The Mail’s headline ‘Vile product of Welfare UK’ has been said by many on social media to lay the blame for the murders at the foot of the benefits system.
The Mail called Philpott, someone “who embodies everything that is wrong with the welfare state”.
Outraged tweeters have suggested that the Mail is using the children’s deaths as a foil to push its own political agenda.
“6 innocent and defenseless children tragically lose their lives, yet you focus on benefits. Shame on you DM, utterly disgraceful,” read one of the top comments on the article on the Mail website.
“Mick Philpott is a despicable human being, regardless of the welfare state – blame him, not his benefits. Daily Mail, I am disgusted at this article, turning the tragic deaths of these innocent children into political rhetoric to demonise the working class!” said Samantha, from Coventry.
A blog post by James Bloodworth on Left Foot Forward cites the contrasting way in which the deaths of rich and poor people are covered by the Mail.
Bloodworth highlight the coverage of a Shropshire millionaire who murdered his family, which the paper reported as:
“The businessman who took his own life yesterday after murdering his wife and teenage daughter was heavily in debt, it emerged today… Detectives believe the mild-mannered family man snapped as he struggled to cope with spiralling debts…Last night his sister Claire Rheade said: ‘It’s unbelievable – he doted on his family, he would never harm them. ‘He was a gentle man who wouldn’t hurt a fly.’”
Journalists from across the political spectrum have voiced their disdain at what they perceive as a double standard in reporting, Kaya Burgess of the Right-leaning Times tweeted:
I notice Daily Mail didn’t cover Seddon’s murder of his parents for inheritance cash as “PRODUCT OF FREE MARKET CAPITALISM UK”. Odd that.
— Kaya Burgess (Times) (@kayaburgess) April 2, 2013
Whilst former Ex-PM John Prescott pointed out the possible problems that readers complaining to the PCC would face:
If outraged by the Daily Mail, tell the Chair of the PCC’s Code of Practise Committee. He’s Paul Dacre. Editor of the Daily Mail
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) April 2, 2013
The argument’s most egregious fallout however may be that the children, the Philpott’s victims: Duwayne, 13; John, 9; Jade, 10; Jack, 8; Jesse, 6; and Jayden, 6; are forgotten.