Tabloid bullshit of the month award - June 2011: the Paul Dacre edition

I had this month's tabloid bullshit winner all picked out and ready to go, I'd thought of a few gags, I was all happy because I wouldn't have to focus on immigration, there were many many clear and obvious examples of dishonesty and if that wasn't enough, I'd be targeting a tabloid editor rather than a hack. I'd also have been in time this month for a change.

But some other tabloid numpty had to jump in at the last minute acting like an arse and snatch the 5cc tabloid bullshit of the month award for May 2011 from the clutches of Dawn Neesom at the Star for twelve straight days of front page Giggs headlines. Headlines that mostly bore little or no relation to the truth.

Who was it who stole the award away from stories like 'GIGGS LOVER IN SEX ROMP REVENGE', shouted next to a massive picture of Imogen Thomas in her pants at the top of a story about how someone who wasn't Imogen Thomas went on Facebook and mentioned some celebrities she fancied? (That was the 'sex romp revenge', by the way).

The answer is...wait for it...here comes the drumroll...hang on a sec...you might not have read the title of this post yet...it's...Paul Dacre of 'editor of the Daily Mail' infamy, for getting his lawyers to bully Uponnothing of Angry Mob into taking down a post from a couple of years ago that criticised him. Slow handclap, Mr Dacre. It's a slow handclap for you.

Heeeere's Johnny! Uh, I mean the email. Here's the email:

"Dear Mr Dacre,

It is with great pride that I can announce you - yes, you - as the winner of journalism's sort of newest prize! You might have heard of it. A few of your fantastic* journalists have won it so far, but modesty may have prevented them from mentioning it.

This month, you join Richard Littlejohn, Dawn Neesom of the Star and that bloke that comes up with the pretend EU ban stories for the Express in winning the 5cc tabloid bullshit of the month award! Just think of it. You beat Dawn Neesom even after twelve days straight of Ryan Giggs front page headlines that bore no relation to the story inside. I'm clapping you right now. Very, very slowly. It's a slow handclap for you.

Well done. Get out your party poppers and Nuremberg Rally 78s or whatever it is you do for fun,** put your feet up and bask in the glory.

Here's why you won:
  • You, as editor of the second best-selling daily newspaper in the country and big cheese at the country's most popular news website, reaching a combined audience of several million, decided to sic lawyers on a single blogger for a post that was nearly two years old because it said nasty things about you.

  • Your paper is infamous for its spitefulness and hatred. Not just, you know, a bit known for occasionally saying things that might be considered a bit impolite. It actually received a record number of complaints for a spectacularly nasty column about Stephen Gately even before he was buried. One of your columnists referred to some murder victims as disgusting, drug-addled street whores. The same guy called Gordon Brown a sociopath. Your paper was criticised by a Parliamentary Committee for its coverage of asylum seekers and has recently taken to worrying about the number of ethnic minorities. The list of links down the right hand side of your website is a constant deluge of catty jibes about women's arses. The Federation of Poles in Great Britain complained about your coverage of Polish people and you had to remove or amend 50-odd stories, while at the same time claiming the paper was never anti-Polish. Made me laugh, that one. I could go on, but I don't have three weeks spare.
  • So you'd think you'd be able to take a bit of 'robust' criticism. Not least because of your editorial meetings apparently being renamed 'the vagina monologues' because of how often you use the c-word, according to Nick Davies.

    I'm sure you're not exactly standing on a chair and hitching up your skirts at a bit of 'robustness'. You seem love a bit of robustness when it's you being robust.
  • Your lawyers' letter said the original post was defamatory and abusive. People are having trouble finding exactly what is defamatory in the post. Your lawyers didn't bother listing what was supposed to be defamatory, which is normally expected when giving a notice preparatory to action in an alleged defamation case. This could lead people to believe that's because there's nothing defamatory there.

    Fancy that.
  • Is it abusive? Maybe. Does the author really want you dead?

    You should be familiar with articles with headlines that are, um, "clarified" by the content of the article below. Lord knows there are enough of them in your paper. The blog post in question makes clear that the author just wishes you would die and people would line up to shit on your grave, not that anyone would kill you.
  • That might sound nasty, but you're familiar with hyperbole for effect, right? You must be. The PCC defended an article by Richard Littlejohn in which he falsely claimed Afghan immigrants automatically go to the top of the council housing list by claiming he was using a rhetorical device and no-one would believe him. It said something similar about nobody believing a Melanie Phillips column that said, "the fact is," before saying something that wasn't a fact. These are instances of your writers saying things that are clearly and demonstrably false and getting away with it, so maybe the author of the blog post really doesn't hope you die. Maybe he just wants people to shit on your grave when you do. In any case, I'm sure there's nothing illegal in wishing someone would die.
  • I've saved the best bit til last. This is the funniest thing about you forcing someone to delete something. You're supposed to be a champion of free speech. You rail against those who dare to try to silence you in your fearless struggle to reveal what celebrities do with their genitals in their private lives. You once said:
    "This [a privacy law] would merely be yet another method for the rich, the powerful and the corrupt to hide their transgressions from their public and provide a feeding frenzy for the lawyers,"
    And now you, who reportedly earned 2.8 million pounds last year in your job running a news outlet that reaches millions of readers on behalf of a multinational corporation worth billions of pounds, decide to sic your highly priced lawyers on a guy who blogs in his spare time and force his internet provider to squash his opinion of you. Staunch defender of free speech, you. Hate the rich and powerful squashing the little man's right to say what they want. And I invented pegs.
You might look a bit hypocritical there. A bit like a newspaper that rails against the sexualisation of young people while at the same time providing a seemingly never ending stream of creepy articles about what a toddler is wearing and how grown up she looks or something. But what do I know?

That's it. There is so much more I could say about the hatefulness and hypocrisy of the Daily Mail, but I have to stop somewhere. I'll be reproducing this letter over at www.fivechinesecrackers.com for people to snicker at. Do feel free to reply, and I will publish what you say there too. Nobody has ever replied before, so you would be blazing a trail for truth and honesty and standing up for the little multimillionaire media mogul who only has an audience of several million against the big, scary blogger with a couple of thousand readers at best who writes in his spare time for free.

Oh, if you get your lawyers to reply, please get them to point out anything here that would be defamatory. I could always then write up apologies about them and bury them somewhere on my blog where nobody would ever find them unless they knew where to look and not connect them in any way to my original post. That's acceptable, right? My blog's hosted in the US after all, and the hosts might not be so easily intimidated into removing the whole thing.

Cheers then,



**Now, before your lawyers get itchy triggerfingers, I'm not seriously saying you listen to the Nuremberg Rally for fun. Rhetorical device, remember, like the hilarious jokes Richard Littlejohn and Melanie Phillips tell about immigrants and gays. I could have even said, "It is a fact that Paul Dacre gets his kicks listening to the Nuremberg Rally," and been golden according to your paper's standards."

Okay. All done. Hope this one doesn't get me in trouble. It's the biggie I was kind of hoping I'd never have to attempt, but I, in my capacity as an enormously powerful media mogul with millions at his disposal had to crush the free speech of the little guy as if I were actively evil or something.

Hope you enjoyed it. See you in a month, I hope.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant!

Gerard said...

Top job

John Holmes said...


sian and crooked rib said...

Excellent post

Press Not Sorry said...

Beautiful! I think this is my favourite so far. :)

I hope Dacre deigns to reply. I'd like to see him attempt a defence of his 'news'paper.

Scottie said...


nice work.

Iain said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The next time the c*** is at a Parliamentary committee meeting whining about the rich and powerful abusing libel laws, please send them this.

Minnie said...

Thank you..just...thank you. This needed to be done and it's been done awesomely.

OldApplejack said...

Bravo. Thanks to you , Angry Mob, Minority Thought and all the others for keeping up the good fight.

Is there any way at all we can organise a mass insult of Paul Dacre and invite him to do his worst? There's enough of us out here who would do it, surely? He can't take us all to court.

Daz said...

Beautiful. Just ... beautiful.

Stonyground said...

I have to wonder if the constant placing of Ryan Giggs on the front page of the Star is a deliberate rubbing of his nose in the pile of poo that was his failed injuncion. After all, when bloggers are threatened with legal action, they usually react by spreading the offending piece of news all over the globe. Could it be that the Star is attempting to do the same thing?

skanky said...

Excellent post. Someone's going to have to go some to win the year's prize now.

Mikey said...

Wonderful post. Deserves to be on the front page of a newspaper...oh wait...

Andrew Barker said...

Brilliant. I've bokmarked your blog and will look at it every day from now on. I hope to see Dacre's reply!!

Anonymous said...

I'm snickering!