British newspapers that whip up anti-immigrant sentiment in their reporting and opinion columns may soon find themselves taking a hit in their pocketbooks, thanks to a new campaign protesting inflammatory rhetoric. It urges advertisers to drop offending publications — call it the anti-anti-immigrant campaign.
The @StopFundingHate campaign, which had its origins in the ideological turmoil following the vote to leave the European Union in the “Brexit” referendum, gained a major victory with the decision by toy maker Lego to stop advertising in the Daily Mail – one of the most vocally anti-immigrant publications.
The Danish company announced that it was terminating its advertising agreement with the Daily Mail — and later told the Associated Press that it has no plans to resume advertising in the newspaper.
The @StopFundingHate campaign launched in August in response to headlines and opinion columns in British newspapers that have employed dehumanizing language about immigrants.
For example, one column published last year compared migrants from the Middle East to “cockroaches” – a turn of phrase which spurred a rebuttal from UN High Commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Since its launch, the campaign has particularly focused on shaming newspapers that advocate turning away foreign child refugees.
Britain’s newspapers are credited with helping shape public opinion in favor of Brexit.
Researchers at Britain’s Loughborough University conducted a study of 1,127 articles about the referendum and related issues from early May to mid-June. It found that when the circulation of the newspapers publishing the articles is taken into account, UK newspapers favored Brexit by a whopping margin of 82% to 18%.The huge skew was mostly the result of popular tabloids with large readerships – most notably The Sun, with a circulation of 1.7 million, Daily Mail, with a circulation of 1.5 million, and The Daily Telegraph, with a circ of half a million – declaring support for Leave.