(Photo: Michael Vadon)
Never let it be said that the Daily Mail is a paper afraid to pick sides when it comes to politics.
The famously right-wing tabloid was more than a little bit partisan in its coverage of events surrounding the US presidential inauguration at the weekend.
The paper has been cagey up to now in its coverage of Donald Trump’s election victory last November, perhaps aware that The Donald is a bit too much for some of the populist right-wingers in the UK.
But it nailed its colours to the mast over the weekend with not one, not two, but three opinion columns gushing about how great Mr Trump’s entry into the White House is for the US and the world in general.
First up was rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins, still on the payroll at the Mail despite costing them £150,000 last month for libelling a Muslim family, who rejoiced that the American people had ‘finally found someone who will put their country first’ (as if the US has never had a president who has pursued national interests).
Then Trumpophile and self-confessed personal friend to the president Piers Morgan penned a personal letter praising Mr Trump for ‘one of the most astonishing speeches I have ever heard’ and referring to his presidency as ‘power to the people!’.
Both of these essays, however, were dry and emotionless pieces compared to the column from Richard Littlejohn who gleefully proclaimed that Trump’s victory ‘may be the best thing to happen to Britain since America joined World War Two’.
There was no evidence anywhere in the paper of any critical analysis of Mr Trump, no voices to counterbalance the pro-Trump fanfare.
Compare this to the coverage given to outgoing president Barack Obama. On Monday, the Mail published an article claiming that Mr Obama’s last act as president had been to ‘defy Congress’ and ‘quietly release’ $220 million of funding to the Palestinian Authority.
The paper stated that Congress had voted to block the payment – intended for humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza as well as support for political reforms in Palestine – and portrayed the decision to release the money as a shady back-door deal.
But this is untrue as Congress had approved the funds from both the 2015 and 2016 national budgets. The money had just been held up due to two Republican Congressmen voting to place a hold on the money.
Such congressional holds are usually respected but are not legally binding if funding has already been approved, as it had been in this case.
As the fact-checking website Snopes states in its analysis of the decision: ‘the monies had already been set aside for the purpose for which they were ultimately distributed’.
If the Trump administration is looking for an ally among the British press, looks like the Daily Mail already has the welcome mat out. It makes sense – the paper has been producing ‘alternative facts’ for years.
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