The Daily Mail, a UK tabloid, ran a story accusing British athlete James Cracknell of breaking social distancing rules in a visit with his parents. It illustrated this with the above photograph, showing Cracknell sat inches from his father. The Daily Mail, however, fabricated this image by photoshopping what Cracknell actually posted, below. The real photo was, in fact, a humorous illustration of the social distancing measures the Daily Mail accused Cracknell of breaking.
The blatant, pervasive, smirking fakeness of UK newspaper reportage is one of those things that everyone accepts but never quite groks. It's not just the occasional photo, but the basic formula for content generation. Even editors who take it too far, such as Piers Morgan, tend to fail upward after a perfunctory moment of disgrace.
In this case, the defense upon which the Mail depends is that Cracknell's visit was still against the rules. The fact of this isn't clear, as Cracknell claims he bought them food, but this defense works with Britons delighted to be thusly policed. Read the rest
Karl Stefanovic: "The Daily Mail has a long, despicable track record of denigrating women, of ridiculing women, of objectifying women."
A London tabloid, the Daily Mail has become wildly successful on the web over the last decade. Beyond the bigotry, its practices (nakedly untrue and plagiarized stories, amateurish editing of photographs, comical yet effective exportation of British tabloid stock stories to new markets) put it at the heart of everything that's gone wrong with news, yet place it almost beyond criticism.
It revels in the fact it has no real credibility, because that sort of thinking only matters to people who remember. But the magic of Daily Mail content is that it's about the world it creates for readers to sink into now, the drug of gossip without the moderation of truth or memory. Today water causes cancer. Tomorrow it cures it.
Most tabloid writers I've met hate their audience: think of the empty, smirking contempt of a character from a Richard Curtis comedy. I'd say it was a British thing, because it's the sneer talk that the marginally middle-class have for working-class people who make more money than them (think: drunks writing for plumbers) but the formula was internationalized so fast and so well it can hardly be that.
Stefanovic famously revealed in an interview that he wore the same suit every day for a year without anyone remarking upon it, unlike female colleagues who receive criticism if they repeat an outfit even twice. Read the rest
The notorious, Hitler-endorsing, Brexit-backing, anti-vaxx, cancer-scare-promoting, compulsively lying, photoshop failing, plagiarizing, M15-creating, hateful, lethally transphobic, Creative Commons misunderstanding, evil, teacher-demonizing, royal-wedding-lying, Melania Trump distressing, racist, grandstanding, pig-fuckery-promoting tabloid will no longer qualify as a "reliable source" for the purposes of Wikipedia citation. Read the rest
Last June, Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a neo-Nazi who was outraged by her anti-Brexit stance; that man is now on trial. Read the rest
British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail posted a photo of reporter Mark Nicol on the Syrian front lines posing with an assault rifle. This is bad for numerous reasons, but the main one is that it casts western reporters as mercenary participants and invites summary execution upon capture.
Hope you can shoot straight, Mark! Read the rest
Would it be a fitting end, for one of the first and greatest of the American web's dreams, to be eaten by the most infamous of British tabloids?
The parent company of the Daily Mail, the British newspaper and global tabloid website, is in talks with several private-equity firms to launch a bid for Yahoo, the people said. ... A possible bid by Daily Mail could take one of two forms, the people familiar with the matter said. In one scenario, a private-equity partner would aim to acquire the entirety of Yahoo’s U.S. operation, with the Mail taking over the news and media properties. Those assets include verticals such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports plus Yahoo News and a video operation whose big star is Katie Couric. Yahoo has been retrenching in those businesses—in February the company closed seven digital magazines including sites dedicated to food, parenting and health. In the other scenario, the private-equity firm would acquire Yahoo and merge its media and news properties into a new company that would include the Mail’s Web properties, DailyMail.com and Elite Daily, the people said. The Mail would run that business and would get a larger equity stake than under the first scenario.
Yahoo's core business is hard to value because of holdings in successful foreign companies such as Alibaba. At one point, its fortunes were so dire that squinting at it just right made the company seem to have negative value. More recently, an analyst put it at $4.3 Read the rest
Adam Curtis's latest piece for the BBC starts out as a strange history of the role that the Daily Mail had in the formation of the British MI5 spy-agency, but then veers into an amazing history of MI5 brutal, awful, terrible record of incompetence, foolishness, self-sabotage, and waste. It turns out that the MI5 owes its origins to a German spy-scare the Mail whipped up 1910 by publishing a serialized novel about a fictional German invasion of England (the route of the invasion was tailored to pass through towns with large populations of Mail subscribers). This led to thousands of impressionable Mail readers writing in, saying they'd seen German spies out and about, and they demanded that Parliament Do Something. And so, MI5 was born.
But as I said, this is just the start of the story. Following on from its weird origin, MI5 spent generations cocking up, framing people, missing double-agents in their ranks, and generally wasting tons of money on paranoid losers who never caught a spy. Curtis is brutal in documenting the depth of MI5's failures, from its storied roundup of a "German spy ring" in 1914 (decades later, it emerged that none of the 21 "spies" were actually spies) to its failure to spot the incipient demise of the Soviet Union, to its hilariously evil false espionage accusations against 33 Iraqi students in 1991, none of whom were spies.
Curtis builds up a picture of spooks as neither evil masterminds nor brave sleuths, but as banal incompetents. Read the rest