Daily Mail’s ‘humanising’ of Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant backfires
British tabloid Daily Mail on Friday evening came under fire when it narrated the details from the past of Christchurch terror attack’s prime culprit Brenton Tarrant.
The twin attack on Christchurch mosques had left 49 people dead in what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as one of nation’s darkest days.
The story, which is Daily Mail’s top story at the time of writing this news, claims that Tarrant, the man single-handedly responsible for the death of 49 people, was a “country boy from a small town in Australia’s New South Wales”.
The story paints a humane picture of him by narrating the details of his ‘troubled boyhood’ during which his father died.
Tarrant ‘worked as a personal trainer before travelling the world to North Korea and Pakistan as well as Europe’, the story claims.
It goes on to quote one of Tarrant’s former acquaintances that he may have radicalised at some point during his travels.
Although the story tells that Tarrant travelled to ‘several countries’ of Europe, it doesn’t detail their names.
The countries it does name, however, are North Korea and Pakistan, which are mentioned in the headline.
This, however, did not go well with many around the world, who took a strong exception to it and called out Daily Mail for humanising a terrorist.
Author and poet Fatima Bhutto in one of her tweets called the story as ‘garbage’.
You’ve got to be kidding with this garbage, @DailyMailUK. I don’t expect Western rhetoric about Islam and the constant death and dehumanisation of Muslims to be sophisticated, compassionate or thoughtful but this is disgustingly insensitive and indecent. pic.twitter.com/WEp8XpCGyR
— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) March 15, 2019
Similarly, accomplished novelist Kamila Shamsie took a jibe at Daily Mail for referring to Tarrant as ‘a blonde little boy’.
He was blonde! And then he became a killer! How is it even possible? (Answer: encountered too many non-blonde people) https://t.co/J3l570HUO0
— Kamila Shamsie (@kamilashamsie) March 15, 2019