The Daily Mail and the EDL – a special relationship
The Daily Mail has published a special investigation today, called English Defence League and the hooligans spreading hate on the High Street. None of this will be news to some people, and has been floating about on the web for some time, with blogs such as Hope not Hate, One Million United, and, newcomer to the blogosphere, Exposing the English Defence League (set up by the Exposing intolerance and racism online XXXII Facebook group), all having numerous stories on the EDL and it’s leadership. The BBC has also investigated Jeff Marsh of the Welsh Defence League, one of the men mentioned in the Mail piece, in a report called Welsh Defence League links with neo-Nazis are unmasked.
The hypocrisy of the Mail’s seeming disgust at the EDL is clear, and is not what this post is about. What I feel does need illustrating is the reliance of EDL members on reports from this particular paper for anti-Muslim stories to post on their wall. There are other tabloids used on a regular basis, for example, the Star and the Sun, but given the EDL investigation published today, I think The Mail deserves a special mention.
First, take a look at what a quick search for the word ‘Muslim’ turns up on the Mail Online website. Rather than inflict a direct to Mail link on the readers of this blog, I have taken a screenshot (click to enlarge):
These are the stories Mail Online’s search facility has deemed most relevant (and this is only page one). On balance, they seem overwhelmingly negative. Now, take a look at how EDL members use such stories on their Facebook page (this is a small selection):
The Mail appears to be attempting to distance itself from the EDL with it’s critical article published today, but it’s simply not convincing when put into context with all of the above. From what I can see, this paper has done nothing but feed anti-Muslim feeling for years. It’s a bit late for them to walk away, feigning moral outrage, when people have taken the bait. Such negative, sensational reporting does have a real life impact, and until papers like The Mail begin reporting on things in a more responsible way, I’m not sure they’re best placed to complain about it.
In the interests of fairness, I’ll allow The Mail to have the last word:
‘What has started cannot be stopped now. It has begun …’
In other words, mindless terrace violence by any other name.
Except this time there is a different ‘enemy’ — one chosen by these Right-wing yobs specifically to provoke far more damaging and troublesome consequences.