Category Archives: Apology

For the Daily Mail Sorry really seems to be the hardest word

The Daily Mail today published a correction to an article published on 12 December 2011:

AN ARTICLE on 12 December 2011 suggested that Ned RocknRoll was still married to his wife Eliza when he met Kate Winslet. In fact, the marriage had already ended in divorce. We apologise for any contrary impression given.

The Daily Mail apologises for the ‘suggestion’ or ‘impression’ that Ned RocknRoll was still married to his wife when he met Kate Winslet. When you look at the original article this looks like a very slyly-worded apology indeed:

[After Kate Winslet started dating him] Abel Smith, who eccentrically changed his name by deed poll some years ago to Ned RocknRoll, subsequently informed his wife, Eliza Pearson, 23, the sweet-natured daughter of multi-millionaire Viscount Cowdray, that he had fallen for the Titantic star. While Eliza took it on the chin and decided to divorce him, Louis is still struggling with what happened.

The Daily Mail’s apology, therefore, seriously implies that the original article merely ‘suggested’ or gave the ‘impression’ that the couple were still together at the time. What it actually does is clearly state that after meeting Kate Winslet he ‘subsequently informed his wife’ who ‘took it on the chin and decided to divorce him’.

This half-hearted, weasel-worded ‘apology’ is made by the Daily Mail in the week in which its Editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has had to appear twice before the Leveson inquiry. Dacre was – as ever – bullish about press standards – especially when concerning his beloved Daily Mail – and he argued that press standards had improved greatly in recent years (how bad must it have been before?) and that statutory regulation was not needed.

Since the inquiry started Paul Dacre has taken great pleasure in repeating that the Daily Mail has taken the trouble to offer prompt apologies / corrections on page 2 of its print edition.

However, the reality is that apologies are not prompt or sincere and don’t even attempt to admit or acknowledge the true gravity of the original error. They are in many ways absolutely representative of the culture, attitude and ethics that pervades a press that like a stubborn and naughty child isn’t used – or even prepared – to say sorry properly.

Mail on Sunday apologises to Gordon Brown

The Mail on Sunday apologised last week for its front page story on how Gordon Brown stole the seat of a 7-month pregnant passenger – a headline that bore no relation to the content of the article. You would need to have fairly sharp eyes to spot the apology which appeared in print and online under the heading ‘Gordon Brown':

Last week we published a story headlined ‘The seven months pregnant woman told to give up her British Airways seat…just so Gordon Brown could fly Club Class’ and an editorial.

The flight was overbooked but we accept that neither Gordon Brown nor his staff received any special treatment from British Airways, nor behaved in any way improperly.

We apologise to Gordon Brown and Kirsty McNeill.

It is hard to know why the Mail on Sunday bothered with the story, given that it was proven so demonstrably false by the article that followed the headline. That the editor tagged it an ‘Exclusive’ and put it on the front page as a distraction away from the march against the current PM is laughable. Not to mention that it was also thought worthy on an editorial as well. Just a little reminder of that front page: