A PETITION calling for the editor of the Daily Mail to be fired has accrued more than 40,000 signatures in a direct address to the tabloid paper’s owner Lord Rothermere.
The campaign, started by civic organisation Avaaz, describes Paul Dacre as the “Nigel Farage of newspapers” and accuses the Mail of “adding to a climate where rage and xenophobia flourish” under his leadership.
Central to the complaint is the paper’s obsessive coverage of, and mistruths about, immigration, particularly in the run-up to the EU referendum.
Last week the paper was forced to issue a correction on its front page story due to its reliance on inaccurate copy and the false impression that illegal immigrants found in a van came from Europe.
“The Daily Mail has spread lies and hate and a steady diet of Leave messaging for the duration of this referendum campaign, while offering virtually no space for the Remain perspective,” said Avaaz campaign director Iain Keith.
“Paul Dacre claims to be a champion for press freedom, but this betrays the principles of journalism to an ugly political agenda. Paul Dacre is the Nigel Farage of newspapers and it’s time Lord Rothermere either reins him in or cuts him loose.”
That the petition has accumulated 40,000 signatures in just one day may turn heads but is highly unlikely to trouble Dacre who has been at the helm of the Mail as editor since 1992, and is widely regarded as one of the most successful newspapermen of his generation.
Under his leadership the paper has seen daily circulation hit a steady average of roughly two million and been awarded Newspaper of the Year six times.
Dacre has his finger on the pulse of middle England unlike any of his contemporaries and is a staunch defender of his strategy of placing sensationalism, fear and anger above facts, railing against the biases he perceives in the ‘objective’ journalism of the BBC and its ilk.
After years of stoking fear and loathing over the EU, the paper finally came out with an official endorsement of Brexit on June 21, conveniently neglecting to mention that Dacre himself has pocketed to the tune of £460,000 in EU subsidies over five years to bolster his luxurious Highlands estate.