"THE EU has drawn up plans to seize control of the British coastguard service as it creates a Europe-wide border force. Critics say it would result in the biggest transfer of sovereignty since the creation of the euro."
It calls it an "extraordinary measure" and quotes a spokesperson from the leave campaign who heaps on more hyperbole. But the article, towards the end, also quotes immigration minister James Brokenshire saying:
"Britain is not part of the Schengen area and, to be absolutely clear, we will not be part of an EU Border and Coast Guard."
So the EU won't be seizing our coast or our coast guard. It seems the headline was just a bit of anti-EU scaremongering. And this from a paper that last month branded scaremongering a "cheap tactic".
In February, a Sunday Express leader criticised what it claimed were "dire and entirely unfounded warnings" being issued by the pro-EU lobby. But obviously scaremongering from the anti-EU lobby is fair game, which is handy, because without it the Express and Sunday Express would probably struggle for content.
The Daily Express on Tuesday leads with: 'QUIT THE EU TO SAVE OUR NHS'. We're told a "Top doctor says migrants are bleeding it dry".
The Express tells us "Britain should leave the EU in order to save an NHS which is being overrun by migrants, according to a top cancer specialist".
We're also told Professor Angus Dalgleish, the 'top doctor' in question believes: "Our membership of the EU is putting an intolerable strain on our NHS".
And the Express makes sure to tell us his endorsement is "a boost for the out campaign".
The Daily Mail has also picked up the story and tells us "The NHS has been left 'on its knees' by uncontrolled migration from the EU", according to Dalgleish.
But what we're not told by either the Mail or the Express is that Angus Dalgleish was the Ukip candidate for Sutton and Cheam at the 2015 general election. You'd think that was a fairly relevant detail under the circumstances.
What do you do if the facts don't suit the story you want to push? Create some facts that do, apparently. Hence Friday's claim from the Daily Express that "92% want to quit the EU".
The Express claims this is a "shock poll result" but the only surprise is that the number isn't higher, given the poll in question was run by the vehemently pro-UKIP, anti-EU Express, on its own website, among its own readers. Did the eight per cent just tick the wrong box? If so, that doesn't bode well for their ability to vote in the referendum.
The Daily Mail today asked "Why DO so many celebs have knobbly knees?" No really, they actually did.
The Mail concludes that knobbly knees are a result of female celebrities being "slaves to staying slim". But while the Mail does criticise a number of celebrities for being too "bony", it doesn't mention the catty headlines it would write about any celebrities whose limbs aren’t stick thin and pointy. Such as this one...
Not that celebrities should cover up their knobbly knees to save us all from such a sight, because that only makes matters worse. Look at Angelina Jolie. According to the Mail, she has "terrifyingly bony knees" when she appears in a dress but is accused of "covering up her painfully thin frame" if she wears trousers.
In fact, the Mail doesn't like celebrities covering up at all. Those who do run the risk of being called "glum", "frumpy", "downbeat" or "dowdy" if they don't have their knobbly knees on display at all times.
Which leaves putting on weight as the only workable solution to knobbly knees in the eyes of the Mail, and that brings us back to those catty headlines. The Mail can't lose.
After one of the warmest Decembers on record you could forgive certain hapless weather reporters for quietly backing away from their discredited "coldest winter" predictions.
But not so. The Daily Express earlier this month claimed an "Arctic SNOWBOMB" would "smash into Britain" ushering in "the coldest winter in 58 years" and "plunging the ENTIRE COUNTRY into winter lockdown".
Not to be outdone, The Sun got in on the action. "Britain braces itself for coldest winter in 53 YEARS" reported the paper. Cue the Met Office reporting on Monday that we have now seen some of the warmest January temperatures on record.
In other weather-related nonsense, an ongoing spat between Channel 4 weather presenter Liam Dutton and a Daily Express writer reached a wider audience this week thanks to a post on Buzzfeed.
On 24 July this year, the Daily Express reported that there are now "311 LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN OUR SCHOOLS". What’s more, its front front page splash claimed "English is starting to die out" due to "mass immigration".
The paper went on to claim that a "Daily Express special investigation" had revealed "English-speaking pupils [are] becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms". It reported in "some schools English is hardly heard at all".
Express-readers were up-in-arms. On 27 July the Express carried letters from outraged readers appalled that "our children are not taught the language of this country" and demanding to know "How much longer can this continue?". Another concluded that "eventually migrants will take over the economy then we will have no country to call our own".
However, the Express readers need not have worried because it turns out the newspaper's claims were almost entirely bogus.
Nearly five months later, at the request of the industry-appointed regulator IPSO, the Express has published a correction to the story which makes clear:
"English is the language of instruction in all maintained schools in England. The Daily Express accepted that the article may have suggested inaccurately that pupils who did not speak English as a first language could not speak English at all, and that English is not spoken in some classrooms".
"The article's claims that English "is starting to die out" in schools and that English was "hardly heard at all" in some schools were completely unsupported. “These claims distorted the data cited by the newspaper, which did not include any information about the frequency with which English was spoken in schools, by either pupils or teachers."
The Daily Mail has reported:
"Donald Trump tonight faced calls to be banned from Britain over 'obnoxious, repellent and dangerous' claims that police in London 'fear for their lives' because some communities are so radicalised... In an unprecedented condemnation, Mr Trump came under fire from Scotland Yard, Downing Street and the leading contenders to be London Mayor after he claimed areas of the British capital are too dangerous for police, sparking calls for him to be banned from Britain."
For regular readers of the Mail however, Trump's widely-criticised claims about 'no go' zones in Britain will be nothing new. Another right-wing blow-hard with a penchant for controversy and ill-informed opinions was banging on about this a full seven-years before Trump:
"This country is littered with 'no-go' areas, not just physically, but culturally, spiritually, intellectually and academically, too. Our very liberties are being torched in the name of 'diversity'. The pernicious doctrine of multiculturalism has turned us into a society where people are frightened to speak their minds and justice has been flipped on its head... It is beyond dispute that there is a concerted campaign by Islamic extremists to force sharia law on to significant areas of Christian Britain. And there is no doubt that in predominantly Muslim areas, they are winning."
Richard Littlejohn, 7 January 2008
All of which raises the question: If Trump gets banned can we also ban Littlejohn?
The Sun has apologised for a story it ran over the weekend and confirmed a "Sun investigator" who claimed to have crossed Europe by boat and train without a passport actually flew using a valid passport and subsequently lied about evading border controls and police.
An apology in The Sun says:
"In an article of 5th December, headlined "6 days to terror", we published the diary of Emile Ghessen… who said that he had smuggled himself from Turkey to Paris without using a passport… Mr Ghessen used his passport to enter and leave the Croatian city of Zagreb. This has been confirmed by the Croatian authorities. We also now believe that he made use of his passport at the other border points within Europe. His story did not, therefore, demonstrate that the borders of Europe had lax controls. We apologise for publishing misleading information."
The Sun took its story down over the weekend when Croatian authorities shared evidence that Ghessen, who was working as a freelancer for the paper, had entered the country using a valid passport and left via Zagreb airport bound for Paris.
The Sun has been accused of running a falsified account of how "A Sun investigator managed to smuggle himself 2,000 miles from Turkey to Paris in just six days without showing his passport". It's article was headlined: "6 DAYS TO TERROR" and claimed "WE REVEAL HOW EUROPE IS STILL WIDE OPEN TO DANGER".
The paper claimed its investigator had moved freely across Europe, without checks, by paying people smugglers and hiding in a train toilet to evade Croatian border police - the suggestion being terrorists could do the same. However, the Croatian Interior Ministry has claimed it did register The Sun's investigator both as he entered and left Croatia. It has even published a scan of his valid passport which he apparently presented, according to website Total Croatia News.
The statement from the Croatian Interior Ministry also appears to contradict claims the investigator took "a series of trains up to Paris, dodging the guards on the way" as it says he exited Croatia at Zagreb airport, where he showed a valid passport.
The Sun has removed the story from its website.
Back in September, the Express claimed "Britain is facing the most savage winter in more than 50 years with months of heavy snowfall and bitter Arctic winds set to bring the country to a total standstill".
In particular, we were warned “October is likely to see a real chill…and… a much colder than average November”.
So, how are they doing so far?
They’ve still got it!
Despite some rather desperate attacks on Jeremy Corbyn of late ("he didn't bow!", "he didn't sing!" "his bicycle is a communist!"), you'd think even his fiercest critics among the media would draw the line at trying to blame the pacifist anti-war campaigner for the UK's likely involvement in bombing Syria.
But no. A number of papers are paving the way to blame Corbyn for "caving in" and letting Labour MPs join the Conservatives in backing military action. Of course, if Corbyn had been able to prevent this he would have faced criticism for being "undemocratic" or a "terrorist sympathiser":
The Times has issued a correction after it followed sister paper The Sun in distorting the findings of a Survation poll on British Muslim attitudes towards fighters in Syria. The Times correction states:
"We reported the findings of a Survation poll of 1,000 British Muslims (News, Nov 24). Asked "How do you feel about young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria?", 14 per cent of respondents expressed "some sympathy" and 5 per cent "a lot of sympathy". The survey did not distinguish between those who go to fight for Islamic State and those who join other factions in Syria, and it did not ask about attitudes towards Isis itself. Our headline, "One in five British Muslims has sympathy for Isis", was misleading in failing to reflect this."
The Times could easily have saved itself this embarrassing retreat. Its story appeared a day later than The Sun's, by which time the story and the survey it was based on had already been widely discredited.
The Times' correction comes after Survation distanced itself from The Sun and its reporting of the survey. More than 2,000 complaints about The Sun's story have been received by IPSO.
Polling company Survation has distanced itself from The Sun’s misleading news story about support for jihadis among UK Muslims. The company has issued a statement saying "Survation do not support or endorse the way in which this poll’s findings have been interpreted".
While it was certainly naïve of Survation not to see how such an ambiguously worded survey could be misused, it points out other media outlets have been able to report similar findings in a "largely uncontroversial", "balanced way" previously.
The company's statement adds: "Survation categorically objects to the use of any of our findings by any group, as has happened elsewhere on social networks, to incite racial or religious tensions."
It seems a long time since The Sun claimed it wanted to 'unite the UK' against the threat of Islamic terrorism (a claim met with some cynicism at the time). Now the paper is using that threat to whip up hostility towards British Muslims with a headline on Monday claiming one in five have "sympathy for jihadis". The headline is based on a piece of research carried out for The Sun by polling company Survation. The Sun claimed:
"Some 2.7 million Muslims live in Britain... If the poll reflected views across the country it would mean 500,000 have some support for jihadis."
Even if we ignore The Sun's rather fanciful premise that supporters of jihadis would just confess their allegiance to a stranger doing a survey over the phone (why didn't MI6 think of this?), there are a number of other issues with the headline and the paper's claims - most notably the fact they aren't true.
Survation asked respondents whether they have sympathy for "young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria?" and gave them a choice of answers - none of which mentioned "support for jihadis". However, the wording of the question and the use of "sympathy" were both open to significant interpretation which The Sun has certainly made full use of.
Press regulator IPSO, whose code of practice clearly states "the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information" has reportedly already received hundreds of complaints about the article.
Survation's data suggests 25 per cent of respondents believe some young Muslims heading to join fighters in Syria - such as the young girls who have reportedly been groomed online - are vulnerable people whose minds have been poisoned. Whether people agree with that belief or not, it clearly doesn't mean the respondents condone the young girls' subsequent allegiance and it certainly doesn't mean they "support jihadis". But it does seem conceivable that respondents could pity the bleak set of circumstances that lead a child down a dark and deadly path while still being wholly, vehemently opposed to terrorism. Others have pointed out The Sun's question does not distinguish between young Muslims fighting on different sides of the war in Syria.
The truth is, we cannot possibly know how the relatively small sample of 1,000 British Muslims interpreted the rather ambiguous question or its equally ambiguous answers - and nor can The Sun.
'Associated Newspapers vs Paul Weller' may not go down in history as one of the most shocking examples of invasion of privacy by the UK media but it is surely a contender for most fatuous.
Lawyers acting for the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail Online lost their appeal on Friday against a High Court decision to award Paul and Hannah Weller £10,000, on behalf of their children. And what was this story the Mail felt so strongly about that it simply had to publish and defend through the courts and a subsequent appeal, no doubt at considerable cost?
The BBC reports:
"Seven paparazzi photos were published in October 2012 under the headline "A family day out: Paul Weller takes wife Hannah and his twin sons out for a spot of shopping in the hot LA sun... A photographer had followed the family... and took photographs without their consent despite being asked to stop."
That's right, it was a 'man goes shopping with his family' story (unless it was the added revelation that California can get hot sometimes that really tipped this over the news threshold).
The Wellers were understandably angry, especially as the article included unpixelated, unobscured photos of their young children who were 16-years-old and 10-month-old twins at the time (Weller's 16-year-old daughter was wrongly identified as Weller's wife in that original headline). A right to privacy for them and their children is something they obviously take very seriously and Hannah Weller is also now campaigning to safeguard the privacy of other children.
Associated Newspapers has claimed the case could have "adverse effects on the freedom of the UK media" (to report on celebrities' kids on shopping trips?). But rather than bemoaning the outcome of this particular case they would perhaps do well to have another read of their "man goes shopping with his kids" scoop and consider the extent to which they are using or abusing that important freedom.
The Daily Express has named and shamed MP Simon Danczuk for apparently tweeting during Wednesday's two minute silence (something Danczuk has denied, blaming technical issues):
However, it seems like a case of 'do as we say, not as we do' from the Express who themselves tweeted during the two minute silence on Remembrance Sunday. This Carol Vorderman exclusive obviously couldn't wait:
The Sun on Wednesday reported that Ofcom was investigating the BBC following "complaints" about new drama London Spy:
"OFCOM is to investigate BBC2's London Spy after complaints over its explicit sex scenes and nudity. Stars Ben Whishaw and Edward Holcroft were seen romping naked only 25 minutes after the watershed."
But it seems The Sun was jumping the gun. Ofcom has clarified:
"We assessed one complaint about a sex scene in London Spy on BBC Two. In our view, the scene was appropriately scheduled after the watershed. We therefore won't be investigating the programme."