The Daily Mail has astounded readers by reaching a new low in its coverage of the conviction of Jo Cox’s killer, Thomas Mair. Instead of lambasting Mair as a brutal terrorist, The Mail managed not only to attempt to find a justification for his motives, but it also blamed them on immigrants.
Headlined “Did Neo-Nazi murder Jo over fear he’d lose council house he grew up in?”, the article begins:
Thomas Mair may have murdered MP Jo Cox because he feared losing his home of 40 years to an immigrant family.
And while The Mail admits that Mair’s “true motive will never be known”, this doesn’t stop them speculating. And this speculation appears to come from one quote from Mair’s step-father’s half-sister.
Unsurprisingly, people have taken to Twitter to criticise the article. One commentator pointed out:
The Daily Mail have put forward more mitigation for Thomas Mair than even his own QC felt able to… https://t.co/zNcpzr7FNE
— Mick Collins (@MickPCollins) November 24, 2016
And many felt that it was indeed a new low, even for The Daily Mail:
Poor old Thomas Mair. The immigrants were coming to get him. I didn't think even The Daily Mail could stoop this low.
— John Foot (@footymac) November 24, 2016
— Jon Bowen (@Jon_Bowen) November 24, 2016
The Mail was further criticised for placing its coverage on page 30 of the paper:
After Thomas Mair was jailed for murdering Labour MP Jo Cox, most papers chose to run it on their front pages.. except the Daily Mail pic.twitter.com/luGevrFoYS
— BuzzFeed UK (@BuzzFeedUK) November 24, 2016
Unsurprisingly, The Mail didn’t seem to think any of its rhetoric on immigration was to blame for Mair’s actions. This is despite the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance criticising The Sun and The Daily Mail for “fuelling prejudice”. The report further stated that the tabloid press had used:
offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology.
Again, Twitter users were quick to point this out:
Pure conjecture, of course, but might Mair's hatred of immigrants have been fuelled by newspapers? You know, such as the Daily Mail … https://t.co/nsqr3pHP9F
— Carlton Reid (@carltonreid) November 24, 2016
And while anything journalists write about Mair’s exact motive is conjecture (he didn’t give evidence his trial), the findings of a major report are better evidence than conjecture from a distant relative. And there is even evidence that he read The Mail:
— Mr T (@TheJazzDad) November 24, 2016
Conjecture aside, we do know he is a far-right Nazi sympathiser. We do know he is a terrorist who murdered an MP. And we also know that a paper which peddles hate speech has chosen to attempt to justify his actions.
Even by the standards of the gutter press, this is a disgusting article.
We all need to be taking action against the rise of the far right. This has to be done on a variety of fronts. But it’s vital that we look at the media and the messages they are perpetuating.
– Support Stop Funding Hate and hit the tabloids where it hurts – their advertising revenue.
– Support grassroots action against the rise in fascism.
Featured image via Kerry-Anne Mendoza