Life of a Daily Mail hack

A blog detailing the abuse suffered by reporters at the Daily Mail was quickly removed this week when it was picked up on by the Guardian and a number of media-watching blogs. Reproduced here are the missing blog posts detailing life in the newsroom under conservative tyrant Paul Dacre.

The editor is prone to issuing edicts which he contradicts within hours, or sometimes even minutes. For example he said at Afternoon Conference a few weeks ago that weather stories were an absolute priority. ‘Do I need to have it written in letters a foot high on the notice board behind the back bench that we must have weather stories?’ he said. That evening the only possibility went in, a picture piece about Tewkesbury suffering floods similar to the previous year. When the editor saw it he yelled: ‘What the fuck have you put this in for? There are floods all the the time. Don’t you understand anything about journalism?’ This is a good example of what makes it such fun to work for Paul Dacre. His nimble changes of direction keep us all on our toes, and it is a privilege to learn from such a great teacher.

== Holiday blues ==

A pall of gloom hangs over the Kensington office. The editor has gone on holiday for three whole weeks (presumably to his property in the British Virgin Islands, which entirely coincidentally has a reputation of being a tax haven). How on earth will the paper come out without Paul Dacre’s wise guiding hand on the tiller? Of course he is entitled to have holidays, but the staff would be much happier if he was present all the time to tell us how to do it right.

Word has it that the editor is grievously upset about an item in the latest Private Eye which quoted an unnamed director of Associated Newspapers referring to Paul Dacre as ‘the Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street’ because of his reluctance to retire. Apparently he stayed in his office all day after it appeared. The Eye also said that Dacre had forced out anyone with a spark of originality and surrounded himself with mediocrities. This is obviously a grossly unfair way to describe such talents as Jon Steafel, Paul Carter and Ted Verity, who all demonstrate tremendous flair and wit. However I think the editor should be proud to likened to Robert Mugabe, a man who has brought torture and oppression to a fine art. We need more people like him to keep up standards.

== Post 5 ==

It is many years since the Daily Mail switched to computer-based new technology, but Paul Dacre refuses to have anything to do with screens. He believes that only lower orders use screens (that’s everyone in the office but him). If he wants to read an article he demands a paper print-out and makes any alterations in fountain pen. A minion then transfers the alterations to the article in the computer system. In my opinion it is good to see someone taking a stand against the march of computers in this time of moral decline. We all rely on them far too much, and it would be much better if everyone used fountain pens.

== Post 4 ==

Did you see that article a few weeks ago which said that people born in 1948 were the most fortunate of all? They missed the war and National Service, grew up in the Swinging Sixties, did well out of the property boom, have good pensions, etc. Guess who (to use one of Paul Dacre’s brilliant headline formulas) was born in 1948? Of course. In fact he shares his birthday with Prince Charles (Nov 14 1948). Woe betide any Mail hack who describes Prince Charles as elderly. Actually I think it’s amazing how youthful a man of 61 can look. He certainly has no need to dye his hair.

== Post 3 ==

The editor can only function with a sidekick who shadows him constantly, like sharks have cleaner fish which tidy up their orifices. The main qualification for being a cleaner is the readiness to be in the office from 9am to 10pm five days a week, if not more. You also need to say ‘Yes Paul, you’re absolutely right’ and ‘That’s a brilliant idea, Paul’ at regular intervals. Until fairly recently the chief cleaner was his deputy Alistair Sinclair, but since Sinclair’s retirement (reputedly because he was told he would never be editor, but who knows) the role has been taken on by three new cleaners, deputy editor Jon Steafel, and Ted Verity and Paul Carter, who both have some sort of title like assistant editor or associate editor. The three are always within shouting distance of the editor, prepared to do his bidding and drop someone else in the shit when necessary. The only difference between a shark and the editor is that while the shark protects its cleaner fish, the editor will turn on his cleaners and bite their heads off for any reason at all, or none. The cleaners suffer as much as anyone else from his rages. That must make them even less intelligent than a fish, though admittedly better paid. Steafel is thought to be on about half a million. Anyway full marks to the editor for the way he has improved on the shark.

== Post 2 ==

It is strongly rumoured that the editor has a nap in his office after News Conference, a half-hour entertainment which usually starts around 4pm (for a pale imitation see the Downfall link on the right of this page.) Apparently it is impossible to contact him for a couple of hours after that, but then he emerges refreshed for the evening onslaught on the Back Bench. His energy for yelling is prodigious. It all points to a power nap, and I for one think this is a very good idea.

== Post 1 ==

A lot of journalists aspire to work at the Daily Mail. But when they achieve their goal, most of them can’t wait to get out again. Why should this be? Maybe it’s the unique form of encouragement given by the editor. Every day he makes it his business to tell his subordinates that they can’t do their job and that they are useless in every way. He calls them cunts if they haven’t done too badly. Worse efforts are rewarded with five-minute tirades in which obscenities outnumber the ordinary words. This is the way in which he believes he will achieve good work from his staff, and I am sure he is absolutely right.

Posted By

Anonymous
Feb 3 2010 20:46

Share

Attached files

Comments

Samotnaf
Feb 4 2010 06:24

Aaaah - you poor thing. Such unpleasantness. And from someone so famous as well. And on top of all that, probably having to endure the above article being rejected by Private Eye for being too obvious... What a terribly difficult life you lead.

But at least it sure beats the banal misery of the work of us proles not working in such a spectacularly well-known environment.

As Karl Kraus said:

Quote:
No ideas and the ability to express them - that's a journalist
888
Feb 4 2010 06:53

eh? i don't think it was actually written by weeler.

Samotnaf
Feb 4 2010 08:09

Then I obviously should have said:

Aaaah - the poor things. Such unpleasantness. And from someone so famous as well. And on top of all that, probably having to endure the above posts being rejected by Private Eye for being too obvious... What a terribly difficult life you people lead.

But at least it sure beats the banal misery of the work of us proles not working in such a spectacularly well-known environment.

As Karl Kraus said:

Quote:
No ideas and the ability to express them - that's a journalist
Yorkie Bar
Feb 4 2010 11:31

The working class and the journalistic class have nothing in common. Break the chains of tabloid oppression! No hacks no masters!

Samotnaf
Feb 4 2010 12:47

Weeler said:

Quote:
working at Northcliffe House is a glamarous career on par with being a movie star and they are lucky to work there, I forgot. These whingers need to shut the fuck up and anarchists should sneer at any attempt by media workers to raise issues with their shitty conditions. Funny that similar shite....

blah blah blah

Quote:
No ideas and the ability to express them - that's a journalist

and the ability to deliberately misunderstand and parody ideas when others express them.

What I tried to do was point out that what you posted was utterly banal - something that might be published in Private Eye if it didn't already have thousands of stories like it, but should never have been posted on libcom because it says something that millions of others suffer everyday and worse, but don't have a famous boss that makes it apparently interesting. Apologies for repeating myself in an easy-to-read form, but clearly some people (or, at least, one person) are willfully too thick to understand irony - or much else, for that matter.

As for the title "media workers" - well, there are media workers and media workers, but to lump most journalists in with media workers at the bottom of the pile is not just typical simplistic "oh - you're being all sociological - it's the ruling class versus the rest, don't you understand?" which I've come to expect from far too many libcom posters, but also hides your middle class guilt for doing a job that is not just shit (most of us do that) but involves producing bullshit.

Now if the same journalists did more than just "raise issues with their shitty conditions", then you might have got a slightly different response from me - but what you posted above is just "whingeing".

And, by the way, I'm not an 'anarchist' (though some of my best friends are).

Yorkie Bar
Feb 4 2010 13:07
Quote:
what you posted was utterly banal

Well, it is weeler wink.

Quote:
hides your middle class guilt for doing a job that is not just shit (most of us do that) but involves producing bullshit.

Of course, because your class position is determined by the concrete aspect of your work and not by your social relationship to work. This is definitely true, and explains why workers in arms factories are also middle class.

Rob Ray
Feb 4 2010 13:58

See you complain samotaf, but if it's so banal why did you click in the first place?

Fact is there will be several thousand people in Britain googling the words "Paul Dacre blog" today, significantly outnumbering those googling anarchism. This sort of article serves as a draw for such people, accessibly advertising Libcom to an entire demographic which 90% of the time wouldn't touch the word communist with a barge pole.

But y'know, just keep throwing out that mindless slagging of journalists' work regardless of background, intent or impact. I'm sure that'll be really useful and not in any way numbingly tedious.

gypsy
Feb 4 2010 14:42

Lol, im thinking of putting up some Jordan and Pete articles to draw in the punters.

Rob Ray
Feb 4 2010 14:48

Why do you think the mainstream press does it? For kicks? If it's relevant, why not use it?

Samotnaf
Feb 4 2010 14:54
Quote:
No ideas and the ability to express them - that's a greek revolutionary. Wow, I can make profound sweeping statements too!

Clearly all's Greek to you - including everything you read, since if it wasn't you'd be able to read that I'm not Greek.

To be sure, Karl Kraus, when he was writing (post-WWI) could make an original provocative point with his aphorism that requires a certain subtle development today, pertinent though it still, "sweepingly" (i.e. generally), is. But here is not the thread to do it - though maybe I'll do it on the thread about Greece that I started, which weeler obviously can't read.

And as for the ironicly-put parody of my critique by BigLittleJ:

Quote:
your class position is determined by the concrete aspect of your work and not by your social relationship to work. This is definitely true, and explains why workers in arms factories are also middle class.

- these are "sweeping" equivalents, ignoring the differences between different types of ideological work and different types of manual work and different types of other work neither strictly one nor the other. This manner of making everything equivalent clearly gives him a cosy blanket idea that he understands what he's up against, but it's an inappropriate equivalent: printers producing newspapers and workers producing arms for war are closer equivalents (though I suspect most proletarians with integrity would feel that working to produce arms for war is a compromise far further than producing newspapers, though this would differ depending on levels of unemployment and desperation).

But then BigLittleJ said, in another post, making similar equivalents - about cops and screws -

Quote:
" we all act anti-socially and irrationally if you abstract form all reality. If you do that, soldiers are much worse than cops. Should we therefore shun soldiers too? What about security guards? Or ticket collectors? What about workers in armament factories?".

Certainly soldiers who justify the war in Iraq or Afghanistan I would shun. But even they at least take greater risks than the vast majority of journalists, who - at least those in the Daily Mail offices - write bullshit from a distance. In situations of class conflict, security guards, ticket collectors, journalists, cops, screws and soldiers are on the side of the ruling class until they decide to stop performing their (very different) disgusting roles. Abstractly, ticket collectors could be defined as working class - but when you're surrounded by 5 of them giving you crap and threatening you because they declare that your ticket is invalid (as happened to me the other day), when they're acting what their role entails, then that is a class relation with the ticket collectors on the other side of the metaphorical barricades. And it's even more so with the vast majority of journos.

Khawaga
Feb 4 2010 16:26
Samotnaf wrote:
but should never have been posted on libcom because it says something that millions of others suffer everyday and worse, but don't have a famous boss that makes it apparently interesting.

I didn't know that anarchists operated with a scale of suffering. I guess all of us in the Western labour aristocracy should stop complaning coz there are starving children in Africa and Haiti and stuff.

Samotnaf
Feb 4 2010 21:14

Khawaga wrote:

Quote:
Samotnaf wrote:
but should never have been posted on libcom because it says something that millions of others suffer everyday and worse, but don't have a famous boss that makes it apparently interesting.

Quote:
I didn't know that anarchists operated with a scale of suffering. I guess all of us in the Western labour aristocracy should stop complaning coz there are starving children in Africa and Haiti and stuff.

I'll deal with his/her 'points' in chronological order:

1. As I said above, I'm not an anarchist - which wouldn't normally be an important point to make at all except that it shows Khawaga's inability to read (an affliction that seems to infect virtually all of the previous posters, but then this inability isn't so much a failure to read what someone says but really comes from the fact that ideologists always ignore or distort what their opponents say).

2. More importantly, s/he takes the aside - "and worse"

Quote:
" something that millions of others suffer everyday and worse"

- and turns it into the whole of what I said, thereby avoiding what I hoped to make clear was the essence of what I said: namely ( and yet again I'm forced to repeat myself because ideologists are so deaf you have to repeat things to them a hundred times before they hear what you say) that my point was that loads of proletarians suffer abuse, verbal, physical, financial etc. at the hands of their 'superiors' without it becoming something worth putting on libcom news, which seems to act like the mainstream media by thinking its important because it involves someone famous. I 'suffered' - along with most of my fellow marketeers, years and years of humiliation, verbal and financial, at the hands of the coke-snorting market manager where I worked, and certainly there are interesting aspects to this, but the guy isn't a celebrity so, even if I was still there today, I would hardly put it on libcom news. As an article analysing market relations, I have put it up here in the library - but weeler and his fellow miserable journos don't analyse a thing, because they'd have to have a little bit of distance from their paid ideological function; rather than justify it as just like every other alienation, they'd have to recognise a little bit of the particular

Quote:
numbingly tedious

(Rob Ray) nature of their choice to pursue such an ideological career.

3. Even more importantly, all journalists ever do is complain - but Khawaga ignores my

Quote:
"if the same journalists did more than just "raise issues with their shitty conditions", then you might have got a slightly different response from me".

4. If you or I said that our alienation was the same as "starving children in Africa or Haiti" and no one on libcom slagged us off for such an incredible statement then I'd seriously consider refusing to ever have anything more to do with libcom. I certainly don't think people should accept their misery at whatever "scale of suffering", but to make equivalents of all scales of suffering is intellectual abstraction at its worst, its most stupid , blind and insensitive. Obviously there are always people worse off than yourself, but saying there are no differences in alienation because we're all shitted on from different parts of the world hierarchy does nothing to contribute to the struggle against the common material base of this alienation.

RobRay:

Quote:
you complain samotaf, but if it's so banal why did you click in the first place?

Is this how "radical" journalistic "critique" works? About as profound as the standard "If you don't like what's on the telly, use the off switch".
Why criticise banalities? "Since all our knowledge is essentially banal, it can only be of value to minds that are not", as Vaneigem said in 1965.

As for his

Quote:
Fact is there will be several thousand people in Britain googling the words "Paul Dacre blog" today, significantly outnumbering those googling anarchism. This sort of article serves as a draw for such people, accessibly advertising Libcom to an entire demographic which 90% of the time wouldn't touch the word communist with a barge pole.

as implied by allybaba, such populism is just the same as the mainstream media, whose condescending tactics Rob Ray, being a journalist, openly supports.

Sometime over the weekend, I hope, with other people's help, to develop this attack on the self-justificatory ideologies of these so-called "libertarian communist" journalists and some of the effects of their wilful ignorance of their superior position in the division of labour - in the thread on Greece, where the questions can be posed more concretely, in relation to the class struggle there.

888
Feb 4 2010 21:22

Journalists are closer to weapons designers in arms companies than they are to workers in arms factories, if you want to use that analogy. Daily Mail journalists deserve no sympathy (or support) until they start writing less disgusting articles, something that could only be achieved by leaving the Daily Mail.

Rob Ray
Feb 4 2010 21:49

I don't support anything, I simply acknowledge that interest in celebrities exists and therefore have no problem with it being used to bring in people who otherwise wouldn't read libcom. Seriously how do you expect to break out of the anarchist ghetto if you only ever speak to people whose cultural interests match your own?

Quote:
Rob Ray, being a journalist

I'm getting very tired (hence the comment) with this baseless prejudice you're displaying about my approach to the world simply because of my job. I'm sure on some level you know perfectly well you should be engaging with my arguments straight rather than using my background as a means to try and discredit me, I'd urge you to heed that thought.

On which note, I would support trying to relate to people about things they're interested in regardless of my job, because it's simple common sense that you can't break past people's prejudices about anarchism merely by ranting about a load of esoteric political issues they have no connection to. If you think otherwise that's your lookout, but it's a nasty brand of elitism that says "you're not worth engaging with unless it's on my terms."

Quote:
Sometime over the weekend, I hope, with other people's help, to develop this attack on the self-justificatory ideologies of these so-called "libertarian communist" journalists

Wow that sounds constructive.

Actually with that attitude I can quite understand why your viewpoint would seem correct to you - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that if you treat people like shit, they'll be disinclined to help you when you need it. Fortunately for me, most people who call themselves anarchists are able to avoid writing off thousands of people as a homogenous group all engaged in the same "ideological career" and actively distinguish between individuals.

888
Feb 4 2010 21:59

weeler fails reading comprehension test

Khawaga
Feb 4 2010 22:52

nd turns it into the whole of what I said, thereby avoiding what I hoped to

Quote:
make clear was the essence of what I said: namely ( and yet again I'm forced to repeat myself because ideologists are so deaf you have to repeat things to them a hundred times before they hear what you say) that my point was that loads of proletarians suffer abuse, verbal, physical, financial etc. at the hands of their 'superiors' without it becoming something worth putting on libcom news, which seems to act like the mainstream media by thinking its important because it involves someone famous. I 'suffered' - along with most of my fellow marketeers, years and years of humiliation, verbal and financial, at the hands of the coke-snorting market manager where I worked, and certainly there are interesting aspects to this, but the guy isn't a celebrity so, even if I was still there today, I would hardly put it on libcom news. As an article analysing market relations, I have put it up here in the library - but weeler and his fellow miserable journos don't analyse a thing, because they'd have to have a little bit of distance from their paid ideological function; rather than justify it as just like every other alienation, they'd have to recognise a little bit of the particular

Oh, ffs. There's plenty of articles being put up on libcom about proles with no famous bosses at all. For example, I've submitted lots of news articles about the Egyptian strikers, who for the most part are ignored by everyone. Ret Marut posts lots of news from e.g. Bangladesh. Steven (I think) put up an article detailing his experiences as a very ordinary temp-worker, and etc.

As long as you follow the submission guidelines "anything" can be submitted.

Samotnaf
Feb 5 2010 04:06

Khawaga:

Quote:
I've submitted lots of news articles about the Egyptian strikers, who for the most part are ignored by everyone. Ret Marut posts lots of news from e.g. Bangladesh.

- but these are about struggles, not about journalists posting anonymously their whinges on a website.

To repeat myself a 3rd time (but this time in bold so it's easier to read):

Quote:
if the same journalists did more than just "raise issues with their shitty conditions", then you might have got a slightly different response from me

As Frederick the Great said "Complain all you want - but do as you're told!".

Weeler thinks that because he's brief, like a good journalist having to write something snappy and quickly because there's a deadline, it's more useful than my long-winded stuff. Here's my long winded response: "whatever".

As for RobRay trying to be 'constructive' - as I said - later and probably not on this (virtually unread?) thread.

Rob Ray
Feb 5 2010 09:58

Yeah I'm looking forward to that one, half-arsed "analysis" (see I can use sarcastic quote marks too) from the lord of the sweeping statement.

Edit: Really? Quoting celebrity nationalist warmonger Frederick the Great to back up your case during a rant about how we shouldn't use celebrities to back up our cases?

Khawaga
Feb 5 2010 14:05

So personal accounts of work experiences count for nothing? I guess worker inquiries are completely useless then and that groups like Kampa Tilsammans! or Kamunist Kranti just publish whinges from workers. Personal accounts can be used as a good point of departure for organizing struggles.

You mentioned nothing about struggles in your posts. You must realize that whinging among workers about how shit their situation is often how struggles start. With the internet, you know, it is possible to publish them, so why the heck not.

Btw, what about Steven's temping experiences? Is that just whinging as well?

Yorkie Bar
Feb 5 2010 15:14
Samotnaf wrote:
- these are "sweeping" equivalents,

"Hi, I'm samotnaf, I can't tell the difference between equivalents and analogies"

Quote:
Certainly soldiers who justify the war in Iraq or Afghanistan I would shun. But even they at least take greater risks than the vast majority of journalists,

Right, because a) peoples ideas about what is just or unjust are more important than their class position and b) the 'riskiness' of someone's occupation is more important than the social context of their work. You have just lowered yourself to the political level of a Liberal Democrat MP. Good work.

As to the rest of your post, I scarcely think I need to reply to it. It's farcical to suggest that ticket collectors are all ruling class. I suppose you would apply the same label to ushers in cinemas, sales assistants in shops, and so on. I have gotten grief from other workers loads of times in my life, that doesn't make them ruling class - of course their jobs involve perpetuating capitalist social relations, but that is the nature of work under capitalism.

Tojiah
Feb 5 2010 17:58
BigLittleJ wrote:
It's farcical to suggest that ticket collectors are all ruling class. I suppose you would apply the same label to ushers in cinemas, sales assistants in shops, and so on. I have gotten grief from other workers loads of times in my life, that doesn't make them ruling class - of course their jobs involve perpetuating capitalist social relations, but that is the nature of work under capitalism.

Cops too, then?

Lexxi
Feb 5 2010 18:42

Two of the best articles that I've read on this site have been personal accounts. Jack's account of working in the sex-texting industry and Steven's accounts of his various shit jobs. IMO they're interesting whilst also being informative.

Steven.
Feb 5 2010 19:11
Quote:
Two of the best articles that I've read on this site have been personal accounts. Jack's account of working in the sex-texting industry and Steven's accounts of his various shit jobs. IMO they're interesting whilst also being informative.

cool

If that is the case, it might be worth checking out our other main sections on people moaning about their work:
descriptions of working life:
http://libcom.org/tags/work-life

Accounts of some sort of individual or collective struggle at work:
http://libcom.org/tags/workplace-activity

Yorkie Bar
Feb 5 2010 22:31
Quote:
Cops too, then?

Yes, cops are also not all ruling class.

888
Feb 5 2010 23:11

the point isn't whether they are part of the ruling class

Yorkie Bar
Feb 5 2010 23:59
Quote:
the point isn't whether they are part of the ruling class

Yes it is.

Hungry56
Feb 6 2010 00:26

No, the point is whether their job is to oppress other workers in the service of capital, and whether that is intrinsic to the job. So ticket collectors cannot become revolutionary unless they quit their job. Arms factory workers can, by occupying their workplace and stopping production.

PartyBucket
Feb 6 2010 00:35

I was a train guard for 3 years. Good to know I was 'oppressing other workers in the service of capital'.

Choccy
Feb 6 2010 00:50

Fucking JAILERS OF THE TRAIN CARRIAGES

Yorkie Bar
Feb 6 2010 00:56
Quote:
No, the point is whether their job is to oppress other workers in the service of capital, and whether that is intrinsic to the job. So ticket collectors cannot become revolutionary unless they quit their job. Arms factory workers can, by occupying their workplace and stopping production.

I used to work in a shop, it was intrinsic to my role there to make other workers pay for things IN THE SERVICE OF CAPITAL ZOMG.