Why The Daily Mail’s Handling Of Jo Cox’s Murder Was Despicable

By : Ben HaywardTwitterLogo

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Two days ago Thomas Mair was jailed for life for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

53-year-old Mair shot and stabbed to death the mother-of-two in a vicious and unprovoked attack in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on June 16 – just a week before the EU referendum vote, reports the BBC.

Mair was heard to shout ‘Britain first’ during the attack and it has since emerged that the ‘loner’ considered himself to be a neo-Nazi.

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Following the guilty verdict, the vast majority of British newspapers featured the story as front page news – but not all of them.

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Rather than a photograph of the first sitting MP to be murdered in 26 years,  the Daily Mail’s front page featured a photograph of a grinning Philip Hammond.

The headline read: “So Much For Mr Gloomy,” a reference to the Chancellor’s ‘upbeat’ economic forecast following the Brexit vote.

In fact, news of Mair’s conviction was deemed just about important enough for a slot on page 30.

That’s right, as Jane Martinson wrote in her Guardian column, the story was deemed far less important than: 

Reports about laughing migrants, photos of a bikini-clad model taking a shower and the headline news that Santa is not real.

They also featured a full-page column asking why leftwing comics laugh at the Queen.

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But it doesn’t end there. By the time The Mail finally addressed the topic, they decided to blame Mair’s actions not on his white supremacist ideology – as the judge asserted – or his mental health issues. Instead they decided to lay a portion of the blame on immigrants.

“Did neo-Nazi murder Jo over fear he’d lose council house he grew up in?” reads the headline.

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As law professor James Chalmers tweeted: 

And as a slight aside, if any of us ‘grown men’ were in danger of feeling a little too emotional about the cold-blooded, politically motivated murder of a young mother, we better get a grip on ourselves.

On the 23rd, The Mail ran this story:

On the very same day they also ran a story about the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, hugging: “A tearful mother as she attended an awards ceremony honouring the ‘remarkable’ work of those aiming to increase awareness of mental health.”

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Needless to say, they also took the time to tell us that she was wearing a ‘black cocktail dress by Preen’ as she presented the Child Champion and Young Person Champion awards at children’s mental health charity, Place2Be.

So which is it guys? Should men in the public eye be simultaneously shamed for showing their emotions while also attempting to raise the profile of issues surrounding mental health?

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The Mail will undoubtedly justify its editorial decision somehow – they wanted to feature the story free of advertising or, due to their huge online presence, they will argue that where the story features in print doesn’t matter.

But it does. With over two million, the Daily Mail has one of the biggest circulations in Britain and is without doubt among the most politically powerful publications in the country.

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The results of both the EU referendum and the U.S. election demonstrate that public fears over immigration are very real and incredibly divisive.

Attempting to stoke these fears while simultaneously burying the news of an MP’s death behind a smokescreen of pro-Brexit bluster shows a huge lack of respect for a woman who gave and lost her life in the name of public service.


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