The day Jo Cox was murdered, the Daily Mail ran a shrill front page story about migrants, stoking fear and hate in the referendum campaign. The story was plain wrong -- but instead of remorsefully retracting it, the Mail just buried a tiny correction in the paper.
Our democracy relies on media that tells the truth, but the Mail’s anti-EU editor, Paul Dacre, has spun a steady stream of misinformation and fear, adding to a climate where rage and xenophobia flourish.This is not what one of Britain’s biggest newspapers should do on such a significant national decision.
But there’s a chance to stop it. Rumours abound that the Mail’s owner Lord Rothermere, who is pro-Europe, sees Dacre as a growing liability, and is considering replacing him. If tens of thousands of us call him out for what he is -- the Nigel Farage of newspapers -- it could catch on, trigger a broad push and help end this hate media.
The Editor’s Code of Practice makes clear that newspapers should not publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, and Paul Dacre claims to be a champion of a free press. But on Dacre’s watch, the Mail has published stories that say that EU migrants are swamping the NHS, are fuelling a crime wave and that EU membership makes it easier for terrorists to get into Britain. All of which are false.
The Daily Mail at least has a responsibility to tell the truth, and allow more than one perspective in its pages, but it’s getting away with its vitriolic Brexit campaign because no one will take it on. If enough of us flood the owner with messages, we could move him to greater responsibility, and alert readers to the dangers of trusting the Mail.
This is urgent -- if the Daily Mail would just tell the truth, and allow some diversity of perspectives, Brexit would be far less likely.
On behalf of Iain, Alice, Mais, Emily, Nick, and the rest of the Avaaz team
- Daily Mail publishes correction to story about 'migrants from Europe' (The Guardian)
- Where the British Press stands on Brexit (Politico)
- Paul Dacre’s EU subsidies hypocrisy won’t halt the Daily Mail’s Euro-lies (The Guardian)
- Why is the British Press so overwhelmingly pro-Brexit? (VICE)
- Profile: Lord Rothermere, Jonathan Harmsworth (BBC)
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