‘Hurrah’ for the Yellowjerseys…*

July 5, 2010

Many people, myself included, are by now used to the Daily Mail getting things wrong.

Sycophantic support for Mussolini, Hitler and Mosley’s Blackshirts in the 30s are evidence not only of wayward political preference but appallingly poor judgment; bad calls that continue to this day.

“You couldn’t make it up” is just one of Richard Littlejohn’s catchphrases regularly deployed in his rants about political correctness and health and safety – but The Daily Mail manages precisely that.

So notorious have its slanted features become over the years that for a long time I used to joke with friends that I wouldn’t even believe the results on the Mails sports pages, let alone agree with them.

Imagine my surprise therefore on Saturday.

I watched the prologue of this year’s Tour de France – a time trial of 5.5 miles circuiting the wet streets of Rotterdam. It was won by Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara. His comprehensive victory was no great shock; he won the equivalent time-trials in 2007 and 2009.

What was a shock, was the Daily Mails take on the event.

“Rain hampers Bradley Wiggins as Germany’s Tony Martin takes Tour prologue”

-ran the webpage header, last updated at 9.07pm, hours after Cancellara had claimed the first yellow jersey of this year’s Tour.

A combination of disbelief and self-doubt led me to check the page again the following day, and there it remained; and Fabian Cancellara had still won.

I then noticed, tucked away in the 7th paragraph, that the Daily Mail had actually conceded that Martin ….eventually finished second behind Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland.

For probably the first time in my life I wondered what Richard Littlejohn might say and made a mental note never again to joke about the unreliability of Daily Mail sports results.


* as http://www.voiceoftheturtle.org has it:- “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”
A famous example of the Daily Mail’s longstanding commitment to impeccably balanced and unbiased coverage of controversial political events. This headline appeared on the front page of the 8 July 1934 edition, and accompanied a piece on Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists that read, in part: “If the Blackshirts movement had any need of justification, the Red Hooligans who savagely and systematically tried to wreck Sir Oswald Mosley’s huge and magnificently successful meeting at Olympia last night would have supplied it.”
Subsequent articles emphasised the paper’s unstinting support — on 15 January 1934, the BUF was described as “a well organised party of the right ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Hitler and Mussolini have displayed”. This betrays the paper’s similar enthusiasm for Fascist parties elsewhere in Europe, especially Adolf Hitler’s burgeoning Nazi movement (“The sturdy young Nazis are Europe’s guardians against the Communist danger”).


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