Complimenting The Daily Mail on its sales is like admiring the SS for their commitment to sharp tailoring

or why saying you *had* to work for The Daily Mail is Kentucky Fried Bullshit

Good morning to everyone except The Daily Mail and, more specifically, Geordie Greig, the Eton-educated oleaginous society glad-hander who is currently in the hot shit seat at that paper. Greig, who, unlike his predecessor, Paul ‘pronounces Beyonce as Bay-On-Suh’ Dacre, emphasises the velvet glove over the iron fist inside it, is a ‘nice’ guy apparently. Blah blah blah he was only following orders etc. and taking a grotesquely-inflated salary to create a paper that punches down so relentlessly it’s like watching a racist Donkey Kong at work.

As I type this newsletter, I am glancing over at a feature in the latest issue of GQ. The article is dedicated to Greig, who has given the writer, Matt Kelly — an ex-Mirror man and current New European bod who I know a little — lots of access on “the morning he outsold The Sun”. That’s a big deal as no one has outstripped The Sun since 1978, but also it’s like winning a competition to slingshot the most turds into the mouths of the British public. It may be a technically impressive feat but you’ve got to question the reasons for doing the disgusting enterprise in the first place.

After beginning with scene-setting about how Greig effectively kicked off an internecine battle with MailOnline and pissed off Dacre within days of taking up the job in 2019, Kelly writes this very telling paragraph:

“The visitor to Northcliffe House, the Mail’s headquarters at the posher end of London’s Kensington High Street ascends a steep, narrow escalator into a large blinkingly bright atrium, encircled by six floors and many of Britain’s most influential newsrooms. The Daily Mail, the Mail On Sunday, Metro, the i newspaper and the London Evening Standard all call this home.”

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This is not just a question of physical geography but one of ideological cartography. All of those papers cluster beside each other on the map. The Daily Mail is the lead dog and the others are the chasing pack. Their prey are the weak, though everyone who works at those titles will try to persuade you that they fight for truth, justice and, like Tron, the user. They don’t. They fight — consciously or unconsciously — for the establishment and its hegemony.

Viscount Northcliffe — born Alfred Harmsworth — founded The Daily Mail as well as a clutch of other titles including The Evening Standard and The Daily Mirror. Kelly dedicates a paragraph to him that felt some insane to me that the article effectively became a form of hallucinogen:

“Northcliffe was the Steve Jobs of his day, inventor of no technologies but the possessor of an unparalleled instinct for what the public wanted before the public even knew it.”

Yes, we must admire Viscount Northcliffe for constructing the cross-generational racism factory, and now we must praise Geordie Greig for increasing the polite sheen and overall efficiency of that racism factory. Don’t feel the quality, look at the length. Across the Mail brands, Northcliffe’s successor — the fourth generation of ennobled proprietors — (Lord) Jonathan Rothermere employs over 1,250 journalists and associated editorial staff.

I’m not going to quote any more of Kelly’s well-sourced and well-argued article. Buy the magazine or search the article out online. But I will say this: There is a canard in the British media that working for the Mail titles is fine because there aren’t many well-paid jobs in the trade anymore so people have to do what they have to do. That’s the ‘just following orders’ argument and it doesn’t fly.

No one has a right to be a journalist and there are other jobs in the world. Working for The Daily Mail is a choice and you should not be able to just write it off as ‘necessary’ or distance yourself from the words that paper and its internet juggernaut MailOnline write.

I know that I’ve Godwin’d myself by comparing The Daily Mail to the SS, but remember a) The Daily Mail under the current owner’s grandfather wrote in defence of Moseley’s black shirts and b) I genuinely believe that the Mail is a source of evil, no matter how clubbable Greig may or may not be. I also expect to get warnings that I shouldn’t criticise the Mail as it will come for me. Is that a newspaper or a mafia organisation? It’s often very hard to tell. And arguably, the Mafia makes its money more honestly.