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The Daily Mail Makes Nonsense Of Common Sense

by | 17th, December 2009

daily_mail_canvas_mediumTHE Daily Mail is the newspaper of “common sense”, clacking its marmalde-coated tongue in the face of PC madness, immigrants, New Labour and anythign that is just plain wrong. William Hague wanted to lead us in Common Sense Revolution. The electorate saw sense. The Mail continues to pursue the agenda. Nadia investigates:

IT isn’t unusual for the press to use the nebulous ‘public interest’ argument to justify their reporting of certain stories. From the Max Mosley ‘sick Nazi orgy’ to the ongoing coverage of Tiger Woods’ ‘transgressions’, it’s an argument that’s growing wearyingly thin. (For a nice deconstruction of the Tiger Woods circus, see here.)

The Daily Mail, however, tends to see itself as an arbiter of another important virtue: common sense. It’s this dubious common sense that appears to underpin its more vicious coverage of immigration and so on. A search for “common sense” on the Mail Online yields 3531 results – and the headlines usually involve it being urged over some PC agenda.

The Mail’s common sense is, of course, characteristically skewed. Unsurprisingly, it’s the subject of cultural sensitivity around which the Mail’s common sense framework becomes most subjective.

Today, it was reported that registrar Lillian Ladele – who refused to conduct civil ceremonies for gay couples – was unsuccessful in her appeal against Islington Council. Now this, to me, seems like common sense. Registrars are employed to fulfil their duties, not to arbitrate. Not to decide who is or isn’t entitled to a partnership based on personal ideals.

But the Mail pushes its reader in another direction: “The right to express a strong Christian faith must take second place to the rights of homosexuals under Labour’s equality laws, they [the Appeal Court judges] said.” They didn’t actually say this. They said the law took precedence over personal religion, which it does.

“Whatever happened to common sense?” asks one commenter. “If she did not want to do it they should have got someone else to fill her place for the so called marriage.” (I suspect many people would like to be selective in their basic work duties, but sadly most of us still get up on a Monday morning.)

It may be drearily predictable to compare this to another instance of religion versus regulation in the Daily Mail, but here goes. In June, a Mail headline reported: “Catholic school bars Muslim teacher who refused to remove face veil so staff could identify her.” A niquab-wearing teacher in a Roman Catholic school? Not so. The woman worked in an Islamic school, but attended an open day at the Catholic one. Not much mention of personal freedom – and Amie from Southampton, who trumpets “Common sense at last!”, is rewarded with 1101 recommendations.

Like the concept of offence, common sense will continue to be used to push the Mail’s editorial agenda. In fact, the Mail likes common sense so much it even reports it as news. “Hard-working members of staff resent staff who make less effort for the same money,” it says in an article today. You never! Now that’s common sense. – Nadia

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Posted: 17th, December 2009 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink