Daily Mail’s Clarifications & Corrections Column Does Nothing To Erase Mail Online Errors
The Mail’s editor-in-chief Paul Dacre tells the Leveson inquiry into press standards, “the depressing fact that the newspaper industry is in a sick financial state“.
He laments the state of investigative journalism:
“Courts aren’t covered, councils aren’t held to account.” It is a “democratic deficit which itself warrants an inquiry”.
Now at least the Mail can be held to account. Its C&C columns begins with a spot of self-praise:
“The average issue of the Daily Mail contains around 80,000 words – the equivalent of a paperback book [spot the difference]–most of which are written on the day under tremendous pressure of deadlines. Huge efforts are made to ensure our journalism meets the highest possible standards of accuracy but it is inevitable that mistakes do occur. This new column provides an opportunity to correct those errors quickly and prominently.”
All to be commended. People’s lives and reputations are at stake. On the day the Mail opened its new column, Mail writer Emily Allen told readers how the media can cause pain and even death:
Husband ‘kills himself’ just hours after BBC claimed wife’s shop sold wedding dresses that fall to pieces
We do not know why Mr James Edwards killed himself, but his wife’s wedding dress shop featured on a BBC consumer programme, and if the Mail can link his death to the BBC it despises then so much the better.
One problem is that the Mail is big online. While only a news anorak or someone with a keen interest in the story is likely to keep the paper hardcopy, many others will read the story online. So. If a mistake has been made the online version should be corrected or erased.
But at the time of writing this has not been done:
Daily Mail C&C:
Last Sunday we said some 3,200 families of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder were believed to have been given cars under the Motability scheme. In fact that total is the combined figure for two categories of recipients of the Higher Mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance and includes other behavioural disorders. Recipients choose whether or not to spend their allowance on a Motability car; generally about 30 per cent do so. Also, we described the qualification for the Lower Mobility component, rather than the Higher Mobility component required to claim a car, for which individuals must be declared virtually unable to walk.
You can read the uncorrected story here under the headline: “Parent of a child with ADHD? Have a free car under £1.5bn taxpayer-funded scheme.”
Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn was upset by the story and wrote:
More than 3,000 families with children allegedly suffering from ADHD are swanning around in a new vehicle courtesy of the British taxpayer, no questions asked.
All rubbish. But you can still read it online.
So much for the truth.