After publishing accusatory stories against the late Ralph Miliband, a famous socialist and father of Labour Party Leader, Ed, The Daily Mail has faced a wave of criticism from the media and Government, and risks losing its advertisers if calls from those such as Lord Alan Sugar are to be answered.
The publication, which also happens to be the world’s most popular news site online, received almost 400 official complaints from readers after running a double-page critique of the late Miliband on Saturday, under the headline ‘The man who hated Britain’.
As well as this, the news outlet accompanied the online version of the article with an image of Ralph Miliband’s gravestone, reportedly approved by editor Paul Dacre.
Despite the uproar, further bold headlines, such as ‘Marxism…and just how much did Ralph influence Red Ed?’, and ‘Ralph Miliband; An evil legacy and why we won’t apologise’ followed the initial article, leading many to demand advertisers pull their sponsorship from the site.
Tuesday evening’s explosive interview on Channel 4’s Newsnight caused further attention to be paid to the events. The episode saw former journo and current Labour ‘spin doctor’ Alastair Campbell heavily criticise deputy editor of the Daily Mail, Jon Steafel, who admitted the use of the grave image “may well be an error of judgment”.
The Daily Mail based its reports on a diary entry made by a 17 year-old Ralph Miliband, where he criticised certain parts of capitalist UK traditions, such as Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, the church, the army and the House of Lords. Respondents to the article, including Ed Miliband himself, point out that in fact the late academic fought for Britain in World War II; hardly the actions of someone who hated his country.
A number of eminent political figures have responded negatively to the statements made by the Daily Mail, and it’s now the turn of celebrities to weigh in on the reaction, with The Drum reporting Lord Alan Sugar to have told Channel 4: “Certainly if I was an advertiser I would think twice before placing any money in that newspaper… and I would urge them [advertisers] just as a punishment to them, to actually pull their advertising, next week and the week after that.”
Despite a tweet from Channel Four’s Alex Thomson, which read: “Mail – coming under financial pressure now? Am told no ads today in paper from Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Waitrose”, The Drum has also reported that both Waitrose and British Airways have confirmed they will not pull advertising from the site, with The Co-operative refusing to comment, and Morrisons and Sainsbury’s yet to release statements.