Shocking ‘journalism’ from the Mail on Sunday

A lot of people on Twitter yesterday predicted that the Mail on Sunday would cover the March 26th protests only in terms of violence or vandalism and they were not wrong:

According to the Guardian more than a quarter of a million people marched – the vast majority peacefully – on London yesterday, so the Mail on Sunday decides to ignore that and instead publish a photo that appears to show just 3 people smashing a window. It’s the worst kind of ideological journalism and it paints a completely distorted picture of what actually took place yesterday.

It gets worse for the Mail on Sunday when you see their ‘exclusive’ on Gordon Brown, which is also online [istyosty.com link]: ‘The seven months pregnant woman told to give up her British Airways seat… just so Gordon Brown could fly Club Class’. The headline seems to be a complete lie, given that BA issued a clear statement to the Mail:

A spokeswoman for the airline said Mr Brown’s arrival on the flight was a coincidence, and he had been unfairly blamed by the mutinous passengers.

‘The situation had absolutely nothing to do with Gordon Brown,’ she said. ‘We have apologised to [the complainant] and we have offered to pay compensation.

‘It is very rare for a customer not to be able to travel in the cabin that they have booked and we are extremely sorry that this happened on this flight. Gordon Brown and his party were booked in advance and were not involved in any way.’

Indeed, the denial was so clear that when the Mail on Sunday contacted Gordon Brown’s office they received the following response:

‘I assume you have read the BA statement and are now not ­running the story…

‘As BA has made clear, the arrangements were nothing to do with Mr Brown, who had booked his flight and seats well in advance and made no requests for – nor received – any special treatment.

‘As BA will confirm, all questions about bookings, overbookings and allocations of seats are not – and could not be – a matter for Mr Brown but for British Airways.’

But run the story they did, on the front page, as if it were based on something more substantial than the opinion of an anonymous passenger. I wonder if Brown’s office will register a complaint with the PCC, or whether they might just get the lawyers in? It seems to me that the Mail on Sunday thought they were onto a winner, had it totally destroyed by the BA statement but decided to run with it anyway under a completely dishonest headline.

17 thoughts on “Shocking ‘journalism’ from the Mail on Sunday”

  1. And oh look, the Mail manage to get a reference to Nazis into the headline as well, just to add a little cherry to their usual ropey journalism.

  2. They might be operating on the principle that politicians don’t (usually) sue.

    Or they might just have so much money that they don’t give a stuff.

  3. If the Mail had any shame, to quote Peter Hitchens, it “would surely be finished by this unrepentant twisting of the truth”.

    Well, this and thousands of other examples.

  4. That is spot on Kevin. And another thing that I am certain really annoys us both is when sports journalists cover football games they only ever write about incidents such as goals or chances or sendings off, never all the stuff in between when the game just drags along. And newspapers never report on all the planes that take off and land without any problems, no, only the flights that crash. Anyone reading the papers would think that all planes end up in fireballs. It is a bloody disgrace. Lazy journalism. That is what it is. Or is it lazy blogging? I really cannot decide.

    1. @ Tiz Napolitani

      So, you’re saying hundreds of thousands of people marching is not news, but three people smashing a window is? Your analogy is actually suggesting that the march was as unimportant as an uneventful half of football, which is pretty stupid.

      You also seem to think that Gordon Brown flying on a plane, using a ticket he bought well in advance is also somehow justifiable news?

      Is this comment purposeful trolling, a satire on the stupidity of Internet commentators or are you just an idiot? I really cannot decide.

    1. @ Tiz

      At least 250,000 people attended the protest, according to the BBC 201 arrests were made – and 138 of those charged were for ‘aggravated trespass’ because they took part in peaceful sit-ins arranged by UK UNCUT.

      So, 250,000 seems to be the minimum number of people that took part, and arrests stand at 201, that means that just 0.0804% [corrected as below comment] of protesters were arrested, and over half of those arrests were for a peaceful sit-in occupation.

      And you call me stupid?

      My original point stands – and you, once again, have posted a painfully stupid comment on my blog.

  5. Er, your calculation’s out by a factor of 100. Sure it’s an honest mistake but it does make you look a little daft

  6. Oh dear Kevin, not the sharpest are we? The Mail report is about the march, it just concentrates on the most significant part of it, that of over 80 people left injured and parts of central London trashed after a group of violent protesters exploited an otherwise peaceful march to create trouble.
    In the words of Mail reporter Harry Mount: ‘Yesterday I saw a decent, respectable TUC march hijacked by thugs, vandals and a clueless pack of self-righteous protesters.’
    If you took the time to look at the pictures rather than spouting abuse, you would see it was much more than just three people smashing a window. It’s a shame, but when 84 people are injured, hotels, shops and banks are attacked with paint and smokebombs, and lghtbulbs filled with ammonia are hurled at police officers in what organisers wanted to be a peaceful protest then that violence becomes the most significant and newsworthy aspect of the march.

    1. @ Tiz

      No, it doesn’t. It is reported in this way because the Mail wants to lessen the legitimacy of the march and to detract attention away from the issues – hence why a march of over 250,000 people aimed at the current government is met with a front page covering 3 people throwing a table at a window and a made-up ‘exclusive’ about the old Prime Minister.

      The media don’t have trouble covering the positive aspects of protests in other countries – they just seem to dislike protests when they are aimed at changing a system in which the media is a well-established power-broker.

      PS. If you base your opinions purely on the pictures you are shown that goes a long way to explaining your simplistic worldview – and why you misunderstand what is really significant and what is just propaganda.

  7. This post marks the moment Kevin Arscott, Britain’s laziest blogger, also became Britain’s looniest blogger. Maybe if your sister was one of those trying to support her family by working a little-more-than-the-minimum-wage job in a central London shop or bank on Saturday when it came under attack by the violent protesters smashing windows and kicking down doors you would begin to grasp why newspapers reported it as the most significant event of the march. Or if your gran was one of those shopping for a present for her grandkids when she was left terrified by the violent group steaming down streets and hurling missiles you would comprehend why it was a significant incident worthy of news.
    Most people, however, do not need a personal connection to realise that when an otherwise peaceful march becomes violent and people get hurt this is the most serious part of what happened, even if only a small minority of the protesters were involved in the violence. I only highlighted the pictures because you appeared to be struggling to comprehend that it was far more than just ‘three people smashing a window’. So let’s look at the Guardian report:
    ‘But the day was marred by a violent minority of anarchists who went on the rampage, smashing windows and attacking property around Oxford Street. Prentis said he regretted that the actions of “a few hundred” risked diverting attention from the message that the “political heat is rising on the government”.
    At one stage 13 shops in Oxford Street were closed following skirmishes between activists and riot police. Topshop – owned by Sir Philip Green, who has been accused of tax avoidance – and HSBC had windows smashed, while paint and bottles were thrown at a Royal Bank of Scotland branch. A dozen police officers were surrounded and beaten by a masked mob in Sackville Street, off Piccadilly.
    ‘Police said 211 people were arrested for offences including using threatening or insulting words or behaviour, criminal damage, aggravated trespass, violent disorder and for going equipped with intent to cause criminal damage. They said video evidence would be used to make further arrests.
    … Commander Bob Broadhurst, the Scotland Yard officer in charge of policing the protests, said the TUC had done an excellent job in ensuring that the march was “very professional, very well prepared”. But he said a hardcore element had been intent on making trouble.
    “Unfortunately we’ve had in the region of 500-plus criminals – people hiding under the pretence of the TUC march – who have caused considerable damage, attacked police officers, attacked police vehicles and scared the general public.’
    Similar accounts are found, confirmed in hundreds of pictures and footage from the event. This is not propaganda. This is what happened. Violence and ordinary people getting hurt and terrorised was, unfortunately, the most significant thing that happened in the march as anyone who had any understanding or empathy for what it would be like for those caught up in it would agree.

  8. @ Tiz

    As the Mail front page says: ‘Anarchists hijack TUC cuts march’.

    They can only ‘hijack’ any protest if they are given the press coverage that they wanted. If the media focuses on the reasons behind the peaceful march and relegated the violence to the footnote that it deserves to be, then perhaps people would not resort to violence so quickly.

    Once again, you ignore my main point which is that ignoring the protests and focusing on the violent majority is essentially supporting the government position unquestioningly, which shouldn’t happen with our so-called ‘free press’, should it?

    So, you can keep looking at the pictures and keep trying to move away from the main argument by bringing in emotive distractions but it has nothing to do with my original point and any sane person can see this.

  9. “Britain’s laziest blogger, also became Britain’s looniest blogger.”

    Oh, come, come. Not while Peter Hitchens is still around.

  10. Also, that you (Tiz) express the view that the violence is the “most significant thing that happened in the march” is really exactly the point that Kevin is making; this is exactly how the Mail is presenting it, as *the* significant thing.

    The worst thing about the violence is that it allows for distraction, which, Tiz, you seem to be perpetuating. It undeniably happened, and it was moronic, but two hundred and fifty thousand people got onto the street to march in protest against what the government is doing. That’s quite “significant”, too; ultimately, when it comes to voting time, probably more so than damage to property – regardless of how many hypothetical, defenceless, present-buying grandmothers were hypothetically terrified.

  11. No doubt Kevin you consider the pregnant Greek bank worker and her two colleagues killed in May 2010 during a protest against government cuts there as an ’emotive distraction’ from the real message of the march. Thankfully the British free press, from the Mail to the Guardian, regard people getting hurt during violent protests as something significant that should be reported rather than simply dismissing them as collateral damage as you are happy to do.

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