An open Letter to the Daily Mail.

Dear Paul Dacre,

You don’t know me; I am only one of the hundreds of millions of readers who access the Daily Mail online each month. I am writing to inform you that with a great sigh of relief and a tremendous feeling of release I will no longer be reading your newspaper.

For the past eighteen years we have held a very steady hate-hate relationship; I have consistently despised everything that you stand for and almost every word you print, and likewise, It is clear that you hold very similar feelings towards me. However as we have had such a long and somewhat frustrating association, and in order to explain why your figures will show a small decline in readership; I feel the need to justify my actions.

For almost my entire adult life you have provided an antithesis to my beliefs, opinions and outlook on the world. In order to find balance within my existence I have turned to you for my daily dose of hate, xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, nepotism, intolerance and all manner of prejudice masquerading as news and popular opinion. I believed that in order to be a nicer person, to act with more compassion and understanding, and to embrace humanity I needed to be more aware of the other side of the story to maintain that sense of balance, hope and reason. I thought that becoming more informed of opinions so vastly different from my own I would be able to somehow overcome those that seek to spread violence and anger, or at least understand them and in my own small way attempt to make the world a better place.

I’ve been lying to myself, in very much the same way that you have been doing all these years; it appears I was wrong.

The negative propaganda that you persistently purvey through slanderous articles and conscientiously bigoted headlines still continue to shock and surprise me all these years later. You once opened my young eyes to a world that I didn’t realise existed, one that I sometimes try to forget still exists, and one that continues to sadden me. However the bandwagon-jumping articles that you spew every day without hesitation, although with much repetition, that are filled with animosity and hatred thinly veiled as journalism have eventually eaten away at my very being like a cancerous tumour.

I can take no more.

Your misanthropic approach to the wonderful world around me fills my stomach with bile, and your back-slapping and back-stabbing obsession with celebrity bores me to tears. No longer will the right-hand-side of my computer screen be soiled by your hypocrisy. Your infatuation with the imaginary sordid tales and private lives of the celebrities, your idolization and then demonization of anyone who dares to be stalked by a photographer with a long lens, and your unhealthy and downright disturbing fixation on the children of celebrities will pollute my life no more.

The condescension with which you see me and many of my peers is beyond contempt; the narrow-mindedness of your blinkered view of the rest of the world is beyond criminal. Your deliberate attempts to rile and enrage through scandal and rumour are shameful at best and wholly illegal at worst. The poison you propagate and the misdemeanours you falsely insinuate without apology or care of who you insult and with no regards to the consequences of your nefarious actions are tantamount to bullying of the highest order.

My friends have long ago given up telling me to ‘give it up’. In the same way that one must care for, but in the end be unhelpful to a drug addict; they have watched me sicken, grow pale and become angry, hopeless and desperate; they have watched sadly as my spirit has waned. But at the end of the day you can only be helped if you are prepared to help yourself and are prepared to take that first step towards freedom, to begin cleansing your soul from the demons within. Today I am proud to stand up and say, I am a “Daily Mail addict”, and I realise now that the poison in my veins that I believed made me stronger is actually slowly killing me. Today I have made the choice to get clean.

I will no longer allow my life to be influenced by the hatred and lies that you produce. I believe in freedom of speech, and with that a freedom of the press; and I am eternally grateful that I was brought up in a country that sustains and upholds those values. I am also incredibly lucky that I have been born into society where I am able to make my own choices in life though my own free will, and today I am exercising that right.

Today I am free.

So Daily Mail, it’s time to say goodbye, it’s been emotional.

I’d say that it’s not you, it’s me.

But that would be a lie.

Cliff Lonsdale

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