Freedom for what? To kill young women?

As regular readers of this blog know, the Daily Mail believe that the vital importance of a free press is an excuse for anything they want to do. The confluence of reporting and commentary is so insidious and malevolent. Many newspapers are guilty but the Mail is the biggest culprit.

For me, one of the best examples of this is in the reporting of vaccine stories. I have written about this before. I wonder if I should apologise for covering old ground, but then as long as the Mail puts real lives are risk by cynically exploiting people’s fears in order to push an agenda and sell newspapers, I think I will feel compelled to respond.

So the current Mail  campaign is against the HPV vaccine: Girl, 13, Left in ‘Waking Coma’ and Sleeps For 23 Hours a Day After Severe Reaction to Cervical Cancer Jabs. Now, you don’t have to be a doctor to begin to doubt the veracity of the headline, simply reading the article itself is a good start;

“But just weeks after she received the third dose of Cervarix in May this year she began to feel exhausted.”

Let’s just cover some facts:

  1. Cevical cancer is caused by a virus (Human Papilloma Virus).
  2. The current vaccine protects against 70% of the strains that cause cancer
  3. By preventing the virus infection, the vaccine prevents the cancer
  4. If you look at the data (also in the article) the vaccine is very safe.

The subject of this article has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. This remains a controversial issue for lots of reasons, not least because despite a lot of research, a cause has not been clearly identified. Therefore to ascribe her symptoms to the vaccine that was given weeks before is a very speculative statement at best.

Lets have a look at the little information panel they’ve included:

Now I assume that they’ve got this data from the MRHA (The medicines and healthcare products regulations agency). On their website I couldn’t find the up to date figures because they don’t publish them routinely but they are available on request. However the initial figures from the first two years are here. The importance of this is how closely vaccine reactions are tracked and recorded. So lets look at the side-effects; 4445 out of over four million vaccines is around one in a thousand reported side-effects. Of those the vast majority were local reactions and rashes. Now I don’t want to underestimate the significance of a sore arm, but I think cancer can be quite nasty too. Allergic reactions are important, because a severe reaction can be very dangerous, but the figures for anaphylaxis are extremely low. The final comment about Guillan-Barre syndrome is also very disingenuous. GBS is a nasty condition but it occurs sporadically and rarely in the population all the time. The important point is that people notice when they occur after a vaccine. If the two really were linked then the rate in the vaccinated population would be higher than the background rate. It is not.

Please remember people, coincidence is not the same thing as causation. It seems that if something occurs around the time of the vaccination, then the vaccine must be to blame.

I firmly believe that the press has an important role to play in keeping the powerful accountable. However, making stuff up and stoking up fear is something very different. I wouldn’t mind but the HPV vaccine will save many young women from a horrible and early death. If the vaccine really is dangerous then we shouldn’t use it. But it’s not. The ever-increasing evidence is that the vaccine is very safe.

I wonder, if in 15 years time someone did a study which showed that cervical cancer was massively more common amongst the daughters of Daily Mail readers, would they publish an apology? No, I thought not.

Here’s a headline for you:

Reading the Daily Mail can cause cancer in your children!

 

AFZ

Here lies Winterval: 1998-2011?

So, after a lot of resistance – distorted, truth-bending resistance – the Daily Mail have published a correction after Melanie Phillips claimed that:

Christmas has been renamed in various places ‘Winterval’.

Tabloid Watch has charted the great effort the complainant – regular Tabloid Watch reader James – went to in order for the Daily Mail to admit to the simple truth that Winterval was simply a tabloid fiction. As usual the Mail took a month to respond to the complaint – remember the PCC’s slogan is ‘Free, fast, fair’ and that Daily mail editor Paul Dacre keeps defending the PCC as effective – and when they did they argued that:

The nit-picking suggestion that the term “Christmas” refers only to Christmas Day cannot be supported by anyone with a modicum of common sense. And Phillips did not say the term was intended to replace Christmas Day.

Much wrangling later they finally issued in print and online the following apology:

We stated in an article on 26 September that Christmas has been renamed in various places Winterval. Winterval was the collective name for a season of public events, both religious and secular, which took place in Birmingham in 1997 and 1998. We are happy to make clear that Winterval did not rename or replace Christmas.

Amazingly – in what appears to be a first – the Daily Mail website has also added the same clarification to the bottom of the original article as well. The Daily Mail is to be commended for this – they have done the right thing.

There are a few remaining questions:

  1. Will Melanie Phillips acknowledge the correction in her next column with any sort of apology?
  2. Will Melanie Phillips apologise to me for responding to my polite email pointing her in the direction of my essay on the Winterval myth by claiming that my message was ‘as arrogant and ignorant as it is offensive’?
  3. Will she also admit that her claim that my blog post about her was ‘highly defamatory and contains false allegations for which you would stand to pay me significant damages in a libel action’ was complete rubbish – given that her own newspaper has now had to issue a correction on her behalf?
  4. Will Winterval still be repeated by politicians / journalists and so forth in the same way that it always has done following various previous debunkings?

I will always be tempted to refer back to my initial point on the Winterval myth: the most depressing thing about it isn’t neccesarily its longevity, but the fact that the original story was so clearly completely untrue and contained clear statements from the council that demonstrated this. It should never have been born, let alone be fed until it was big enough for politicians and far right groups alike to befriend.

Anyway, if you’re in the spirit for more on this please feel free to read my piece on Comment is Free. Or, you could settle down and read my lengthy essay on the matter.

One minute, you’re relaxing on holiday…

The next, someone contacts you to tell you that you’re in the Daily Mail and you soon realise that whilst you were out of the country someone had grabbed your life, twisted out of all recognition and published it to the world.

Welcome to the story of Hayley Quinn who this happened to in October.

Hayley Quinn describes herself as a ‘dating coach and writer’ and a ‘specialist in the arts of conversation, persuasion and seduction’. The Daily Mail described her as: ‘the matchmaking expert who cannot hold down a boyfriend’. Just one slight problem with that description: Hayley was at the time of publication on holiday with her boyfriend of 10 months. Hayley has been kind enough to go through the entire Daily Mail article and point out just what parts of it were inaccurate or simply an invention of the writer – the byline belongs to one Lauren Paxman, you are all welcome to join me in a slow handclap for her once you get to the end of this blog post.

All the parts highlighted in bold are my emphasis and are tackled by Hayley below the chunks of the Mail article. Bear in mind that Hayley never gave any form of interview to the Daily Mail so the constant ‘she said’ stuff the article uses are either made up or taken from a Now magazine article which you can read in full here – links given at the bottom of the article. If you read the Now magazine article – which must presumably be the source of the Daily Mail article – you can see just how much invention, exaggeration and distortion is used by the Daily Mail to ‘sex-up’ the article and to create a completely different Hayley Quinn than you meet in the Now magazine article.


It’s an age old problem that even formed the basis of Jane Austen’s novel, Emma, the better you are at advising others on dating, the harder it often is to find yourself a partner.

But Hayley Quinn, who has helped teach 100,000 men how to seduce women cannot find a boyfriend for a reason that would have scandalised high society Georgians: she is addicted to casual flings.

The 100,000 figure is inaccurate: more like 10,000. Internet forums have thought that I purposely exaggerated this figure: in fact the paper just made it up.

As for the ‘addicted to casual flings’ accusation: I’m not a saint but I am not a sex addict – and ironically this article came out when I was on holiday with my boyfriend of 10 months in Malta.

The frustrated 24-year-old earns £40,000-per-year as a professional dating expert who teaches shy guys to bag the woman of their dreams.

Made up figure: I also didn’t want any salary released to the public as I didn’t want to appear to be in a better/ worse position than my competitors.

But despite going on more than 200 dates in the past year herself – often as many as seven in seven days – she cannot hold onto a man.

Made up. I have maybe been on 30 but I’ve been monogamous with my boyfriend for some time.

Hayley says she has become so good at seducing men she is ‘addicted’ to it and finds it impossible to settle down.

The pretty brunette, who lives in central London, describes herself as ‘a more extreme Carrie Bradshaw character from Sex and the City’.

She said: ‘My bigger problem is that there’s one client I just can’t crack – me‘.

A fantastic piece of creative writing.

‘Despite what my job may imply of me, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, and can’t seem to find the right guy for me’.

‘I would love to be whisked off my feet and proposed to but, despite falling head over heels numerous times – often with clients – it just hasn’t happened’.

This implies that I’ve had romantic affairs with my clients, this is untrue and detrimental to my business.

‘I can’t follow my own advice and seem to be able to find love for anyone and everyone but me.

‘I’ve kept a diary of all my dates, work and personal, so I can keep track, and call it my ‘Sexcapades‘.’

This implies I go on dates for work = escorting. Nope I teach other guys how to date women in a theoretical, seminar based fashion.

I haven’t named it this [‘sexcapades’] (in fact working title is ‘first date to wedding bells’ as the diaries mainly describe the progression of my relationship with my boyfriend. I may have used the word ‘sexcapades’ historically but this is anachronistic.

She added: ‘The problem is I’ve become so good at the dating game that I’m addicted to it.

‘Now, if I spot someone I find attractive I challenge myself to seduce him into bed. And I never lose.

‘I simply can’t get enough of the thrill of the chase. I’m addicted to dating and each fling only fuels my appetite for the next.

‘It’s meant that, for now, I’ve had to postpone all thoughts of my dream wedding to Mr Right.’

I don’t think I’ve ever challenged myself to seduce someone into bed. I traditionally have dated mostly women and have only ever slept with 6 men… which is hardly a record breaking amount. Two of those were ‘flings’ four ‘long term relationships’… not salacious stuff. The truth is my luck with guys is a bit rubbish – or it has been – but not because I have an addiction.

‘The irony isn’t lost on me – I train men how to be successful with women, but can’t find the right guy myself!’

Hayley, who grew up in Devon, became a serial dater after the DJ boyfriend she moved to London with aged 18 cheated on her with two women – at the same time.

Cornwall actually.

She said: ‘I was very much a one man woman and wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with him.

‘So when I discovered he had cheated on me with not one, but two women while on holiday in Las Vegas, the revelation shook my outlook on life and love to the core.

John B (my ex) is a great friend of mine and I would never have wanted something so scathing printed about him.

‘I felt like I was out of my depth and I hated the way he’d made me feel so helpless and unable to influence my own happiness.

‘My life had been turned upside down by the man who told me he loved me and had then had a threesome behind my back, and so in a bid to take back control I went on a dating spree.’

This happened when I was 18, we were then together in a monogamous relationship until I was 23, then I began to date again after we’d broken up. His behaviour did not trigger a ‘dating spree’.

Hayley has also been given regular dating columns in men’s magazines and on dating sites, reaching out to more than 100,000 men.

Earning a healthy £40,000 salary from all of her dating exploits, she has turned her passion into a career.

She said: ‘I’ve been so successful I frequently receive messages of thanks and gifts from men I’ve helped find romance.

Many of the guys who come to me are just happy they get to sleep with someone!’

‘But as for me, I’m still single I’m continuing my search for Mr Right.’

Repetition of inaccurate figures.

I’ve received one book from a client- no other presents. This again feels ‘escort-y’.

This REALLY implies that there’s more to what I teach than conversation skills.

I’m not single anymore.


Hayley would like her version of events to travel as far and as wide as possible, so please share this on Twitter (you can find me: @uponnothing or Hayley: @hayleyquinn to RT). You can also visit her website to find out more about what she actually does.

For my part, let me just repeat one of the claims that the Daily Mail makes in this article: ‘Many of the guys who come to me are just happy they get to sleep with someone’. No matter how many times I read this I cannot take away any other message but: ‘Hayley’s service includes sleeping with all of the men who use it’.

The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press must have our full support. We can’t go on accepting that this is just what newspapers do.

You can start the slow hand-clapping for Mail hack Lauren Paxman now.


Here are the two Now magazine pages hosted on my Mediafire account: Now Page 1, Now Page 2.

 

Do computer games leave children with ‘dementia’?

Daily Mail headline: ‘Computer games leave children with ‘dementia’ warns top neurologist’. The first two paragraphs of the article:

Children’s brains could be left damaged and they could suffer temporary ‘dementia’ by playing computer games, a leading scientist has warned.

Eminent neurologist Baroness Susan Greenfield said yesterday that spending time online gaming and browsing internet sites such as Facebook could pose problems for millions of youngsters.

Three paragraphs from further on in the same article:

However, she did not reveal any research that had made a connection between screen technologies and brain degeneration.

Professor Mark Griffiths, a psychologist and Directory of Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit, said he knew of no scientific evidence that such a link existed.

He said: ‘If anything the fact computer games are arousing can aid education by keeping children engaged.’

So, basically she is speculating that constantly being at a computer screen could damage your brain (for example, if you spend too much time on the Mail website) but she fails to provide any evidence to support her hypothesis. The Daily Mail chooses to ignore that and prefers to instead publish a headline that clearly implies the claim is based on evidence – i.e. if they accurately reported what the neurologist had said the headline would read: ‘Computer games could leave children with ‘dementia’ warns top neurologist’ rather than: ‘Computer games leave children with ‘dementia’ warns top neurologist’.

Paul Dacre doesn’t seem to realise that there is a lot more to bad journalism than just phone hacking and that tougher regulation isn’t just a result of that one crime, but rather the fact that the vast majority of newspapers publish bullshit every single day.

The lies keep on coming

So, the old myth about the immigrant that avoided deportation thanks to owning a cat was mentioned by Theresa May in her conference speech. Theresa May was laughed at because this never actually happened and had been debunked at the time. So far, so simple. Even the Daily Mail reported on the story – conveniently forgetting that they were one of the early spreaders of the false story back in 2009 when it first started doing the rounds. However, now the Daily Mail have gone and done this:

The Daily Mail: enemy of truth

Even though the lawyers involved in this case have issued a categorical denial of the story only yesterday, they make a complete mockery of the truth and publish this shit. On the front page.

I despair. How can they get away with this? Why do people keep buying this shit? This last few weeks have been amazing in terms of just how many lies the Daily Mail have been happy to repeat. And still nothing can be done.

OK, enough, this has to stop

The Daily Mail is still publishing stories about the BBC’s non-banning of AD/BC from ever more bizarre sources:

Vatican

The ‘journalist’ behind this article is Simon Caldwell and if he doesn’t realise that this story is a complete lie, then he must be one of the most incompetent journalists around, or one of the most morally bankrupt. The article is just breathtakingly dishonest:

The Vatican has accused the BBC of an ‘act of enormous foolishness’ for dumping the terms BC and AD in case they cause offence to non-Christians.

The Roman Catholic Church also severely criticised the ‘senseless hypocrisy’ of Britain’s public service broadcaster for using a false respect for other religions to purge Christianity from Western culture.

Caldwell claims, despite the BBC issuing clarifying statements and the original Mail on Sunday admitting that each presenter was free to choose what terms to use, that:

The new guidance from the BBC asserts that the abbreviations for Before Christ and Anno Domini (the Year of the Lord) infringed its protocols on impartiality.

It instructs employees to instead replace them with the non-religious phrases BCE and BC – Before Common Era and Common Era.

No, the BBC have not issued any such instructions. Anybody with seconds in which to search Google knows this. Everyone who knows how the Daily Mail blusters and lies constantly to attack the BBC for the most inane reasons knows that any such story should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

How can articles like this be published? How can the Daily Mail exist in such a vacuum of truth? This story was an invention of the Mail on Sunday and it was immediately debunked – indeed people reading to the end of the Mail on Sunday article realised that is was invented because the Mail on Sunday admitted as much in the original article. Yet here we are, another myth has entered part of the national consciousness – the paranoid, ignorant and vocal minority of Daily Mail readers who our politicians feel it is so important to pander to.

I cannot clearly express how frustrated and angry I am becoming that shit like this can be published day after day when it is just a lie, a complete fucking lie. The BBC have never issued any order for presenters to abandon AD/BC and you only have to watch BBC programmes to realise that AD/BC is still used, frequently. It is beyond a joke now. People lap this bullshit up, believing it even though it seems laughable to anyone with half a brain how anyone could take this myth seriously.

We need proper press regulation because a loud minority have provided consistent evidence that they do not have the mental capacity to tell fact from fiction anymore and they must be saved from their own ignorance.

As for the Vatican: this is an organisation that can find the time to be outraged at the BBC because they are under the false impression that they are swapping one arbitrary term for another; whilst they are painstakingly attempting to cover-up years of systematic child abuse. I think they need to reassess their priorities.

Theresa May’s Littlejohn moment

So Theresa May repeated the 2009 myth that an immigrant was allowed to stay in the UK because they owned a cat. Worryingly, her speech had – according to Left Foot Forward – been checked by no less than David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and Danny Alexander. Oh dear. For the record (in case you somehow missed this)  this is what she claimed in her speech:

“We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act. The violent drug dealer who cannot be sent home because his daughter – for whom he pays no maintenance – lives here. The robber who cannot be removed because he has a girlfriend. The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat.”

To be fair to her, she wasn’t making this story up – that is the job of our wonderful press which can do so safe in the knowledge that it faces no sanctions for doing so. The story originated in the Sunday Telegraph and, even though it was clearly rubbish, it was copied by the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun and the Daily Star.

As I’ve written so many times before: dishonest journalism has consequences.

It has only been a few days since David Cameron attacked the Human Rights Act based on nothing more than an incident he read about in the Daily Mail. Needless to say, that Daily Mail article was utterly dishonest and was discredited here long before Cameron repeated it. It seems to me that the main problem with democracy in the UK is that all politicians can ever focus on is the next election and therefore they feel they are always at the mercy of public opinion. They therefore discuss what they think the country cares about, which largely means that they (having no knowledge of the country as a whole) simply look at what the newspapers are writing about and base political discourse around the same few tired narratives – most of which are extremely distorted.

Thus every time a politician wants to appeal to the electorate they feel as if they must go for the short-term topic of the day and that they can only connect with the public by repeating some crap they read in the newspaper – as if newspapers are some magical conduit to our souls. This is why in a time of a world financial crisis politicians think our main concerns are the 100 or so illegal immigrants who we fail to legally deport each year due to the Human Rights Act, or weekly bin collections, or immigration or council tax or people on benefits or whatever else is easy to attack, say or promise. We are treated as if we were selfish children, unable to see past our own immediate wants.

I don’t think we are, and I think – increasingly – we are becoming more and more conscious of just how poisoned political discourse has become in this country thanks to the distorted media narratives created by a largely amoral and unregulated press. It might at first seem pretty funny that the home secretary should make such an obvious gaffe during a big speech. But it isn’t funny, at all, because it happens far too often and on most occasions it is rarely challenged.


In case you are wondering, yes, Richard Littlejohn did cover this story.

EU does not plan to enforce 20mph speed limit

The Mail wesbite today printed the following headline: ‘EU plans to enforce 20mph speed limits in residential zones and replace Highway Code with European laws sparks outrage’. Then, in their article – which is full of the normal enraged quotes from the standard frothing Tory rent-a-gobs – they clearly state that:

today’s proposal is only an ‘own initiative’ report and unlikely to see the light of legislative day

There are only two comments so far, but both are very interesting:

There are no “plans to enforce a mandatory 20mph speed limit”. What this non-legislative resolution said was that “Parliament strongly recommends a 30 km/h (19 mph) speed limit in residential areas and on all single-lane roads without cycle tracks.” And clearly this would be set at 20mph and not 18.64mph. Since when has a strong recomendation constituted “dictatorship”? This recomendation copies what the DfT recommended in December 2009, so is hardly revolutionary stuff. Already local authorities in the UK with a combined population of 6.8m have adopted a policy of a 20mph limit for all residential streets with appropriate exceptions. A sensible rcommendation for a sensible way to share the public space between our houses that we call “streets”. Rod King – Campaign Director 20s’s Plenty for Us

And:

I wonder, if a single MP (as opposed to MEP) would suggest a silly law to limit speed to 20 mph, would your article’s title be “Britain plans to enforce 20 mph”? Silly laws get tabled in every parliament (including our own). Your anti-EU bias is making you do things which are beyond the realm of fair reporting.

This isn’t, I imagine, the response the Mail Online editor was hoping for.

Human Rights wrongly blamed, again

Another day, another chance to blame Human Rights for something: ‘Prison van driven 96 miles to take defendant 60 YARDS to court as “walking will infringe his human rights”‘. The Mail claims:

A prison van travelled 96 miles to transfer a defendant just 60 yards from a police station to a court because walking would ‘infringe his human rights’.

Despite it being just a 30-second walk from Banbury Police Station to the dock, custody chiefs ordered a prison van for defendant Oliver Thomas, 27, which was sent from 96 miles away…

Judge Tom Corrie was told that to have taken the prisoner on foot from police cells to the dock would have ‘infringed his human rights’.

The transport was provided by GEOAmey which is contracted to ‘take defendants between custody and courts’. According to the Daily Mail the contract is worth £90m and they quote a GEOAmey spokesman to defend the decision to send a van:

He said: ‘Police wouldn’t expect us to turn up at Banbury and handcuff a prisoner and take him down the street and to the court. Generally speaking we don’t see that in this country.

‘It strays into the area of human rights. They have a right to have their identity protected. We normally cover Banbury from our Buckinghamshire vehicle base.

‘However, in this particular instance, the request to move this prisoner came late, by which time all our available Buckinghamshire-based vehicles and crews had been allocated to other routes and schedules.

‘As a contingency measure, in order to deliver the standard of service we are committed to provide, a vehicle and officers were deployed from our Eastleigh base.

‘This was not a ‘one-off’ run just to deliver this prisoner.

‘Our staff collected Mr Thomas from Banbury in the morning and assisted with duties at the court until mid-afternoon then delivered prisoners to HMP Bullingdon, Bicester, and on to other prisons.

He added: ‘The decision has nothing to do with Thames Valley Police officers based in the station.’

So, the spokesman mentioned it could ‘stray’ into human rights territory but it seems to me that he spoke as a contractor who is being paid to drive people between ‘custody and courts’, how would it look if the contractor made the accused walk? Would the Mail then complain that the contractor was on a government gravy train and providing a bad service? Is the contract charged individually, or as a whole? Was this a specific ‘waste’ of taxpayers money or did it inconvenience the contractor who is getting paid for the service provided as a whole, rather than individually invoicing for each journey?

We don’t know, the Daily Mail probably doesn’t know and definitely doesn’t care as long as they get a cheap headline, a good photo op and some easy copy attacking a favourite target.

Put it another way: if we bother going through the expense of hiring vans with blacked-out windows to transport the accused from custody to court anonymously, how can it ever be right to strip the accused of public anonymity by walking them under guard and in handcuffs to court just because it means moving a van around at short notice? As the spokesman said: ‘Generally speaking we don’t see that in this country… They have a right to have their identity protected’. It is, after all, innocent until proven guilty and everyone is equal regardless of whether they might rack up a larger van bill on the day.

Which is the final point, the Mail makes a big fuss trying to work out just how much this trip cost, completely ignoring the fact that the contractor worked the journey into the schedule of the van so that it was well used by more than just this one person. Funnily enough the Mail ignores this rather less catchy headline: ‘contractor paid for by YOUR MONEY rearranges court van at short notice as efficiently as possible’.

I wonder if Richard Littlejohn will find room for this in his column tomorrow…

The trouble with dishonest headlines…

According to a Daily Mail website headline today: ‘Goodbye Mr Chips: Doritos creator dies at 97… and his family wants to sprinkle them over his body before he is buried’.

So, in a kind of weird tribute to Arch West (creator of addictive TV snack Doritos) his family are supposedly going to ‘sprinkle them [Doritos] over his body before he is buried’. Sounds clear enough, but the trouble is this just is not true, not even vaguely true. You know it’s not true when the Daily Mail doesn’t even pretend in the article – not even in the first paragraph that this is actually going to happen:

The family of the man who created Doritos are to bury dozens of the chips next to his ashes, they have revealed.

Relatives of Arch West said that they would scatter Doritos in the grave before placing the urn containing his remains inside and covering it over with dirt.

So, immediately we’ve gone from ‘sprinkle them over his body before he is buried’ to ‘bury dozens of the chips next to his ashes’ and ‘they would scatter Doritos in the grave before placing the urn inside and covering it in dirt’. This isn’t buried (excuse the pun) at the bottom of the article, this is the opening two paragraphs.

It gets worse if you look at the Mail Online homepage:

Doritos

Even the trail doesn’t attempt to hide the fact that the headline is a complete lie. It’s embarrassing that this is the media we have accepted – not all of us, but enough to make the Mail website one of the most visited ‘news’ websites on earth. Collectively, as a planet, we endorse this meaningless drivel.

It gets even worse. Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday lead story online and in print was a complete lie about the BBC. Anybody with a reading age of 10+ could have determined from the article that it was a complete lie – anyone with a shred of journalistic integrity would have listened to the response of the BBC or the searched out the evidence put together by bloggers and the Guardian demonstrating that is was absolutely untrue.

But we live in an age when myths can be created out of nothing – even when the article that starts it all contains glaring contradictions it is still accepted as the truth by bovine readers and insidious journalists. Tabloid Watch has posted a follow-up on how the story is spreading and it makes sobering reading.