The Daily Mail was not happy when the Conservatives failed to gain a majority in the recent election. Having vociferously attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the run-up to polling day, and having lovingly prepared a front page which screamed ‘Now Let’s Get On With Brexit’, instead they were shocked to discover that a lot of voters had comprehensively ignored their messaging.
The result was a slap in the face for Mail editor Paul Dacre, and also to Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Sun, which had adopted a similar tone.
The Mail – and, let’s be honest, we’re talking about Paul Dacre, who sets the paper’s tone with a controlling hand – has shown increasingly erratic signs that it’s losing the plot over recent months, including one truly crazy front page from March which claimed that Google was ‘the Terrorists’ Friend’ because it, er, showed people how to use a car to run people over.
However, when historians look back in years to come at what finally pushed him over the edge, they’ll discover that – in classic history lesson style – it was a cartoon, that humble-but-powerful device that speaks a powerful truth without needing to say anything at all.
And this was it, run in the Guardian after the attack on the mosque in Finsbury Park by a white van, driven by an anti-Muslim terrorist.
This morning, they ran a full-page ‘comment’ which, while reading, you can almost picture the steam coming out of Dacre’s ears as he composed it. It’s an incredible, paranoid, defiant, ridiculous read.
Needless to say, friends of cartoonist Martin Rowson were delighted.
Owen Jones, criticised in the piece, was keen to clarify his position.
Meanwhile, the key section of the rant which baffled almost all onlookers was the section which claimed that Mail Online was “a totally separate entity that has its own publisher, its own readership, different content and a very different world view.”
People were not slow in pointing out the utter ridiculousness of this statement:
Others enjoyed the classic Mail target of slagging off BBC ‘comedians’:
That paragraph would certainly constitute a winning each-way bet in the Daily Mail Cunty Sweepstakes.— Ped Peros (@PedroPeros) June 22, 2017
Others though, preferred to concentrate on the main issue – whether the cartoon which provoked the fury was indeed a fair shot at the bows of the Mail:
While Gary Lineker sent his extremely heartfelt sympathies for a man, and a publication, clearly at breaking point:
Thoughts are with the Daily Mail at this very difficult time.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2017