The Daily Mail is a popular target of satire and parody because of its tendency to vilify and blame asylum seekers, and to regularly over-hype bad news, especially the predicted property price collapse in Britain-this tendency gives rise to the mocking name of Daily Wail. The satirical magazine Private Eye regularly runs headlines like Influx of asylum seekers cause house values to plummet, Property prices fall as asteroid prepares to wipe out life on earth, under the Daily Mail banner. The Mail also likes to take a moral stand, based on the morals of the 19th century Christian right-wing, and will also vilify any group of individuals who don't follow their moral code, leading to the parody 'New "Fun" craze sweeps the nation, we must ban this sick filth.'. Some columnists in the rival Guardian calls it The Daily Misogynist due to some of its columnists' anti-feminist slant. The Mail is unofficially held partially to blame for the recent "race riots" in Oldham. The Daily Mail has a strong anti-European Union policy.
The popular stereotype of the Daily Mail reader in satirical publications is of a racist, upper-middle-class, conservative homeowner, who is too stupid to read the Broadsheet equivalents (The Times, the Daily Telegraph).
The Daily Mail was devised by Lord Rothermere and Lord Northcliffe as an alternative to the newspapers of the day. The paper was first published on May 4, 1896. The Mail was the first tabloid newspaper in Britain, and was popular because of its short, simplified news stories, and pictures. A particularly popular feature of the paper was the introduction of serials. The paper initially cost a halfpenny, and the first edition was 8 pages. Soon after its launch the paper had over half a million readers.
In 1906 the paper offered £1,000 for the first flight across the English Channel, and £10,000 for the first flight from London to Manchester. Punch magazine thought the idea preposterous and offered £10,000 for the first flight to Mars, but in 1910 both Rothermere's prizes had been won.
The paper was accused of warmongering before the outbreak of World War I, when it reported that Germany was planning to crush the British Empire. Lord Northcliffe created controversy by advocating conscription when the war broke out. On May 21, 1915, Northcliffe wrote a blistering attack on Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War. Kitchener was considered a national hero, and overnight the paper's circulation dropped from 1,386,000 to 238,000. 1,500 members of the Stock Exchange ceremonially burned the unsold copies and launched a boycott against the Harmsworth Press. Herbert Asquith accused the paper of being disloyal to the country.
When Kitchener died the Mail reported it as a great stroke of luck for the British Empire. The paper then campaigned against Asquith, and Asquith resigned on December 5, 1916. His successor, David Lloyd George, asked Northcliffe to be in his cabinet, hoping it would prevent him criticising the government. Northcliffe declined.
In 1922, when Lord Northcliffe died, Lord Rothermere took full control of the paper.
In 1924 the Daily Mail contributed to the defeat of Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party in the General election, by publishing the Zinoviev Letter, a letter they had forged and claimed showed British Communists were planning violent Revolution.
In 1926 the newspaper had a circulation of 2 million.
The Daily Mail & British Fascism
In the 1930s Rothermere and the Mail were supporters of Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. He wrote an article, Hurrah for the Blackshirts, in January 1934, in which he praised Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine". Rothermere had several meetings with Adolf Hitler, and addressed him as "My Dear Führer" in letters and telegrams. He argued that the Nazi leader wanted peace, and in 1934 campaigned for the African land confiscated in the Versailles Treaty to be returned to Germany. Rothermere and the Mail supported Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, and was devastated by the outbreak of World War II. Rothermere died in November 1940.