CHANGING POLITICS

The first two proprietors of the Mirror, Alfred Harmsworth (1903-14, enobled as Lord Northcliffe), and his brother Harold (1914-36, enobled as Lord Rothermere) were both robustly conservative and imperialistic in their politics and ensured that the paper echoed these values. After the First World War, Rothermere increasingly used the Daily Mirror to champion his personal crusades, such as the Anti-Waste League, which sought to mobilise opinion against ‘excessive’ government spending. The paper also sought to associate the emerging Labour Party and its trade union supporters with the ‘Red Peril’ of the Communist threat. The Mirror stoutly fought against the General Strike of May 1926, called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in support of the miners’ action to maintain their wages and conditions. Over the subsequent years, the Mirror drifted further to the right. Its political nadir came in 1934, when Rothermere instructed the paper to support Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF): ‘Give the Blackshirts A Helping Hand’ declared a signed article from the proprietor.

(Adapted from Bingham, Adrian: "The Daily Mirror and Left-Wing Politics", Mirror Historical Archive, Gale, a Cengage Company, 2020).

 

Rothermere, Viscount. "Give the Blackshirt a Helping Hand."

"General Strike on Tuesday May Be Averted."

A Voluntary Worker. "One Lesson of a General Strike."

"Parliament Must Stop Government Spending." 

EARLY CARTOONS

The use of cartoons in the Daily Mirror began in 1903 when William Kerridge Haselden, an aspiring cartoonist, had an idea. Harmsworth immediately saw the benefit of including a regular cartoonist and offered him a full-time position. Although Haselden’s idea was not an original one it had a unique selling point: instead of providing a weekly comment on topical subjects, he would produce a political illustration for each issue. The daily newspaper cartoon was born. by the latter years of the century’s first decade, Haselden’s cartoons had developed from a single panel to the same space being divided into multiple panels. Often credited as the inventor of the British strip cartoon in 1904, Haselden’s daily cartoons developed a regular cast of characters. While technically a strip cartoon, the topicality of Haselden’s work can be seen as a bridge between work produced at the turn of the century and the first generation of daily newspapers cartoonists such as Philip Zec. Over the coming decades the Daily Mirror’s popularity continued to increase. Stanley Franklin drew the Mirror’s political/news cartoon throughout the golden age of the 1960s when the Mirror’s circulation topped five million copies a day. His work combined hard news and politics with elements of the pocket cartoon’s more society-based humour.

(Adapted from Whitworth, James: "The Daily Mirror and Cartoons", Mirror Historical Archive, Gale, a Cengage Company, 2020).

 

"Jane."

"Cramped House of Commons."

"The Willies at the Bazaars: You Can Stick Pins in Them."

"'The Price of Petrol Has Been Increased by One Penny'—Official." 

KHMER ROUGE

The atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge were brought to public attention in 1979 by the investigative journalism of John Pilger (1930-) and photographer Eric Piper. Pilger's emotive description alongside Piper's graphic and often harrowing photographs served to illustrate the depth and range of the horrors committed by Pol Pot's (Saloth Sâr, 1925 –1998) regime.

In the four years that the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia, it was responsible for one of the worst mass killings of the 20th Century. The brutal regime, in power from 1975-1979, claimed the lives of up to two million people. Under the Marxist leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge tried to take Cambodia back to the Middle Ages, forcing millions of people from the cities to work on communal farms in the countryside. But this dramatic attempt at social engineering had a terrible cost. Whole families died from execution, starvation, disease and overwork. (Adapted from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-10684399).

 

Pilger, John. "Cambodia Is Dying." 

Pilger, John. "The Killer We Back."

Schahberg, Sidney, and Mark Dowdney. "The Killing Fiend."

Wigmore, Barry. "Return to the Killing Fields."

A PAPER FOR WOMEN

The Daily Mirror stands alone as the only major national daily newspaper in Britain ever to be designed specifically for women. Launched in that format, in November 1903, it was a resounding failure, and dissuaded others from similar experiments. Even if its experiment as a ‘high class’ journal for ‘ladies’ only lasted a few weeks from its launch, it retained a distinctly ‘feminine’ identity for many years, and it continued to attract a much higher percentage of female readers than any other paper until well into the 1930s. The Daily Mail’s success in reaching out to this relatively untapped female market encouraged Harmsworth to think that there was room for a whole newspaper dedicated to women. Accordingly, he launched the Daily Mirror in November 1903 with an all-female staff under the editorship of Mary Howarth. The Mirror’s first issue declared that the paper would not be ‘a mere bulletin of fashion, but a reflection of women’s interests, women’s thought, women’s work’, covering ‘the daily news of the world’ and ‘literature and art’ as well as the ‘sane and healthy occupations of domestic life’. The mainstream market was not yet ready for a women’s daily newspaper, at least not in this form. The Mirror struggled to find a consistent tone and identity, and seemed caught between being a magazine and a newspaper. As its circulation plummeted, the Mirror was rescued only when Harmsworth removed the female staff, handed over the editorship to the experienced journalist Hamilton Fyfe, and turned it into an illustrated paper – as which it was a major success, becoming the first daily to rival the readership levels of the Mail.

(Adapted from Bingham, Adrian: "The Daily Mirror and Women", Mirror Historical Archive, Gale, a Cengage Company, 2020).

 

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