Marine Le Pen. (Private Eye, the British magazine, got wind of my visit and later reported that “the room fell silent” at Heffer’s outburst during the meeting, because “Mail hacks and executives had been ordered not to swear: there were to be no ‘fucks’ and most definitely no ‘cunts.’ As importantly, no one was to say a word that might be interpreted as sexist, racist or homophobic in the lady’s presence.”)
“One of the reasons it’s so egregious is because it’s so readable,” she said. “We’re clicking on ‘Oh my God, one of the WAGs couldn’t put her hair up because she’d freshly painted her nails’ ”—this was a real item on Mail Online—“and then you’re thinking, Why am I reading this? I’m an adult.”
I went to see Clarke, whom the Guardian once described as having “the man-management skills of a galley-master on a Greek trireme,” at Northcliffe House.