How the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph twisted good news into an attack on immigrants

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“… on touchstone issues, you knew that the headline had been written before the story came in and your job was to make the facts fit.”

– former Daily Mail reporter; cited in Nick Davies, “None Deadlier Than The Mail”, New Statesman, 24 January 2008

Have you heard the one about the immigrant who went out for a meal, then didn’t pay the bill? No? Well, actually, they paid in full and left a generous tip, but I’ve chosen to discount that for the purposes of this joke.

If that didn’t make much sense, you’ve probably not read the UCL Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM)’s latest report – or seen how the right-wing press covered it. Continue reading

Brand’s liberal critics don’t have a leg to stand on

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History conducts no controlled experiments, but sometimes gets close – offering an insight into the way the world works.

Take a few recent cases: Labour plans a “Mansion Tax”; a corporate-backed Tory lobby group suggest the poor fund social security through a regressive charge; and the government plans to let innocent people drown in the Mediterranean. Which poses the gravest threat to human welfare? And which most outraged the media? You already know the answer. Labour’s mansion tax – flawed above all because it does not go far enough – prompts gales of outrage from plutocrat-owned papers’ inner-London-property-owning hacks. Celebrities threaten to leave the country; hard-pressed owners of £2-3m properties (who can defer the charge unless they pay top-rate income tax) launch a “humanitarian appeal”. These are the people with whom we share our country: holders of wealth so blinkered and selfish that any modest reduction in their privilege looms like an existential threat. Continue reading