Thursday 21 October 2010

Mail blames Muslims over planning dispute

The Mail's latest 'look what we have to do because of Muslims' tale is this:

The headline was changed while writing this post, to:

'Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed 'smell of frying bacon offends Muslims''.

But it's worth noting that the original headline, shown at the top of the browser window, was:

'Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan in case smell of frying bacon offends passing Muslims'.

Was that the real reason? The article begins:

A hard-working cafe owner has been ordered to tear down an extractor fan - because the smell of her frying bacon 'offends' Muslims.

Planning bosses acted against Beverley Akciecek, 49, after being told her next-door neighbour's Muslim friends had felt 'physically sick' due to the 'foul odour'.

Notice the use of emotive terms 'hard-working' and 'tear down'.

But then we learn that the cafe owner's husband (Cetin) is a 'Turkish Muslim'. Clearly, he hasn't complained or been offended. The owner says:

Cetin's friends actually visit the shop, they're regular visitors, they're Muslim people, they come in a couple of times a week. I have Muslim people come in for cheese toasties. Cetin cooks the food himself, he cooks the bacon.

No 'offence' there either then.

But then it becomes clear that the complaints about the smell coming from the cafe's extractor fan were not from random passing Muslims.

Indeed, the planning application details appear to show that there was just one official complaint - and that was from the person who lives next door to the cafe:

Mr [Graham] Webb-Lee said: 'The vent is 12 inches from my front door. Every morning the smell of bacon comes through and makes me physically sick.'

Notice he says the smell makes him 'physically sick', not his Muslim friends, as the Mail claimed in the second paragraph. And yes, he does mention his 'Muslim friends' couldn't 'stand the smell'. But using the term 'Muslim friends' strongly implies he's not actually Muslim himself - if he was, it's likely the Mail would have mentioned it somewhere.

According the cafe owner, Webb-Lee told a council meeting:

...he had a daughter with an eating disorder, the Muslim friends, and the bad smell all the time is making his clothes smell.

Add to that his comments that the smell makes him 'physically sick' and you wonder why the Mail has decided to only highlight one of these reasons...

After all, the Council ruled that the smell from the fan was unacceptable to everyone:

A spokesman for Stockport Council said: 'The retrospective application was rejected on the grounds of residential amenity, as the committee felt the odours given off from the vent were unacceptable for neighbouring residents.'

So the cafe owners are being forced to remove the extractor fan because they didn't get planning permission when they installed it and when the (almost certainly non-Muslim) neighbour complained about the smell, their subsequent planning application was refused because it was giving off unacceptable odours.

At time of writing, this was the second story on the Mail's homepage.


  1. What's more sinister is the amount of downright racist comments on their pre-moderated boards, including comments about being offended by mosques and pro-BNP messages.

    What has to be done before someone acts against the Daily Mail?

  2. There were few comments about an hour ago, so I posted. There were comments with positive ratings about how misleading the headline was and people should read the facts.
    Then all the comments disappeared followed by the article. Then it reappeared on the front page again with hundreds of comments all rated in line with the typical DM rhetoric.
    What happened there?

  3. "Hurrah for the blackshirts!"
    -Daily Mail, 1934

    "Hurrah for the blackshirts!"
    -Daily Mail, 2010

  4. This is a new low, yet also a new high for the Mail.

    Blaming Muslims in the headline even though they have nothing to do with the complaint - Low

    Showing support for a hard working Muslim business owner - High

    Showing support for a hard working, integrated Immigrant - High

    Showing support for a mixed race/religion marriage - High

    Like others have said, the comments started off being reasonable and well thought out, challenging the totally unrelated headline, but, as usual, the DM audience started to show thier true colours!

    There must be a legal loophole somewhere to get the likes of the DM to properly moderate thier racist online audience. If the site is seen to activley promote racial hatred, xenophobia, homophobia and, in some cases anti-disabled commentary then there must be something that can.

    If the DM really IS moderating these foul comments then it shows that they are indeed agreeing with and deem that kind of language and attitude to be totally acceptable!

  5. From the comments:

    "i am the neighbour who complained! well done DM for asking for my comments on the matter, but if you had there would be No story to print! this vent is affecting my childrens health & that is why the council denied planning!! yes i have some muslim friends who it offended, but nothing was said about my english friends who avoid my house within opening hours of the shop! shame on you "daily mail" you have stirred up lots of racial tention in my area now, so for you its "mission accomplished"

    - SARAH & GRAHAM WEBB-LEE, Stockport, 21/10/2010 17:08

    Needless to say it's been red arrowed.

  6. According to the 2001 census the number of Muslims in the area (three nearest output areas) where this shop is located was 3 out of a total population of 726. Even the second picture caption calls Stockport "Stockton".

    I haven't looked through all the comments but Mr Webb-Lee has pointed out the story is rubbish.

  7. There is a comment now from Mr Webb-Lee himself,heavily red arrowed of course.He has also posted on the Mails news board.

  8. This has just been printed almost ad-verbatim in today's Metro (page 12).

    Unfortunately I had left my book at work so had to grab a copy of this filth to read on the Tube.

  9. No doubt there will soon be a story about church bells or salvation army bands and how ridiculous it is for anyone to complain about the noise - coupled with a petition against the building of a mosque.

  10. Every story in the entire world the DM could create an anti-muslim angle on. A dispute about placement of extractor fan ffs!

    And is this the first time ever the sexist DM puts forward the woman as the proprieter when a husband-wife team are joint owners. How convenient

  11. Yes, this story isn't about Muslims. It's about the neighbour complaining about the vent.

    The issues are
    1) why did he not complain earlier.
    2) did he try and sort out the problem with the business owner prior
    3) is there a history of dispute between the two
    4) why can the planning be denied when the vent has existed for at least 7 years and if no complaint is received after 4 years planning can't be denied
    5) has the planning actually been denied as the application says this "Decision: This case has not yet been decided"

  12. It's now in the express (after the usual two day delay before they re-print a Mail story)with all the exact quotes mentioned above although they also make a point of mentioning that the cafe owner is a muslin, which must confuse their readers although "Have your say" is unavailable for the story.

  13. It's also in the Telegraph. Ugly, ugly journalism

  14. Good analysis. Just come across your site. Good to take the bloody tabloids apart – and often the broadsheets and broadcast media, too, for lazy journalism, poor questioning of interviewees, lack of rigour in reporting, omission of salient facts that might change the complexion of a story. I accept that you can't include everything in a 45-second-long voicer, a three-minute package or a two-minute interview. But it's the papers, and notably the tabloids, that are worst for sheer bias – not always of the straight political kind, either, because we know papers openly take an editorial line. That said, though, straight news reporting ought to be neutral, with the opinionising left to the leader writer.

  15. I could not believe my eyes when i read the Mail article.

    The problem is that the general population only reads headlines or the first few sentences and the Mail knows that fully well.

    Your website is excellent- going straight to my bookmarks!

  16. If that's a genuine quote from the complainant in the comments, the reaction is astonishing.

    "Excuse me, this is a story about me and I'd like to point out that the complaint was the result of a number of factors, and not that my Musl-"
    "SHUT UP, you stay out of this"

  17. i commented, basically expressing my disgust at the story, i got red arrowed.

    i think the EDL and BNP just mobilise people to arrow the comments loads, i really can't quite believe the average person is that hateful and stupid.

    the emotive language and lack of any real substance in the story is disgusting.

  18. It's obvious on some stories when the EDL and BNP have taken control of the comments section, drowning out any reasonable, challenging or factual opinions. These groups often attempt to take control of political sections on forums, pretending to be the "silent majority" as it's free publicity for them!

    The problem isn't that these groups do this, but that the Mail does nothing to stop them from taking control. They claim to moderate the comments in advance, but it's very, very suspicios when it's always the extreme-right views that are posted and anything that counter acts the article or questions it's motives don't make it to the message board at all, or are just burried!

    They do claim that the views do not represent the paper, but by allowing the red/green arrow system to dictate what is shown they can get round the fact that most disgusting views always appear at the top of the comments section by saying it's just what thier readers like. They are in effect allowing their own readers to silence anyone who disagrees with the Mail!

  19. Just when you think this odious little rightwing trash rag cannot sink any lower it only goes and plumbs new depths!

    This is snake-belly low, even by the Mail's rock-bottom standards.

    Seriously, how do they get away with it time and again? They must have friends in some pretty high places - that's the only plausible explanation.

  20. Why did the Stockport Area Committee go against the councils own enviromental department?

    "After all, the Council ruled that the smell from the fan was unacceptable to everyone"

    They say that the council's environmental services had been out to inspect their property after their neighbour complained about a foul odour last year, but they ruled that the smell was not causing a problem.

    Mrs Akciecek said: 'Environmental services said everything is ok. They kept coming back and guaging it and said there was no problem and because they didn't take any action (the neighbours) complained again.'

  21. So what's should our strategy with the Mail be then?

  22. Yet again, the Daily Mail opens its floodgates of ignorance and hatred. I have gypsy blood in me and it makes me PHYSICALLY ILL reading their Stamp Out The Camps style of racist soapboxing about gypsies. Why in the heck are they still allowed to print this? It's BLATANTLY inciting racist hatred!

  23. P.s. How many signatures are required on a petition before the Government has to look at it? I might start an online one to have them looked at...!

  24. Not that I disagree at all, but I'm personally very doubtful that those online petitions get any higher up the chain than a school kid on work experience in Whitehall.

    A petiton could be directly sent to number 10 to get the PCC replaced with an independent, professional body which is not run by the very people it is meant to be bringing to account over thier mistakes. It's like prisoners being able to decide thier own sentences!

    Of course with the recent cuts the Government is hardly going to set this up as it will be totally ripped to shreads by the media. It's not going to be high on many peoples agendas either as most people blindly just accept what's written in the newspaper as fact and don't care enough about quality news to sign a petition to clean it up!

    Finally, as soon as any Government even starts to think about putting any kind of restriction on the way the newspapers report stories then the media would blow it out of proportion and use all its power to get the restrictions removed so they can carry on the way they are now.

    Think of the headlines:
    "Cameron aims to control British Newspapers"
    "UK? More like DPRK!"
    "Freedom of the press...CONDEM'D"

  25. Story as returned in the original local rag it appeared in. It will no doubt be regurgitated by the Fail.


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