Thursday 1 August 2013

Help me Beat the Daily Mail

Victory!!! OK, it took 18 months and a lot of energy from Child Poverty Action Group, not to mention blogs and emails from all of us, but the BBC have ruled that :

"The Future State of Welfare with John Humphrys, broadcast in October 2011 breached rules on impartiality and accuracy" just as we argued at the time.

"The BBC Trust decided that the subject matter of The Future State of Welfare met its criteria for being a ‘controversial subject’ and a ‘major matter’. The programme postulated that there is an ‘age of entitlement’. The Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee upheld the complaints in relation to accuracy and impartiality.

The Trust found that the programme left viewers with the inaccurate view that the benefits the government is targeting are responsible for increases in benefit spending, when in reality JSA is only 3% of the total benefit bill whereas pension spending is 46% of total benefit spend. The Trust also found that viewers were misled by the failure to provide the necessary labour market information - how many people are looking for work, not just how many jobs are available - that would allow audiences to come to balanced judgments about the reasons why claimants had not entered work."
To jog your memories, here's the blog I wrote on it

and here's the statistically driven Declan Gaffney debunking the entire programme for Left Foot Forward

When the programme aired, so appallingly biased was it, we all live tweeted the anti-view with great success, using the hashtag #TFSOWWJH - you can still go back and see the outrage the programme caused.

Strangely though, the programme had been heavily trailed in the Daily Mail beforehand. That's how we knew how bad it would be, that's how we were able to rally our troops in time for the programme. 

So, we are vindicated in the BBC judgement, but I imagine many of you are less than impressed with the pyrrhic victory. I imagine you might be thinking "But it's 18 months later!! People will have almost certainly forgotten the programme anyway. The damage was done at the time, no-one will see the apology now"

Well, even more strangely, The Daily Mail, so disgusted with the BBC verdict, have made it front page news today!!!! Now, I know it's recess, I know it's silly season, but really? An entire front page given over to an apology no-one would have seen? They're really that furious that we exposed the truth in just one, tiny drop in the ocean of welfare nonsense? Not only the entire front page, but a double page spread inside the paper!!! (Sorry, I never link to the Daily Mail, I won't give them the oxygen, but you can check easily if you wish)

Don't you think this is strange? The headline screams "BBC ATTACKS HUMPHREYS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH ON WELFARE" Clearly, from the CPAG announcement, we can see he didn't tell the truth. You've all followed this blog long enough to know that apologies from the BBC over this kind of editorial bias are as rare as hen's teeth. You don't get an apology unless the programme is literally dripping in falsehoods and distortions.

So why are the Daily Mail so upset over a hidden-away little apology? Wrung painfully from the beeb by a charity? Why did they get to trail the programme in the first place? Why is it so desperately important to them that welfare "reforms" not only go ahead, but go ahead based on false statistics & distorted evidence?

I don't know the answers, really I don't, but I do know that, bizarrely, the Daily Mail have chosen to make a huge deal about this. By splashing it all over their front page, they made it the most pressing news, in their opinion, in the UK today!!

But crucially, we can fight back. We can make sure this article is the most read and shared online today. If we all RT it, share it on Facebook and Google and keep it going throughout the day, we can make sure more people see this article online than see the Daily Mail front page. We can make people question their motives. We can steal the one thing they rely on - hearts and minds - and show them up for the DWP mouthpieces they are.

Please join me. I might not know exactly why the Mail have done this, but my radar is spinning. They will have a reason. Let's fight back.

Please RT and share. 

UPDATE : IT DIDN'T TAKE AN EAGLE EYED SPARTACUS LONG TO SPOT THIS : YEP, YOU GUESSED IT, IDS IS BEHIND THIS. He's weighed in, and as ever, his Mail lapdogs have clearly simply bent over and given him the floor. Even more reason to RT, Share and spread the word. IS IDS ACTUALLY THE EDITOR OF THE MAIL? YOU MIGHT THINK SO


  1. So does this prove the Editorial Staff of the Daily Mail gets their policy from Conservative Central Office, in the same way that the BBC seems to.

    BTW I hate the Blogger Captcha pictures - so hard to see and the spoken numbers so hard to distinguish.

    1. I'm sure I've seen Captcha pictures that don't have any numbers in them at all!

      I do wish our press would be forced to only print facts or face heavy fines.

  2. You might like this piece I did yesterday about tabloid benefit hysteria

  3. Funny how people on the left (like me) think the BBC always toes the government line (and as it's a long long time since we had a 'left wing' govt if indeed we ever did - well maybe in 1945) and thus always have a right wing bias. Meanwhile those on the right think the BBC are all a bunch of pinko liberal commies.
    They can't both be right. Apart from me of course.

  4. Hi, I recently was issued with an ES19 warning (issued for lateness and non-attendance) for arriving late for my appointment. The first time in 7 months. I was told that, 'the next time you are late you will lose your money'. When I checked for the guidelines I found the policy papers which stated 'ES19s should only be issued as a last resort, when all other attempts to address the problem have failed'. I decided to complain. The friendly complaints team (after a little bit of lying and squirming) investigated and the following was revealed.
    The DWP have something called the 'Freedom and Flexibilities Policy', which I have received in part in the post today. It basically allows certain Job Centres to ignore stated guidelines, so enable greater flexibility in the local market conditions (or increase their benefit suspension rates). I can send you a copy if you are interested. It makes wonderful reading with such lines as;
    ''A Yes/No framework to help Districts determine what is totally within their gift(?) to develop...''

  5. the way i see it the likes of John Humphrys,and the mail just like to play the silly bugger routine the devils advocate way of life

    you see if they came round my house they could see how i live and how battered i am and have been by the DWP over 33 years

    they would see how my carers look after me which now includes my Tory mp albeit he wont go public on this and he knows I'll keep his identity a secret

    if these papers or the BBC wont to know about welfare reform they would just come round my house but they don't they don't wont to be confronted by the brutality of the welfare reform and the hundreds of deaths up and down the country

    they don't wont to see me a victim of DWP abuse of 33 years which has left me with a body of a skeleton no they don't wont see any of that rubbish which would bring down the government so i have to suffer with the help of my carers and mp in silence

    sure it's tough but i still hold some good trump cards as in any trial that may yet to be brought against the government for these deaths i am the perfect witness so I'm told by Leigh Day the specialist law firm

    they cant help me as my case is so complexed and expensive but they have told me when the time is right they will call me to give my evidence on these deaths that have happened so far in those going through the welfare reform bill

    those most at risk are those that live alone the death rate on this group of people is very high and most probably at the end of the day we will never know the death count of this group

    all my very close=t of on line friends have now died all lived alone all died with brown envelope's scattered around so I'm told

    what the mail and Humphrys should be doing is getting the real facts of the welfare reform together and putting the hundreds that have died brought to the public's attention and getting justice for the families left behind and not just leave it to me and a few others

    1. Without real facts and evidence, your post is just words, which may (or may not be) pure propaganda by any number of the accused organisations above (Daily Mail, Telegraph, Government ect). Provide evidence, then people will listen.

      I may also point out that *no* legal firm will say a case is too expensive to take on. Its their jobs to earn as much as possible from a single case.

      Another interesting point - your MP takes care of you but won't go public? Insanity - its the exact kind of publicity most politicians can only dream of.

    2. Christine ..your naivety is charming, but should be discouraged, the gentleman states that his MP is a Tory, if he came out in support of his constituent he would be censored by the whips in parliament and deselected by his local party, this is how the few good Tory MPs are kept quiet... proof you say ? ..the figures for the dead are widely available and confirmed even by the DWP, a legal firm will only take on a case for money, they are not charity organisations..and as legal aid was removed for any claim concerning DLA, ESA and JSA on April 1st this year, who pays the bill? ... do some reading before you post again please.

    3. thank you Ian for you're input and in highlighting all of the facts that Christine failed to notice as is quite often the case when people don't read and understand the context in the way someone like myself may write

      Having said that English grammar is not my forte at all but with the likes of yourself understanding the wider picture i get by

  6. The Mail are outraged by this because it's another chance to bash the BBC. The Mail long ago concluded that the BBC was its biggest commercial rival. Consequently it will take any opportunity it can find to criticise, discredit and/or impede the BBC. In this instance, it can do so while reinforcing some of its other favourite narratives: that of a jobless underclass destroying the country and the traditional right-wing fantasy of a left-wing media censoring the self-evident truth. In the absence of anything else to get its readers outraged about, how could it not publish this article?

  7. Always happy to help anyone beat the Daily Mail! A few years back, they ran an article about a doctor supposedly hounded out of doing Incapacity Benefit medicals (so quite a few years ago, actually...) because he didn't find enough fit people unfit for work, and the 'scroungers' complained about him - shock, horror, etc. Needless to say, the truth was rather different - the doctor in question was notorious at our CAB and even to the Tribunals Service as a lazy, grasping b*****d who processed people through his appointments as quickly as possible, often assessing both mental and physical health in 15-20 minutes, as he was paid on a piecework basis for the number he did. He was actually shown the door after numerous official complaints, and a report from us showing how many more of his decisions were overturned on appeal than those of his peers.