There is a type of story you get in newspapers, but especially the Mail, which I can categorise like this: Look at this bitch.
The woman-specific insult is important. Very few stories are of the 'look at this bastard' variety. Maybe you can trace it back to some ancient Anglo-Saxon practice of burning witches; our culture is more than happy to pillory women for the crime of being a single mum - for having fucked someone but not been able to hold onto a husband, as is dictated by the middle-class mores of what the Mail would call the 'chattering classes'.
If you look back at the treatment meted out to Karen Matthews - whose case is still going through the courts - the vitriolic columnists couldn't even wait until she'd been charged with anything to label her a bad parent. Before she had even been accused of a crime, she had been found guilty of a far worse crime - being a single mother and having kids. Oh, and being poor and on benefits. She would have hit the jackpot if she'd have had children of more than one colour, but it was still pretty close to the perfect Aunt Sally. It will be even more ferocious should Matthews be found guilty of the crimes with which she has been charged, of course - but then she is already guilty of far worse things: being on a council estate; having kids with different dads; not living in Surrey.
Look back, too, at the hatred levelled at Scarlett Keeling's mother. Remember this sort of shit:
But then, as a tattooed New Ager and mother of nine, Fiona MacKeown is no stranger to criticism.
'Just the facts, ma'am!' - heh. You can almost feel the hatred oozing out of every sentence.
So now we come to Denise Goldsmith, who has been arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of her children. She has since been bailed and has not been charged. Which puts her in legal limbo - in other words, crucify the bitch now! Time was when newspapers gave a shit about contempt of court; now they couldn't care less - they've decided, and they want their readers to decide, that people are guilty before they've even been charged. They get mystified and appalled when juries ignore all that, and come to their own conclusions based on the evidence presented to them.
The Mail even smeared the jury in a thoroughly disgraceful way when they refused to toe the party line and convict terrorists of an 'airline bomb plot'. They claimed the jury had used petty excuses to delay the verdict, wheras they knew in fact there were personal and tragic reasons for the delay, since they had been informed as such by news agencies. That was malicious, unethical and an insult to journalism.
Now we have this:
Party life of single mother arrested over fire that killed her two young boys
And you can sense the boot being stuck in early. Look at this bitch! Look at her! Single mum, out on the piss! Be angry!
In one picture her arms are draped around a male friend. In another she is embraced by a girl pal and in yet another she pulls faces for the camera.
This is single mother Denise Goldsmith pictured out enjoying herself at a number of parties.
She has hugged another human being! Twice! She pulls faces at the camera! Bitch! Bitch! Evil! She's gone to parties! Evil! Die! Die! Die!
But last night, after the pictures from an internet networking site emerged, the 29-year-old was in police custody, suspected of the manslaughter of her two little boys.
I always love the way the Mail pretends to be dead against things like Facebook - but they'd be fucked without it. What a great way of dredging up ammunition against someone accused of a crime. And what's the worse the Mail could find? She has hugged other people at parties. Fuck me, burn the witch now! She's hugged other people at parties? Bloody hell! Imagine that!
Look, if she's guilty of killing her kids, then that's a despicable crime. But it's not a crime to be out at parties - unless it's every night and you're leaving the kids at home to fend for themselves. But unless there's any evidence of that - and I don't think the Mail has any - then what crime has been committed?
See if you can spot the bullshit here:
Friends said they had been worried about her over the past couple of years.
One added: 'She absolutely adored her kids, I can't believe this has happened. They were two beautiful little lads and she loved them to bits. No one can understand why this has happened.'
Worried about her... 'She adored her kids' - yes, I'd call that worry, wouldn't you? The Mail couldn't even find a 'friend' to put the boot in for a few quid, so they just pretend it's happened, while finding quotes that say the exact opposite. What a sordid, dirty, vile bunch of bastards. Look, if this woman has committed the crime, then fine, but arrested does not mean charged, and it certainly does not mean guilty.
I imagine Mad Mel and Pearson are sharpening their claws to slag off Goldsmith at the first legally available opportunity. Not for any crime, but just for being a single mum and having the temerity for having gone out a couple of times in her life. Then the cycle is complete: "it's not hatred of women, because look, we've got women to say it, so there."
But it is hatred.