Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A round-up of Mail fail

A slightly different post, which is going to round-up several links to great posts elsewhere, and also take a very quick look over some of the other stories that haven't been mentioned here, despite best intentions.

Last Friday, the Express' disgraceful scaremongering front page and vile BNP-style rhetoric seemed on course to be the worst article of the day. But then up popped Sue Reid with the putrid Mapping out the strain on your NHS: 243 sick babies treated in one London hospital ward.... and just 18 mothers come from Britain.

It riled up the Mail readers in precisely the way that she and the Mail wanted. Health tourism, scrounging immigrants, look what they're getting instead of you - it's classic anti-immigrant fodder. It just wasn't true. Rather than some startling new report or any kind of reliable research, the story was based on the stickers on a map pinned to the wall of a hospital. Brilliant.

When first published, the article contained no statement from the hospital. When it was updated later to include this, the spokesman's words completely destroyed the story. So naturally it was stuck at the end in the hope no one would notice.

So eventhough the hospital said the stickers represented not just mothers of babies, but also of hospital staff, the Mail continued to claim it was about '243 mothers'.

Despite the hospital saying only 2 out of 550 admission this year were recorded as 'overseas admissions' the Mail continued to claim British babies were massively outnumbered.

In any case, as the Mail's graphic shows, the British Isles are completely covered by stickers, which would more than likely put people off adding yet another to that area.

And of course there's the basic decency of referring to sick babies as a 'strain' on the NHS.

Five Chinese Crackers covered the story fully, including background on Sue Reid's anti-immigration views.

5CC also asked Why 70 million anyway? as he wondered why the tabloids are so obessesed with that particular figure in the immigration debate. And in the latest 'PC gone mad: Xmas edition' saga, how the Mail reports on Scrooge police 'ban' Christmas carol singers because of stranger dangers'. Which, of course, they haven't. But you knew that just from the headline anyway.

Still with the Mail, Jonathan at No Sleep til Brooklands has done an excellent job destroying Jan Moir's latest idiotic column, called The madness of lessons in wife-beating. She deliberately misleads on what the 'lessons' actually are but thinks that teaching kids not to beat up women is, generally, a 'bad thing'.

She also, brilliantly, wants thanks for not invading Poland.

Jonathan has also looked at yet another Mail attack on the BBC over climate change, which was one of several non-stories about the Beeb that Dacre's rag couldn't resist.

Another was BBC radio presenter sparks complaints by playing When Harry Met Sally 'orgasm' clip on school-run show. DJ Steve Harris from Radio Solent played the 'I'll have what she's having' clip from said film. There was just one slight problem with the headline, which was revealed in the last paragraph (as usual):

Last night the BBC said: 'We've had not a single complaint or comment.'


Talking of Mail obsessions, it's been rather quiet on the Kim Kardashian front recently, but she roared back into the Mail's good books when she posted a picture of her 'astonishing new figure', clad in a bikini, on Twitter.

And despite Twitter being evil and Kardashian being a nobody for most people in the UK, the Mail happily reprinted it. That was one of only four appearances in November, compared with eleven in October. Is she falling out of favour with the Mail Online 'newshounds'? Not quite - they've even given her her own section where all articles mentioning her are nicely date-ordered. Bless.

Of course, the Mail is fascinated by someone else now - Suri Cruise. The Daily Quail has done an superb job of rounding up the obsessive and genuinely creepy Mail coverage of this three year old.

Last week, this blog noted that in the last two months, Muslim graves in a Manchester cemetery had been desecrated three times. In that period, the Mail has run around 20 articles on Suri Cruise. It hasn't mentioned the graves once.

Still on the subject of Mail Online paparazzi garbage, there was a curious, but rather telling headline about last year's X Factor winner: Spotty Alexandra Burke braves her fans without any make-up.

So a 21-year old has spots. What news! And let's all point and laugh at her. But what the hell does the Mail mean by 'brave'? Being a soldier or fireman is brave. Going outside without make-up, err, isn't. Unless, like the Mail, you believe that women have to be covered in make-up and dressed flawlessly before they should be allowed out. What a hateful view the Mail has of women.

Still, at least Mail Editor Paul Dacre is the very pinnacle of fashion and grooming and would never be seen with a ridiculous hair style.

Here's a question for the Mail - why is it when two male musicians kiss it is 'crude' and 'provocative' and yet when two twentysomething actresses kiss it's (nudge, wink) 'naughty'?

Not that the Mail could ever be homophobic - the PCC has said so. On 4 November, the PCC ruled on Ephraim Hardcastle comments that Iain Dale was 'overtly gay' and implied something along the lines of a 'gay mafia' when he stated:

Isn't it charming how homosexuals rally like-minded chaps to their cause?

Dale called the Mail 'hateful' and 'homophobic'. Apparently, he'd only just noticed...

The PCC seemed to agree that the comments were 'snide and objectionable' but did not consider the piece:

an arbitrary attack on him on the basis of his sexuality.

As usual, that's totally puzzling, because without the references to Dale's sexuality, there would have been no article. The Commission concluded:

While people may occasionally be insulted or upset by what is said about them in newspapers, the right to freedom of expression that journalists enjoy also includes the right – within the law – to give offence.

To all the people who complained about the Jan Moir article, your might find a clue as to how the PCC will rule in that sentence.

Not that Hardcastle was in any way worried. A few days before the Dale ruling, he wrote:

Europe Minister Chris Bryant, who once posed in Y-fronts on a gay website, is wheeled out by BBC2's programme for chronic insomniacs, Newsnight, to promote Tony Blair as 'EU President'.

He ridiculed his Tory opposite numbers, Mark Francois, and William Hague, as 'Dastardly and Muttley' - the villainous characters in The Wacky Races TV cartoon.

With Bryant as the show's pink-car-driving beauty, Penelope Pitstop, presumably?

Pink. Girl. Because he's gay. Do you see?

In the same column, Hardcastle wrote this totally inane comment:

The performance of Peter Capaldi as a Number 10 spin doctor in TV's The Thick Of It, written by literary flavour-of-the-week Armando Iannucci, is nothing like the man he's meant to represent, retired Blair mouthpiece Alastair Campbell.

Yet it's praised to the rafters. How puzzling.

It's hard to figure out exactly what point he is trying to make, or what the point is of any of that drivel. He thinks it's 'puzzling' that an actor gets praised for a superb performance?



  1. also - although we associate alistair campbell with malcolm tucker, capaldi is playing malcolm tucker, not alastair campbell. bizarre.

    the whole thing with the babies really reminds me of the comments that greeted the chinese immigrant dying in the lorry. the mail seems to be so desensitized that they think it is a bad thing to look after sick children. first and foremost these babies are poorly and need care. tehy are no "foreign". they are babies. what happens to daily mail readers if they or their children get sick on holiday? do they not go to hospital because they are concerned about being a strain on resources?

    the jan moir article is hysterical/awful. i lover her "in the goold ole days" schtick. as if DV is a new phenomenon. also the idea is not to have explicit lesson for five year olds on DV. it is about teaching children about the importance of respect and equality (an example of a lesson plan i saw for 5 year olds produced by womansaid suggested children look at "boys and girls toys" and decide which toys they all like, and which ones are for girls and for boys, and talk about how boys and girls can like all the different toys). the education about DV as a crime and the different ways it manifests itself comes when the children are older, at secondary school.
    would she rather the children in abusive relationships suffered in silence? clearly she does in her charming statement when she says that those who are affected by DV will know all about it anyway, whilst those who aren't won't lose "their innocence".
    rage rage rage!!!

  2. Sue Reid has managed to knock out another piece of rubbish today. Under the headline Special Report: Face to Face with the muslim fanatics who attacked Baroness Warsi. She has simply cobbled together snippets from other reports from the Mail Archive to produce an article written from the comfort of her own office. When she uses the term special does she mean it could have been produced by a child with special needs who has been shown how to cut and paste paragraphs. And face to face mean she looked at so photographs of people she hasn't actually met.

  3. I may try and blog on that in the next day or so Crispin. I particularly liked the way she blamed Muslims for crimes no one has been arrested for. She just *knows*.

  4. Followed the link to the Chelsea and Westminister story and the statement isn't even there...just a lonely little quotemark.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Comments are moderated - generally to filter out spam and comments wishing death on people - but other messages will be approved as quickly as possible.