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Wednesday 29 September 2010

Be Afraid, Mail Readers

News has come today on the terror front: a supposed plot appears to have been foiled. According to the BBC, it hasn’t been stopped completely, but there has been no raising of the threat level, and no imminent attack is expected. The Guardian says much the same, using the term “foiled”. So that’s that, then.

Except that it isn’t that in the world of Paul Dacre, the legendarily foul mouthed editor of the Daily Mail. The supposed plot was said to have been hatched in Pakistan, and that country, as any fule kno, is an “Islamic Republic”. That means Muslims, and we have to be frightened of them.

So the Mail has deployed an array of suitably scary keywords: in comes “Al Qaeda”, because everyone knows that they are behind the scariest plots. In close support is “Militants”, because, well, anyone that’s militant is bad – unless they’re a militantly ranting and sweary newspaper editor. Following on is “Islamic Extremists”, because they’re Muslims, as well as being frightening. And extreme.

Then the Mail report starts to make it up, a key skill when actual information does not exist, or is not scary enough. These extremists “remain at large in the UK”. Except that no extremists have been identified by the security forces, who are merely observing possible suspects. So the Mail stating “it emerged today” means that this was the time that Dacre’s obedient hackery invented another Muslim scare story.

The Mail could, of course, have reported the facts and no more. But that would not have been scary enough. Be afraid, Mail readers – be very afraid.

[UPDATE: The supposed threat is now being played down. Surprise, surprise]

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