After Jo Cox December 1, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
More than 50,000 abusive and offensive tweets were sent celebrating Labour MP Jo Cox’s murder and lauding her killer, Thomas Mair, as a “hero” or “patriot” in the month following her death, prompting calls for the government to do more to tackle hate speech online.
According to researchers on the social media site, the tweets were sent from at least 25,000 individuals and have been interpreted by hate crime campaigners as a sign of an emboldened extreme rightwing support base.
This is of a piece with the sharp spike in hate crimes recorded in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. The murder of Jo Cox was in part a result of Brexit. It is a measure of the sheer scale of Brexit and other events that that murder has in some respects been diminished or sidelined.
Only two British newspapers failed to feature a picture of Jo Cox on their front pages today, as the terrorist killer of the MP was jailed: the Financial Times and the Daily Mail.
So what happened at the Mail? And what does it say about that paper’s view of – and impact on – the UK’s political life that the verdict on the first murder of a sitting MP for 26 years can be relegated so far inside its pages?
The story about Mair’s sentence came after a full 17 pages welcoming the verdict of an “upbeat chancellor” confounding those dastardly “remain doom-mongers”. In the pages that followed this autumn statement coverage came news reports about “laughing migrants”, photos of a bikini-clad model taking a shower and the headline news that Santa is not real. They also featured a full-page column asking why leftwing comics laugh at the Queen.
When today’s Mail finally gets to the verdict on Mair, the main headline points out that he “wanted to kill his own mother”, while the secondary story asks: “Did neo-Nazi murder Jo over fear he’d lose council house he grew up in?”
As the Guardian notes, someone observer that even in death the Mail managed to imply immigration was a cause of her death. But Cox’s death is an inconvenient truth, for here was the expression of the furies that the Mail and others had unleashed across decades. Read the list of comments tweeted, the terms used, the ““hero”, “patriot”, “white power”, “rapists” and “traitor”.” and so on. They didn’t come from nowhere. They were a result of a campaign of propaganda as insidious as it was long lasting. And extensive too, covering a broad range of areas far beyond Brexit – anti-state and anti-left amongst them.
And the Mail and others will neatly step aside from any responsibility for what happened, or indeed what is yet to happen. Note how even with the British government admitting last week that the costs of Brexit were smashing a hole through financial forecasts the Mail talked about ‘remain doom-mongers’. How bad would matters have to get before they could admit to simply being wrong? To ask the question is perhaps to misunderstand the dynamic. There is no point they could admit to such. Their beliefs aren’t founded on the actual or rooted in the everyday. What happens is merely a backdrop, their position secure above the fray that they themselves have initiated.
More vermin the lot of them.