|The offending S*n feature|
Saturday, 5 December 2015
IPSO won't shine light on Sun Survation story says Greenslade
Very useful piece this, on a story which will rumble on until IPSO publish any deliberations on it - and very likely beyond if Greenslade is right in anticipating an all-clear ruling.
There are some calls for a wider boycott of The S*n to join the ongoing Merseyside boycott, though initial online noise over that seems to have gone fairly quiet. This story has become iconic of wide dissatisfaction with our press though. The Mail, the most complained about paper of them all with its often vile values earning it the sobriquet of Hate Mail, must be delighted that it's red-top right-wing rival has now stolen its thunder with the most complaints yet received by IPSO on any story.
The reason I say this is a very useful piece is because it highlights the real complexities in any attempt to improve our press through regulation, self- or statutory.
Was this a nasty story likely to fuel racist attitudes? Basically, yes. Was it an entirely inaccurate reading of the results of a poll? Essentially, no.
Greenslade points out that while the nature of the poll that produced the results was dubious at best, the paper's interpretation of the results could not be dismissed as distorted or inaccurate.
Better judgement could have been used, and the paper was unseemingly grateful for this opportunity to grandstand and launch a populist (certainly amongst its mainly C2DE readership) anti-Muslim, anti-immigration broadside with the fig leaf of respectable data ... but how far should we go to enforce better judgement? How would we formalise that, and how could that possibly avoid being grossly censorial?
This was a nasty article, inaccurate in it's demographic claim but accurate in its interpretation of the data the story was based on. Press regulation, even in what seems the simplest of clauses in the Editors' Code (itself revised just this week), is never simple or straightforward - and no matter how nasty our billionaire tax-dodger owned press gets, let's not forget the closeness of the terms regulation and censorship.