Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Newspapers correct incapacity benefit claims after Full Fact complaint

Several newspapers, the Heil, Telegraph, and Sun, have, after much pressure, from, finally admitted they ran erroneous articles relating to the numbers of IB claimants who failed the WCAs, and were thus deemed fit for work. The papers in question have agreed to print corrections.

Next stop the DWP. Much of the misreporting around the migration from IB to ESA or JSA via the WCAs was taken from DWP’s briefings. This in turn has led to lazy journalism. Newspapers appear to have forgotten what the role of a reporter is. It isn’t to take the word of an individual or government department.

No, such information should serve only as a source of information from which the reporter then goes and investigates. It’s called researching the story. In my trade union activities I get to talk to NUJ members. They are not happy with their colleagues in the Heil, Sun etc, nor indeed local newspapers, blithely returning copy that is little more than propaganda put out by government departments.

The media, including the press, is not there to serve governments. Quite the opposite in fact, they’re there to inform the public of, amongst other things, the excesses of government. Sadly too many of our newspapers are doing the governments bidding; acting as propaganda machines helping to drive forward draconian legislation.

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