It’s been said that the British don’t have institutions, they have satire.
But what happens when the institutions start satirising themselves?
Anyone who has survived a Daily Mail news conference – battle shock First World War soldiers spring to mind – will tell you that Monday’s front page was a stroke of utter genius. Really.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 9, 2014
Trolling its own audience and the wider chatterati at large is the Mail’s forte. Long before the web gave its over-sized brother MailOnline a global platform, the paper has been working its formulaic delivery to stun, shock and appal when it needs to.
Mail news executives have a keen ear for when news is running out of legs and often respond with a gash splash, the literal equivalent of drawing a line in the news sand.
The formula echoes Sherlock Holmes solution to unsolvable mysteries.
When you have ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the answer
In selecting a splash, Mail executives work very simple rules.
- Is it new?
- Will it sell papers?
- Will our readers like it?
- Will it enrage our readers?
- Is it Saturday?
News being new and commercial considerations are obvious and common to most papers. The next principles, however, are the paper’s lifeblood – OUR READERS.
The Mail literally couldn’t give a monkey’s about what the Establishment, the right-on media, the chatterati, twitter or anyone else thinks about its stories. It places the readers fears and loves above all else. They understand their reader constituency above all else and, more importantly, their readers expect them to.
Lastly, Saturday. Saturday is sacrosanct and requires a consumer splash whenever possible. A lot of trollies are pushed pashed newspaper piles in supermarkets on Saturday with the key houshold purchaser – female, data shows – at the helm of the trolley.
But how does 300 outsourced sandwich making jobs become a splash?
Firstly, Sunday. Slow day. Sunday for Monday news basket is empty. Remembrance Sunday too sober to carry through to Monday, a Monday which is already dull, grey and miserable with terrible weather already on the door of commuters and mums on the school run.
The answer is therefore patently obvious.
When you have ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the splash
Understanding why this is right, one needs to understand the Editor.Non-DMGT staff can get up to speed on the best profile going on Paul Dacre here. It’s as close as you’ll get without having to be thundered at.
Sandwichgate immediately became trolling gold for the web – and rightly so – but who was trolling who? MailOnline will thank you for your custom. Your page clicks have served more ads. Job done. Again.
Britain loves and hates the Mail. But Monday was a great deal brighter thanks to it – because the British love of self-deprecating satire and parody was allowed to shine as Buzzfeed quickly documented.
And the answer to the questioned posed by the Mail, it seems, is No.
And that’s no lie.