Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Express, the EU and plastic bags (cont.)

In May 2011, an Express front page headline claimed the EU had said 'ban shopping bags':

The sub-head clarified that this was plastic bags, not all shopping bags. But either way the EU hadn't actually 'said' this. They had, however, launched a public consultation 'asking the public how best to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags.'

The front page of today's Express carries a similar headline, albeit not as the main story:

'Daft EU want all plastic shopping bags made illegal'.

The article, by Dana Gloger, begins:

Plastic bags could be banned in Britain and across Europe in a move by the EU to cut pollution.

Ah: 'could'. How strange they didn't include that caveat in the front page headline.

According to European Voice, there were 15,500 responses to the two-month public consultation (500 from 'public authorities, industry associations, NGOs and academic organisations', the rest from citizens) and 70% of these favoured a ban on plastic bags.

So does the EU want all plastic bags to be 'made illegal', reflecting the results of its consultation? Well, it hasn't said - as the Express' article admits mid-way through when it quotes the EU's environment spokeswoman Monica Westeren saying:

“We are still discussing it internally and seeing what our next steps will be.”

The European Voice article echoes this:

A Commission official said the consultation will feed into an impact assessment planned for this year. But no decision has been taken on the way forward, and no new action is likely to be proposed in the forthcoming green paper.

So it appears that, not for the first time, the Express has, in a front page headline, attributed a point of view to the EU which it hasn't expressed, simply because it fits the paper's agenda to do so.

Yet it was only last week that editor Hugh Whittow told the Leveson Inquiry:

we don't twist anything. We just present the news of the day.


  1. (Sharp intake of breath)...


    Change the fucking record, Express!!!

  2. What's clear from the last two weeks of Leveson is that, across the board, the capacity of editors for self-delusion about the nature (and in particular the ethics) of their work is immense.

  3. It's clear that even with the Leveson inquiry in full swing, the Daily Express intend to carry on distoring facts as usual. I think the EU should ban the Daily Express for being environmentally toxic.

  4. Didn't the Mail at one point get behind a campaign to bad plastic bags, complete with pictures of photogenic sea turtles nibbling at them under the impression they were tasty jellyfish?
    That might have more to do with the Express' reaction that those crazy Eurocrats taking account of public opinion.


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