Supermum’s gotten cross over the Daily Mail’s take on asylum. Yet by the Mail’s standards it’s a relatively straight piece. All the stuff that riles is between the lines. It’s all about rubbishing statistics in order to replace them with anecdotes (the anecdotal is easier for readers to relate to and even easier to manipulate than apparently slippery statistics).
Those anecdotes confuse refugees (blaggers) and economic migrants (scroungers) and tell how our schools are swamped, by these diseased folk who should be locked up as many are terrorists anyway. The paper then expresses surprise that people think asylum is a problem out of control.
But people don’t buy the Daily Mail for these stories. All the scary stuff is absorbed alongside the coffee break page, with its horoscopes, crosswords and more importantly femail; women readers are the Mail’s backbone despite the heavy traditionalism of its editorial. And this is where Daily Mail Watch (which missed the asylum story) goes wrong. This front page is actually an example of the high quality journalism that’s placed the Mail at the top of its tree (the Mail’s one the few papers to invest heavily in editorial while flagging rivals, like the The Express, have cut back). Here we have a sympathetic treatment of the nation’s fallen hero (including great photo) with a five star human interest story; (Michael Buerk’s father was a bigamist: wow!).