Private Eye on Racist ‘Mac’ Cartoon in Daily Mail in 2003

I found this piece in Private Eye’s ‘Street of Shame’ column about the antics in Fleet Street also in the magazine’s issue for 26th July – 8th August 2003. It was about a very suspect cartoon with strong overtones of racism in the Daily Mail.

Even Daily Mail hacks, few of whom are bleeding-heart liberals, recoiled in horrified amazement when they saw how the paper’s pisspoor cartoonist Mac (aka Stan McMurtry) had dealt with the story of the IVF mix-up which gave a white couple a black baby.

Mac’s drawing shows two women arriving at an infant’s school with their young children. “I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about, Eileen,” one tells the other. “But why not ring the hospital just to put your mind at rest?” The joke is that Eileen’s son is a monkey. Dressed in a school uniform. Geddit?

What no one at the Mail can understand is why editor Paul Dacre let the cartoon through, given that jibes about black people and chimpanzees have been a staple of racist comedians and football hooligans for years – and that Dacre claims to be genuinely sensitive about his newspaper’s fascist past (“HURRAH FOR THE BLACKSHIRTS”)

Naturally, no Mail hack has been brave enough to ask him directly. The assumption is that either he didn’t look at the cartoon before printing it, or he simply didn’t geddit. A third possibility – that he actually found it funny, and that all the Stephen Lawrence angst was a mere stunt – is, of course, too absurd to contemplate.

Of course, the Daily Mail is endemically, frantically racist, as I’m sure is apparent when the EU referendum really heats up. Then it’ll be trying to swing the result by printing even more scare stories about evil EU foreigners coming here to sponge off our benefits.

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