Precisely why the Daily Mail is irredeemable shit

When I first moved to the UK, I thought I understood why people hated the Daily Mail: it's a shitty, sensationalist tabloid, right? What I failed to understand, in my naive, transatlantic way, was just how shitty a tabloid the Fail is. Here, then, is Martin Robbins doing a 20-minute presentation at The Pod Delusion's third birthday bash, explaining in excruciating (and funny) detail why the Mail is an atrocious, vile fester of stinking shit, and why the people who publish it are scum.

Martin Robbins: Why The Daily Mail is Evil (at The Pod Delusion's 3rd birthday do) (via MeFi)


  1.  The same argument goes for TV commercials, talent shows and crappy “reality soaps”: You can watch them ironically and feel above their stupid, spiteful agenda but eventually they will get to you. Don’t even start!

    1. Yes but in the case of the Daily Mail, the single filter that all this has to go through is the editor. Imagining that there is a single malevolent curator of shite and hatred behind all of modern television rather than a general lowering of standards is not the same thing.

      1. Advertising-supported mass media, in general, promotes fear, because advertisers are offering “solutions” to the fears in your life. 

        Take the evening news, a horrid reality show, or a “Woman in Jeopardy” movie — yes, that is an actual genre (e.g., the entire Lifetime channel) — and break it up with a few dozen commercials for anxiety medications… Ka-ching.

        As it turns out, it works well for any advertising and in any media as well, including newspapers.

  2. Something else that has always struck me: the Daily Mail is HORRIBLY designed. From an aesthetic point of view, it’s awful. The typefaces, the layout, the frickin’ line spacing. It’s unreadable.

    1. Here in the Netherlands we have ‘De Telegraaf’, and I dare say that the typefaces, layout and linespacing is worse. Google it, if you don’t believe me.

    2. I hate the DM as much as anyone else, but it is not badly designed or unreadable. It’s a classic British tab.

    3. Their website is incredibly cleverly laid out. 
      Scandal and sleaze on the lefthand side of the page, slappers on the right. So you can follow the relentless march of cellulite through Hollywood and the terminally sagging breasts of your favourite micro celebrities whilst the main article is kindly informing you that Twitter causes cancer.

      And dare I say it that the Mail isn’t actually worst paper in Britain. For that you’d need to go to the Express. Unlike the Mail which carefully codes its language and relies on insinuation to whip up hatred, the Express is nakedly racist. My parents read the Express and I was shocked how they began to perceive the world through that prism – the EU was destroying Britain, Muslims hated our country, everyone on benefits was a scrounged. So I bought them an annual subscription to the i and they’re nearly back to normal and now realise what a horrible worldview they’d been exposed to.

      It wouldn’t surprise you to know that the Mail is determined that Lord Leveson doesn’t impose statutory regulation on the press. For that reason alone, it has to be done.

      1. Holy shit…you guys must have been part of the same crew that landed in the American South…

        Just swap Asian for Latino and this could be broadcast here.

      2.  I agree, that one was quite inaccurate and racist, but do you think ACA is as consistently bad and deplorable as the Mail?

          1. Contrary to popular belief, the Mail is not consistently right wing. They’ll print whatever sells.

          2. That has always been the case. The threat of changing political allegiances is what proprietors and editors use to keep politicians in line. Many readers buy a tabloid because of its sport coverage, its horoscope, page three or its women’s pages. Loyal readers mostly will not be consciously swayed by any particular stance on news items. When they feel that a paper has gone too far they can boycott it viz. The Sun post Hillsborough in Liverpool. There is hope, yet.

  3. In Germany the “Daily mail” equivalent is “BILD” and you have “RTL” for tv. There is a Watchblog called “Bildblog” and this stuff including the porn rumors and lies is what they educate you on daily.

    You could make a Vid like this every 2 Weeks i say and you would still have stuff left.

    1. Neh, the “Bild” is more like “the Sun”, vile, but not as vile as the “Daily Mail”. The Bild is at least not fueling racism and anti-EU sentiments in the way the “Daily Mail” does (they are pretty much the propaganda organ of the UKIP). Also the “Bild” will never be as obsessed with WW” and Nazi stories as the “Daily Fail”.
      Besides the smaller, local Tabloids, like the “EXPRESS”, the “Hamburger Morgenpost” or the “Berliner Kurier” are far worse.
      No argument on RTL and their retarded little brother RTL2 thou…

      1. Spot on. The Bild, much like The Sun, is generally laughable rather than simply evil. The Hillsborough affair excepted of course…

  4. The key to the Daily Mail’s massive success is that you can read prurient tales of celebrity sin, ogle the titillating upskirt photos and then turn the page and hose yourself down with columns written by some of the most puritanical, reactionary, petit bourgeois bigots in the land. After being sufficiently cleansed you can indulge in a bit of “5 minutes hate” by reading about evil asylum seekers, gypsies stealing babies or trade unions holding the country to ransom. In some ways it’s a work of sick genius.

    1. And they complain about upskirt photos on the internet, while just a couple of pages away are upskirt photos in the Fail…

        1.  “This internet pervert’s been taking horrible upskirt photos!  Here, have a look at how horrible they are!”

    1. No, I think that even Fox News isn’t as vile as the Daily Mail. Fox News is partisan and reports news based on Republican talking points, many of which are extremely disturbing. The Daily Mail is just filth, pure filth. Even Fox News wouldn’t publish the headline “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes’ finding”. Fox News is what happens when political hacks control journalism. The Daily Mail is what happens when the people on their comment boards control the journalism.

      If you want a US media operation to compare to the Daily Mail, use Breitbart or Drudge. But even they are far more ethical than the Daily Mail.

        1. Don’t forget Liz “let’s retrace the steps of a recently murdered woman and complain about what sad taste she had” Jones.

        2. The worst is Melanie ‘I should know fucking better, but don’t give a fuck anymore’ Phillips – a former Guardian columnist and a supposedly serious journalist.

    2. No, really it isn’t. I’ve taught the children of Daily Mail readers and the children of Fox watchers. I saw more racism in England.

        1. How is a description of one’s own specific personal experiences ‘generalization’? Are we supposed to pretend that people everywhere are morally and politically fungible?

    1. Wouldn’t work for me.  The main reason I read the Daily Mail is that FARK occasionally has headline entries like “Ugly-ass baby [fill in animal name here] [does something cute, or is at some zoo]”, and half of them are pointers to articles at the Daily Mail.  And yeah, that means the right-hand column next to the cute baby animal is usually a bunch of pictures of celebrities in bikinis, and/or those women who are famous for being famous [can’t mention their name, which starts with K, because any time you do that they win.]

      Or else it will have those stories that somebody else referred to as showing up three days later in the BBC, though most of those are politicians or celebrities involved in scandals, which usually meh.

  5. Not as bad as the BBC that covered up Saville enabling him to carry on as a Paedophile running up lots more victims. 

    Hence the current mess. What better than to blame Tories and Thatcher and label them as paedophiles to boot? After all, if you go for them, you can’t be blamed for the Saville mess can you?

    And whilst you are at it, don’t mention that Clewyd was controlled by Labour at the time of the abuses there, that they pulped the report because their insurance would go up and they would have to compensate the victims. 

    1. You’re right LordBlagger, if anyone does any one thing wrong, it is a valid justification for any other wrong committed by anyone else.

      Now lie and claim to have said something else.

  6. One horrible thing I’ve noticed about the tabloids, too, and it relates to what happened to the presenter’s dad:

    There are bright, educated people who pick these things up on a lark. Call them out on it, and they say, “Yeah, but I don’t believe anything they say, it’s just entertainment.” Yeah, but (as I saw happen with my own mother, and as I’ve seen confirmed by broader research) later on you’ll remember that you read something “in the news” and not remember where you read it. He’s not wrong to compare it to mercury poisoning, it’s a cumulative thing.

    One of Ronald Reagan’s last biographers was shown the old man’s “crown jewels,” the secret to his success: for decades and decades, subscribed to TWO copies of Reader’s Digest, so he could clip every article, and file them in shoeboxes by topic; whenever he was researching a speech, he went to his shoeboxes to find out what Reader’s Digest said. Once we knew that, almost everything about Reagan made sense; he really was the Reader’s Digest president. Why do I bring that up? Because I predict that some day we’re going to find out that David Cameron does the same thing with the Daily Mail.

    1. Ya beat me to it.  I was once one of those folks who picked up copies of tabloids to take to sick friends to help them feel ‘better’ – oddly enough.  As in, ‘Being sick sucks. Could be worse.  You could be the subject of an article in one of these rags.’   They were always good for a laugh while drinking tea and honking out another glob of mucous.  Haven’t done that in years though.  The tabloids have become much more vicious than they once were, say twenty or thirty years ago.

      There is one more thing I want to say here. I heard the presenter say that reading The Daily Mail as though it were factual, made his grandfather afraid of foxes, and thus grandpa protected himself by staying closed up in his sweltering house.  Did you hear it that way too?  It’s more likely to me, that his grandfather suffered from anxiety as so many people do, of the persistent, low level, unnamed type, and rags like The Daily Mail give them a target to focus to their anxiety on.  ‘See, I have ample reasons to be worried and afraid.’  And that’s what is so diabolical about fearmongering:  fear is part of human nature, it guarantees the tabloids a constant audience, those who see themselves as vulnerable and lonely in a seemingly hostile world/community.  The first thing loved ones do is deny them the ‘reality’ of their fears, by denying them their focus.  ‘No, the foxes are not out to get you.’   The tabloids just add layers of obfuscation making it that much more difficult to address the real sources of anxiety, and genuinely help the people we love.

      1. My favorite paper for laughs in the States is the Weekly World News.  Best source for “news” of the Bat Boy, invading Grays, and superfat babies.  Fine reading for happy mutants everywhere.

    2. David Cameron can read?!
      I thought he was just some sort of puppet with some sweaty dudes hand stuffed up his…. nevermind…

  7. The closing argument  that these kind of fear-mongering, racist, hate filled “media” outlets affect real people struck a chord with me.  

    My parents love Glenn Beck, and believe everything he says as gospel.  I’m sure, if you’re familiar with Beck, you can see where this is going.

    These used to be very reasonable people.  They planned well for their retirement, and I thought that as one of their 3 kids, I could move to the opposite coast without having to worry about their welfare too much.  But my influence is too weak all the way out here when Beck is in their home every day.

    My parents have money, but they live extremely cheaply.  Why?  Peak dollar.  All of their disposable income is tied up in gold coins from GoldLine.  They are 2 retirees in their 70s, but they own 5 handguns and 4 shotguns.  They don’t hunt.  Why all the guns?  Agenda 21.  The UN is going to come and take away their land.  They have a basement full of boxed survival food in preparation for the coming race war.

    As I said these were formally reasonable people who are living out their final days in a constant state of panic.  It makes me so angry that Beck and all the wanna-be Becks of the world think that it’s perfectly acceptable to prey on people and then dance and laugh all the way to the bank.  Fuck them.  Fuck Beck, Fuck Rush, Fuck Fox.  Fuck ’em.

    1. I know these feels…well maybe not to that extent, but my mom is of that ultra right wing Rush crowd…

      Sometimes she gets wound up on some rant of the day and all I can think is “Here we go…*eyeroll*.”

      Ironically my father is a registered Democrat who leans right…so it at least keeps the complete crazy from setting in.

    2. I do not think you can blame it all on Beck, oh fuck did I just say that, but more so on a country tearing itself apart to find the boogeyman they promise us they will find if we give up a little more freedom… to be safe.  If we give up a few more rights… we’ll be safe.  If we trust that the FBI caught real terrorists and not some easily manipulated morons they have to explain to that they hated america and wanted to bomb it and hand them the plan and a box of playdough with wires on it.

      They sold us on fear and distrust of people who were “different”… are we surprised that history repeated itself and those with more radical visions took up that mantle and went even further?

  8. LOL! The Mail truly is a trashy rag, but once you get past the focus on 40 year old has-beens in bikinis, cleavage, the over use of ‘pins-pins-pins’ (legs), and horrible and often accidentally funny typos, it also covers issues our US media doesn’t and stories like the Petreaus scandal show up on The Mail before our media finishes their Starbucks lattes. Ignore the crap and enjoy a different perspective. It will broaden your horizons…..At least they don’t have a ‘Page 3 Girl’…yet….  ;=D

    1. It’s true. Pretty much everything on BBC shows up on DM three days earlier. It’s like police radio; you don’t get anything resembling a true or whole story, but it does point you in a direction to look.

  9. An empty niche always gets filled. This niche is the human equivalent of dung beetles in the insect world. I say let this organization fill it and be glad you have no part.

    1. If dung beetles start clogging the sewers, causing them to overflow and spill filth into the street and houses of vulnerable people, you don’t just let them “fill their niche”.

      When shite journalism starts damaging both individual people and general society with its sensationalist fear-mongering and lies, you don’t just let it “fill its niche”.

      And you certainly never just “be glad you have no part” when any active evil is openly being undertaken by others. Because otherwise, once all the proverbial communists, socialists, and trade unionists have been come for, they come for you.

    2. And this is inevitable why?

      We’ve got some crappy papers here in Canada, but nothing of this depth and reach.  It does not have to be this way.

  10. alright, i confess, i didn’t even get past the first two minutes of the video. some guy on a stage obsessing about the pre-teen child of some celebrity i do not care about is not a way to get me to dedicate twenty minutes of my life that i’d never get back to a story about crappy media i wouldn’t read even were it available within several thousand kilometres of me. if the random guy on the stage wants me to care about his presentation, i recommend he sum it up in writing so i can skim it in five minutes or less to decide if i want to detail-read it in ten to fifteen.

    and leave out the skeezy obsession with other people’s kids, too.

    1.  You stopped exactly 2mins and 30 seconds too early.

      The extended buildup focusing on Suri Cruise is crucial to what follows.

      1. thank you! not living anywhere near the UK i may never see a copy of the daily mail, and am perfectly happy to trust my fellow happy mutants that it wouldn’t be worth my time, but your comment right there taught me something new and useful about youtube and videos in general. &wadsworth=1 for me from now on, i think. reading this article was worthwhile for me after all!

        1. ‘thank you! not living anywhere near the UK i may never see a copy of the daily mail’

          Distressingly British Airways hand out copies of the Mail to passengers on their flights. I imagine thousands of passengers, trapped in their seats think they’re being taken to a country filled with neo Nazi long-lens photographers taking photos of children so that they can ward off gay muslim atheist disabled immigrants who have created a cancer solely to crash house prices in order that the BBC can rule over us all.

        2. Thanks to the Internet, one need not ever read a physical copy of the Daily Mail, or ever step foot in the UK to experience its pernicious effects.

          In the US, for example, the Daily Mail is sometimes promoted by conservatives as a reliable source of information about social and political topics.

    2. You missed the point through impatience. It’s a very British bit of humor, and it helps makes a very good point.

      You’re SUPPOSED to feel awkward about the photos, for a reason the presenter is building up to, and the absurd statements the presenter makes about them are SO absurd as to clue you in that they’re obviously setting up some larger point to be made in a minute or so and are asking you to bear with them. The presenter himself has no “skeezy obsession with other people’s kids”, he’s demonstrating the creepiness of the Daily Mail through a sort of sarcastic immitation.

      But since you request a TLDR version, all those creepy photos were taken by Daily Mail Photographers, none of them should ever have been taken, and they were only a handful of many more photos taken of that specific six year old girl for usage in over 800 different creepy Daily Mail stories, with each new story coming on the heels of the previous one after only 2 or 3 days, for the full length of the poor girl’s entire lifetime. This then leads into many, many other terrible things the Daily Mail does.

    3. You missed the point through impatience. It’s a very British bit of humor, and it helps makes a very good point.

      You’re SUPPOSED to feel awkward about the photos, for a reason the presenter is building up to, and the absurd statements the presenter makes about them are SO absurd as to clue you in that they’re obviously setting up some larger point to be made in a minute or so and are asking you to bear with them. The presenter himself has no “skeezy obsession with other people’s kids”, he’s demonstrating the creepiness of the Daily Mail through a sort of sarcastic immitation.

      But since you request a TLDR version, all those creepy photos were taken by Daily Mail Photographers, none of them should ever have been taken, and they were only a handful of many more photos taken of that specific six year old girl for usage in over 800 different creepy Daily Mail stories, with each new story coming on the heels of the previous one after only 2 or 3 days, for the full length of the poor girl’s entire lifetime. This then leads into many, many other terrible things the Daily Mail does.

    4.  When the punchline lands, it makes it clear what he’s doing. However, the way he keeps smacking his lips during that whole opening discussion doesn’t really do much to alleviate the ‘skeeve’ factor even when you know what he’s doing.

  11. Typical Daily Mail Headline: Euro immigrant travellers threaten house prices and cause cancer.

    Daily Mail-o-matic

    “Lord Rothermere was a friend of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and directed the Mail’s editorial stance towards them in the 1930s. Rothermere’s 1933 leader “Youth Triumphant” praised the new Nazi regime’s accomplishments, and was subsequently used as propaganda by them. In it, Rothermere predicted that “The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing upon Germany”. Journalist John Simpson, in a book on journalism, suggested that Rothermere was referring to the violence against Jews and Communists rather than the detention of political prisoners.  Rothermere and the Mail were also editorially sympathetic to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. Rothermere wrote an article entitled “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” in January 1934, praising Mosley for his “sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine”. This support ended after violence at a BUF rally in Kensington Olympia later that year.”

    If you search on “All grown up” on the Daily Mail: 

    1. Well, depending how old your parents are, they may be remembering back when all papers really WERE the same.

  12. Now I would like us all to remember the article from a few days ago about how terrible it was that the UK government might be considering restraining this paragon of journalism from engaging in further criminal activity.

    1. And the Mail is already using it to beat up Leveson demanding that they are not regulated but the BBC should be (from toady’s MoS):
      “We must be careful here to ensure that politicians do not gain power over the BBC. It is vital it remains independent of government. But some way should be found of giving the public – who pay for it – more of a say in its governance.It is striking that, as Lord Justice Leveson is expected to recommend statutory regulation of newspapers, there is still no plan to create an effective external watchdog for the BBC, a body that has been needed for many years. Newspapers are commercially independent. The BBC is financed by a national poll tax enforced by the threat of prison. Newspapers are varied and competitive. The BBC is a national monopoly whose rivals are far smaller and weaker.Surely – especially now it has shown it can and does sometimes behave more irresponsibly than the most raucous newspaper – there is a far stronger case for BBC regulation than for placing legal chains on the press?”

  13. The Mail isn’t the problem. It’s the people that read the Mail. The person sat next to you on the bus, the bronze expat on the Costa Brava, the young admin assistant on the website on her lunch break. 

  14. The thing that made me very uncomfortable about the video was the way that everyone in the video was laughing about 6 year olds being presented in a way that was appealing to paedophiles.
    Since when has that become that a laughing matter? 

    1.  I think it’s one of those laugh/cry moments.

      And Robbins’ presentation *was* very well comedically timed.

  15. But when they’re funny, they’re funny.

    And the crisis deepened last night as it was claimed that the former director-general personally intervened to axe a Panorama investigation into two newspaper tycoons, which was due to be aired tomorrow. According to well-placed BBC sources, Mr Entwistle ordered the programme on Daily Telegraph owners Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay to be pulled as he believed it was ‘risky’ – but did not fully explain what he meant.

    It will be replaced by a documentary about badgers.

    1.  Side note: As for the subject of this news blurb, I think this would be one of the benefits of living in the UK and partaking of the wonderful/hateful thing called The BBC.

      They get badgers, we get Whitney.

  16. Probably since I’ve not read it since the 80’s, I thought the Mail was on a par with, say, the Mirror, and above the Sun and the Sport (which are basically comics for simple adults, but with poorer graphics). It’s a tabloid, so it’s 50% hype, 50% racism, 50% illicit sex, and 50% celebrities (with considerable overlap).

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