Daily Mail

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Dailymail2005-02-07.jpg
The front page of the Daily Mail on the 7th February 2005.

The Daily Mail and its Sunday edition the Mail on Sunday are British newspapers, first published in 1896. Its editorial slant is right-wing. The Daily Mail was Britain's first middle-market newspaper - it had more populist content and its news coverage was less thorough than the then newspaper of record, The Times. The Mail was originally a broadsheet, but on May 3rd 1971, the 75th anniversary of its founding, it switched to the tabloid format in which it is published today. Its chief rival, the Daily Express, has a similar political stance and target audience, but sells less than half as many copies. As of 2004 the paper's publisher, Daily Mail and General Trust, is a FTSE 100 company and the newspaper has a circulation of over 2 million giving it the second largest circulation of any English language newspaper, and the twelfth highest of any newspaper.

Contents

History

The Daily Mail was devised by Lord Rothermere and Lord Northcliffe as an alternative to the newspapers of the day. The paper was first published on May 4, 1896. The Mail was popular because of its short, simplified news stories, and pictures. A particularly popular feature of the paper was the introduction of serials. The paper initially cost a halfpenny, and the first edition was 8 pages. Soon after its launch the paper had over half a million readers.

In 1906 the paper offered 1,000 for the first flight across the English Channel, and 10,000 for the first flight from London to Manchester. Punch magazine thought the idea preposterous and offered 10,000 for the first flight to Mars, but in 1910 both Rothermere's prizes had been won.

In 1908 the Daily Mail began the Ideal Home Exhibition, which it still runs today.

The paper was accused of warmongering before the outbreak of World War I, when it reported that Germany was planning to crush the British Empire. Lord Northcliffe created controversy by advocating conscription when the war broke out. On May 21, 1915, Northcliffe wrote a blistering attack on Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War. Kitchener was considered a national hero, and overnight the paper's circulation dropped from 1,386,000 to 238,000. 1,500 members of the Stock Exchange ceremonially burned the unsold copies and launched a boycott against the Harmsworth Press. Herbert Asquith accused the paper of being disloyal to the country.

When Kitchener died the Mail reported it as a great stroke of luck for the British Empire. The paper then campaigned against Asquith, and Asquith resigned on December 5, 1916. His successor, David Lloyd George, asked Northcliffe to be in his cabinet, hoping it would prevent him criticising the government. Northcliffe declined.

In 1922, when Lord Northcliffe died, Lord Rothermere took full control of the paper.

In 1924 the Daily Mail published the forged Zinoviev Letter which indicated that British Communists were planning violent Revolution. It was widely believed that this was a significant factor in the defeat of Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party in the 1924 general election, held four days later.

For a time in the early 1930s Rothermere and the Mail were sympathetic to some degree with Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. Rothermere wrote an article, Hurrah for the Blackshirts, in January 1934, in which he praised Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine", though after the violence of the 1934 Olympia meeting involving the BUF the Mail withdrew its support.

The paper also published articles lamenting the number of German Jews entering Britain as refugees after the rise of Nazism.

Rothermere and the Mail supported Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, particularly during the events leading up to the Munich Agreement. However, after the Nazi invasion of Prague in 1939, the Mail changed position and urged Chamberlain to prepare for war.

In 1992, the current editor, Paul Dacre, was appointed.

Editorial Stance

The Mail considers itself to be the voice of Middle England, speaking up for the small-c conservative values of large swathes of the British population which it considers to be unjustly depised and neglected by the liberal establishment. It generally takes an anti-European, anti-immigration, anti-abortion stance, and is correspondingly pro-family, pro-tax cuts and pro-monarchy, as well as advocating stricter punishments for crime. It values the British countryside, while being pro-car and anti-environmentalist. In Peter Hitchens it has (along with Richard Littlejohn, who recently defected to the Daily Mail from The Sun) arguably the most right-wing columnist in popular British journalism. The editorial board has been highly critical of Prime Minister Tony Blair and endorsed the Conservative Party in the 2005 general election. [1] (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/newscomment.html?in_article_id=347259&in_page_id=1787&in_a_source=)

The Mail issued a rather soft endorsement (titled "Time for a Change?") of U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry in its leader of November 2, 2004. However, after the election, it called the result "a victory for the values that are so often ignored or derided by political establishments in Britain and Europe and are never (to our detriment) debated with the moral seriousness seen in America."

The Daily Mail is currently the most widely read paper amongst women, and has a higher proportion of female readers than any other British national daily. Moreover, the paper has led several causes more often associated with the left, and seemingly at odds with its ‘hateful’ reputation. Most notably, it was one of the first papers to champion the case of murdered black teenager, Stephen Lawrence [2] (http://media.guardian.co.uk/presspublishing/story/0,7495,1130332,00.html).

Criticism

The Daily Mail is a target of satire and criticism by centrist and left-of centre media and individuals as well as certain satirical magazines.

As a target of satire the stereotypical Daily Mail reader is characterised as a borderline-racist, homophobic, aspiring middle-class conservative who lacks the intelligence to read the broadsheet equivalents The Times or the Daily Telegraph. In fact, in recent years the phrase 'Daily Mail reader' has become increasingly used in general parlance (not just in the media) as shorthand for any person with such attitudes.

Due to its stance on moral issues - for instance, its continuing condemnation of already-punished criminals such as Myra Hindley and Maxine Carr, and its editorial outrage at television programmes such as Jerry Springer - The Opera or Brass Eye - some left-wingers refer to the paper with nicknames such as the "Daily Wail" and the "Daily Hate". The latter is in part because - according to Polly Toynbee in The Guardian [3] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1178434,00.html) - the Mail's founder, Lord Northcliffe, said his winning formula was to give his readers "a daily hate".

Another common criticism of the Mail is its treatment of asylum seekers. Several opponents (including London Mayor Ken Livingstone in a well-publicised argument (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4287171.stm)) have claimed that the newspaper panders to racism in this respect.

The Mail is often ridiculed for its supposed obsession with the property market. This has led to Private Eye mock-headlines such as Influx of asylum seekers cause house values to plummet and Property prices fall as asteroid prepares to wipe out life on Earth.

Another aspect of the Mail that draws controversy is its alleged promotion of pseudoscience. Astrology is often the subject of articles, and the newspaper runs a profitable telephone astrology service (http://www.randi.org/jr/040204orange.html) through its association with Jonathan Cainer. Regular features are also run on Alien abduction, the Bible code, and other such paranormal subjects. In the same vein, the Mail's opposition to the "single-jab" MMR vaccine was condemned by medical practitioners. It is, however, inconsistent in such areas, and marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of homeopathy's founder with an article calling it "Undiluted Tosh!".

The style of the Daily Mail is frequently criticised for its perceived conservatism. The Guardian, for example, referred to it as a "thick, grey tombstone of a tabloid (http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,441198,00.html)".

Daily mail writers

Current writers

Past writers

See also

  • Daily Chronicle, a newspaper which merged with the Daily News to become the News-Chronicle and was finally absorbed by the Daily Mail

External links

de:Daily Mail ja:デイリー・メール

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