Skepticism

It’s Absolutely True Because I Read It In The Daily Mail

Some of you who don’t live here in the UK may wonder what Tracy and I are bitching about when we mention the Daily Fail Mail, the paper that inspired my ongoing Apple Experiment. This video should just about explain it in the most entertaining way possible:

Thanks to YouTuber ArgentArdor for sending this my way!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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15 Comments

  1. Ok, I’ll get my first post introductory rubbish out of the way:

    Long time reader first time commenter, don’t always agree with the articles but, yadda yadda

    Now, the video. That may be the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. It’s absolutely spot on. Words can’t describe how much loathing I have for that dire rag. It’s quite possibly worse than “The Sun”, another Murdoch filth-spewer. On the other hand, it can’t be blamed entirely on him, because despite being one of those evil lefties he hates so much, I rather like The Times. In fact I think The Times may be the best paper we actually have….

    Either way, The Wail is a grubby little heap of stinking crap that’s thoughtfully pushed out by the assorted hacks and morons that work for that particular Newscorp section and I take great pleasue in having a good laugh at the headlines every time I am able. Sadly however, growing up and still living in The Midlands (right in the heart of Toryland, my MP is David Tredinnick for FSM sake) I actually know people who read and believe every word of it.

    Fun fact, my mother works with a large group of those people, and came to me recently asking me if I had heard anything about Gordon Brown selling The White Cliffs of Dover to the French. Um, no…no I hadn’t, why did she ask?

    Well apparently it was in The Daily Mail and all her colleagues had been banging on about it all day, and she knew it had to be rubbish, but wondered what the tiny grain of truth they had spun out of it was. I googled it and found it reported in only one other “newspaper”, the aforementioned Sun. I opened the Mail article and decided to hold back my tears of laughter long enough to read it. After a bombastic headline and a long prattle about patriotic things like spitfires and national pride (no, I’m not kidding) it actually finally admited the truth behind the article. Dover Port Authority, which does not own nor is connected to the cliffs in any way other than being near them requested voluntary privatisation and Brown had agreed. The highest bidders, and thus eventual buyers were the Calais port authority and it’s parent local government organ.

    That was it. But the people in the warehouse were bleating on and on about how Gordon was selling the national symbol to “the old enemy” (also not joking, if memory serves The Wail called the French that too, so yay xenophobia) and clearly hated Britain etc.

    So, sorry for the long-winded and probably poorly written post, but there we go.

  2. I like to refer to it as the Daily ‘Hate’ Mail.

    I know it isn’t a sound logical argument, but given the history of the paper with its links to Hitler, Mussolini and Nazism (yes, real links), I have a tendency to dislike it.

    I have also read it, and it is utter shite. A jumped up Sun for white collar workers, filled with gossip and rants, with very little real news.

    It does fail.

  3. This has absolutely made my day!

    I’ve emailed the link to my mother, who is possibly Britain’s No. 1 culprit for quoting Daily Mail “facts” at me…now I can look forward to a healthy Sunday evening debate with her!

  4. That was great, thanks Rebecca and ArgentArdor.

    Hi my name is James Fox and I have a problem. Looking at the Daily Mail is one of my little dirty irrational secrets. It’s like a train wreck I can not resist taking a peek at after reading the (insert reputable news source here).

  5. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to “Midnight Star” by Weird Al.

    So your saying the “Ghost of Elvis Living in my Den” and “My Pet’s an Extra Terrestrial” Experiments have been peer reviewed by compatriots at the Daily Mail, and Weekly World News.

    They’ve been woo-ish for so long, now don’t we all look foolish. After all it must be true if it’s written in the Daily Mail!

  6. I’ve just remembered a joke from Frankie Boyle on UK show “Mock the Week”, describing the “perfect” Daily Mail story – “Asylum Seekers invade Britain carrying a new type of AIDS that lowers house prices”.

    Searching for the exact quote brought me to the excellent Daily Mail headline generator: http://www.qwghlm.co.uk/toys/dailymail/

    So far I’ve got: “HAVE GAYS KILLED THE QUEEN?”, “ARE THE GERMANS TURNING YOUR PENSION GAY?”, “ARE MUSLIMS GIVING YOUR PETS CANCER?”, “WILL THE GERMANS GIVE HARD-WORKING FAMILIES DIABETES?” and “COULD ASYLUM SEEKERS RUIN HARD-WORKING FAMILIES?”.

    All generated randomly, but scarily realistic.

  7. If you think the Daily Mail is bad now, if our libel laws are repealled then they’ll be able to print any unsubstantiated rubbish they like.

    Currently they can’t print lies like “Gordon Brown wants to sell your house to immigrants” because being a libelous statment they’d have to prove it court.

    Changing the libel laws would mean the courts would assume the libelour truthful and the victim would have to prove “press lies” to be lies, unfortunatley for the victim, you can’t prove a negative.

    Which is why the media really keen on so called “libel reform”, it’ll let them print whatever tripe they like…

  8. I like to think that every time I see the front page of the Daily Mail blowing across the tube platforms it represents one more person who decided “f**k this s**t” and threw it over their shoulder. It gives me a happy!

  9. @russellsugden:

    Changing the libel laws would mean the courts would assume the libelour truthful and the victim would have to prove “press lies” to be lies, unfortunatley for the victim, you can’t prove a negative.

    Can’t they already print “Does Gordon Brown want to sell your house to immigrants?” or “Government wants to sell your house to immigrants.”?

    Civil courts are not epistemologically perfect. A preponderance of the evidence is quite a reasonable standard of proof. Your assertion of what libel reformers are “really” asking for is false.

    Your straw man is made out of straw.

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