Tabloid newspaper lies are being used by far-right extremist websites to increase levels of racism in the UK. The papers won’t acknowledge it but there exists a clear link between lies printed in papers such as The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express and overtly racist sites who reprint and share these false articles.
The latest blatant example of this comes courtesy of the Daily Express, a publication that eschews actual coverage of the news in favour of writing rubbish about the EU, immigration, extreme weather, conspiracy theories and supposed Alzheimer’s cures.
Last October, the Express published a fake news article titled TAXPAYER FUNDED ‘ANARCHIST’ PhD STUDENT ‘HELPED START FIRES AT CALAIS JUNGLE MIGRANT CAMP’. It claimed that activist and researcher James Ellison was involved in arson at the migrant camps in Calais on 27 October last year.
On Friday, nearly nine months after the original article was published, the Express published an apology to Mr Ellison admitting this story was untrue.
The paper acknowledged that he ‘had nothing at all to do with starting those fires’ and furthermore ‘had not been in Calais for several months before the fires’. Facts that made the initial story not just a bit wrong but entirely false.
It’s not the first time the Express has been guilty of grossly misleading its readers. As usual, it gets a gentle slap on the wrists from the regulators and politely says ‘we’re very sorry’. No details on how the paper managed to get things so wrong. No guarantee that it won’t happen again.
A mediocre apology so long after the publication of the original lies hardly seems worth it. The damage has already been done. Far more people will have read and shared the original article than will see the apology. Worse still, the original article was republished word-for-word (at the same time as the original) on a far-right website called Stop White Genocide.
Although the Express has taken the article off its own website after conceding that it’s fake news, the republished version remains on display.
Stop White Genocide’s extremist credentials are evident on the website’s home page with links to posts such as ‘A Tribute to Horst Wessel’ (a Nazi stormtrooper leader in the late 20s turned into a far-right martyr after being shot dead) and ‘Hitler Pleas For Peace’.
Chillingly, the words ‘We must remember these traitors… James Ellison’ have been inserted underneath the reproduced Express headline.
So the Express prints lies about an individual and he ends up on a list of traitors on a Hitler-supporting website. It shows you where irresponsible tabloid reporting can lead.
This sort of thing is a common occurrence. Type any inflammatory right-wing tabloid headline into a search engine and you will be likely to find links to all manner of dodgy extremist sites who either reprint the articles word for word or put their own spin on it.
It’s a dangerous web of false news with links to some violent far-right extremists. Worryingly, our tabloid press is feeding into it on a regular basis.
Don’t like what you’re seeing in the press? If you see an article you’re unhappy with, you can email the press regulators at firstname.lastname@example.org to voice your concerns. If enough complaints are received, they will have to look into it.
Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.