Wednesday 4 January 2012

Guardian praises the Daily Mail's 'finest hour'

The Guardian in an editorial today praises the Daily Mail for the stand it took over the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The paper says: "The turning of the tide on the Lawrence case clearly owes more to Stephen Lawrence's parents than to anyone else. Their reactions to yesterday's result differed – Mrs Lawrence less reconciled, her former husband more relieved. Yet their common determination to win justice for their murdered son was the key, assisted, it should be said, by bold journalism from the Daily Mail. It did not simply keep the case in the public eye. It also became a national reprimand to the criminal justice and political system in a wider sense."

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland also praises the Daily Mail today in an article defending the tabloids.

Freedland writes: "He made an unlikely anti-racist campaigner, but there were few voices more critical in the demand for justice for Stephen Lawrence than Paul Dacre and the Daily Mail. It was the Mail's 1997 front page headline, branding Lawrence's alleged killers "Murderers", that helped make the case impossible to ignore. It was, without question, the Mail's finest hour.

"The reminder is timely, after a year in which the reputation of tabloid newspapers has been battered. The phone-hacking scandal, and the subsequent Leveson inquiry which resumes next Monday, has painted a picture of a press that has slipped out of the gutter and into the sewer."

Freedland ends his article: "For a true democracy cannot leave knowledge in the hands of the elite few; it has to be spread widely. So, yes, it has made the most gruesome mistakes and, yes, those will require severe remedy – but Britain needs its popular press, now more than ever."

The Mail was also celebrated on Twitter for its campaign:

Northern Echo editor Peter Barron: "If I could nominate one front page which sets the bar in being proactive, campaigning and daring, The Mail's 'Murderers' would be it."

Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire: "I remember the 1997 Daily Mail "Murderers" splash. Every journalist wished their paper had carried it."

Ex-News of the World political editor David Wooding: "Congrats to D Mail on great campaign which brought killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice. Tabloids as force for good."

Tom Watson MP: "And here's a story involving the Daily Mail that should make you proud."

Journalist and novelist Tony Parsons: "Congratulations to Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan for bringing Stephen Lawrence's killers to justice - oh, sorry, I mean the British press."

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