*UPDATE* The headline has now changed to 'New BBC taste row as police probe Jonathan Ross stand-in Jo Brand's anti-BNP joke'. It seems someone at the paper realised the ridiculousness of using the word 'race' and censoring the word 'poo', which is annoying since a lot of my post was based on one of those things.
When you spend any length of time looking closely at stories in the Mail, you learn a few rules about how it covers things. One, as flagged in the MailWatch forums, is that the paper has a scale of hate that allows the paper to attack something in one story, but defend that very thing in another so it can attack something else it wants us to hate more. For instance, the paper usually argues against older parents being able to have children, but a number of front pages in the last week were devoted to attacking social services for taking two young children away from elderly grandparents in poor health - because the couple the children are to be placed with are gay. The paper doesn't like elderly parents much, but likes gays even less.
Another is that the paper is incredibly reluctant to ever state outright that anything is racist. The word is often put in scare quotes, and any claim that something is racist is quickly downplayed. Here's how the paper described the bullying of Shilpa Shetty in the Celebrity Big Brother House in January 2007:
Now, the Mail is loath to enter the fray but, like the police, we wonder if there is any real evidence of racism here.The front page headline put the word 'racism' in scare quotes.
So, back to 'Now we know who to send the *** to; police probe Jo Brand's anti-BNP race joke'. Aside from the ridiculous censoring of a word we teach toddlers, what sticks out? That the word 'race' hasn't been put in scare quotes. To be fair to the paper, the word doesn't appear in the dead tree version at all, but why is it included here in the first place?
*UPDATE* Annoyingly, it has disappeared now. That makes the article slightly less sympathetic to the BNP's position, but it still hardly critical. And the BNP's position is still one of the most staggeringly thick things I've ever heard.
Last night the BNP’s Simon Darby said: ‘The BNP is technically an ethnic group and, under Section 26 of the Race Relations Act, we would suggest there are grounds that an offence of incitement to commit racial harassment has been committed.’*Guffaw!* The BNP, which won a case in which it was accused of incitement to racial hatred on the grounds that Islam is not an ethnic group is now trying to argue that 'the BNP' is an ethnic group. The only coverage this should deserve in any part of the media involves organising a video response of everybody who doesn't vote for these goons - and that's most of the country - stuffing their tongue behind their bottom lip, rubbing the lump and going, 'URLURR!' Yes, it's offensive - but in true Daily Mail 'hate chain' style, it's not as offensive as the BNP.
So, it's 'racism' when bullying is actully directed at someone from a different race, but a race joke when it's directed at a political party stuffed with thick goons. While the Mail isn't wholly sympathetic to the BNP, the criticism it does publish is limited to quotes from unnamed sources. It isn't shoved to the bottom like the quotes the paper usually inserts for balance are, and the BNP's argument sort of gets that treatment*, but there won't be any editorials arguing that attacking the BNP isn't racist in response to this ridiculous nonsense.
This is not necessarily because the Mail tacitly supports the BNP. It's purely because the story is a stick to bash the BBC with, especially as the show was on to replace Tonight With Jonathan Ross while Ross was suspended.
This is how much the Mail wants us to hate its commercial rival. It's so hell-bent on attacking it that it will even give the BNP semi-sympathetic coverage for it the day after its sister paper's front page headline shouted, 'BRITISH JOBS FOR BRITISH WORKERS: THE BIG LIE'.
Littlejohn's most recent dribblings inaccurately castigate other news outlets for leaving it to the Mail to cover the baby adoption story I mentioned earlier. If he wants to have a similar, more accurate moan next week he can mention that the Mail is the only paper to cover this nonsense. The only paper to give the BNP's obvious ham-fisted publicity stunt the oxygen it was designed to get. Hurrah for the blackshirts, eh?
Still, if you want to really be depressed, have a look at the article's comments.
*I say 'sort of', because it's shoved down to the second to last paragraph. The bottom of the article 'you might as well ignore this' quote is given over to the BBC.