THE SUN FAILS TO GRASP THE NATURE OF SATIRE

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The Sun has displayed its trademark stupidity yet again by completely missing the point of satirical art at the Labour Party annual conference.

The paper was apparently disgusted by a ‘sick stall’ on display at The World Transformed – a fringe event staged by left-wing group Momentum running alongside the conference.

In it’s article HARMED FORCES, the paper claims that the stall (pictured) ‘mocks crippled British troops with sick toys and comics’.

Among the items criticised were a comic book entitled ‘Join The Army – free prosthetic limbs!’ and an image of a ‘Paralysed Action Man’ figure in a wheelchair.

The stall was also criticised in an article that ran in the Huffington Post.

But this wasn’t some cruel attempt to ridicule forces veterans. The stand was run by anti-war comic book artist Darren Cullen who has produced a range of artwork aimed at drawing attention to the dangers facing those signing up for the armed forces and attacking army recruitment propaganda.

Cullen has many ex-soldiers among his fans and has worked in partnership with Veterans For Peace UK. His Paralysed Action Man was part of a parody series used in a Veterans For Peace campaign in 2015.

The Sun acknowledges Cullen as the person behind the stall in the article, calling him an ‘anti-military comic book writer’. But the paper obviously couldn’t be bothered to research his background, either that or its ‘journalists’ are simply too stupid to understand the concept of satire.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

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TABLOIDS FALLING OVER THEMSELVES TO DRAW OUT NEGATIVES FROM REPORT ON FRENCH MUSLIMS

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(Photo: Chris Schuepp)

You can tell a lot about the press by how they report on an independent social survey. More often than not, they will have chosen their angle before even looking at the results and will then choose which statistics best highlight the often biased points they are trying to make.

Take the recent survey by Institut Montaigne on French Muslims. The liberal French research organisation surveyed just over 1,000 French Muslims on their views on a variety of subjects. Surprise surprise, the usual suspects the Daily Mail and the Daily Express have chosen to focus on the minority of those surveyed who hold conservative religious views.

Around 24% of those surveyed supported wearing the burqa or niqab. This leaves, of course, an overwhelming majority of 76% that were not in favour of full face veils.

This was enough for the Daily Mail to report with the headline ONE IN FOUR FRENCH MUSLIMS WANT ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE FORM OF ISLAM WHICH FORCES WOMEN TO WEAR FACE VEILS, STUDY FINDS.

The Daily Express went with ONE IN FOUR FRENCH MUSLIMS SUPPORT BURKA, SURVEY FINDS.

The objective is clear from these headlines. Never mind the overall picture. Promote that link in people’s minds between Muslims and support for oppression of women.

Interestingly, nearly half of those surveyed – 46% – classified themselves as secular, demonstrating an attachment to their religion only by eating halal meat. This information is buried away deep down in the article, far away from the sensationalist headlines.

The survey also showed that the vast majority of Muslims accept curbs on religion in public. Other statistics included two-thirds of women reporting that they did not wear a headscarf, 56% of women saying they were happy to use mixed swimming facilities and only 29% saying they attend a mosque on a weekly basis.

So overall it would seem that French Muslims are largely secular, with moderates greatly outnumbering conservatives and radicals. Quite a different picture from that painted by the Daily Mail and Daily Express.

People may think that 25% is a large enough figure to justify the way these tabloids have reported. Fair enough, but it’s worth pointing out that similar figures are often found in such surveys. For instance, a 2010 British Social Attitudes Survey found that 25% of people believed that there should be more religious involvement in public policy.

Most of us in Britain know and accept that the general consensus is for religion to be kept separate from the political sphere. If the press had reported on that survey by trying to focus on the minority that wanted closer ties between religion and politics, it would have sounded daft. Yet people readily accept it when the tabloid press reports on Muslims.

It’s time we called the press out on their inflammatory and biased reporting and demanded a fairer and more accurate representation of such information.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

THE SUN MANIPULATES UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES TO TRY AND MAKE THE EU LOOK BAD

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Eurostat has published its latest unemployment figures for the EU and the Eurozone, and The Sun has cherry-picked and distorted the data to try and make an anti-EU point.

The July 2016 statistics, available here, show that unemployment and youth unemployment is gradually falling overall. It is also falling within the majority of individual EU countries, rising in only three countries (Estonia, Austria and Belgium).

Yet there is no mention of this in The Sun report on the findings. In an article titled ‘EU ISN’T WORKING’, the tabloid – which encouraged its readers to vote for Brexit in the EU referendum vote – has singled out countries with the highest unemployment and youth unemployment rates, contrasting them with UK figures to try and imply that the EU is to blame.

This is despite the fact that the biggest economy in the EU – Germany – has one of the lowest unemployment (4.2%) and youth unemployment (7.2%) rates. No mention of this in the report either.

Much of the article focuses on youth unemployment, particularly of that in the Eurozone where it has been highest. The article sub-heading states that ‘shocking stats show a fifth of youths in the Eurozone are jobless’  while the article claims that youth unemployment has ‘shot up’.

But although the youth unemployment figures in the Eurozone are admittedly high, currently at 21.1% overall, they have fallen from 22.1% this time last year and from a high of 24.4% in 2013.

This is because unemployment figures in most developed countries have been greatly affected by the global economic crisis that started in 2008. They are not determined by EU membership. Before the crisis, youth unemployment in the EU was at a low of 15.1%.

Distortion, selective reporting, absence of context… you’d almost believe that the paper has an agenda to push…

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.