The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail has not been backward at coming forward recently to pass severely adverse comment upon any kind of racist behaviour, and especially when it can pin it on the Labour Party. So one might have thought that the Mail would be in favour of going after racist behaviour wherever it occurred. But that thought would have been sorely misplaced.
Why the f***'s it racist to kick blacks, c***?!?
Racism is one of those issues on which the Mail has a decidedly asymmetrical view: it is bad when others do it, and especially when that gives the opportunity to outrage all those Daily Mail readers and score a few more sales, but it is fine whenever it appears in the paper’s own pages. So it is that those complaining about the casual racism exhibited recently by the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not) found themselves rebuffed.
Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Arslikhan
Quent had been to the theatre, and in Stratford-on-Avon no less, to see The Fantastic Follies Of Mrs Rich. Here, he had taken exception to one piece of casting. “Poor Leo Wringer is miscast as the older Clerimont … There is no way he is a honking Hooray of the sort that has infested the muddier reaches of England’s shires for centuries. He is too cool, too mature, not chinless or daft or funny enough”. And then came the bigotry.
“Was Mr Wringer cast because he is black? If so, the RSC’s clunking approach to politically correct casting has again weakened its stage product … I suppose its managers are under pressure from the Arts Council to tick inclusiveness boxes, but at some point they are going to have to decide if their core business is drama or social engineering”.
This provoked a stream of complaints, with that by Jami Rogers typical: “I have submitted a complaint to IPSO about Letts' racist review of #RSCFollies. I urge everyone who has been troubled by this and similar reviews to make a complaint”.
But complaints are another of those asymmetrical areas for the Mail: every last one has to be considered if it’s the BBC or Channel 4 under attack, but when the boot is so firmly on the other foot, it has its tame poodle, press non-regulator IPSO, to do the exact opposite.
IPSO teeth explained ((c) Steve Bell 2014)
So when Greg Campbell made his complaint, he found it dismissed. All he got from the chocolate teapot of press regulation was “In this instance, the concerns you have raised under Clause 12 (Discrimination) refer to Leo Wringer, the subject of the article. Because of this, we are unable to consider your concerns further”.
Campbell was not the target of Letts’ casual racism, and so another of those get-out clauses in the Editor’s Code of Conduct allows IPSO to dismiss any complaints, unless Wringer himself were to make them. Another get-out clause ensures that the Mail, or indeed any other paper that has signed up with IPSO (hello Sun, Telegraph and Express) can peddle Islamophobia, so long as they just kick Muslims as a whole. That also allows them to peddle anti-Semitism, not that they want you to know that.
The Daily Mail knows that it can be as racist as it likes, providing it does not go after named individuals. And if anyone has the audacity to complain, its tame poodle IPSO will just shoo them away. Anyone still need press regulation explaining? Thought not.