The Daily Mail – “the best-hated paper in the world” according to its adoring founder Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, had an auspicious start when it launched in 1896 to an eager audience of hard-working, middle-class types. The elite were scathing about it being “run by office boys for office boys” but within a few years it was the world’s most successful newspaper. Which didn’t stop the criticism – one reviewer said Northcliffe had done “more than any man of his generation to pervert and enfeeble the mind of the multitude”.
A new biography of Northcliffe describes him as charismatic, swashbuckling, admirable and appalling. His instructions to staff were to focus on anything out of the ordinary and keep explanations simple; with three imperatives for content – health, sex and money. He was a man of ferocious prejudices, with “Jews and Scotsmen” among his favourite targets. He banned photographs of women in trousers on the grounds that “masculine tendencies in women are interfering with the birth rate”. In the decade after the Mail launched he launched the Daily Mirror, bought The Observer and the Times. Despite his oddball and racist views he proved invaluable during WW1, campaigning ferociously against Germany.
By the the early 1920s, he descended (or ascended) into megalomania, some say because of syphilis, though others point to a terminal heart infection. Convinced the Germans were trying to kill him with poisoned ice cream, he regularly brandished a revolver at his terrified staff. On an excursion to Boulogne railway station, he loudly accused God of an enthusiasm for sodomy. He died aged 57 with no legitimate heirs though four children born out of wedlock.
He was born 15 July 1865 6.50pm in Baile Alha Cliath, Ireland, but educated in England and started his career early running a school magazine.
He had a Cancer Sun, which, as a sign, has a knack for sniffing out the public taste and spotting trends. His Sun was square a Saturn opposition an Aries Moon – hard-working, emotionally damped down. At first glance it is not that interesting a chart for a man who became ‘one of the blazing meteors of the late Victorian age.’ But on closer examination his Mercury is heavily aspected being in the intense (digging the dirt) 8th house in a dogmatic square to Pluto and a duplicitous trine to a communicative 3rd house Neptune and sextile a frivolous, entertaining 5th house Venus in Gemini. His Moon and South Node were also in his communication 3rd house opposition a self-righteous 9th house Saturn. He had a vengeful, deeply buried 8th house Mars sextile a divisive Uranus on his Descendant and a passionate, emotionally insensitive square to Venus.
On the other hand his get-it-together, businessman’s 5th Harmonic is immensely strong with a highlighted mega-confident/successful Jupiter Pluto conjunction tied into the North Node (=spirit of the age), the Moon ( = the masses) with a hyper-active and enduringly determined Mars.
The Daily Mail, 4 May 1896, has a more descriptive chart with an enduring, stubborn Taurus Sun opposition an obsessive Saturn in Scorpio square an Aquarius Moon; and Mercury in Taurus opposition an outspoken Uranus. More significantly it had the Neptune Pluto in Gemini conjunction of that era which is scandal-prone and associated with the rise of ‘yellow journalism’ noted for its sensationalist leanings.
The circulation war between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal in the USA in the late 1890s was a classic Neptune Pluto event.
In the Mail’s case the Neptune Pluto is square Mars giving it a ruthless edge – both showbizzy and publicity-attracting from Mars Neptune, as well as cold-hearted and merciless from Mars Pluto.
During the 1930s, the then Lord Rothermere, a brother of Alfred, was a friend of Hitler and Mussolini and violently anti-Communist.