Monday, 21 October 2013

I might loathe Daily Mail, but I love to loathe it

      David Mitchell - not a fan of the
Royal Charter
Paul Dacre - editor of the Daily Mail
David Mitchell had an article in the Guardian/Observer yesterday. The subject was the proposed Royal Charter aiming to regulate the British (tabloid) press. I thought it was a good article, although I – not being from the Commonwealth – didn't get Mitchell's quite laborious cricket metaphor. 
My opinion is that the methods and ways of the British tabloids must be addressed. And I think it's become blatantly clear that they are incapable of managing – and have become far too powerful – to regulate themselves. So here I think, in contrast to Mitchell, that the Royal Charter will have a positive effect. It’s very much not about politicians controlling the press, and more about ensuring that the Fourth estate is held accountable for what they do and write. Whereby not only politicians (and police) dare to challenge the media, but also any citizen, regardless of their means, will know that they stand a chance if the tabloid press misrepresents them, lies about and/or hounds them.
So, hopefully, with the Charter will come an increased sense of accountability among the tabloids, and we will see less of their bullying tactics, their factually inaccurate reporting, their irresponsible character assassinations and habitual usage of insulting adjectives. Nonetheless, although I hope the Charter will temper the Daily Mail and its like, I honestly hope that the Mail will not lose its basic character; a character I generally find disagreeable but – whatever you might think of it – is an important part of British society, constituting an important vent for opinions that are actually out there (however much us Guardianistas might dislike them).
Sure, I (like perhaps other smug Guardianistas) might by and large despise the Daily Mail. But I somehow love to despise it, have a basic respect for it as reflecting considerable segments of society, and would sorely miss it if it disappeared. As BBC:s John Simpson concludes in his book Unreliable sources: How the 20th century was reported (2010):
"The Daily Mail [---] noisy, everlasting complaining about the unfairness and unreasonableness and stupidity of things, fiercely anti-European, inclined to exaggerate the ills it feels strongest about, and strangely unmissable: in some ways the Mail is still the newspaper that most sums up the way British people see their world".