This is the nadir for the Mail. This is a moment that should be looked at with shame and despair by anyone with any affinity to that newspaper, not just by its regular detractors like me.
The backstory is this. The Mail regularly censors and removes comments, often because they don't agree with the Mail itself, for example disagreeing with Richard Littlejohn and Melanie Phillips. They see fit to delete those comments, but they let through this. On a story about women being raped while they were on holiday:
I feel sorry for the women concerned rape is very unpleasant even on holiday.
- Dee, Hampshire, England, 18/6/2008 0:15
Have a long, good look at that. Remember, the Mail's comments policy is to pre-emptively remove anything they deem offensive, such as dissenting views. All comments must be pre-approved before they appear on screen. Comments don't get there by accident.
Rape is very unpleasant.
Even on holiday.
Even. On. Holiday.
At what point did the moderator think: well, this seems like something we should approve, no problem there.
Now the comment appears like this:
I feel sorry for the women concerned - rape is very unpleasant.
- Dee, Hampshire, England, 18/6/2008 0:15
For me, that compounds it. It assumes that this vile, disgusting comment was essentially benign but may have inadvertently caused offence - so just take off the 'even on holiday' bit and it still works, doesn't it?
Er no, it doesn't. That should never have been published in the first place. Allowing it to stay up at all, even in this neutered fashion, gives some kind of justification to the person who wrote it. Hundreds of comments are binned by Mail moderators every day, for reasons such as being the wrong kind of comments - ie ones that may disagree with the party line at Rothermere Towers - yet this kind of shit is allowed to stay up. Someone who was joking about rape? That's allowed to stay? What manner of publishing is this?
You'd think that might be the worst comment on there. But I'm not so sure. This charming little effort is still up there:
Magaluf is well-known for being unsafe for single women. I was told this years and years ago by a local resident. And with the way British holidaymakers cavort on the island, they have a bad reputation and engender no respect. This makes them welcome prey for men who think they can do anything they like with women, especially with those they regard as "loose".
- Tina, Düsseldorf, Germany, 17/6/2008 21:07
Oh well, we stand corrected. These women were asking to be raped - in one case stabbed in the neck. They deserved it. My mistake.
Some will say: but what about freedom of speech? And I will say: but that's not the way the Mail website works. You can attempt to submit comment after comment after comment but it will not be published; they choose what appears on the website; they select what is approved and what is not. They chose that these comments should appear. They deemed them acceptable - in the same way that they deem any comment that insults Richard Littlejohn or any of his equally disgusting colleagues to be unacceptable. The Mail makes choices. It chose to publish these views on rape.
These are rape ALLEGATIONS and not rapes until so proven.
- Steve Moxon, Sheffield, England, 18/6/2008 0:12
Funny that, when I've tried to submit comments to the Mail website criticising stories they've written for jumping to conclusions about people's guilt or innocence of crimes, they've been rejected. Is it only right to talk 'innocent until proven guilty' when dealing with suspected rapists?
Incidentally, here's another point about this story:
One of the victims, XX, 21, from XX, waived her right to anonymity to share her ordeal with The Sun newspaper.
And now the Mail as well. Had this crime happened in the UK, the Mail would not be allowed to name her - waiving your anonymity is only for the one publication to which you're speaking. But seeing as this didn't happen in the UK, the Mail considers it to be open season - we'll name her too! Because we can! What a lovely attitude towards victims of sex crimes.
Meanwhile, Tina attempts to explain her earlier disgrace of a comment:
This is exactly what I mean. Because of the way some British people behave, it makes men think that all women are like that and so they are the victims - even if they are the best-behaved women in the world - they are tarred with the same brush. This is why I am so ANGRY with women who behave irresponsibly and who give all women a bad name in the eyes of some narrow-minded men.
- Tina, Dü, 18/6/2008 18:15
Blame the victims. Because some people behave in a certain way, it's not the rapists' fault for being rapists.
Seriously, they're only 'tarred with the same brush' by absolute sub-human scum. Like some of the people whose comments get waved through with a cheery smile by the Mail moderators - while others constantly get rejected. And when they do realise they've let through something absolutely atrocious? Oh well, just change it a bit. No need to delete it.
Sometimes I think the Mail and some of its readers can't sink any lower. But I'm always being unpleasantly surprised.
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