Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Sorry we said you idolised Abu Hamza, and other apologies

Back on 13 April, this blog highlighted the Sun's claim that footballer Marlon King had converted to Islam in prison and was idolising tabloid hate-figure Abu Hamza. The second bit, in particular, sounded very suspicious. Nonetheless, the Mail mindlessly churned out its own version of the Sun's story.

The Sun removed the story within a day. And now the Mail has written:

An article on 12 April referred to reports which suggested Marlon King had converted to Islam in prison, his hero was hate preacher Abu Hamza and cocaine had been found in his cell.

In fact, these reports were untrue and we apologise for any contrary impression that may have been given.

Firstly, it appears from a search of the Sun's website that they haven't apologised yet.

Secondly, it also appears to be another good example of the lies newspapers try to get away when the subject is in prison - there have been recent examples about Peter Sutcliffe and Boy George.

Finally, it's well known that newspapers use weasel words in apologies and clarifications, but 'contrary impression'? Really?

Given that all the Mail had done is 'suggest' all this was true under the headline:

Marlon King: Shamed Wigan star converts to Islam and names himself after hero Abu Hamza

it's hard to imagine how people got that 'contrary impression', isn't it?

And that's not the only football-related 'contrary impression' the Mail newspapers have been apologising for recently, this one from the Mail on Sunday:

Our story of February 21 ‘Chelsea helped Cole to silence claims of affair’, may have suggested that Chelsea FC and Steve Atkins, Head of Communications, encouraged a woman to lie by denying, falsely, that she had slept with a player.

In fact, there was no encouragement to lie and any advice was given to the woman in good faith on the understanding that the allegations were untrue. We apologise to Mr Atkins and Chelsea for any contrary impression given.

The Sun has also been issuing apologies about coverage of Ashley Cole's private life - this one to wife Cheryl:

As part of our coverage of the break-up of Cheryl and Ashley Cole's marriage we reported on March 4 that the singer would fly to France to meet her estranged husband who was texting her lines from her songs.

We accept Cheryl did not fly to France, no such texts were sent and she denies saying she was scared of life as a single girl as we reported on March 1.
We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Cheryl.

And back to the Mail for one more apology, this one to Vanessa Perroncel:

On January 31, we published some personal information about Vanessa Perroncel concerning an alleged affair with the footballer John Terry. We have since been informed she would have preferred this to remain private and it was untrue in any case. We apologise to Miss Perroncel for any distress caused.


  1. "We have since been informed she would have preferred this to remain private and it was untrue in any case."

    What a strange sentence. I really like this blog, but it gets more and more depressing to see the catalogue of errors, lies and sloppy reporting pile up.

  2. Do tabloids ever apologise to their readers for misleading them? I don't think I've ever seen it.

  3. As if the Mail ever cared less about people preferring things to remain private, or indeed about things being untrue....

  4. And now News of the World carried a similar apology to Ms Perroncel a couple of days back. Thumbs up to the lady for daring to take on the tabs. This is more than sloppy reporting, it is outright character assassination. Let's see how many tabs end up apologizing at the end of the day.


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