A xenophobe’s lexicon: anti-migrant language in Calais coverage

'A swarm of locusts' - here's what the words the press are using about Calais actually mean


After our 5-step guide on how to demonise migrants based on techniques in the UK press, MediaWatch presents: A xenophobe’s lexicon.

Here’s what the words the press are using about the ‘migrant crisis’ in Calais, France, actually mean. (Definitions from the Oxford Dictionary website.)

Horde – 1. chiefly derogatory A large group of people:
‘a horde of beery rugby fans’

1.1 An army or tribe of nomadic warriors:
‘Tartar hordes’

Used by: today’s Sun

Swarm – 1. A large or dense group of flying insects:
‘a swarm of locusts’

1.1 A large number of honeybees that leave a hive en masse with a newly fertilized queen in order to establish a new colony.

Used by: today’s Daily Mail front page, today’s Telegraph front page (after prime minister David Cameron)

Daily Mail Swarm 31 7 15

Invasion – 1.1 An instance of invading a country or region with an armed force.

1.2 An incursion by a large number of people or things into a place or sphere of activity.

1.3 An unwelcome intrusion into another’s domain.

Used by: yesterday’s Daily Express front page

Express 30 7 15

War zone – A region in which a war is being fought

Used by: today’s Daily Express front page

Daily Express 31 7 15

Jungle – 1. An area of land overgrown with dense forest and tangled vegetation, typically in the tropics

1.1 A wild tangled mass of vegetation or other things

1.2 A situation or place of bewildering complexity or brutal competitiveness

Used by: everyone as the de facto name for the ‘migrant camp’ in Calais

Siege – 1. A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender

Used by: today’s Telegraph, about the Channel Tunnel being ‘under siege’


Expect to be invaded by the Tartar locust hordes from the French jungle war zone any minute now. (Cue: Ride of the Valkyries.)

Swarm of locusts

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Rod Liddle says send migrants back to Syria in the Sun’s shameful Calais coverage

Daily Mail’s 5 step guide to demonising migrants

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15 Responses to “A xenophobe’s lexicon: anti-migrant language in Calais coverage”

  1. Cole

    What MediaWatch is doing is exposing the vile, hate-filled language of the Tory press press about these poor people. Hardly anyone is saying ‘let them all in’, but a bit of compassion to people who have generally fled from civil wars, vicious dictatorships etc might be in order. Instead the Mail continues to demonise refugees as they did with Jews in the 1930s.

  2. r jones

    Your complete ineptitude in the appropriate use of commas suggests that your schooling was somewhat lacking, UFOHUNTER. Something to consider before you label others in such an unsavoury fashion.

  3. r jones

    The Mail has a long and dubious history of twisting language.

    They even had the cheek to celebrate International Women’s Day and the Suffragette movement but conveniently “forgot” to mention that the Mail originally coined the term “Suffragette” as a derogatory term.

    Derogating the oppressed never goes out of style at the Daily Mail.

  4. Duckman

    Define cultural Marxism

  5. Giles Farthing

    don’t fear a word, fear the global swarming, perhaps Adam can put a few of them up in his front garden next to his ethnic peace bike,

Comments are closed.