Yesterday evening, at a central London location, the good and the great of the Press Establishment came together to reassure themselves that nothing had changed, they were still the gatekeepers of the media world, they had seen off genuinely independent press regulation, and that tomorrow still belonged to them. In this hermetically sealed looking glass world, reality was reinvented and the world was still excellent.
What's so f***ing wrong with getting a gong on the f***ing backs of all those dead c***s, c***?!?!?
This was the annual Press Awards, an increasingly irrelevant convocation of Old Media dinosaurs slapping one another on the back and knocking back the Champagne, while ignoring any encroachment of the real world and, more to the point, the new media over which they hold so little sway. And that insensitivity and irrelevance was nowhere better displayed than when the Daily Mail won Front Page of the Year.
Because it was not any old front page for which the Dacre doggies got their gong. It was the paper’s “How the hell could it happen?” splash on the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Let’s try and put that into context: the Mail has, over the years, whined ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, about what their unfunny and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn calls “Elf’n’Safety”. The paper bemoans all those rotten regulations. It applauds cuts to jobs and services. It puts the boot into local authorities who protest at cutbacks. It doesn’t give a fig for those at the bottom of the pile. They are not Daily Mail readers.
The Mail’s crashing hypocrisy over Grenfell extended to suddenly discovering that well-known people are actually human beings, telling “Rita Ora goes back to 'the block she played in as a child' to hand out supplies as appeals for tower victims raise £1.7MILLION in just over 24 hours … Celebrities including Jeremy Clarkson, Jamie Oliver and Rita Ora chipped in and urged fans to help survivors”. Then came Adele.
“Emotional Adele is lauded by fans as she makes low-key appearance at scene of tragic Grenfell Tower less than 24 hours after fatal fire … Adele is in a minority in actually heading to the site to support those present”. And Lily Allen: “The 32-year-old accused local authorities of being dishonest and said the media was 'downplaying' the tragedy”. Not long before, the Mail dismissed them all as mere “luvvies”.
The Daily Mail didn’t care then about those who lived in the Grenfell Tower, and indeed countless other high rise blocks around the UK. It doesn’t care now, unless it can work the story to its advantage. But the paper’s management had no problem taking the plaudits for a front page which was no more than a photo with a cynical attention-grabbing headline.
All this was overseen by the equally righteous Nick Ferrari, so eager to trumpet his alleged journalistic values on the BBC’s Question Time as he spluttered his disgust at having to share a platform with someone from The Canary. He, too, was a willing participant in last night’s charade, and its pretence of relevance in a world leaving the Old Media behind.
The back-slapping congratulations given to the Mail might have given the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker a nice warm feeling. For those of us in the real world, it underscored the press’ sickening contempt for those outside the bubble.
The Press Establishment doesn’t care? Fine. Don’t expect others to care about them.