SubScribe: Woman with brain speaks, Mail has apoplexy Google+

Thursday 22 September 2016

Woman with brain speaks, Mail has apoplexy

Mail puff

If there's one thing the Daily Mail can't abide (ok, there are many), it's an intelligent woman who dares to speak out. Especially if she can be branded a "luvvie" - even if her only connection to the arts is by marriage.

Take Amal Clooney. A well-established human rights lawyer, Clooney addressed the UN about refugees on Friday and has this week announced that she intends to try to take legal action on behalf of a Yazidi woman used as a sex slave by ISIS jihadists.
She also suggested that the UK – and other countries - might do more to help refugees from warzones and pointed out that only one Yazidi family had been granted asylum here, against 70,000 in Germany.

The Daily Mail website likes Clooney: she is beautiful, glamorous and married to the biggest name in Hollywood. It loves to put her in the “sidebar of shame”.
The printed paper is less sure.
President Obama may think her views are worth listening to and be willing to share a platform with her, but the Mail has difficulty looking beyond her bunions, her thinness and her wedding ring.
There was also that little spot of bother with her husband when it claimed that there was a family rift over their marriage


So this is how the paper reported her contribution to last weekend's refugee summit: 

“Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney angered MPs last night by attacking Theresa May and Britain for not taking more refugees from Syria.
“The wife of George Clooney, who lives in a mansion near Mrs May’s home in Berkshire...”
Thus a rentaquote MP's response, her husband and her living arrangements are all given precedence over what she had to say. Under a snide headline that suggests that no one has heard of her and that her opinion is risible. She is, however, comely enough to warrant a full-length photograph.

Christopher Hart oped

If Clooney and her opinions are so insignificant, you'd imagine that the paper would leave it there. But no, Christopher Hart is on parade today to denounce the "dubious poseuse celebrity lawyer and wife of the famous George".

Actually there's nothing dubious about Mrs Clooney; Hart had only to read his own paper's cuttings to discover that she has credentials beyond being a wife. When the couple became engaged in April 2014, the Mail wrote:
"Her life could not be more removed from the celebrity world which Clooney inhibits.
"She comes from a prominent intellectual Lebanese family who fled war-torn Beirut when she was a child and settled in a large modern house in Buckinghamshire.
"Her father, Ramzi, is a retired professor of business studies at the American University of Beirut...
"After leaving Oxford, where she gained a 2:1 in law, Miss Alamuddin studied at the New York University School of Law.Now working out of London's Doughty Street Chambers, she specialises in international law, human rights, extradition and criminal law."
 When they were married that September, the paper described her as "Oxford-educated, with a high-profile client list":
"She has represented Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and is an adviser to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan"
Amal by Amanda Platell

Even when the critical scrutiny intensified with a spread on Clooney's "scary skinniness", Amanda Platell noted of this "clever, thoughtful woman":
"A year ago, no one outside illustrious legal circles knew the name Amal Alamuddin. Fewer still had an opinion about her clothes, figure, hair, handbag or shoes.
"An internationally renowned human rights lawyer at the top of her career, her performance in court and her fine brain were all she was judged on."

Clooney's client list goes beyond Assange and Annan. She also represented Mohamed Fahmy, a journalist jailed in Egypt for "distorting the news"  in a case that prompted an international campaign to protect that cause so dear to the Mail's heart - Press freedom.

But none of that gives her the right to speak on a subject that is her specialty. That was apparently relinquished when she married an actor.

Just in case you can't get hold of a copy of the Mail, here's a list of other "bleeding heart luvvies" whose opinions are, according to today's Oped, to be discounted:

Leonardo diCaprio
Benedict Cumberbatch
Helena Bonham Carter
Stephen Fry
Emma Thompson
J.K. Rowling
Bob Geldof
Emma Thompson
Vanessa Redgrave
Cate Blanchett
Keira Knightley

In fact, the list is so long that Hart admits:
"Actually, it's probably just easier to say 'all of them'. The whole ghastly, smug, cosseted, self-adoring crew."
 Hart also has a dig at Juliet Stevenson and David Miliband's International Rescue charity for "hijacking Parliament Square" for a display of 2,500 lifejackets worn by refugees who died trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.

Mail 20 September

That exhibition - sorry, stunt -  really annoyed the Mail.
Most papers used a photograph and a brief caption to say that the demonstration was linked to the migrant summit in New York.
The Mail used the lifejackets (with the statue of Churchill circled in red) plus an inset picture of Stevenson alongside a story focused on those who thought the “protest” should not have been allowed.

Mail 21-09

Such was the paper’s distress about the whole affair that it wheeled out Max Hastings yesterday on a spread combining the event and Angela Merkel’s woes.
Migration posed the gravest threat to Europe since 1945, the headline said. “We need answers – not stunts”. 

Fair point. 

sue reid spread

Now let's wind the clock back to last Saturday, when the Mail ran a spread by Sue Reid, who hired a rubber dinghy to show how easy it was to sail to France and back without being stopped by any authorities. 
A smiley woman in sunglasses and a couple of male companions are perhaps not quite as suspicious as a boatload of young men, but Reid appears dismayed by the lack of interest they attracted.
She spots a Royal Navy warship on the horizon, assumes that its radar must have seen her dinghy and notes “yet they did nothing to stop us” – before conceding: 
“although, it must be said, the warship's responsibilities do not include checking boats such as ours”.
The lifejackets were laid out in Parliament Square to draw attention to the plight of  refugees. People took notice. 
But to the Mail, the display constituted a stunt.

Sue Reid hired her little boat to draw attention to a lack of border controls. No one took any notice. 
That was, of course, serious journalism.
Don't anyone dare suggest that it might have been a stunt.

These are the sorts of serious issues that Ms Clooney should be concentrating on


  1. Off to buy a copy of The New European now! ;-)

  2. I wondered why there was a frontpage headline hinting that the cost of three of Amal Clooney's outfits was scandalous. They are trying to discredit and belittle and intelligent woman whose opinions differ to theirs in order to trivialise and discount them.