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Gay Times December 09 - Issue 375

Hate Mail

We take on the Daily Mail

It’s no surprise that the Daily Mail’s circulation is virtually non-existent within the gay community, but – for the rest of the country – it is king.
With one of the largest circulations of any English language daily newspaper in the world, it means business. And with an equally strong online readership, it continues to exert influence over middle England. But does this affect us? And should we be worried?
According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the answer is yes. In July this year, the paper’s gross sales topped 2,178,640. To put that into perspective, it’s more than The Guardian and The Independent combined, which – essentially – cancels out two of our biggest, most faithful advocates.
Likewise, is the UK’s largest online newspaper service, with 26 million users every month. Combine that with their anti-EU, anti-abortion, anti-gay ethos and their traditional values suddenly shape-shift into a very real problem. And nowhere has that manifested more than in Jan Moir’s recent attack on the late Stephen Gately.
Published on 16 October, entitled “Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death”, it generated the highest number of complaints for a newspaper article in the history of the Press Complaints Commission.
In it she claimed that happy, successful civil partnerships were mythical and, despite having no medical qualifications, questioned the results of Gately’s autopsy, which – just days earlier – had officially confirmed his passing as natural. But such vitriol is nothing new to the pages of the Mail.
Throughout the 80s it actively supported section 28 – the law banning any mention of homosexuality in schools – while, more specifically, on 16 July 1993, it ran the jubilant headline “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes’ findings”.
Compare this to their modern-day journalism, however, and little has changed. In June this year, Amanda Platell wrote that gay couples adopting children verged on abuse. She asserted that: “The British Association of Adoption and Fostering is pandering to militant gay propagandists who are not remotely interested in child welfare, only in furthering their own narrow-minded agenda, often in the most abusive terms. Few people know better than I how institutionally ‘heterophobic’ the gay lobby has become.”
In the same month, Simon Caldwell wrote that “gay rights laws have forced it [the Catholic church] to stop trying to find potential homes for children.”
Weeks later, his colleague Melanie Phillips claimed the gay rights movement eroded heterosexual liberty. She mused that: “The collapse of sexual norms has destroyed the bulwarks around marriage. And the gay rights agenda is very much part of that process. What is particularly worrying, moreover, is that any attempt to say so is demonised as ‘homophobic’. As a result, traditional Christians are now being discriminated against.”

The full feature appears in the December 09 issue of GT

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