Today, we have a little shuffle toward Express territory in the Mail article 'Revealed: The hijab-wearing 17-year-old Muslim girl hired as a community police officer'. Of course, this is more subtle than the Express - which probably would have included a picture of a woman in a full burqa and said 'the Officer wears a hijab like this one' - but we're still left with an article that paints it as a bad bad thing that the young woman wears a hijab.
As you'd expect from the Mail, the condemnation, such as it is, is very subtle. There are no statements about how it's bad, but the language used signals that the paper thinks it is. Why use the word 'Revealed' to open the headline, as if this is some sort of scandal? The paper has already made us aware of the scandal of very young people being hired as PCSOs, so there must be some new information that's revealed - and it's the 'Muslim girl' stuff.
The article talks about the girl being 'named' and how the information has 'emerged', as if it needed hiding. But there are only two mentions early on of her religion and hijab. The rest is all condemnation of the policy of hiring under 18s, but as the article has opened by framing itself as being about a hijab wearing Muslim specifically, it gives us all the impression that that is something that makes things like being able to seize alcohol despite being underage worse.
The shift towards Express territory comes from the fact that the paper thinks it's newsworthy at all to mention her religion and her hijab. Why does she need a separate story at all? Okay, the Mail isn't exactly the Muslims' best friend or anything, but there's usually at least some kind of reason for mentioning this kind of thing, even if it is spurious, like the misleading coverage of the police officer who asked not to have to guard the Israeli embassy during the attack on Lebanon. There's no connection with anything here. It's just a 'how terrible, a Muslim' article.
Unusually, the comments are mixed. The caveat about people pratting about still applies, but there are actually people asking why it's relevant that she's a Muslim. There are one or two ignorant ones, like:
Apart from her age which is ridiculous, how can this girl "stop and search" any man when she's forbidden to do so by her religion?Quick answer - she's not, you twat.
- Pat Sweeney, Lanark
Still, I can't help but shudder at the thought of what the Express's coverage might have been like.