Sunday, December 28, 2014

No originality: Daily Mail

The Daily Mail, a British-based tabloid newspaper (a word I use loosely), has fallen so far down that it can no longer get up.

The notion of responsible journalism or ethical reporting is largely non-existent these days.  The website (which has been given an American flare to encourage more American readers, which was duly noted by the New York Times more than a year ago) is filled with errors, repeated statements in articles,  material lifted straight from US papers, and largely nonsensical reporting.  It is sad to see this paper fall so far down into the gutter.

In the U.S media it is customary to site the source of a news story.  The Daily Mail's editorial staff have no compunctions to respect the source, let alone credit the source.

One of the lead stories on the Mail on Sunday is about the protection of palace guards, who have been moved back behind gates, and less accessible to the general public.

Here is a link to the Mail's story.

But there is little originality in the Mail's story, which has been picked up by other British newspapers, including the Mirror, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph.

The original story was published on December 6 on Royal Central, a British-based website that reports on the daily activities of the British royal family.  The site's authority continues to grow as most of the British media have largely stopped reporting on the day to day activities of the Queen and her family, concentrating on Kate Middleton (The Mirror has yet to catch on that Kate has been married for several years now and is now known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge) and her what she wears.  There is also a lot of cooing over the ever adorable Prince George of Cambridge (which means less press attention for Lupo).

The Mail is guilty of non-stop snark about the Middletons.   The Mail's editors and reporters won't up be upfront about the negative reporting about Catherine's parents and siblings, but I will say that the paper does not play fair.  The paper is run by a bunch ersatz snobs, and they cannot appreciate the fact that the Middletons are self-made millionaires.  Michael and Carole worked hard to create their Party Pieces business.  Party Pieces is a great success, allowing the family to send their children to the best schools and universities. 

But they have no titles.  They are not aristocrats.   The Mail went all giddy when Prince Harry was dating Cressida Bonas's whose mother, Lady Mary-Gaye, is the daughter of an earl.    It didn't matter to the Mail that Lady Mary-Gaye has been married and divorced four times, and the Middletons are a happily married couple.  

The Duke of Cambridge's mother, Diana, was the daughter of an earl.  Her parents were divorced when she was a young child.  Unlike Catherine Middleton,  Diana did not have the benefit of growing up in a stable home.  A big house, yes, but not a two-parent home.   When her sons were spending Christmas Day with their father and grandparents at Sandringham, Diana remained at Kensington Palace, alone, playing the martyr, seeking pity for her "desperate" situation.    She did have her own family: two sisters, a mother, a brother in South Africa, but none of them appears to have extended invitations to come and join them for Christmas dinner.   If invitations for a turkey dinner and all the trimmings were issued, Diana seemed to eschew them all, preferring beans on toast and the star at her own pity party.

It is no wonder that William enjoys the robust family life that the Middletons offer.  Stability, honesty, and loving parents.  The Queen understands this, and, made sure that the Middletons were invited to attend Christmas Day services.   (The Countess of Wessex also grew up in a two parent middle class family.  The Queen has also included Christopher Rhys-Jones in royal events, including riding in the carriage with her at Ascot.)

I have digressed. Back to the reason for this post: the shameful stealing of Royal Central's exclusive story without the acknowledgement of the original source.  Although Royal Central's Deputy Editor, Chloe Howard is quoted near the end of the article,  the two reporters neglected to mention the original source.   According to the original article's writer, Martin, the reporters did "contact us for the facts," and promised to provide credit, when the Mail's article was published.    Promise not kept. For true journalists, this lack of credit is considered to be unethical.

Another British newspaper, The Independent,  also has a story about the guard situation.  Although the article does not mention Royal Central by name,  the reporter did include a link to Royal Central's original story.

Without Royal Central's exclusive piece three weeks ago,  it is unlikely that the Mail would have reported on the change to the placement of the palaces' guards.   More likely, the paper would have run yet another factually inaccurate and negative story about the Middletons.

I hope to see more exclusives from Royal Central.

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