Twitter users target Daily Mail over ‘remainer universities’ campaign
Earlier this week, Government Whip Chris Heaton-Harris was accused of engaging in “McCarthyite” tactics after sending a letter to universities asking for the names of their “European affairs” professors. The Conservative Party MP for Daventry also requested that university staff hand over their course materials related to Brexit.
As Heaton-Harris faced criticism over what some described as an attack on academic freedom, the Daily Mail sought to defend the move, running a front-page ‘exposé’ on what it dubbed “remainer universities.”
“Yesterday the Daily Mail uncovered string of examples of senior figures at universities explicitly speaking out in favor of Remain,” the article read.
Daily Mail has noticed that the vast majority of people who have spent their lives studying economics and politics think Brexit a bad idea. pic.twitter.com/qKRE3dTzpd— Michael Merrifield (@ProfMike_M) October 26, 2017
The paper then encouraged students to contact a specially created email address if they have experienced “anti-Brexit bias at university.”
Yesterday: "He is only asking for information".— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) October 26, 2017
Today: a full on witch hunt. pic.twitter.com/QNdTNkIGrv
Naturally, some Twitter users thought the campaign farcical and wasted no time in sending an email that would make their feelings known.
It would be a terrible, terrible thing if thousands of people emailed email@example.com and give their views on this witch hunt.— nick pye (@nickthepieman) October 26, 2017
Aim would be to waste as much of their time as possible, so start off sounding legit and then gradually turn it farcical.— hrtbps (@hrtbps) October 26, 2017
The Daily Mail is looking for evidence of a pro remain bias in UK universities. I thought I'd do my bit for The Nation. pic.twitter.com/PCmrhsR2Il— ChrisJones (@jonesch56591) October 27, 2017
I'm just scared they may miss the point and take me seriously... (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Ae4kPRjZoR— Tom Goodwin (@opentheirminds) October 26, 2017
Some saw echoes of more troubling and oppressive regimes of the past.
Matthew, this is more than worrying, First they targetted the judiciary; now it's us. How is this not like Germany in the 1930s? Seriously.— Richard Bentall (@RichardBentall) October 26, 2017
Stasi, McCarthyism, Communist China, Erdogan's Turkey - all regimes we'd condemn for their suppression of thought/belief— Martin Baker (@ytfcbadger) October 26, 2017