Daily Mail apologises for ‘utterly false’ fake news

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has posted a copy of a notice – a small one – published by the Daily Mail admitting it printed incorrect claims (or ‘fake news’, depending on your preferred terminology) about her.


The Mail had claimed that Ms Sturgeon had ordered that Union Flags would not be flown on the Queen’s birthday, but this turned out to be entirely fictitious.

The phenomenon exists across the ‘MSM’ spectrum. Not long ago, online publication Huffington Post published accusations that Christine Shawcroft, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, had quashed antisemitism charges against Labour members.

As the SKWAWKBOX showed, it was completely untrue. Ms Shawcroft played no part in the vote, which was decided by the same voting members that would have voted had she not been made chair of the ‘disputes panel’.

After Philip Hammond’s Budget last autumn, the BBC published a clip it claimed was of Jeremy Corbyn’s response – but after a SKWAWKBOX exclusive revealed they had used footage of an entirely different Corbyn speech, Newsnight‘s social media feed carried a correction of the fake news. But only Twitter – there was no correction on television, which carried the original fake news to a larger audience.

The SKWAWKBOX has, of course, been accused of fake news, even though a proper reading of the article in question showed – and the Daily Mail acknowledged – that we had not claimed the subject of the article was true, but merely reported on claims by others. The S*n had already been forced to publish a correction of its fake news about this blog.

But that didn’t stop others – including the Mail – trying to use a judgment by ‘regulator’ IPSO to attack the SKWAWKBOX. But as the example above shows, fake news is as much an ‘MSM’ phenomenon as an alternative-media one. Many would say more so.

Curiously, the voices that tried to attack the SKWAWKBOX for a single judgment have been quiet when it comes to the Mail’s admission – or the myriad other corrections issued by all MSM publications every day, every week.

There are, of course, a couple of crucial differences. Unlike the mainstream publications, which print a small correction in a corner of a rear page or tucked away on a corrections section of a website, the SKWAWKBOX publishes its (occasional) corrections in exactly the same way as any other article and with equal prominence.

SKWAWKBOX is also regulated by IMPRESS – the UK’s only genuinely independent, Leveson-compliant press regulator. The Mail, as shown in the image above, like all the major mainstream press, is regulated by itself – well, by IPSO, but IPSO is funded and run by the mainstream press.

Mail editor Paul Dacre was, until recently, the IPSO Chair. The S*n’s Trevor Kavanagh sits on its board – and was recently cleared by IPSO over an article in which he used nazi terminology to describe the UK’s supposed ‘Muslim problem’.

Attacks – spurious accusations of fake news and other forms – on the SKWAWKBOX and other ‘new left media’ (NLM) are escalating continually. But those who want genuine free media that is genuinely independently regulated are turning more and more to the ‘NLM’.

And recognising that ‘fake news’ is an Establishment creation as much as, or more than, the Establishment-maligned NLM.

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  1. The Daily Mail stuff is small beer when compared to what many see as the corruption in the BBC. Compared to the coverage of the BBC, the Mail has a minuscule number of followers.

    Because of the bias within BBC top management, their right wing agenda is almost single handedly responsible for the chaos we are in over Brexit.

    On programmes such as Question Time, they have given Farage and his gang an inordinate amount of time to promote his hatred of Europe and immigrants and have suppressed meaningful opposition whenever possible by either outnumbering them in debates and/or fielding weak opposition.

    In its remit to inform and educate, the BBC is intentionally a complete failure and is rapidly losing all credibility.

  2. Why not be a bit proactive and get IMPRESS to report on the fake news stories that the MSM churn out. Even though they aren’t the official body it would raise their profile and show them to have higher standards. When JC gets in it would eventually see them take over from ISPO as the gold standard official regulators.

    1. IMPRESS won’t comment on anything by a publication not under their regulation

  3. When alternative media makes a mistake, the general public hears about the correction but not the original story – or all the stories that are true unless they are picked up by the mainstream, in which case you don’t get the credit.

    When the Maul, Times etc makes an error so big even IPSO can’t ignore the public will still only hear the splash of the original story but not the hidden correction. It all serves to continue to give the death-throes media an appearance of authoritativeness it does not deserve.

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