Stats: The Daily Mail Is by Far the Most Inaccurate (Dishonest?) Paper in Britain

IPSO, the press self-regulatory body, have recently released the stats concerning inaccurate claims that have been challenged and upheld:

Daily Mail dishonest 2017

Staunch left-wing site Another Angry Voice reports it as follows:

It’s important to bear in mind that these 37 upheld complaints only scratch the surface of the dishonesty and inaccuracy of the mainstream press. IPSO only proceeds with investigations if newspaper content provokes a wave of public complaints. Even if numerous people do complain, it’s entirely up to IPSO whether they bother conducting an investigation or not.

Even though the complaints procedure is so inadequate, the number of rulings against inaccurate content paint a concerning picture of a right-wing dominated mediascape where cynical hacks working for billionaire propaganda barons (Jonathan Harmsworth, Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay brothers) consider themselves free to make up reams of inaccurate content, safe in the knowledge that they’ll receive little or no punishment, even on the occasions that the toothless press regulator bothers to investigate and proves them to be liars.

Back in 2016 the three worst offenders were also the Daily Mail. S*n, and Express who racked up 43 rulings for inaccurate content between them. In 2017 the total between these three serial offenders has risen to 70, suggesting that the problem of hard-right propaganda rags spewing inaccurate/misleading/dishonest content is getting significantly worse.

But there is much to agree with here because the stats for some years have spoken for themselves. Tabloid Corrections adds:

The Daily Mail transgressed the press regulator rules no fewer than 50 times in 2017, making it by far the biggest offender of the year out of the publications monitored by IPSO.

This was more than the combined total of the next three worst offenders (Daily ExpressThe Sun and the Daily Telegraph) and far in excess of its 2016 total, when the paper also topped the charts.

The 2017 figures show an overall rise in IPSO sanctions compared to 2016, which could be due to worsening press standards or greater vigilance among those monitoring and reporting transgressions to IPSO….

This means that the three worst offenders in terms of publishing inaccurate content were sanctioned a total of 70 times between them in 2017, an increase of more than 50 per cent on last year (when they were sanctioned 43 times between them).

This is worrying news for the Daily Mail, the most popular daily paper in the UK in terms of online readership, but perhaps highlights why Wikipedia made the decision to classify it as an unreliable reference source in 2017.

Regarding subject matter of articles pulled up for inaccurate content, it was a mixed bag for the Mail although slightly more common themes were Jeremy Corbyn/Labour Party and issues relating to immigration and refugees (3 each). There were clearer patterns where the Express was concerned, with nearly half of its inaccurate content (8 articles) relating to the EU/Brexit and a further four concerned with Islam/Muslims. The most common theme of The Sun‘s inaccurate content was Corbyn/Labour (3 articles).

Perhaps what these figures show more than anything is that the current IPSO sanctions are ineffective. If they were working, you would expect the number of times these papers were pulled up for inaccurate content to decrease. The very fact that the Mail, the Express and The Sun are committing more offences than ever before does little to instil confidence in the current IPSO model as a regulatory force.

The details for each of the transgressions can be found here at IPSO. [EDITED] I generally read The Guardian and The Independent, though it is worth noting that the Financial Times, The Guardian and The Independent are not covered by IPSO. But they are also consistently deemed the most accurate newspapers in the UK, so go figure.

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