We all know about the huge response that Jan Moir generated with her article: ‘Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death’ (now retitled: ‘A strange, lonely and troubling death’). We also know about the total lack of coverage that followed in the Daily Mail and most other mainstream media outlets. The Daily Mail managed a brief statement from Moir about how it was all a ‘heavily orchestrated Internet campaign’ against her by the horrible people that use Twitter and that it was ‘mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones’.
Naturally, churnalism sprung into action and Moir’s statement was repeated and because nothing else was said on the matter by the Daily Mail (officially at least, several Mail columnists tore Moir’s article apart) or by Moir that was supposed to be an end to it.
The PCC, after recovering from a broken website due to the unprecedented number of complaints, decided that the complaints were partly the fault of Stephen Fry (ironically another gay man) and silly people on the Internet. The PCC made it clear that with only 14 members of staff it wasn’t really able to deal adequately with over 25,000 complaints, but luckily – as ‘none of the original 25,000 complaints were from Stephen Gately’s family or close friends’ – apart from acknowledging they’d had a busy day watching the complaints pour in, they didn’t actually have to do anything about them.
Still, due to the vast amount of complaints an investigation was launched (no details provided in the Press Release) about the ‘general accuracy’ of the article, but before this was completed Andrew Cowles – Gately’s partner – had lodged a complaint which is now being dealt with.
However, the PCC have yet to make any announcements as to whether they believed the article was accurate – to settle the third-party complaints they don’t have to deal with. Neither have they made any announcements on the progress of Cowles complaints. The PCC are not exactly quick, but then what do you expect from an organisation that has 13 editors on its code committee (chaired by Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre) to oversea the ideals the press aims for, but only employs 14 staff to vaguely monitor whether the code is being upheld by editors.
Tabloid Watch pointed out recently that the Daily Mail is still leading the way with the largest amount of ‘resolved’ complaints of any newspaper, and Paul Dacre chairs the committee that deals with the editor’s code of conduct.
There has been one outcome since Moir wrote her article – questioning the details of what really happened that night – and it is the inquiry into Gately’s death. The inquiry concludes:
Although he had drunk heavily and smoked cannabis it was ruled that these were not factors in his death.
Naturally Jan Moir didn’t mention this in her column today (she was finding time to judge a mother – a favourite past time of hers). The Daily Mail did report it, however, they decided to bury it on page 36 in the hope that nobody would spot it and realise what a gutless shit rag it is. Paul Dacre had the opportunity to practice what he preaches and make an example of Moir for publishing utter rubbish about a dead person – not just rubbish, but bigoted and ignorant rubbish – by reporting on the outcome and explaining that somehow the press had learnt an important lesson from all this.
But he didn’t. He just pretended it hadn’t happened by relegating it to a tiny space between some advertising (ironic given that advertisers pulled the plug on the original article online). Likewise, as predicted yesterday the Daily Mail did not report the latest crime figures at all in the print edition, not one paragraph.
When it comes to the Daily Mail, clearly good news or news not suiting their agenda is no news.