MailOnline fakes Austrian snowstorm picture

MailOnline have an article on heavy snow in Austria, and have decided to claim that a photograph taken in a famously snowy region of Japan is actually of one of the locations in Austria that they describe in the article. Here is the photograph from the MailOnline homepage (note a pretty dire headline fail as well):

In the article itself the photograph is accompanied by the following caption:

Tunnel vision: The road into Ischgi was briefly open before being closed because of avalanche fears

If you do a search for the image using TinEye you get 142 results clearly showing the Japanese origins of the photo. Here is a link to one blog that not only contains the picture from the Daily Mail article, but also lots more lovely snow pictures to look at to take your mind off of the mild, grey winter we’re experiencing this year. Also, check out the date of that blogpost: 29 December 2010. The Mail is claiming a picture that is over a year old has just been taken in Austria. Not to mention that the cars in the picture are driving on the wrong side of the road for Austria.

What baffles me is how the Mail ever thought they could get away with this obvious deception – a deception that has been pointed out numerous times in the unmoderated comments under the article. You would have thought everyone would be on their best behaviour whilst the Leveson inquiry was ongoing. Obviously not.

UPDATE:

Whilst is appears that the Mail website has now removed this image, they did not have time to remove it from the print edition of the Daily Mail:

The photo includes the same caption as the original online version of the article, claiming the photo is from the recent snowstorm in Austria. This is embarrassing considering the Daily Mail’s photo editor – Paul Silva – is currently appearing in front of the Leveson inquiry.

Daily Mail still not exactly racially sensitive

In the week that Paul Dacre tried to claim credit for bringing two racist murderers to justice the Daily Mail website is quickly returning to form with some standard comment moderation in which racially abusive comments are happily let through, even though the comments section clearly states that all comments are being moderated. The story is the police investigation into alledged racism that supposedly took place during the Liverpool – Oldham game last night and which resulted in a young black player breaking down in tears.

Considering what has happened in the last week, and considering the way in which Paul Dacre lorded his newspaper’s moral superiority over us all you would think that the comments would be closely moderated – even more so given the reputation MailOnline has for not letting through many a sensible, non-abusive comment if it doesn’t agree with the editorial line. But, sadly this is not the case:

Way to take the high ground, Daily Mail. Still, what most of these comments are saying – ‘grow up you baby, people have heard worse’ – only echoes what Steve Doughty wrote a couple of months back:

So, Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand, I know you feel insulted. But perhaps in this case you could just put up with it and get on with the game.

The Daily Mail: institutionally racist even after the Stephen Lawrence case.

Daily Mirror falsely claim Liverpool fan 'arrested on suspicion for racial abuse'

The Daily Mirror have reported that Liverpool FC have been ‘hit by new racism row‘ and more specifically that:

a fan was arrested on suspicion of racially abusing Oldham player Tom Adeyemi…

Eyewitnesses saw two fans wearing Luis Suarez t-shirts, and heard one of them clearly shout “You f***ing black b*****d.”

Police immediately moved in to restrain the two suspects, and later confirmed arrests had been made.

However, the Guardian allegedly also reported that arrests had been made – only to remove all references to arrests shortly afterwards. Furthermore, BBC Sports Correspondent Dan Roan has tweeted that:

LFC & M’side Police say they are investigating “an incident” that occurred in the 2nd half v Oldham “to establish details of what happened” …but police “can confirm no one has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated behaviour during the match at Anfield”.

Once again Twitter is full of many different reports from many different sources. Whilst the Daily Mirror that eyewitnesses clearly heard racial abuse, Twitter users claiming to have been at the match and witnessing the incident deny that any racial abuse. Indeed, the BBC’s Nick Parrott was at the game and tweeted:

No fan was ejected following Adeyemi incident. I spoke to fans nearby who claim “Manc bastard” was the only thing shouted.

He was then able to confirm:

No #LFC fans were arrested on Kop tonight. Three were ejected, but this was unrelated to the #Adeyemi incident. I was there & spoke to cops

Before addressing the false claims in the Mirror he also commented that:

There were black and Asian fans near the fan who hurled abuse at #Adeyemi, I didn’t see them react to the fan. #LFC stewards didn’t react

What is clear is that the sheer speed at which information travels through social networks can both clarify and confuse situations. The Mirror clearly jumped at the initial incident, without first checking if any reliable sources could shed more light on the matter. Clearly a BBC reporter at the game should be considered a reliable source – and it seems according to those tweeting about the incident that the Guardian certainly corrected their article pretty quickly. It remains to be seen how long the Daily Mirror will take to correct its article – especially now that Merseyside Police have confirmed via Twitter that no arrests have been made – but an investigation into an incident is taking place.

Daily Mail nicking photos, again

This time from blogger IanVisits:

The blog post in question is the one the other day about the anniversary of the Cock Lane ghost…

I trawled through my own collection of vintage newspapers and engravings to see if I could add much more to the story – but ended up with a summary of the facts. I did however visit Cock Lane to take a photo of it as it is today, and got copies of a couple of contemporary newspaper reports.

You can imagine my surprise then when one of the newspaper scans, and my photo of Cock Lane appeared in the Daily Mail.

Published yesterday by a “Daily Mail Reporter“, then rewritten, rather better to be honest, a few hours later by Nick Enoch – both articles used my photos, without permission, payment or acknowledging my copyright.

The blogger has emailed the Daily Mail and is awaiting response. However, they do know who he is and they really should have paid him given that:

the photo editor has been in touch in the past to ask about using my photos, and they have on record how much I charge for that.

I’ll watch and wait to see if the Daily Mail do respond. Online content theft is certainly becoming quite a serious issue with certain newspapers and it is perhaps something that the Leveson inquiry should also be looking into.

The Daily Mail's initial coverage of the Stephen Lawrence murder

A lot of rumours and half-truths have been buzzing around Twitter and comment threads about how the Daily Mail initially reported the Stephen Lawrence case, and why Paul Dacre allegedly changed from being hostile towards it to one of its biggest champions.

In 1997 The Observer and Guardian newspapers covered the Daily Mail’s famous ‘Murderers’ headline in some detail and commented on the fact that the headline marked a significant departure from the Mail’s coverage of the murder up until that point. A Guardian editorial published on the 15 Feb 1997 comments:

Cynics can also point to a very belated conversion by the Mail. Until yesterday, the Mail’s coverage of the shameful killing had been somewhat peripheral. The murder was only mentioned in three stories in the last year before the inquest, only six the previous year, and just 20 since the murder was committed. Moreover, compare yesterday’s leader with the paper’s editorial shortly after the murder which, while hoping the guilty would be caught, was quick to sneer at the supporters campaigning for the Lawrence family: “What is not helpful is the gusto with which the more militant of the anti-racist organisations have hijacked this human tragedy. The black African leader Nelson Mandela was enlisted, while on a visit here, to give publicity to the case. Racism is abominable . . . but is there not also something contemptible about professional protesters who capitalise on grief to fuel confrontation?”

The Daily Mail editorial quoted by the Guardian above seems very ironic given the role of the Daily Mail in becoming the ‘professional protester’, giving publicity to the case through the ‘Murderers’ headline and in particular Paul Dacre’s grandstanding video ‘interview’ on the Mail website which was also published in full in the Mail’s print edition. An edition which was a virtual commemorative Stephen Lawrence edition – followed up with exclusive interviews with both parents of Stephen Lawrence.

Things could have perhaps turned out very differently according to an Observer article printed on the 16 Feb 1997 titled: ‘Hostile Mail changed tack on Lawrence justice campaign’. The article gives the full details of the incident that has been doing the rounds in various forms on Twitter / comment threads:

THE Daily Mail, the newspaper which last week named as ‘murderers’ the five white youths linked to the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, was originally hostile to the campaign to bring his killers to justice…

the reporter dispatched to cover the story last night told the Observer that the Mail changed its editorial line to support the close family of Stephen Lawrence when it emerged that Stephen’s father had once worked as a plasterer and decorator for Paul Dacre, the paper’s editor.

When the newspaper first covered the story in 1993, Hal Austin said he was ‘detailed’ to write a ‘knocking’ story about the Lawrence campaign, which it believed was orchestrated by a ‘rent-a-mob’, did not have the family’s approval and which it condemned in a fierce leader…

In May 1993, shortly after Stephen’s murder at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, the paper sent Mr Austin, a black reporter, to interview his parents, Neville and Doreen.

Stephen’s murder had ignited passions in the area. On the previous Saturday, 19 people, including five policemen, had been injured in street protests. Several rival political and anti-racist groups had contacted the Lawrences to offer their support.

The initial Mail approach was to treat the ‘campaign’ with hostility. Mr Austin, who no longer works for the Mail, said yesterday: ‘I was detailed to write a story knocking the campaign.’

During the interview with the family, Mr Lawrence asked what would appear and made inquiries about the Mail editor. He asked if he was a tall, balding man with a house in Islington. It emerged he had worked for Mr Dacre some 10 years previously. Mr Austin advised the dead boy’s father to contact Mr Dacre directly. It is understood that there was a phone call to Mr Dacre at about this time.

‘The following day my instructions were suddenly changed,’ Mr Austin said. ‘I was told by the news desk to forget the previous instructions and that they now wanted a positive story.’ Mr Austin felt the original approach undermined the family’s case because it implied that their grievances were not to be taken seriously.

Furthermore, the Observer article also comments on the Mail not normally being sympathetic to the black victims of crime, quoting the example of:

One black journalist who wrote for the paper about a sexual assault on a Tube train [who had] recently found her photograph replaced in the paper by one posed by a white, blonde model.

The Observer article also quoted another Mail ex-staffer’s cynicism of the Mail’s sudden change of heart:

‘It’s not an ethical position, it’s just expediency. I’m disappointed how many astute people are falling for it,’… ‘The Mail has a cast-iron agenda and it’s not suddenly going to get a social conscience. It’s a one-off, a personal thing. The Mail wouldn’t really care if all British blacks were pushed off the cliffs of Dover.’

It has been widely reported in the past few days that the Mail was initially hostile to the campaign that was building up around the Stephen Lawrence murder, and that Dacre supposedly changed his heart thanks to his fleeting personal connection with Stephen Lawrence’s father. However, I just wanted to clarify just what was reported at the time to correct a few versions of events that I have seen being spread, and to highlight in more detail the version of events as given by Hal Austin – a name which I hadn’t heard connected to the story before.

I also wanted to give the details from the 1997 Guardian editorial which points out not just the initial hostility of the Daily Mail towards the Lawrence story, but also how little coverage the newspaper gave the story until that headline in 1997.

Given the evidence above a cynic might suggest that Paul Dacre was more upset by the mocking, uncouth and sweary attitude of the 5 alleged murderers towards the British justice system than the initial murder of a black teenager.

Dear Paul Dacre

I watched your video on the Daily Mail website in which you celebrated the conviction of David Norris and Gary Dobson and in which you expected the Daily Mail to be praised for securing the conviction thanks to your vainglorious headline back in 1997 that accused 5 men of murder. I listened at your anger that 5 men (boys at the time) could murder a black boy solely because of the colour of his skin, and that when the 5 men left court they swore, and this uncouth behaviour made you even more angry and determined to pursue them.

I listened as you stated that this was a glorious day for British newspapers and the power of journalism; it seemed as though, as ever, you seriously think that the British press and the Daily Mail in general is a force for social good.

But I can’t help but be disgusted by your video and the blatant, bare-faced and shameless hypocrisy of you lecturing people on racism and racial justice when the newspaper you have edited since 1992 is  institutionally racist.

Your Stephen Lawrence headline, your Stephen Lawrence campaign for justice changes nothing.

The Daily Mail is part of a British press that is at worst responsible for creating the racial hatred and fear that exists in so many poorly-educated people in Britain over the last 30 years; or at best can only claim that it hasn’t created any racists, it is just responding to what racist consumers want by printing hateful, dishonest smears against other races. Either way is inexcusable.

Your newspaper is racist and it will still be racist tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. If you had any shame you would remove that video and instead spend your time addressing your role as editor in creating the racial outlook of your newspaper and your newsroom before seeing fit to lecture anyone else on racial hatred.

There are no words powerful enough to describe just what a despicable hypocrite you are.

Children of famous parents and their right to privacy

Another thing I would like to see from the Leveson Inquiry is the conclusion that plastering the faces of young children across newspapers and their websites simply because they have been born to famous parents is utterly unacceptable. The PCC code of practice does mention Children and states:

Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child’s private life.

However, perhaps it should address the celebrity-driven nature of newspapers now and state specifically that it is not acceptable to publish lots of photos of them either – unless they are specifically engaged in a public appearance with their parents. Of course, whatever replaces the PCC will have to have relevant enforcement powers.

It troubles me that so many of the activities a family might want to engage in take place in public and that means the press have a never-ending supply of easy stories involving the children of celebrities. Like this published on the Mail website today: ‘Fun and hugs: Doting Olivier Martinez has a beach playdate with Halle Berry’s daughter Nahla’. The article includes 8 close-up long lens photos of Nahla who is not yet four years old – also rather disturbingly the sub-editor who writes the photo captions has a habit of pointing out that young girls look older than their years, today is no exception:

Growing up fast: Nahla will turn four years old in March, but already looks older than her tender years

This kind of article shouldn’t exist – let alone with such disturbing captions; people have the right not just to privacy in their own homes, but also the right to a certain level of privacy in public – unless you really want to argue that as soon as someone famous steps outside their house the press has every right to harass them with long-lens cameras and then publish beach snaps of 3-year-old children worldwide to make a few quid. The press constantly talk about privacy as if respecting it stamps on some kind of sacred right that the press has, yet the reality of 99% of press intrusion is the morally and ethically bankrupt pursuit of celebrity gossip.

This not only ends up with vulnerable young children being exploited, it also means that things of real importance are being ignored because the media have decided instead to focus on feeding us non-stop celebrity drivel.

That's just not cricket

Another year, another immigrant being allowed to stay in the UK for the flimsiest of reasons. Last year we had the person allowed to stay because he went to the gym and before that the famous Bolivian-student-allowed-to-stay-because-they-owned-a-cat. Of course, the important thing about both of those cases is that those were not the reasons at all. The media – bless them – had just taken what they thought to be the most absurd reason for remaining (even, if in the case of the cat, whether it wasn’t even used as an argument) from each case and reported it as if that was the sole reason for the judge’s verdict.

Which brings us to today’s Mail Online headline: ‘Judge gives Bangladeshi student permission to stay in the UK… because he loves cricket’. Which actually means:

In what is being seen by lawyers as a test case, a trainee accountant from Bangladesh who came to Britain to study has been granted permission to remain in the country after successfully claiming that he had made friends and played cricket on Sundays.

While the Home Office turned down Abdullah Munawar’s initial bid to stay on in the UK after graduating, the courts overturned the decision on appeal and ruled that he could continue to enjoy a “private life” in this country under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

You can argue all you like about the ‘right to a private life’ enshrined under Article 8 of the ECHR, but let’s have those arguments like adults, rather than just screaming that X has been allowed to stay for one reason alone when they clearly have not. The right to a private life does kind of imply that every student on a 3-year VISA will be able to argue their case to a judge to be allowed to remain – after all, you would hope that most people would have established a private life over the course of living in the UK for 3 years. What this perhaps does is highlight how the UK currently expects to be paid handsomely by foreign students whilst they attend its universities, only to then remove them as soon as their education is over without question.

Again, newspapers are free to have this debate but it would be refreshing if for once they could just report the truth accurately and avoid dishonest headlines. The Daily Mail was recently bemoaning the apathy of young non-voters, yet at the same time this is the level of political debate that the newspaper engages in. There is clear scope for a proper debate over the right to a private life and what this ruling means for future cases. However, all people will be taking away from this article is the false impression that playing cricket is a surefire way that ‘they’ can stay in the country – just as if ‘they’ owned a cat.

Speaking of which, at least the Mail Online article didn’t dare mention the cat, unlike the Telegraph:

The case of the cricketing student now takes its place in the annals of unusual immigration decisions – alongside the “Bolivian cat man”, first exposed in these pages two years ago, who sparked a Cabinet rift at the 2011 Conservative conference.

Indeed, the cricketing student myth will now be regularly quoted alongside ‘Bolivian cat man’ by people unaware that they’ve just been lied to by their newspaper, again. Considering the absolute falsity of the ‘Bolivian cat man’ story it staggers me that the Telegraph – the article was written by David Barrett – has again proudly stood by it.

The new press regulator needs the statutory power to fine or flog any journalist who repeats a myth that has been publicly and convincingly shown to be false. Otherwise we just end up with millions of individual Wintervals damaging public understanding of how the world works.

Was 2011 the year that shame died?

Dominic Sandbrook today claims in the Daily Mail website’s ‘RightMinds’ section that ‘2011 was the year that shame died’. His reasons for believing this to be true are: the London riots; riots across Europe as austerity took hold; Liam Fox clinging to his job; Sally Bercow entering TV’s Big Brother; two England captains (John Terry, Football and Mike Tindall, Rugby) getting into trouble; fat cat bankers; Fred Goodwin and ‘two Croydon girls, drinking a bottle of looted wine at nine in the morning’.

Somehow, Sandbrook doesn’t find any room for even the faintest mention of the shameful state of the tabloid press or the days of appalling evidence of shameless tabloid actions collated so far by the Leveson inquiry.

Instead – like all good tabloid journalists – Sandbrook prefers to blame the normal groups for the death of shame; the ‘feral underclass’, the ‘Left’ and any kind of social liberalism in general. All of the tabloid cliches are wheeled out, including the classic Daily Mail fantasy:

Of course, few of us would enjoy life in the 1950s, when landladies put up ‘No Coloureds’ notices, and when ignorance and intolerance forced tens of thousands of women to seek bloody and dangerous back-street abortions.

Yet thanks in part to the decline of Christianity, we have lost the sense that morality is public as well as private.

The Daily Mail still holds dear the values of the 1950s – institutional racism, deep-rooted misogyny and a rigid, overbearing sense of class division – and as a newspaper is just completing another year of morally bankrupt and socially irresponsible journalism. It is ironic that Sandbrook writes a missive on the death of shame in a newspaper that has no shame, and Sandbrook just reinforces this by not even mentioning the Leveson inquiry of the general conduct of the press in 2011.

Sandbrook hopes that next year:

we can genuinely rediscover the virtues of social responsibility and moral austerity

But he isn’t convinced. I don’t blame him, when one of the most socially and morally bankrupt institutions in the world dares write about shame without even the merest acknowledgment of its own consistently shameful conduct, things are not about to get any better.

Remember when The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Sun run huge front page stories about Christopher Jefferies – painting him as a ‘nutty professor’, a ‘peeping Tom’, ‘strange’ and many other unproven smears? Remember when those same newspapers – when forced by the courts to apologise – then buried the apologies on page 2?

Shame is just another topic that no tabloid journalist should ever write about unless they are about to confess the sins of their profession.

Daily Mail and baby names

October 2010 and the Daily Mail happily distorted statistics on baby names given to boys in the UK to make it look as if ‘Mohammed’ was the most popular. The Daily Mail decided to add together the 12 variations of the name in order to claim it was now the most popular boy’s name to create a bit of anti-Muslim scaremongering. They also did the same the year before. Today the Mail website has taken the top 100 boys names in 2011 from an online source and funnily enough Mohammed – in any variation of spelling – does not appear in the list at all.

Make a note of this for when the Daily Mail trots out the ‘Mohammed is the most popular boy’s name’ story next year.