The Daily Mail is embroiled in a spat with the Guardian, which it has branded the real “purveyors of hate” in a highly-charged dispute that has delighted the left-leaning newspaper’s staff and supporters.
On Wednesday the Mail promoted its attack on the front page - ‘Fake news, the fascist left and the REAL purveyors of hate’ - before devoting an entire page - juxtaposed next to an article detailing the “colourful sex lives of butterflies’ - to defending itself.
The scrap was ignited by a Guardian cartoon printed on Monday that depicted the aftermath of the Finsbury Park mosque attack that saw eleven people injured after a van ploughed into worshippers earlier that morning.
Darren Osborne, 47, is being questioned on suspicion of commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism, including murder and attempted murder.
The cartoon, by Martin Rowson, featured a white van emblazoned with ‘Read The Sun & Daily Mail’, and was a sanitised replica of the crime scene photo of the attack, as seen below.
Rowson has since been praised for “pissing off” Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre with one commenter writing online that he has “never been prouder of him”.
The Mail’s attack on the Guardian, which it began by apologising for, acknowledging that its readers “are not interested in our differences with other newspaper, which inevitably risk being seen as self-obsessed navel gazing”, prompted a gleeful response from its target and those who support it.
The Mail editorial reads:
“But this week the Guardian published a cartoon so sick and disgusting - so deranged and offensive to the four million decent, humane and responsible people who read us - that we owe it to every one to lay to rest this malicious smear.”
The Mail continued by explaining the “implication” of the cartoon, despite then saying it was as “unmistakable as it was poisonous”.
“The Guardian was telling its followers that the Daily Mail and its readers are vicious bigots with the blood of innocent, peace-loving Muslims on their hands.”
The newspaper - which is the central target of the Stop Funding Hate campaign which urges major companies not to advertise with them - said the Guardian’s cartoon wasn’t the only example of the Left attacking its reputation.
The Mail said it may have let the supposed slight pass if it was an “isolated example of the Left’s bilious malice”, however, it was “far from a one-off insult”.
“No, hardly a day passes without another drip, drip, drip of mendacious vitriol and bile from the Guardian writers, attacking us and our readership and, by implication, all fair-minded, small-conservatives who make up the great majority in this country.”
As one example the Mail cited a tweet sent by Guardian columnist, Sophie Heawood, which it said read: “Genuinely excited for a future in which the Daily Mail readers are all dead.” The Mail noted Heawood later deleted the tweet, “but nothing can wipe our the bigotry and hatred in her original tweet”.
Further evidence, the Mail said, was the Guardian “attacking” it for “light-heartedly comparing Theresa May’s legs with those of Nicola Sturgeon” in its Legs-it front page. The story was widely condemned.
It took particular aim at the paper’s “jejeune (sic) and excitable Left-wing columnist” Owen Jones, who said of the Mail’s divisive front-page Brexit story: “It comes as something when this open sewer is still capable of shocking us with its stench”.
Jones gleefully double-downed on the tweet Thursday, writing: “The open sewer that is the Daily Mail are upset I called them an open sewer, so let me be clear. The Daily Mail is an open sewer.”
The newspaper then moved to the Guardian ignoring the distinction between the Daily Mail and its online offering, Mail Online, something tinged with irony given the editorial failed to accurately reflect the editorial positions of the Guardian journalists it mentioned.
“Earlier this week, a Guardian writer attacked the Daily Mail for carrying comments by the controversialist Katie Hopkins. That was a lie. The Guardian and its writer know that Ms Hopkins has nothing to do with the Daily Mail, but works for Mail Online - a totally separate entity that has its own publisher, its own readership, different content and a very different world view.
“The Guardian knows this, because the Mail has told it countless times, but, hey, why let a little lie get in the way of a good smear.”
The editorial then turned to attacking the Guardian over a letter it published from a reader that was critical of the Mail for its “complicity in acts of mindless violence” and an interview it ran with Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.
The Mail concluded of this content: “For the Guardian’s editor to publish such deluded, defamatory nonsense - which in itself is a naked incitement to violence (though the paper clearly lacks the nous to see this) - speaks volumes about the hatred that grips this ‘voice of liberalism’.”
Further it claimed the Guardian had accused it of “fanning the flames of Islamophobia” on countless occasions.
Despite being a “little-read dying paper”, the Mail explained, because of the internet, such accusations speed across social media before the paper becomes fodder for BBC comedians.
The Mail then detailed and defended its editorial positions on major political issues, including Brexit and immigration, before declaring: “But, as we never cease to stress, we harbor not the faintest animosity towards others on account of their colour or creed.”
Before moving to its fundraising efforts in the wake of recent tragedies, like the Manchester Arena bombing and Grenfell Tower fire, and, ultimately, its love of Britain: “The Mail will, however, confess to one sin in the Guardian’s eyes: we love our country, fear its enemies, and believe everything possible should be done to protect its people.”
The editorial ends: “The truth is that the Guardian and the fascist Left are the REAL purveyors of hate in this country.”