Thursday, 3 February 2011

Another PCC Complaint Against the Daily Mail

The Daily Mail has printed yet another article on 'disability benefits' - DLA this time - claiming that half of DLA claimants are not asked to prove eligibility. The claims are demolished on Where's The Benefit.

Obviously, this article is as worthy of referral to the PCC as last week's attempt on the subject of ESA. So we've put together another complaint which you can paste into the PCC online complaint form:

The headline of this article airs a gross inaccuracy repeated by its first sentence: 'Half the 3.2million people on disability benefit have never been asked for evidence to back their claims, it emerged last night.'

This claim is not only grossly inaccurate and misleading, but is also a distortion and misrepresentation of the truth. There are no Disability Living Allowance claimants who have never been asked to provide evidence - filling in the long application form is a prerequisite of a successful claim. There are Special Rules for claimants who need their claim processed quickly - in cases of terminal illness, for example - but these rules only apply to 1.2% of the DLA caseload 0r 37,800 people.

The written answers in this Hansard document do show that a majority of DLA claimants are given 'Indefinite' Awards. The prevalence of this type of award reflects that a great many impairments are lifelong and cannot be cured, and that reassessment of these cases wouuld be a waste of time and public money. The Daily Mail article distorts these facts to support their claim that disabled people have never been asked for evidence when making a claim for DLA.

The article also says that: 'The Department for Work and Pensions says the number of people on DLA has risen inexplicably from 2.5million in 2003 to nearly 3.2million.' In fact, the DWP have said nothing of the sort and that there are many possible explanations - including population growth, demographic shift, and increased awareness of the benefit. By reporting that the increase in benefit claims is inexplicable, the Daily Mail fails to distinguish between fact and comment.

The article report that: 'Of those [claimants], 31 per cent – almost a million – have been claiming for 14 years or more, while 46 per cent have been on the benefit for more for ten years.' Whilst this claim is accurate, and related to the statistics for indefinite awards, it is distorted in the context of the article.

You are complaining under the following sections of the Code of Practice:

1 i), ii) inaccuracy and gross inaccuracy. and iii) failing to distinguish between comment, conjecture and fact
12i) prejudicial reference to disability

Since we complained last week, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is getting rather boring. And it is. However, The Broken of Britain want to show the Daily Mail that their tirades against disabled people will not be put up with anymore - if they print the smallest falsity, distortion or lie about disabled people, we will make a noise about it, But we need you to help us by using the above template to make your own complaint!


Jan said...

It's *always* worth saying something. It's tempting to think "well it won't achieve anything", but making a complaint is a form of protest. One is registering ones disapproval. Silence is interpreted as agreement. Thanks for keeping at it, guys :).

HN said...

Thanks for this. At least a good few of the comments were pointing out the inaccuracy of it but still it still brought out the typical 'I know someone.....' brigade in force.

Tony Holden said...

Thanks for the help in submitting a complaint, I feel so bloody helpless in not being able to counter these attacks by the Mail because so many people think that if it is in a paper it must be true.

Romi said...

Thank you for doing this, I tried posting a comment on their site first thing this morning, I think the moderater decided not to publish!
It is totally wrong to whip up a public backlash against the most vulnerable and least vocal members of society, legitimately claiming benefits that they are entitled to. The article had me raging this morning, I am delighted this action has now been taken. People believe the rubbish printed in these 'newspapers'!

Alison said...

I tried to post the complaint but was informed in a response e-mail that I have to include a 'hard copy' of the evidence. Since I do not have a copy, they will not follow up my complaint. Is there any way around this?

Rhydian said...

Alison, don't worry about the response e-mail. If you entered the address (URL) of the online article, you'll be ok. Even if not, lots of people have complained so they'll know which article you mean :-)

Unknown said...

I complained to the PCC about the last mail article and they replied that they are contacting the mail about it with the Broken of Britain as the lead complainant. Good.

I'll complain again. It makes me sick the way they think it's ok to defame us in this way.

Unknown said...

I too tried to leave a comment in the Mail (I tried twice), without success.

Adrian said...

I have also complained and made a comment on-line to the paper as to the lies contained throughout-getting mor sickening every day.

Timbo said...

Great stuff. You cannot compain too often to the PCC. Use it again and again and again until changes in reporting patterns happen.

Without this kind of dogged persistence, the newspapers will keep printing inaccurate, stigmatising and denigrating rot. Relentless pressure from as many people as possible is the only way.

Visually Impaired said...

HI I sent the complaint off and I completely agree with the points that you raised. Will keep you informed as to what happens

osteogenesis said...

Just letting you know I have recieved a reply to my complaint,informing me my complaint is being forwarded to the commission with a view to making a ruling. Hopefully something may be done!

Anonymous said...

Just got a reply to my complaint with this bit of information at the bottom of the page -

"The editor of The Mail on Sunday is currently a member of the Press Complaints Commission. However, as the Daily Mail, the sister newspaper of the Mail on Sunday, is the subject of your complaint he will of course not take part in any discussion or consideration of the complaint by the Commission."

For heaven's sake, is everywhere corrupt!!! Like there's not going to be any influence at play! Ha Ha.

Anonymous said...

I've complained too. Don't know if it will any difference but we all have to put our twopence in.

Visually Impaired said...

Thank you for your email about the Daily Mail article headlined “The great disability benefit free-for-all: Half of claimants are not asked to prove eligibility”.

Your complaint will now be passed to the Commission with a view to it making a ruling under the Code. We aim to be in touch with you with a decision within the next 50 days (35 working days).

Visually Impaired said...

I write further to Simon Yip’s recent email in regard to your complaint about the article in the Daily Mail of 3 February headlined “The great disability benefit free-for-all”.

As you are aware, the complaint was to be considered shortly by the Commission. However, we have now received new information following a joint complaint from a number of organisations, headed by the Disability Alliance. As a result of this, we will be investigating the matter further with the newspaper, using this complaint as the lead complaint. This is the Commission’s standard policy when we receive numerous complaints about one article.

We will seek to keep you updated as to the outcome of the complaint in due course.