Ruth Whippman: How the Mail Online turned us into misogyny addicts
THE Mail Online, the more insistent, bitchier spawn of the Daily Mail, is now the most visited newspaper site in the world. Its 45 million or so monthly visitors tune in for its unique mixture of human tragedy: "Pensioner watched in horror as husband choked to death on sample of free ham at Sainsbury’s deli counter," and hope: "mollusc mucustouted to beat wrinkles." But neither of these are the real draw. The reason why Mail Online has been so spectacularly successful is because it has perfected a genius formula for peddling misogyny, a formula as addictive as crack.
Unlike its net curtain-twitching parent paper, Mail Online is relatively light on the hectoring right wing politics. Overall, its editorial strategy comes across as though before launching the online arm, a firm of management consultants were called into the Daily Mail offices:
“You’ve got a good core message – bigotry – but you’ve diversified too far. You’re trying to hate too many people. Asylum seekers, gypsies, gays, Muslims, the disabled, single mothers. You need to focus more. We recommend that you settle on one core group to victimise. It can’t be ‘the gays’ because they had a gay character on the Archers so they must be ok now; Channel 4 did the whole gypsy-bashing thing better than you ever will; local councils aren’t spending any money on the disabled any more so you can’t keep pretending that readers’ taxes are being wasted on them, and people just don’t get fired up about racism in the way they used to. So that leaves women. Make misogyny your business strategy, and push it as hard as you can.”