I just wanted to tie together a couple of things I've read over the past couple of days.
First, the news that the Hate Mail is offering £100 for anonymous 'horror stories' about 'Eastern Europeans'. Second is a very interesting post I read today on MailWatch.
Chequebook journalism first, and this appeal from the Hate:
PUBLICATION: Daily Mail (Request for personal case study)
JOURNALIST: Diana Appleyard (staff)
DEADLINE: 14-February-2008 16:00
QUERY: I am urgently looking for anonymous horror stories of people who have employed Eastern European staff, only for them to steal from them, disappear, or have lied about their resident status. We can pay you £100 for taking part, and I promise it will be anonymous, just a quick phone call. Could you email me asap? Many thanks, Diana
HOW TO REPLY:
Caught. Red. Handed.
I can't really add much to what's already been said by other bloggers on this subject, except to make it clear that this isn't a one-off or a 'bad apple'. As 5cc points out, this from the same newspaper who were willing to pay Poles to come to the UK and break the law to make it look like Poles were, er, coming over here and breaking the law.
So when journalistic investigation is a little too cumbersome for the Mail, the solution is simple. Just flash the cash. A neat little shortcut. Yes there will be some who'll shake their heads and say it's always been this way, that's tabloid journalism, wake up and see the real world... but does that make it right? Especially not when it appears to be exposing an agenda that I feel is rather unpleasant.
These are two occasions we know about. Are there others? How often do people get offered money to tell stories about minority groups, the facts of which could go unchecked due to their anonymous nature, and which might therefore even be false? Think about what you could do with £100 right now. Tempted? That's more than a lot of freelances would get for contributing an entire article.
Which brings me to this post on MailWatch. Just one piece of evidence, but do you think it might be beginning to all add up?
Yep, I know the Mail is despicable, rabble rousing, racist, homophobic and all the rest, but I viewed with scepticism the claims here and elsewhere that the online version actively censored story comments. "Nobody could be that stupid!" I thought.
Then two things happened. The first was Richard Littlejohn's story about Mile End being a mono-cultural muslim no-go area.
Now, Littlejohn lives in a high-security gated community in Florida so I can excuse his ignorance, but when I posted a comment on the story that I live near Mile End, Mile End is full of pubs, nightclubs , a cinema, a university and a hospital and is most certainly NOT a "no-go" area, my comment didn't make it through. What does Littlejohn think happens? Does the tube driver announce "Mile Emd station! Muslims only alight here"?
It's their website, fair enough. They are entitled to print vile racist bollocks if they want.
But then this story appeared:
and the moderators of the Daily Mail online comments section allowed this post to be published:
"Having lived in South East London I can tell you that there is still a very high resentment against the perception of what led to Steven Lawrence's death.
Those of us who lived in the area at the time remain convinced that it was not a racially motivated killing.
That the centre was damaged is of no connection to racism. It is based in an area that is 90% black. Hardly likely that white youths would travel to that area at all, let alone to damage a building about something that happened years ago."
- Dr T Gibbons, London
Now, Stephen Lawrence bled to death after being chased by some white youths who shaouted "What, nigger!" at him and stabbing him. The murder was racist, there is no doubt.
Plus, Deptford's population is barely 53% black, according to the latest census.
I posted to rebut "Dr Gibbons" falsehoods.
So The Mail, for all their posturing in the Lawrence case, allow untruths to be published about the manner of Stephen Lawrence's death and the area in which it took place.
Two seperate articles in The Mail gave utterly false impressions on serious, inflammatory subjects.
Sorry for doubting you.
I want you to guess - just a quick quiz, no prizes - which organisation has written extensively about the smashing of windows at the Lawrence Centre not being a racial crime, and why they believe that area is predominantly black, so it must have been 'one of them'. Any ideas? Here's a clue - it's the same organisation whose website the Mail did a story on yesterday, with the usual suspect commenters beaming with pride about how much they support it. It is also the same organisation whose members and fans are frequently behind lies about the Lawrence murder not being racially motivated.
Yes, it's the BNP. Well, we all know they have an agenda, but they have always been open about it, though a little more slick in their presentation in recent years - not so many suedeheads in bomber jackets, more women and nice-looking chaps in suits. We know who they are and what they want. We know what they think of minorities and other ethnic groups.
But the Mail... what is their agenda? They don't have a mission statement as far as I know. They're a newspaper, they say. But you have to start asking questions about what stories get through, what the subjects of those stories are, where the evidence for those stories has come from - real journalism or paying someone to produce a desired outcome? - and which comments about those stories get through the net.
The answers could lead to an unpleasant conclusion.