Racism as a Crime in Britain’s Right-Wing Press

  • Kerry Moore
  • Katy Greenland
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


Critical research of news media coverage has long highlighted the regular reproduction of hostile attitudes towards minority ethnic identities, immigrant groups and cultural and religious difference. Such studies often present compelling evidence demonstrating how the press construct and reproduce xenophobic or racist discourse through labelling and other language choices, the regular collocation of minorities with threats including terrorism, crime or anti-social behaviour and/or other negative narratives concerned with national vulnerability or social deterioration (e.g., Fox et al. 2012; Lynn and Lea 2003; Moore 2012; Moore et al. 2011; Poole 2011). Previous work also demonstrates how multifaceted and fluid discourses of racism in the press can be, with rhetorical defences to the accusation of racism readily at hand or embedded in the language through which racism is articulated (van Dijk 1992, 1993). The denial of racism as ‘a slur’, backlashes against ‘political correctness’, the endangerment of ‘common sense’ social criticism or ‘free speech’ and counter-accusations of ‘reverse racism’ are classic examples of such strategies employed in the defence of or legitimisation of, especially elite, racist discourse (Augoustinos and Every 2007, 2010; Kobayashi 2009; Seidel 1988). This chapter examines a fundamental issue at the nexus of this conflict—the meaning of racism. What is racism understood to be, and how are these definitions of what is and isn’t ‘racism’ constructed in crime and law and order news? Drawing upon findings from an extensive study examining the representation of racism in UK national newspapers, the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph and The Sun, it looks at the kinds of stories that feature racism, how racism is discussed, positioned and made sense of. What kinds of racist practice are represented as newsworthy? How are actors in narratives about racism characterised? What do the discursive boundaries of racism and their policing tell us about how racism is likely to be understood and addressed?


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry Moore
    • 1
  • Katy Greenland
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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