Thursday, 21 April 2011

New PCC Complaint Against the Daily Mail

Feel free to cut and paste:

PCC complaint about today's Daily Mail article entitled Scandal of 80,000 on sickness benefits for minor ailments... including diarrhoea"

The article begins by saying that "Thousands of people have been on incapacity benefit for more than a decade for minor ailments". The article goes on to say that "Officials admitted 135,000 people have been off work for a decade with depression, 1,360 because they have diarrhoea and 6,740 because they have severe stress."

On grounds of inaccuracy: The above statement is inaccurate, misleading and discriminatory. Firstly, the use of the word 'admission' implies guilt or responsibility on the part of the officials responsible rather than a release of statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions. Secondly, the article defines depression as a minor ailment. Depression exists as a wide spectrum, and many cases can be severely debilitating.

On grounds of misleading information: The article characterizes diahorrea as a minor ailment. The article also says that 'Amazingly, there are 30 people ... 80 with a ‘cough’ and ten with blisters.' Chronic diahorrea could be caused by a variety of severe illnesses; coughs can be caused by cystic fibrosis, emphysema or lung cancer; epidermolysis bullosa is a skin condition causing severe blistering and damage to the body. The article also points out that "“53,450 are on sickness benefit because they have problems with ‘scholastic skills", thereby implying that learning disabilities are minor ailments. Many other severe problems, from ataxia to eating disorders, are implied to be minor ailments through dismissal of their symptoms.

On grounds of discrimination: Firstly, the article is accompanied by a picture of a woman inhaling a white powder through a roll of money. This makes particular reference to the "37,480 are listed under ‘drug abuse", without consideration of the fact that addiction is a mental illness, and the high incidence of drug abuse amongst those with other sever mental-health problems. Furthermore, it fails to recognise the fact that claimants are not paid to support drug abuse but to support recovery from addiction.

Secondly, the article discriminates against many disabled people by implying that symptoms of a variety of severe illnesses are 'minor ailments'. By dismissing symptoms of skin diseases, neurological disorders, learning disabilities and mental-health issues, the Daily Mail reinforces discrimination against these groups and others.

The complaint is made under clauses 1i) inaccuracy, 1ii) significant inaccuracy, 1iii) failing to distinguish between conjecture and fact, and 12i) discrimination on the grounds of disability of the Code.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be annoying and try to copyedit:

third paragraph, 'on the part of' looks like the sentence got cut off

fifth paragraph, 'cause' for 'caused', 'cughs' for 'coughs'

sixth paragraph, 'sever' for 'severe', suggest 'to support recovery' or 'to support them during recovery' rather than 'to support during recovery'

j said...

have you got a link to the article as I know last time I complained I had to give a date and full title

Bill Kruse said...

If you look at the Mail today it describes Catherine Zeta-Jones as 'working her way back to health' the clear inference being that one can cure a severe mental illness, bipolar disorder, through work. This is a misrepresentation of mental illness.

Anonymous said...

The Tory hate campaign continues;
bbc radio has had 3 or 4 news reports in the last hour about 'alcohol and drug users' claiming benefits. Then a back to work program is mentioned. BBC Tory propaganda machine working overtime.

j said...

Found it, and complained. Fingers crossed

Rhydian said...

Anon 15:18: All fixed now - thanks ffor pointing out tthe errors! I'm doing too many things at the same time...

Anonymous said...

One thing I think has been missed is that the people with drug issues are being shown as taking illegal drugs when as I understand it the majority are having issues with prescribed drugs.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

I sent a complaint in too. I stuck with the depression aspect cos that's what affects me and being directly affected is more likely to make the discrimination ground stick.

Used inaccuracy and discrimination grounds.

Iconic Imagery said...

I see your point completely Bill. The reality behind the DM story is that CZJ was no doubt under a lot of pressure to *recover* very quickly and resume work, even indirectly. There are serious financial considerations here - the insurance she is under for the firm, product costs soaring for every day that a principal actor or actress is of commission just as a start. And trying to recast, especially under the circumstances, could be more problems than they could possibly want to have to deal with. The DM is definitely playing games with this story. Many mental health patients would be so lucky to be released from a facility and back to work within a week, seemingly right as rain. Not to mention she was in an expensive private facility which undoubtedly helped. I applaud her for being very honest about her situation but the reality is that the tabloids will use her candour any way they can to score points against we *scroungers*

Anonymous said...

what is even more shocking is that the BBC are also carrying the SAME story with the SAME overtones...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13152349

Iconic Imagery said...

We picked up on that via Twitter and FB Anon. It's disgraceful to zee the Beeb morphing into a tabloid... Not the first time they've done this. Very disappointing.

Visually Impaired said...

I have made the complaint as well. I have read the article and it is grossly inaccurate.

definatelycharlie said...

Could someone please answer a question I have.My major problems are muscular-skeletal,but I have acquired depression and anxiety.These days I mention the depression when claiming,ofcourse.Plus I've been recieving benefits over 10years.So,would I be recorded as one of these supposedly undeserving(for that is the intended implication)claiments?