The Daily Mail, a bastion of journalistic integrity if there ever was one, has trained its keen eye on yet another matter of vital importance to its home country of Britain and, to be sure, the world.
The matter under discussion is the father of former actress and soon-to-be-princess Meghan Markle, Thomas Markle, aged 77. He lives in San Antonio Del Mar, a small town in Baja California the Mail describes as “murder-plagued” and “shabby.”
The gist of the article seems to be how extraordinary it is that Thomas Markle – who the article’s author, Tom Leonard, elegantly limns with even-handed adjectives such as “unkempt” and “shambling” – will soon attend his daughter’s wedding and thus inevitably rub shoulders with the British Royal Family. For you see, between the Windsors and Markle, who the writer describes as living alongside a “large, stinking open sewer emptying out onto an empty and rocky brown sand beach where even the birds are speckled a dirty brown,” there exists a “vast chasm” of social difference.
The article goes on to document the deficiencies which make his sudden proximity – legal, if not geographical – to the royal family laughably absurd. These include being overweight, anti-social (he leaves his home only to “stock up on another six-pack of beer or his favorite chicken tacos”), financially near-destitute, and monolingual.
In all this Leonard sees Markle as representative of the American Retiree in Mexico, a point of view he has no doubt backed up by rigorous journalistic research into the hundreds of thousands of Americans living all over the country. He also describes Baja and the rest of Mexico in unsparing terms as an inferno of gang violence where innocent tourists are routinely victimized.
While no doubt an exemplar of fair and balanced reporting, one person had this to say in the comment section of Leonard’s article: “I live in San Antonio Del Mar and it is a lovely community. The homes are beautiful, all with decks overlooking the Pacific. Mr. Leonard likes to write trashy falsehoods. He should be ashamed.”
Above all, the article, as mentioned previously, delights in merrily poking fun at Markle’s economic circumstances and the comical way they contrast with those of the blue-blooded tribe across the pond.
This richly amusing income/class gap is most succinctly illustrated by a photo of a rundown roadside collection of shops in which, Leonard says, Markle “got measured up for his suit ready for his daughter’s wedding.”
Just a few days after the publication of the Mail’s “news” item, however, it was revealed that the aforementioned photo, plus one of Markle reading a book on British castles in a Starbucks, were staged by an unscrupulous freelance photographer and sold to the tabloids. Markle was subsequently pilloried, even by the Mail’s own slimy Piers Morgan (sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror for running phony stories, as well as by CNN), for being drawn into the flimflam and accepting money.
Now, as the world’s media is reporting, it turns out Markle will not be giving away his daughter at the Royal Wedding in Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19 after all, but rather is not in a healthy state to travel, and will require a heart operation. At least that, presumably, will cost him a great deal less in Mexico than north of the border.