What are we to make of Mail readers? You know, it's wrong to try and classify them as some giant mass of seething fear, hatred and bigotry. Because that's not the case. Sure, there's a lot of fear, hatred and bigotry in there, but that doesn't mean that everyone who happens upon the Mail website is (a) the target Mail audience anyway or (b) even if they are, they may be intelligent folk who disagree with some of the more frenzied excesses of the Mail's editorialising.
Have a look at two stories today in the Mail. The first is about science and evolution; the second is about Donald Rumsfeld's rather startling Christian propaganda in the Iraq war.
The Mail says:
The news is certain to anger Muslim critics of the invasion, whose claims that a Christian superpower was trying to overthrow an Islamic nation were rebuffed at the time by the White House.
It's a typical attempt by the Mail to slant the story in a particular way - as if only Muslims could possibly be angered by such an appalling atrocity against humanity. But it's not just Muslim voices who respond to this story. Take a look at the best-rated comments:
Well now, that's quite encouraging, in a way, isn't it? You might not expect that Mail readers would behave that way. But then you have to always keep an open mind about these things.
Secondly, with the story about a fossil of a primate having been found in the United States, you might expect that Mail readers might agree with the Mel Phillipses of this world and claim an intelligent design/creationist view of 'science'. And some do, but look at how they take an absolute pasting:
So there are reasons for some optimism. We mustn't just lump all Mail readers together; there's hope for some who appear on the website, at least, although that may be an altogether different readership from those who pick up a newspaper - after all, I turn up on the Mail's website every day, don't I?
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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