Paul Dacre is the editor of the Daily Mail and has been since 1992.
In 1997, the Daily Mail ran an article saying the Labour MP Mo Mowlam looked like an ‘only slightly effeminate Geordie trucker’ because she appeared to be wearing a wig and had recently gained a lot of weight. Mo Mowlam had put on weight and lost her hair thanks to the treatment she was undergoing for cancer.
In 2011, the Daily Mail misquoted a survey in order to suggest that ‘the changing role of women in our society’ causes autism.
In 2011, the Daily Mail’s website (briefly) ran a story about Amanda Knox’s appeal in the Meredith Kercher case. The story said that Knox had been found guilty of the murder and described her ‘stunned’ face. Gleeful comments were provided from ‘prosecutors’ who said they were ‘delighted’ by the result. The only trouble was that the Mail had published too early. Knox was innocent. The quotes were fabricated.
In 2012, the Daily Mail ran a story claiming oral sex is good for women’s health and fights depression. They had, again, misquoted a survey.
In January 2014, the New Statesman journalist Peter Wilby noted that just before the Press Complaints Commission closed down, the Daily Mail had received 687 complaints which led to a PCC adjudication or negotiated resolution. Far more than any other paper. In 2013 alone, said Wilby, the Mail falsely reported that 878,000 benefit recipients had stopped claiming their allowance once they were told they had to ‘face a fresh medical’; that pupils in Portsmouth had been denied water on the hottest day of the year because of Ramadam; that almost half of the electricity generated by windfarms wasn’t used; that asylum-seekers had ‘targeted’ Scotland; that disabled babies were being euthanised by a palliative care service. They also falsely reported that wolves were about to be returned to the UK. (Who knows why?)
In the same year, the Mail also said that the EU was proposing to ban books like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series because they portrayed ‘traditional’ families. (I think we can guess why.)
In 2015, the Daily Mail ran a story claiming Israel was intentionally opening dams in the south of the country in order to flood the Gaza Strip. Even though there are no dams in southern Israel. (Don’t start guessing. The implications are too horrible.)
In 2016, in the run up to the EU referendum in 2016, the Daily Mail claimed that ‘Brussels Bureaucrats’ ‘could’ be about to impose taxes on dustbins and on driving through ‘ALL towns and cities’. There were no plans to enforce these ideas. The Daily Mail ran a front page splash about migrants found hiding in the back of a lorry headlined by the quotation ‘We’re From Europe – Let Us In’. The men were from Iraq and Kuwait. The Daily Mail ran an editorial claiming ‘we do less than 10 per cent’ of our total business with the EU, when the EU accounts for 44 per cent of our exports alone. The Daily Mail also claimed that free movement was depressing wages. It wasn’t. It claimed that the EU was going to build an army – which it couldn’t do without the UK’s consent. (So long as the UK remained a member, anyway.) It claimed the EU is run by a ‘secretive, unelected commission’, even though the power to pass legislation in the EU rests with an elected parliament. At the top of an article about a speech by the US Director of Intelligence, the Daily Mail ran a headline claiming that ISIS had ‘taken advantage’ of Europe’s open borders to plant ‘sleeper cells’ in the UK. This was not true. The Daily Mail also ran an article based on a speech by UK justice minister Dominic Raab, saying ‘Britain could stop ten times more terror suspects’ from entering the UK if it left the EU. This was not true. The Daily Mail ran an article claiming that a ‘massive influx of EU migrants’ had forced doctors to take on 1.5 million extra patients in three years and that the NHS was at ‘breaking point’. This was not true. The Daily Mail ran an article saying 700 EU migrants were convicted of crimes in the UK ‘every week’. This was not true.
In 2017, and perhaps not surprisingly, Wikipedia banned the Daily Mail as an ‘unreliable source’. Its contributors were told not to use Daily Mail articles for reference (other than in exceptional circumstances) because of their reputation ‘for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication’.
Paul Dacre is the editor of the Daily Mail. Few people have more influence over UK culture and discourse. Politicians fear him. His editorial line directs national policy. Paul Dacre is the editor of the Daily Mail.
In 1934, the Daily Mail ran an article written by its owner Viscount Rothermere headlined ‘Hoorah For the Blackshirts’ and declaring support for Oswald Mosley’s British fascist party. In 1939, he also wrote to Hitler commending him for his ‘superhuman’ efforts in ‘regenerating’ his country. Viscount Rothermere’s direct descendent still owns the Daily Mail. He has non-domicile UK tax status. The Daily Mail has run hundreds of articles about ‘benefits scroungers’, ‘health tourism’ and foreigners abusing British tax-payers’ money.
(This is an extract from Enemies Of The People. Available from all good bookstores and Amazon. You can also get a signed edition right here.)