Pressure appears to be mounting in the offices of the Daily Mail, as their latest idea in an attempt to boost sales is to ask readers to buy two copies each.
The paper, famous for its hatemongering articles about practically anyone who isn’t a white upper- or middle-class conservative, is evidently feeling the pinch, and for its latest stunt has included in its Sunday edition a double-sided wall chart, and encouraged readers on the front page to buy two copies so they can see both sides on their wall.
This move has been ridiculed on the grounds that just because it is called a “wall chart”, it doesn’t mean that it absolutely has to be placed on the reader’s wall.
“I can just keep it in a folder,” one reader suggested.
“I’ll just leave it on my desk,” another said.
Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was furious when he heard this. “It’s called a wall chart because you put it on your fucking wall! So you need to get two copies to put both sides on your wall,” he said. “Anyone who puts a wall chart elsewhere must be a terrorist.”
When I asked him if he’d ever ridden a mountain bike on an actual mountain, he replied, “don’t be stupid, it’s only called a mountain bike.”
So how, I asked, is that different from a wall chart?
“It’s completely different!” he snapped. “We’ve never given away a free mountain bike with every issue.”
OK, so let’s say it belongs on a wall. Couldn’t they have just used a bigger sheet?
“That’s just a waste of paper,” Dacre explained. “Use both sides, you can use a smaller sheet. Do you think paper grows on trees or something?”
Well, yes, actually . . . but the waste of paper issue was one I wanted to bring up, so I let it pass, and instead raised the point that if people are buying two copies, then surely they’re going to be throwing one away, and isn’t that a waste of even more paper, not to mention their money?
“Who cares?” Dacre said. “As long as they fork out, it doesn’t matter. Most of them can’t even read anyway.”
While privately conceding that he may have a point about the literacy of his readers, I had to raise one final question of how he expected people who couldn’t read to fill in a wall chart. Dacre, once again, had an answer.
“It’s just copying numbers down off the telly,” he said. “Of course our readers can do that. Hell, even Sun readers could do that.”
I had to admit as I left, he had a point there. No doubt about it but that repeating things parrot-fashion has always been the forte of the average Daily Mail reader. If only they could be trained to repeat things with a more positive message. Oh well…