Written by Lucy Barnaby
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Topics: british, Court

Sunday, 25 September 2005

image for Daily Mail Sues Itself in 'Accurate Article' Scandal
Paul Dacre: not the most liberal man in the world

TOP BRITISH ‘newspaper' The Daily Mail has taken the unprecedented step of suing itself after a story it printed was judged to be 'an accurate and propaganda-free reflection of the truth', the High Court heard yesterday.

The scandal began some ten days ago with an article published under the headline ‘Seeking the asylum truth' which reported on the insensibility of mass-branding any large group of people on the basis of a single characteristic. The piece, which included quotes and comments from a black Professor of social science at the University of London, two young men whose first language was not English, and a single-parent mother on benefits, ended with a thought-provoking rhetorical question: ‘Perhaps it is time we question the increasingly common conception that all asylum seekers have come here with the sole intention to mug, rape and pillage our friends and family'.

In an emotionally fuelled speech to journalists Paul Dacre, the paper's editor, explained the utter contempt with which he held himself in since reading the article by a junior Mail journalist. ‘I don't know how it escaped our filtration procedures, I am truly ashamed of this inadvertent act of decadent liberalism,' he spat. ‘We have had sacks of letters of complaint about the article, from readers who felt their stalwart guiding light had been extinguished, and from readers who wanted to know if their chance of winning cheap airline tickets would be jeopardised by the asylum seekers taking up all the seats.'

Human and civil rights campaigning group Liberty welcomed the article as ‘a much overdue step in the right direction for this nauseating excuse for a newspaper', whilst it clearly hit a raw nerve with Lord Poncenbury-Farquah-Smythe, who is seriously ill in hospital after his catheter imploded whilst he read the piece.

The case will be trial led before a jury of middle-aged Caucasian family-men with receding hairlines and evidence of family land ownership in the Domesday Book. Dacre, for one, hopes he gets everything he deserves; ‘We will pursue justice and not rest until the court declares that the paper is to award itself damages; the money will almost certainly be made available to Kilroy's new party, Veritwat, to make it clear how wrong we recognise we were with the article. At the Daily Mail we have a proud tradition to uphold and we are not about to let our readers down by allowing our opinions to be clouded by the truth.'

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