Just a few days ago, UK tabloid The Daily Mail was caught fabricating a photograph of a famous athlete breaking coronavirus lockdown rules. It has a history of crude photoshop work passed off as news photography, but its latest effort is one for the ages: it fabricated its own coverage of Hitler's and Mussolini's deaths.
"Is it me or is this extremely weird: the Daily Mail forging its *own* archival front pages?" writes Huw Lemmey on Twitter. "Here's the one they say shows "Extraordinary Daily Mail pages from the day Adolf Hitler died 70 years ago this week" - and here's the actual one from same date."
This is a good example of what I said last time: it's not a conspiracy or, in this case, a conscious attempt to lie about a specific fact. Fabricating content is simply the content formula of The Daily Mail. The old newspaper page isn't optimized for present-day consumption, so they just made a new old page. The notion that this is inappropriate would be inconceivable to the people doing it, and criticism of it incomprehensible. They simply do not live in a world where those standards mean anything.
Of course, the newspaper openly supported fascism. Contrary to its new version of its old front page, Hitler's death was not an outcome The Daily Mail was praying for.
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.
Here’s a game of spot the difference. 1) @dailymail ‘s pic of me & my dad 2) the actual picture. Socially distant, no physical contact & was bringing them food. Been a long month of no contact, my mum worked for the NHS her whole career so she was ruthless about distance. Thanks pic.twitter.com/4cWifBGzMa
— James Cracknell (@jamescracknell) April 26, 2020
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