There's a smell to the Mail's coverage of immigration. Like when you're talking to someone and something wafts up your nostrils, leaving you to wonder, is that...did they just fart? through the rest of what they say. I have a horrible nagging suspicion about the Mail's output. Is the paper being racist when it bemoans the number of white people leaving the country? How about when it reports that the majority of knife crime perpetrators are black, while most victims are white when in fact the majority of victims' ethnicity is unknown? What if it added an explanation to say that the victims whose ethnicity was unknows were probably black gang members? Or what about when it switches the words 'ethnic minority' to 'immigrant' in a table it has already dishonestly included and exaggerated? How about when it suggests that people actually born in the UK should be counted as immigrants? If there were an episode of Eastenders that featured only black cast members, and the paper disapproved of that? Would it be right to wonder if there were a certain amount of racism behind the objection? There is a sort of plausible deniability behind some of this stuff, but that is steadily shrinking with slips like these recent ones.
Yes, this ^^^.
I don't know if the Mail is a racist newspaper. I don't know if its writers or journalists or subs or even readers are racist.
(I don't even mind if some of them are, so long as they're upfront and honest about it - as I've always said, I don't really object to genuine racists. Sure, I may violently disagree with them in rather fundamental ways, but at least they aren't weaselly about it. At least they don't hide behind a mask of respectability. It's one thing to say "I don't like black people" and quite another to say "Of course, the problem is that so many Muslims don't integrate, which is a terrible thing for social cohesion"; it's one thing to say "I don't like foreigners" and another to say "Well of course, most knife crime perpetrators are black and most victims are white - I don't know that for a fact, but I'm going to tell you it's a fact, and you may well believe me, because not only am I presenting it to you as a fact but I'm coating it with the veneer of honest investigation and journalistic endeavour. You may well have every reason to suppose, given that I've told you that I've researched this, that I've researched this, and this is what I've found out. You'd be wrong, but that's your lookout matey".)
But if it isn't racist, and isn't trying to be racist, then it's saying an awful lot of things that racists will agree with - and not because they're unpleasant or awkward truths that an objective journalist must state for the record so the readers can know the truth. Quite often they're not saying the truth at all. Sometimes, even, they've tried so hard to make their version of the truth look like the truth, whereas in fact the truth is more complex or simply not that at all, but something entirely different, that you have to wonder what they're trying to achieve, if not to please racists. You have to wonder, if they're not racist, why they're coming out with this stuff all the time.
Every now and then, as with the columnists, the mask slips just a little bit. Just enough to show you what's going on. And it's not a pretty sight. Yesterday's truly disgraceful attempt to claim all second and third generation people from immigrant families as not being British - a definition which Norman Tebbit, for example, and even many out-and-out racists would disagree with - was one of those times. I wonder, for example, how second and third generation soldiers out fighting for their country feel when they're told that, according to one of the biggest newspapers in Britain, they're not actually British? I wonder how anyone should feel with this kind of description? Was it just a mistake, or was it a rather telling slip? Was it one shoehorning of statistics too many from a tired journalist trying to cobble together some statistics into the cookie cutter of "NULAB IS LYING TO US ABOUT IMMIGRATION BECAUSE IT HATES EVERYONE" for the millionth time?
Or was there something else behind it? I really don't know. But the evidence is beginning to pile up. Because I'm such a bleeding heart at heart, I still do try my best to keep an open mind about whether the Daily Mail is a racist newspaper, despite seeing racism in it. I'd really rather hope that it isn't. I don't want it to be. What would that say about the British press? What would that say about the readers? What would that say about Britain, for those of us British enough by the Mail's rather stringent rules to be called British?
It stinks all right, it really does.
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