The Mail On Sunday has today led with an attack on one of its favourite targets, the BBC, over the supposed broadcast of a word which was not in fact broadcast. Such is the desperation of the Dacre empire, and its desire to lay into the Beeb at every opportunity: this ridiculous inflation of non-story into front page splash has been suitably debunked by No Sleep ‘Till Brooklands and Tabloid Watch.
There is a strange irony, though, in this righteous attitude towards four letter words when it comes from a paper whose managing editor has such difficulty getting through any conversation without them. Nick Davies, in his excellent book Flat Earth News, quotes a former Mail journalist as saying “They call him the Vagina Monologue because he calls so many people a c***. He would stalk through the newsroom ... shouting ‘What the f*** is this, you c***, there’s not a f***ing brain in this office’”.
And nor is this an isolated occurrence, as Private Eye has helpfully explained, in issue 1219, telling that “Ear-plugs and a strong constitution are once again de rigeur at the Daily Mail, where potty-mouthed editor Paul Dacre – after a brief vow of decorum – is now ‘double-c***ing’ his underlings again, as in ‘You useless c***ing c***’”.
More recently, in issue 1285 the Eye revealed that “Executives were summoned ... to be told they were all c**** for missing the story and he wanted it done properly”. The story in question, under the by-line of Talbot Church in the Independent, suggesting that Prince Philip had a mild form of Tourette’s Syndrome, was in fact a send-up of royal reporting.
Moreover, Dacre, interestingly for the editor of a paper that so often finds adversely upon attempts by politicos and slebs to keep the Fourth Estate from splashing details of their every move on those increasingly downmarket front pages, has reportedly launched an investigation – including a trawl of internal emails – to find out who is leaking to the Eye and stop it happening again.Needless to say, this mission has thus far enjoyed a less than successful outcome.