Sunday 6 October 2013

The Daily Mail at its worst. Ed Miliband hits back

I think I speak for many liberal thinking, Left leaning, Guardian reading, Londoners when I say I've quite enjoyed Ed Miliband's attack on the Daily Mail.

Was anyone really surprised by the Mail's nasty article on Ed's late Marxist academic father Ralph Miliband?

It was classic Daily Mail - the only difference was that for once someone decided to fight back which is what Ed has done.

I agree that it was perfectly legitimate for the Mail to investigate the beliefs and political views of Ralph Miliband, as Ed has frequently spoken about his father's influence on his own political beliefs.

The problem for the Mail is that it overstepped the mark with its ill judged headline and tone of its article. It was nothing more than a character assassination on someone who obviously couldn't respond. Hardly surprising Ed Miliband felt the need for a right of reply.

I'm intrigued to see what's going to happen next. The Mail isn't a paper you want to mess with. Its attitude and behaviour perfectly mirrors that of its editor Paul Dacre.

Dacre is someone I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of. I've heard so many stories about him and how he runs the Mail - many of which aren't flattering.

The Mail is Dacre's personal mouth piece. He's a bully whose personality dominates the Mail - he's also a brilliant newspaper editor. Paul Dacre is the Daily Mail and the Daily Mail is Paul Dacre.

I admit I've always had a grudging respect for the Mail. I don't agree with its politics or world view which generally annoys me. However, I respect that it's an incredibly successful newspaper.

Its website is brilliant and a guilty pleasure of mine. As a writer I admire how it truly understands the feelings, values and beliefs of its audience. Something that all writers should aspire to.

The Mail has made it clear it won't back down on its article, which is no surprise. But it's good for Ed Miliband as I think he's won a lot of a support and sympathy from people.

Where he needs to be careful, is by not making his criticism of the Mail appear politically motivated.

The Mail thinks this is the case. The paper believe Miliband's attack is part of an ongoing debate on the future of press regulation; particularly on whether legislation should be passed to ensure effective regulation of the press. If he makes it too political Ed will lose credibility.

During the last week, I've been reading various comments and opinions on the story. One comment that stood out for me is one I read on the blog of conservative political blogger Guido Fawkes.

He quoted an anonymous Daily Mail hack who said the following:

“If we’d just stuck a question mark after the headline none of this would have happened”

Haha this is so true - but it's good they didn't as none of us would had the pleasure of seeing the Mail on the defensive for a change.

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