moral panic button

The world’s most visited news website, Mail Online, is to be fitted with a special panic button that readers can use to express their sense of moral outrage. Clicking the button will automatically notify the relevant authorities that Daily Mail readers are upset and that ‘something must be done’.

The decision follows concern that regular readers are being exposed to a constant diet of threats to the social order, celebrity cellulite and Melanie Phillips columns, something that could leave them seriously traumatised unless they have access to immediate help.

‘A panic button is a welcome addition to the site,’ said psychologist Dr Raj Persaud. ‘Without it readers may repress their feelings of moral outrage, which, according to a recent Mail report, could cause cancer.’

Clicking the button quickly redirects readers to a special relaxation page featuring soothing images from the 1950s when the world was a much safer place, people could leave their doors unlocked and children had respect for their elders.

The button will also activate a simple drop-down menu of easy option responses for Mail readers to put in the comments section including: ‘We’re all going to hell in a handcart’, ‘It’s political correctness gone mad,’ and, ‘This is all the fault of the BBC/Europe/gypsies/illegal immigrants/the 1960s/Russell Brand/all of the above.’

The decision has been welcomed by campaigners although many would like things taken a stage further. ‘A Moral Panic button is good for regular Daily Mail readers but many people stumble across the site by accident,’ said celebrity activist Hugh Grant. ‘People of a sensitive liberal disposition may be innocently searching the internet for hummus recipes when they inadvertently find themselves exposed to hard core Daily Mail content. We either need some sort of opt-out filter or, at the very least, a Liberal Outrage button as well.’

Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre rejected calls for an additional panic button for liberals. ‘Nowadays the the vast majority of people coming to our website are politically correct Guardian readers looking for something to get upset about. But these people don’t need a special button to register their outrage; they can do what they normally do and go and complain about it on Twitter.’