Nothing better demonstrates the desperate and viscerally malicious side of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre than the attempt today by Daily Mail Comment – the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue – to lay the recent death of former Tory Party treasurer and fundraiser Alistair McAlpine at least partly at the door of those who have campaigned for independent press regulation.
The attack has also been joined by the preposterously puffed-up Simon Heffer, no doubt mindful that securing More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now would be that much more difficult away from the Dacre patronage. The Hefferlump’s targets also include Sally Bercow: “I believe this ghastly woman hastened my friend's death”.
So no doubt there will be an encore tomorrow from Quentin Letts (let’s not), who loves to put the boot in on the Speaker’s wife. Meanwhile, back with the editorial, readers are told that “No one can know for sure the true toll the grotesque paedophile smear campaign against much-loved Tory grandee Lord McAlpine took on his health”, but that doesn’t stop what follows.
“Those responsible should hang their heads in shame. First among them is the self-styled ‘Bureau of Investigative Journalism’ – closely linked to the Media Standards Trust and anti-Press lobby group Hacked Off – which concocted the original story wrongly implicating Lord McAlpine in historic allegations of sex abuse at a Welsh children’s home”. All conveniently lumped together.
And all conveniently wrong: the BIJ wasn’t directly responsible for the Newsnight story, it isn’t connected to either the MST or Hacked Off, and the latter is only “anti-press” in the little world of Paul Dacre. But the BIJ actually majors in proper investigative journalism, unlike the Daily Mail. And, as the man said, there’s more.
“It’s worth noting that Sir David Bell, assessor to the Leveson Inquiry on newspaper ethics and ardent campaigner for state regulation of the Press, is both a trustee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and co-founder of the Media Standards Trust, which spawned Hacked Off. Was this mendacious hatchet job his idea of setting new journalistic standards?” the rant continues. And the answer is, no it wasn’t.
But you’ll love this bit: “Then there’s the BBC, which gleefully broadcast the slur story on its flagship Newsnight programme without bothering to check its veracity”. Which was that paper that hoaxed itself over the phony Paul Flowers Twitter feed? This is truly desperate stuff, even without roping in Sally Bercow. McAlpine was thought to be on his deathbed back in 1999. He had been in poor health for years. And to insult his memory by using it as a stick to beat the Mail’s targets is bang out of order.
Or, for Dacre, something where the ends justify the means. No change there, then.