All aboard the hypocrisy express

Okay, that headline would have worked better if this post was about the Express, but whattayagonnado? You have to work with the tools you have.

The Daily Mail has opened a new front in the war against a business rival by attacking an author of several best selling why-oh-why diatribes about modern Britain, who has been described as 'A dazzling hero of political incorrectness.'

Nope, the paper hasn't turned on Littlejohn in a bizarre kamikaze frenzy, but the man's main rival for the top spot of most annoying arrogant right wing columnist in the land, Jeremy Clarkson.

'Anger at Clarkson's joke that truck drivers 'murder prostitutes' launches BBC into fresh controversy' is the story, and for those of you not familiar with Daily Mail headline exaggeration techniques, the 'fresh controversy' is one entirely invented by the Daily Mail.

In the new story, apparently:
The BBC has been plunged into fresh controversy after Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson made jokes linking truck drivers with the murders of prostitutes.
The paper's position is clear. People being linked to the murders of prostitutes=bad. Joking about the murders of prostitutes=bad.

The Mail must be the picture of respectability and compassion when it comes to the treatment of prostitutes then, right?

Umm, no. In December 2006, there really was a serial murderer killing prostitutes in Suffolk. This is what Clarkson's rival, Richard Littlejohn, had to say in the Mail about murdered prostitutes in 'Spare us the people's prostitute' routine...':
We do not share in the responsibility for either their grubby little existences or their murders. Society isn't to blame.

It might not be fashionable, or even acceptable in some quarters, to say so, but in their chosen field of "work'=", death by strangulation is an occupational hazard.

That doesn't make it justifiable homicide, but in the scheme of things the deaths of these five women is no great loss.

They weren't going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur. The only kind of missionary position they undertook was in the back seat of a car.
Ah, the perfume of concern for one's fellow human beings wafts from the page in a lavender scented cloud. You can see why the Mail might be upset about a throwaway one-liner about murdered prostitutes. Especially given that last sentence one-liner about murdered prostitutes.

UPDATE:As Akela has pointed out in the comments, we shouldn't forget that in the same article, Littlejohn referred to the victims - actual people who had been murdered - as 'disgusting, drug-addled street whores'. I'm sure the Mail really cares about the treatment of murdered prostitutes by the callous Clarkson.

As for linking groups of people to the murder of prostitutes - the paper used its news coverage back in December 2006 to falsely claim that the murderer was Polish. The article 'Pole sought by Suffolk police' appeared in the paper, only to quickly disappear from the website. For being complete rubbish.

Afterwards, probably unhappy about not being able to openly pretend the strangler was Polish, the Mail included this story in its special report about the strangler, 'The influx of immigrant workers'. This story, a thinly veiled implication that the strangler was Polish, claimed:
Thousands of migrants have arrived in East Anglia in recent years, making the police's task even harder.


It means police are faced with tens of thousands of people who they know very little about and who speak a variety of languages.

Officers will also be unable to tell if they have committed sex crimes abroad.
For those of you who have forgotten, the strangler was in fact English (and had actually been a truck driver). And for all the hampering of the investigation that Eastern Europeans managed to do by their very existence, he was caught less than a week after this article was printed.

So, it would seem that an offhand joke about truck drivers killing prostitutes is totally unacceptable and an outrage, while actually seriously saying that a murdered prostitute is no great loss, and actually seriously trying to blame Eastern Europeans for a series of murders they have nothing to do with are fine and dandy examples of polite discourse.

But of course, the hacks at the Mail haven't bothered to look at the paper's own output or considered carefully what should and should not be acceptable. What Clarkson actually said isn't that important either. There's an opportunity to attack its rival and it has grabbed it by the throat with both hands.

This isn't the pot calling the kettle black as much the pot gathering a mob of pots, pans and teasmades to kick the shit out of the kettle for being a dirty, water boiling bastard.


The Mail's headline has now changed to harp on about how the number of complaints to the BBC has escalated since the paper kicked off this new attempt. The PCC, of course, will never reveal how many complaints Littlejohn's article attracted. And there was no similar means of fanning the flames with a tabloid campaign.

***UPDATE UPDATE*** The headline is now 'Ofcom set to clear Clarkson over jibe that truck drivers 'murder prostitutes' as BBC receives more than 500 complaints '.


1 comment:

Akela said...

You managed to miss out my particular favourite line from the infamous Littlejohn article where he refered to the murdered girls as "disgusting, drug-addled street whores"

What a lovely man he is.

I had thought that the Mail was incapable of shocking me anymore but the hypocrisy in the article about Clarkson did actually make me choke when I read it.