Richard Peppiatt and the top ten ridiculous tabloid editor denials

When I got all annoyed at the Daily Star sinking to the depths of supporting the EDL last month, I said:
One can only hope that any journalists at the Star that have a single ounce of conscience left will be jumping ship quick smart. 
It seems that someone else had a similar idea.

Richard Peppiatt, who had reported for the Star (the Star claims as a freelancer, but here's a picture of his business card removed for a bit) for two years quit in spectacular fashion on Friday.  If you haven't yet seen the letter of resignation, you can see it here.  It's worth a read in full for some of the things Peppiatt confirms happen at the paper, as if we didn't already know.  If Mr Peppiatt is for real and not engaged in some reverse churnalism sting on non-tabloid journalists and bloggers, we should salute him.

In a follow-up, the Independent on Sunday claims that the EDL really are considering becoming a political party, and reveals some intimidation of Peppiatt.

The thing that cracks me up most about the whole thing is the Star's official response, which hilariously claims:
For the record, the Daily Star editorial policy does not hold any negativity towards Islam and the paper has never, and does not endorse, the EDL.
It seems whoever wrote that took advice from Shaggy (not the one from Scooby Doo).  There's more about this from Bryan McComb.

I always like how tabloid editors and proprietors try to deny doing things that we can see them doing every day.  The Star - which attempted to publish an insert called 'The Daily Fatwa' and only pulled the thing when journalists revolted, was recently targeted by Hope Not Hate for its incendiary coverage of Muslims, was censured by the PCC for it' s false 'Muslim only public loos' headline, ran obviously supportive headlines of the EDL and regularly writes skewed, exaggerated anti-Muslim headlines that verge on parody - claims not to hold any negativity toward Muslims. 

So, poop-pickers, here's the top ten 'Wasn't Me' tributes I've seen tabloid editors involved in since I started this blog:
  1. In 2007, while speaking to the Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights, Peter Hill claimed:
    I would never put any of my journalists under pressure to write something that they wouldn't want to write. I would never do that.
    Back in 2004, the Daily Express's own journalists famously complained to the PCC about the pressure they were put under to produce anti-Roma news stories and to ask the Commission to protect those journalists who didn't want to.

  2. In the same 2007 appearance, he said:
    We must be able to be truthful in our headlines what the facts are, palatable or otherwise [...]

    We can't tailor our headlines to fit news as you would wish it to be.
    Yes, that is the editor of the Express claiming not to tailor headlines.  Following the arrest of two of the failed suicide bombers of 21 July 2005, the Daily Express's headline was 'BOMBERS ARE ALL SPONGEING ASYLUM SEEKERS'.  At the time, we only knew the identity of two of them.  Neither was an asylum seeker.  It's not as if this is the only nonsense headline from the Express, it's just one of the best.

  3. At a hearing of the same Committee, Robin Esser from the Daily Mail said, "But the idea that they [Mail hacks] are running around looking for inflammatory things to say about asylum seekers is wrong".  Ha ha!  He also claimed "no journalist on the Daily Mail is ever told to write a story in a particular way". Ha ha!

  4. In 2008, The Federation of Poles in Great Britain complained to the Daily Mail about its coverage of Polish migrants.  The paper agreed to alter or delete over 50 stories from its website, but said:
    The newspaper wishes to make clear that it wasn't in any way anti-Polish.
    Yes.  The paper removed the stories for fun.

  5. In an appearance in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in 2009, Peter Hill claimed that the Express' coverage of the Madeleine McCann disappearance wasn't the worst offender for milking the story.  The Express featured the case on the front page every day for 100 consecutive days.  The Express and sister titles had to pay the McCanns half a million in damages and print apologies on their front pages.  He's since admitted differently in an interview

  6. In the same appearance, answering whether he'd run a story because it'd sell newspapers with it not mattering too much if it was true, he said:
    No, that is not the case. No, that is not what I do. I am just not that kind of person. I do not do that.
    This is the editor of the paper that was known for a long time as the Daily Diana for printing spurious stories about Princess Diana every Monday.  In an earlier interview about that in the Independent, he'd said:
    My job is to sell the Daily Express. My job isn't anything else. My job is to produce newspapers that people want to read and I can tell you that people want to read about the Diana conspiracy because the figures tell me that they do, seriously tell me that they do.
    But then, he wasn't in danger of getting into any trouble there.

  7. In front of the same committee, both Dacre and Hill said their papers didn't engage in churnalism  (Peter Hill said, 'The word "Churnalism" is a rubbish word,') - and yet both relied on the defence that they were just reporting the same things as everyone else whenever they were confronted with evidence of wrongdoing.  In Hill's appearance, Alan Keen notices this himself:
    You have just rejected the word "churnalism" yet almost all the answers you have given this morning about the McCanns have been that it said it in this paper, it said it on the news, it said it here so all you did was repeat it. That is "churnalism" is it not?
    Hill says no because they weren't copying each other.  He needs to read about Ninja Turtle Syndrome in 'Flat Earth News'.  Roy Greenslade listed all Peter Hill's 'mistakes' in front of the committee here.

  8. In his own appearance, Paul Dacre claimed the idea that the paper had taken an anti MMR stance was an urban myth.  This is just funny.

  9. When asked about producing stories with headlines that are contradicted by the stories below, Dacre says:
    I'd like to think this doesn't happen in the Mail - I'm not going to hold my hand on my heart and say it doesn't. It does happen in some areas of the media.
    In 'Flat Earth News, Nick Davies says:
    ...if by chance, reporters come up with the wrong angle, it is reversed before it gets into print, either because the copy itself is rewritten or because the headline changes the angle. 'Dacre kills with headlines,' as one long-term Mail reporter put it.
    Plus, when I look at stories for this blog, I often forget to tag the ones where the headline is 'withdrawn' later in the story because it happens all the damn time.  It's a feature, not a bug.

  10. You can't talk about immigration.
That's the top ten.  Or rather 'the ten I managed to cobble together without too much effort'.  I didn't have room for the collective amnesia of News International people about phone hacking or anything like that.

Do you have  favourite?  Bung it in the comments.  The best will get a sweetie.  Except no they won't.


Anonymous said...

Richard Peppiatt's mobile no. can be clearly seen on the business card, you might want to do something about that.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Good call. Removed that for now (although he uploaded the photo himself).

Anonymous said...

I was hoping a prospective employer might give him a call on it actually. The guy has a GREAT turn of phrase.

gregorach said...

A possible explanation: Studies show people really do believe their own bullshit.