Monday, 25 June 2012

Separating news from comment

I've blogged about this before, so I'll keep it brief. Various media luminaries are telling Leveson that it's hard to keep news and comment separate, and that newspapers haven't being doing so very well.

This reminded me of this story in the Daily Mail:

Which as you can see is in the 'News' section, and was written by no fewer than five reporters. It went on to claim that:

Which despite the use of emotive language ('police fled', 'rampage') and the total absence of evidence (many other newspapers said that the police van was unattended), is clearly written as fact, rather than comment. I complained about numerous aspects of this to the PCC. The response (read the link above), was written by… the editor of the Mail on Sunday and is a delightful example of Newspeak. Apparently leaving a van unattended and then it being subsequently vandalised is 'fleeing attackers'. 

Worse was this article, again filed under 'News':

Apart from the drooling neo-paedophilia of which the Mail is frequently guilty, I complained to the PCC that there was no evidence that these women were there because they 'just wanted a photo for Facebook', breaching the article on accuracy. 

No joy. Apparently even though it's under 'news', the reporter's unfounded claims and emotive language mean that 
 the Commission was satisfied that readers would be aware that the article was an account of this particular journalist’s experience of the protest and the views he had formed on it, rather than necessarily statements of fact. As such, the Commission could not establish a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.
So accuracy no longer matters at all under PCC rules. I'm eager to see how Leveson deals with this. 

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