Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Apologies round-up

Associated Newspapers have agreed to pay Michael Parkinson £25,000 in libel damages (plus costs) over a Daily Mail article ironically titled 'Who's Telling Parkies?'

From MediaGuardian:

The article made a series of allegations that Parkinson had acted in a 'grossly insensitive' way toward his uncle, Bernard Parkinson, and that he had intentionally lied about having had a harmonious family upbringing in his autobiography.

'The article was both distressing and as inaccurate as it was damaging,' said Parkinson in a statement.

Some of his other comments are worth repeating:

'Where defamatory allegations have been published about me, I have always until now turned a blind eye. However, I decided that the Daily Mail had crossed a line by a long way'.

The Mail? Surely not? And:

Parkinson added that he considered it standard practice and a 'matter of common decency' for a newspaper to apologise publicly and promptly when a mistake is made.

'In this case, it should not have taken nine months nor been so difficult for the editor to apologise promptly,' he said.

'Moreover I believe that the persistent delaying tactics of the Daily Mail were both unattractive and unworthy of a national newspaper.

What's staggering is that someone who's been around as long as Parky seems to have rather high expectations of the Mail and its Editor Paul Dacre.

The Mail took over a month to respond to a complaint made to the PCC about Littlejohn's false claims that Eastern Europeans commit most of the robberies in Britain. They ignored an email from an American journalist accusing them of plagiarism.

Persistent delaying tactics when facing complaints seems to be the Mail's default position.

Meanwhile the Sunday Mirror has apologised for using a photo of the wrong woman:

Last week, to accompany an article about Ashley Cole cheating on Cheryl with Vicki Gough, 30, we mistakenly pictured Vicky Gough, 19 (above). We wish to make clear that the Ms Gough we pictured has no connection whatsoever with Ashley Cole and offer our sincere apologies for any distress and embarrassment caused to her.

Over at The Sun, there's an apology for Dr Mohammed Asha:

An article on 10 August 2009 "Terror case doc works in casualty" reported that, following his court acquittal on terrorist charges, Dr Asha was working for the NHS.

Some readers may have understood the article to mean that Dr Asha is a terrorist suspect and a threat to national security.

This was not our intention and it is untrue.

We wish to make clear that The Sun stands by the jury's verdict and does not suggest he is involved in terrorism.

We apologise to Dr Asha and his family for any embarrassment and distress caused.

Not our fault, guv, it's our readers taking our headlines literally. It's an apology, but the wording really is appalling. As Septicisle accurately pointed out at The Sun - Tabloid Lies:

You really have to love the 'some readers' formulation; it's you morons that misunderstood it, not us for being about as subtle as a brick and implying that this completely innocent man must still be a threat just because he was tried for terrorism offences. Apologising while not apologising really takes some doing.

Also from The Sun, an apology for accusing a footballer of being involved in a 'sex scandal':

A report on December 12 stated that Colin Kazim-Richards had been transfer-listed by Fenerbahce due to his involvement in a sex scandal.

We now accept that this agency report was untrue and that he was not involved in any such scandal.

The player has since happily left the club by agreement for football reasons.

We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Mr Kazim-Richards for any embarrassment caused.

So that one wasn't their fault either - it was agency copy to blame this time.

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