Daily Star’s EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media

This week’s decision by the Daily Star newspaper to effectively endorse the English Defence League is a worrying departure for Britain’s mainstream media.

By Nick Lowles of HOPE not hate

This week’s decision by the Daily Star newspaper to effectively endorse the English Defence League is a worrying departure for Britain’s mainstream media. Of course some may baulk at the concept of the Star as a mainstream media title. When the paper first launched its editor Derek Jameson proudly announced: “It’ll be tits, bums, QPR and roll your own fags!”; it’s been robustly loyal to that vision ever since.

But the Star is a national newspaper, has a circulation of well over half a million, and is supported by a loyal working class readership. When it announces it’s backing a group of racist, Islamophobic extremists we all have to take notice.

What is most disconcerting is that it appears that the newspaper is actually setting the agenda by creating the story. The EDL leadership reacted with bewilderment to the news that they were becoming a political party, with both their main leaders claiming on facebook that this was not the case. After a second day of Star coverage, however, the EDL began warming to the idea.

Some have been quick to seize on the endorsement as further evidence of an agenda being deployed by the paper’s owner Richard Desmond. It’s true that the other Desmond titles, such as the Daily and Sunday Express, have consistently run virulent anti-immigration and anti-Islam storylines.

But it’s also important to note that the Daily Star Sunday has consistently, and bravely, published a number of powerful stories exposing both EDL and BNP extremism; even this weekend the Sunday Star was very critical of David Cameron’s speech on multiculturalism.

When pressed yesterday, Desmond was quick to distance himself from the decision to endorse but he was less forthcoming in his condemnation.

It’s genuinely difficult to know what lay behind the Daily Star’s decision to try to re-attach the wheels onto the EDL’s crumbling bandwagon. Saturday’s demonstration, although significant, was way below the 8,000 strong crowd EDL organisers had predicted. That was despite a week which had seen them generating significant print and broadcast coverage, including a rather tepid interrogation for their ringleader Stephen Lennon by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.

Luton was billed as a ‘homecoming’ yet there was pitifully little support from the local white community. And those EDL supporters who were bussed in rapidly became bored and disenchanted when it became clear the local Muslim and Asian communities were not going to be goaded into responding to their provocation.

No doubt the Star’s editor Dawn Neesom, who lists her hobbies as watching West Ham and kick-boxing, would claim she is merely representing the views of her readership, who purportedly registered 99% backing for the EDL in an online poll.

But even she must be aware that is totally unrepresentative of her own readership demographic. If 99% of working class Briton’s really backed the EDL, then the EDL wouldn’t have been staggering drunkenly around Luton, praising the prime minister’s speech, they’d have been sitting in Downing Street writing it.

She must also be aware that by endorsing the EDL her paper is now riding around on the back of a tiger. Good policing, good community organising – in which Hope not Hate played our part – self-restraint by all members of the community and a dose of good luck meant Saturday’s demo passed relatively peacefully. But further EDL demos are planned, and sooner or later serious disorder is virtually inevitable. If and when it occurs, the Daily Star’s editor, and her new EDL friends, will have some explaining to do.

The Star’s editorial read:

‘Don’t dare ignore EDL’

Don’t worry; we won’t.

25 Responses to “Daily Star’s EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media”

  1. Steven Fielding

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  2. Simon HB

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  3. Nikki Butler

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  4. Gramsci

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  5. Peter D

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  6. Graeme Pietersz

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  7. Hannah Louise

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  8. simpkins83

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  9. Hazel

    To be perfectly honest I think it is better to ignore the EDL, the more coverage they get the more they seem like a threat and a serious group. Can’t we just treat them as what they are – football hooligans. Most people are not stupid enough to vote for them.

  10. For The Floods

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  11. Marcus

    The EDL and the Daily Star are simply ahead of the curve. Integration with the Muslim community is not possible, particularly when their agenda is to actively promote separatism. Given the rapidly changing demographics of the UK at some point we are going to have to ask ourselves do we want to live in a UK Islamic state? If the answer is no, then we are facing a very bloody civil war within the next two decades.

  12. Phinnegans

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media //bit.ly/fUxTDX

  13. Liz McShane

    Is The Daily Star really ‘mainstream’ media?

  14. James Bloodworth

    How on earth is it a “departure” from media norms – do you not read the Mail and Express? Their racism is by proxy just as the EDL’s is – whereas the Mail and Express target asylum seekers and “dark” immigrants, so the EDL targets Muslims when it simply despises Asians and anyone “Muslim looking”.

    I fail to see how racism is any more acceptable simply because the proponent is more sophisticated, middle class, and refrains from open racism.

  15. Ash C

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    If people really want to see the EDL start losing instead of gaining traction, then mainstream politicians should be encouraged to reclaim some of the ground they have occupied.

    However when Cameron makes a measured speech reflecting sensible, mainstream ideas about Islam and the failure of State Multiculutralism, the tribal left cannot resist criticising him, thus conceding middle-ground to the extremists.

    The ideology of the left- including its blind faith in Multiculturalism- is not fit for purpose in stopping the EDL.

    It’s time for a re-think.
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  16. Ash C

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    PS your comment formatting remains an embarrasment to this blog
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  17. reded

    The solution to this conflict is to subsume all national and religious identities in to one identity, that of the International Worker. We must all become comrades in the work of systematically improving the lives of all people on the planet. EDL thugs and religious zealots of any belief exist in opposition to this aim.

  18. L DTUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  19. No2EDL

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  20. Jim Medway

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media: //bit.ly/gLZOtC says @HOPEnothate's Nick L …

  21. Andy Hicks

    RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media //bit.ly/fUxTDX This is getting serious.

  22. Love Your Politics

    RT @andyjameshicks: RT @leftfootfwd: Daily Star's EDL endorsement a worrying departure for mainstream media //bit.ly/fUxTDX This is …

  23. Neptune

    There is a big problem with fundamentalist Islam in Britain. There will be a Channel 4 documentary shown this Monday (14th) exposing what goes on in Islamic schools. A BBC Panorama investigation, shown last year, into some Islamic schools in Britain, the investigation showed and exposed the hate being taught to young Muslims. I don’t think Monday’s documentary will be any different. It’s clear that Islamic schools need to be investigated.

    Also, there was a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary called “Undercover Mosque” that exposed the hate being preached in some of Britain’s Mosques. It’s clear that there is a problem in Britain, this problem is the spread of fundamentalist Islam, everyday Muslims would be exposed to hate being preached in the Mosques that were shown in this documentary, this could be one of the reasons why Britain’s Muslim population is more radical than before, and we don’t know what is being preached in Britain’s other Mosques.

    The only people protesting against fundamentalist Islam is the EDL, so I think people should support this group.

  24. Mr. Sensible

    Good question Liz. I don’t read those types of papers myself; gutter press if you ask me.

    I stick to the Guardian and BBC, as well as my local paper.

    Nonetheless I think this is rather concerning.

    And Ash I would venture to suggest that it might have helped if Cameron had been as quick to criticize the EDL…

  25. scandalousbill

    Neptune,

    You say:

    “The only people protesting against fundamentalist Islam is the EDL, so I think people should support this group.”

    How do you figure that breaking heads of anyone who is not quite white and spreading hate are effective against muslim fundamentalists and merit popular support?

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