Since the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre gave up trying to frighten his readers against the online world, not only has his web presence grown hugely, but so has the understanding of his obedient hackery of just how powerful a medium this can be for stirring up the mob. In the olden days, the Mail could not have pulled off the triumph of Sachsgate. Put simply, they know what they’re doing here.
Who the f*** are you calling ugly, c***?!?
They certainly knew what they were doing when they hit on the idea of using almost invisible and terminally desperate nobodies like Samantha “I’m so sodding beautiful” Brick as hit-bait. And in turn, they knew that those hitting on the bait would read what Ms Brick was putting out there: this, too, could acquire a momentum of its own. And one of “beautiful” Samantha’s targets was historian Mary Beard.
“When the acid-tongued TV critic A.A. Gill wrote a highly uncomplimentary review recently suggesting TV presenter Mary Beard should be kept away from the cameras because of the way she looks, I can’t say I was entirely surprised” she asserted, under the not accidentally placed headline “Sorry, some women ARE too ugly for TV”. Sam concluded “The plain truth is that Ms Beard is too ugly for TV”.
The Mail carried on its attack on the supremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic historian following her appearance on BBC Question Time recently, characterising her as “academic ... historian ... Cambridge University classics professor” and clearly taking the side of an audience member who challenged Ms Beard over the issue of migrants living in the town of Boston.
What all of that would do is not hard to fathom, unless the Mail Online staff don’t bother reading some of the comments they let through. And the effect this can have on the target of the unpleasantness has also been well documented in the same paper, as Liz Jones recently asked “Do we want a world of mob rule, where the bullies win and the weak have no voice?”
Indeed, reporting the ferocity of social media storms is a Mail Online speciality: only two days ago there was “N-Dubz fans launch Twitter hate campaign against girls who accused rapper Dappy of spitting at them”. But there is also the ability of the Dacre attack doggies to play both sides of the field, and so today they have about turned and decided there is more hit-bait in defending Ms Beard.
“Internet trolls target academic and presenter Mary Beard over her looks following Question Time appearance” thundered an outraged Mail headline today. Very good, Dacre doggies, and exactly who started the attack on her looks? That would be your contributor, in your paper. And who cast Ms Beard as the baddie over the Question Time clash? That would also be your hacks. In your paper.
Paul Dacre rules over a cesspool of stinking hypocrisy. But you knew that already.