National treasure Stephen Fry published an open letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic Committee asking them to move the 2014 Winter Olympics from Russia in response to Russia's banning and scapegoating of LGBT people. Fry compared a 2014 Russia Games to the 1936 Berlin Games, which legitimized Hitler and greatly aided his cause.
Naturally, the Daily Mail, a newspaper that heavily supported Hitler and Naziism, came out against Fry with a predictable, vicious editorial. The Mail is a savage, terrible, morally bankrupt mouthpiece for a clutch of racists, sexists and greedy aristos who'll say or do anything to sell papers.
Fry has responded with a long piece on the Mail and its hatefulness that is a must-read, especially for people who haven't lived in the UK and understood what a genuinely nasty piece of work the Mail is, and how badly it distorts the public debate in this country.
But there’s form here. The Mail still can’t quite live with the shame that it has always, always been historically wrong about everything - large and small - from Picasso to equal pay for women. Because it has always been against progress, the liberalising of attitudes, modern art and strangers (whether by race, gender or sexuality). Of course they’ll leap on a Stephen Lawrence bandwagon once the seeds of their decades of anti-immigration racism (read a 1960s or 1970s Daily Mail) have been sown, but deep down they have always come from the same place and had the same instinct for the lowest, most mean-spirited, hypocritical, spiteful and philistine elements of our island nation.
Most notoriously of all, they loved Adolf Hitler when he came to power, and as the Czech crisis arose they were the appeasement newspaper. And woe-betide any liberal-minded anti-fascist who warned that the man was unstable and that consistently satisfying his vanity, greed and ambition was only storing up trouble. The whole liberal left, not to mention Winston Churchill, were mocked and scorned for their instinctive distrust of Hitler. The Daily Mail knew better.
In January 1934 Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, younger brother of the paper’s founder Alfred Northcliffe (the 4th Viscount Rothermere is chairman of the company that still owns it) wrote an article called “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”. He was sending congratulatory telegrams to “My dear Führer” as he liked to call him, right up until a few months before the outbreak of war.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.