I wanna sex you up

Not you. It's just a song title that seemed appropriate. Last night, while having a look at the Mail site, I came across this - 'Council shelves 'PC' training manual' - but couldn't be arsed to write about it because it was too bland. But lucky me! Today, there's another version of the same story on the site, but this time with the headline 'Now council bans the use of 'political correctness' at work'. Look at the difference in headlines! Look at the interesting use of the word 'now' to mean 'at some point in the past, but not actually now'! If I use it that way, I can say, 'now England wins World Cup!' and be about as accurate. Excellent! 'Now the Daily Mail produces a headline praising fascists!' Great this.

Compare the opening paragraph of the original:
A council has scrapped a training document which bans workers from using words such as policeman and fireman.
With the second version's opening paragraph:
A council has warned staff against using the phrase 'political correctness' at work because it might offend people.
The second version doesn't let readers know that the document is no longer current until it says:
The authority's new Tory leader Robert Light blamed his political opponents and said the booklet was no longer being used by council staff.
Which comes sixteen - that's sixteen - paragraphs in. After the document has been referred to in the present tense about as many times.

And this statement doesn't actually say the document has been scrapped, but says that someone has said it has. Remember what I said before about saying things in the blandest way possible to create a false impression? Note that it also gives no clue as to when the document was scrapped, giving the idea that Robert Light has only just decided to scrap it - whereas the original points out that it was scrapped earlier this year.

There's other classy bollocks in the second version. For instance:
The publication outlines forms of damaging behaviour in the workplace and rates them on a five-level scale.

The authors claim that moving things around on someone else's desk is as serious as punching or kicking them.
Notice the first of those two sentences. There's a five-level scale of unacceptable behaviour. Presumably (we have to presume, since the document will now not be available on the council website for us to check, if it ever was), this means both were put in the same upper level category. What this actually means is that the document has said there's a line at which you do not cross - and that line is moving stuff around on people's desk. It doesn't say that that's because moving people's stuff is the same as hitting them. If I kill someone old and near death painlessly with a lethal injection, or kill a child painfully and slowly with various garden implements, I'm committing murder in both cases, but one's still worse than the other.

If they were included in the document, the most extreme category would also include smashing through the front door in a monster truck, smashing things up with a cricket bat or doing a poo in a colleague's coat pocket. That doesn't make rearranginig a person's desk the same as monster truck door smashing and pocket pooing. It just means there's an upper level beyond which everything is unnacceptable.

Next, some unbiased opinion from an anti-PC campaign group:
'How much is it costing to produce all this garbage?' he said. 'The policy is full of either the blindingly obvious or utterly ridiculous nonsense.'
Here's your answer. It is costing nothing because the document is obsolete. Next!

I'll admit that the statement that the term 'political correctness' was coined by some Ku Klux Klan bloke in 1988 is me arse, but the term really is used "almost universally [...] to decry changes which aim to prevent offensive behaviour."

Now, look at the chunk of the document the paper just quoted, and then look at the next sentence:
It goes on to say because this takes the form of 'blaming the victim, denying peoples experience or expressing the view of a popular majority,' using the phrase can represent a 'physical attack.'
Bollocks does it. I haven't even seen it and I can say that. If it really did say that without having to selectively quote to make it say so, then the article would just go on and quote it, like it quoted the last three paragraphs. I have very little doubt that the document actually says something milder than that.

Now, let's skip back a bit, and compare the sentence, "A booklet outlining 'equality' policy to council workers [...]"and the totally unbiased opinion of the anti-PC bloke, where he says, "the policy is full of the blindingly obvious [...]" with the statement of Robert Light from the first article:
It was not a policy document but was a reference book for staff taking part in induction courses.
So it wasn't a policy document at all, but the second version of the article implies it is. In true Daily Mail fashion, it uses the 'withdrawn!' tactic by also calling it a training document. Try complaining to the PCC. I bet you eight squillion buckaroos they'll tell you the article is accurate because it does say it's a training document. Doesn't matter that it gives the impression that it's a policy document as well.

One final thing:
I find it more unbelievable that they complain about the use of the word ethnic when it is the term that Government bodies, think-tanks and local leaders all use. It's very off the wall.
The word 'ethnic' in and of itself is not used by Government bodies and think tanks to describe ethnic minorities - and if I'm wrong, it shouldn't be. A white person is ethnic. To use the term on its own to mean only certain ethnic groups is to use language inaccurately. The Daily Mail liberally uses the word itself. But then, when was the Mail ever interested in accuracy?

So, there you have it. One version of an article - which was a little bit sensationalised in the first place, it must be said - gets the Mail treatment. Relevant information shoved down out of sight, glossed over and contradicted, or just plain left out. Bland, passive language used to convey a less definite message to increase the article's impact. Hyperbole used to create a strawman argument. The word 'now' used to mean 'not now'. It's all there. I must say I'm pleased to come across a good old-fashioned load of Daily Mail cobblers rather than sinister lies and smears about Muslims or the Polish. (Although it's unlikely to be a coincidence that the council involved covers Dewsbury, where Aisha Azmi worked and the Markazi mosque is located). The print version even has a box with a bunch of exaggereted bollocks PC gone mad stories. Just like the good old days.

I can imagine the editorial meeting. "When I read this I think, 'yes, political correctness has gone mad', but dammit, it's not gone mad enough!"

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