14/01/2010

Shameless, unrepentant and still lying

'SHAMELESS, UNREPENTANT AND STILL LYING' shouted yesterday's front page headline in the Daily Mail.  It was shouting about a man who had made sure information was misrepresented to the public to make things seem much more definite than they were, and far more threatening than reality.

You know what's coming now, right?  You just need to guess what articles I'm going to use as examples.  Seriously, I might as well just fling random pages up in the air and pick the ones that land face up.

The winners are, 'Mapping out the strain on your NHS: How one London hospital ward treated babies from 72 different nations around the world' (which I covered in 'Disgraceful fact-free scaremongering from Sue Reid at the Daily Mail'), '70 million is too many:  Immigrant-fuelled population boom will damage society, say leading public figures' (which I covered in 'Seriously dude, why 70 million') and 'An open door for migrants to work on Olympics (while 200,000 British builders are laid off)' (which I'm covering right now).

'Mapping the strain on your NHS...' is a classic of modern journalism, offered to us by crack reporter Sue Reid.  In it, she used the existence of a map on the wall of the Children's Intensive Care Unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as evidence of widespread 'health tourism'.  The map, you see, had stickers on to represent where mothers of children treated in the unit had been born.  Trouble was, the stickers weren't compulsory, the map had been on the wall for four years, it only had 246 stickers on and the unit sees 550 children every year, staff could also add stickers themselves and the total number of children treated in the ward who had overseas citizens as parents in the last year (the only ones who could be accused of being 'health tourists' that year) was - drumroll please - two.

The paper had to include a statement from the hospital that includes pesky 'facts', but the article still falsely claims the map was only up for three months, and says:

Mothers-to-be target this country as 'health tourists' for a variety of reasons. Some do so because they face a difficult birth and want expert care unavailable in their home countries.

Others have been told by doctors abroad that their baby will be born with a profound illness, needing a lifetime of treatment and medicines. They know the NHS will provide this with few questions asked even if the bill reaches millions of pounds.
These two mothers have a lot to answer for.  Or rather, Sue Reid does.  As does Campbell.

'70 million is too many...' is a bog standard Daily Mail treatment of a minor statement released by an organisation sympathetic to the paper.  The statement, shorter than the article about it, is referred to as a 'report' and the 20 out of a possible 1,391 Lords and MPs that signed it are described as a 'host of respected names'.  This 'report' apparently 'pulls no punches in its warning of the consequences for society if the population hits 70million by 2029, as Whitehall statisticians predict', but the statement only says, 'We believe that immigration on such a scale will have a significant impact on our public services, our quality of life and on the nature of our society,' and vaguely scaremongers about increasing support for the BNP.    How would the Mail describe its own Home Affairs editor, James Slack?  I'm not just talking about this article either.  Coming out with an article headlined '120 immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria arrive in Britain every day to be circus stars' when the real number was 55 (overall, not per day) is probably my absolute favourite of many examples.

'An open door for migrants to work on Olympics...' is the new article here.  It's spun entirely out of wisps of spider web spun by a ghost spider.  My Crackers sense started tingling at the sheer number of 'ifs' 'mays' and 'coulds'.  Even with those qualifiers, the article tells us:
A scheme to relax immigration laws to allow tens of thousands of unskilled workers to enter the country to build Olympic sites is being drawn up for ministers.
The story does come a little closer to the truth much later in the article, but few readers (including me) would realise that all that has happened is that an invitation has been sent out to companies to tender for the job of researching 'Would it be sensible to allow immigration to address a relatively short-term labour shortage, or are there other policy responses?' as one of the five essential objectives.  They might find there's no shortage, or that any shortages could be filled by the 200,000 British builders referred to in the headline (later revealed to be 187,000 - who come from accross Britain rathrer than being laid-off from the Olympic project, which is what the headline seems to imply). 

How did the paper come across the obscure tender document?  It was included in a press release by the Taxpayer's Alliance on the same day, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.  Yes, I am sarcastically snorting as I type this bit.

It seems the paper that claims that anyone who mentions immigration is called 'racist' attacks plans to make enquiries to see if there might be a skills shortage and whether immigration might or might not possibly be a way to address it as being 'an open door for migrants'.  Swings and roundabouts, eh?  This one is brought to you by Steve Doughty, who is also no stranger Campbell style spin.

These are just three articles that show the Mail doing something similar to Campbell.  I haven't even picked the best ones, just some of the most recent.  Dacre himself should be familiar with appearances in front of Committees that involve a unique approach to telling the truth.  In the past, he (or his representatives) claimed that his paper didn't run a negative campaign about asylum seekers, didn't run a negative campaign about Polish people (despite removing 50-odd articles from the website after a complaint by the Federation of Poles in Great Britain), never ran overwhelmingly negative coverage of the MMR jab and 'refuted' the claim that his paper engaged in 'churnalism'.  Yeah, right.

I wonder if Campbell saw the headline and said 'I know you are, but what am I?'

3 comments:

LazyJourno said...

"But the prospect of a new wave of immigration for construction schemes - at a time when the recession has seen nearly 200,000 construction workers laid off in the past year - provoked furious protests last night. "

Who from? Must be those pesky fictitious outraged folks again because there's only a token comment from those tedious morons at Migrationwatch at the bottom.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

You know, after this long looking at the tabs, fake claims of fury, outrage and protests sail right over my head now as if they're not even there.

10mh said...

Wonder if the Mail saw this:

"Arcangelo and I are covered by the NHS because me and my husband were employed on work papers while here. If this had happened to us in the US, where we live, we would not have been covered."

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article6969513.ece

I can sense their outrage.

What would they rather we had? A system of leaving injured and sick foreigners to die or one where we let them use our hospitals because - just maybe - one day we might need to use theirs? I know which I prefer.

Julia