Stephen Fry explains what a hateful, terrible thing is the Daily Mail



Pres. Obama said today boycotting the Olympics in Russia wasn’t the way to go. What, if anything, have all the other heads of states and athletes said in defense of human rights? MSM in the U.S. is tied to its corporate sponcers so the broader view is hard to get. This seems like such an easy moral judgement to make. With all the Olympic sites from the past and ready made, would it be so hard to change the venue?

While the Daily Mail and Russia of today are vile places, Russia isn’t the Germany of 1936, although one definitely can see parallels in the steady pace of authoritarianism that tightens and encroaches, year by year. Yet, Russia is not engaging in relentless adventurism risking world war, nor is it creating deathcamps.

Civil rights today in Russia is deeply disturbing and will probably get worse before they get better. However, bad as they are, they are better than they were in 1980… when the Olympics were last held in Russia [which, uh, the USA did boycott, but not because of civil rights].

In short, boycotting isn’t useful or appropriate, in this case.

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I think that’s less the point than this quote later in the piece is.

“Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Franco and any other despot you care to mention: they become despotic, maniacal, more autocratic, more insane every time they are given a greater sense of their own power. The fanatical junior KGB officer Vladimir Putin will become, if he is allowed to get away with it, as autocratic as any Tsar or any Soviet chairman.”


It is truly extraordinary that people can’t see the hypocrisy in pieces like this. See for a nice summary of this rather interesting phenomenon, which this article perfectly illustrates.


Neither was Germany, in 1936.Germany still had their despotic training-wheels on when they held the Olympics.


This is the classiest Godwin I have ever and I believe will ever read.


First off, let me say that I recently started work at Associated Newspapers as a UX designer for MailOnline. I would like to add a couple of points for the Americans in the audience who may think that MailOnline is the digital wing of the newspaper Fry is talking about here. It isn’t. While it shares a lot of the editorial, MailOnline is much broader in scope and a lot less right wing than its print namesake. It also has a separate publisher who is largely independent.

Personally - and this is NOT the view of my employer, obviously - I am rather glad that the circulation of The Daily Mail is steadily declining while that of the MailOnline is growing (and is already by most measures the largest English-language online newspaper in the world). Fry may not have much to complain about in 10 years time.

The Daily Mail seems a successful newspaper. It is successful because it’s read and bought by a large amount of customers/people. So it has to publish things those people want to read.

The British (and the Daily Mail) are quite fond of Nazi-Germany comparisons so:
What would the average Brit say about Germany if a newspaper in Germany would publish racist, nazi or homophobic articles … and is successful doing so? Does it reflect on the newspaper or on the people buying the paper? Would they criticize the paper or the germans?

The problem isn’t truly whether MailOnline is more or less right wing than the Mail, or whether the Mail is right wing. The problems aren’t about ideology, they are about accuracy, honesty, consistency and ethics - and these are arenas in which both the Mail Online and the print version regularly fail, in my experience. I hope you are right that the MailOnline is improving the Mail from within, but frankly I see precious little evidence of that.


Is your boy there saying that accusing the other side of hating is something that only lefties do? Because that’s hilarious. Have him come over here and listen to our conservatives shriek “Why do the Democrats hate America?!?” for a while.

Also, after much pondering, I can only conclude that you don’t know what “hypocrisy” means, because I genuinely can’t figure out where you’re seeing it in there.

But in any case, I reserve the right to speak uncharitably of a rag that thinks people with dark skins or queer attractions don’t deserve the same rights as good straight white people. If that makes me a “hater” and offends your delicate sensibilities, then I do apologize.*

*No I don’t.


I’d like to believe you, but I just took a look at MailOnline and it’s basically wall-to-wall sleazy celebrity gossip, including at least one drooling photoessay of a reality-TV starlet topless in her private pool. “Sleazy gossip rag” may be a step up from “passionate advocate for racism,” but don’t kid yourself that it’s a big step.


No, I don’t think he is saying that hating is something only lefties do. That would be ridiculous. However, the inability to see that you’re just as much of a hater is something that is (statistically speaking) much more commonly associated with lefties, and it is an interesting phenomenon.
This article is an excellent example, and your inability to see the hypocrisy, even after much pondering, is another excellent example.
I’ll try to help you on the hypocrisy front. Hyprocrisy means “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform”. The article says that the Mail came up with a “predictable, vicious editorial”. Presumably, it considers this a bad thing. So do I. But then it says, in the very next sentence “The Mail is a savage, terrible, morally bankrupt mouthpiece for a clutch of racists, sexists and greedy aristos who’ll say or do anything to sell papers.” This isn’t vicious? But in case it isn’t, how about associating the current journalists with stuff written 80 years ago in support of Hitler. That isn’t hating at all, is it? Or in any way vicious?

Feel free to speak uncharitably of others, but don’t complain of viciousness if you only object to it when levelled against people and positions you happen to agree with.

It’s not hypocrisy to complain of viciousness against people who don’t deserve it, like minorities and people who stick up for their rights, and not for people who do, like those who attack minorities. Can we please stop pretending those are the same thing? The form may be similar but the content is different, and everyone who spares two neurons should be able to see that.

The point about supporting Nazism is obvious enough to me: not to tar them with some unrelated past, but to point out that this is part of a pattern going back to the worst cases. I really wish more people would point out when some organization has spent decades taking the wrong stance on social issues; if someone doesn’t want to be associated with a past like that, they should change what they are doing.


Also, while they aren’t overt ‘deathcamps,’ Russian prison camps are extremely inhospitable, abusive, and…deadly places, and with “anti-propaganda” laws making talking about homosexuality - or being homosexual and talking frankly about one’s own homosexuality - illegal, someone could find themselves on a cot next to the Pussy Rioters in some shitty gulag for being gay and out.
Sure, they’re not rounding people up and whisking them away to be gassed, but the “above-board” nature of this oppression might make it more necessary for us to call out how fucked up it all is - as it might not be immediately noticeable otherwise.


Yes, the right-winger who hates gay people is totally morally equal to the leftist who hates homophobia, because both are being “haters.” This is a totally rational conclusion to draw and not at all a bullshit false-equivalency used as a rhetorical strategy by not-very-clever conservatives who want to play the persecution card.


Fry has made a bit of a fool of himself- I think he realises his increasingly thinly-spread talents are becoming less appreciated by the day and he must somehow stir up faux controversy to stay in the public eye.There are extremely few nations that lefties would be prepared to allow to host any major sporting occasion- perhaps Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and Ecuador would just about pass muster.China was given a free pass because the glorious People’s Republic is still bizarrely a poster-boy for the anti-capitalists regardless of how it tortures its minorities. Anyone who thinks one can safely ignore the Daily Mail because its proprietor supported fascism during the 1930s may want to avoid reading what most left-leaning newspapers wrote about Joe Stalin and the Soviet project right up until the whole rotten edifice imploded in the 1980s.

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Yes, but the article isn’t attacking homophobia. That would be fine. It is claiming that Mail journalists are racists, sexists, greedy, and are most probably Nazi sympathisers, because it is obviously relevant what their predecessors wrote before they were born. And then it tries to launch a campaign against hate…

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Also, this video is a great takedown of The Daily Mail:


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