The Daily Mail: even worse than flat earth journalism

On July 22nd I wrote a small blog entry on my website regarding a dodgy article written in the Daily Mail about children with special educational needs.

In my entry I asked: “[a]t what point do we suppose the Daily Mail not only dislikes the inclusion of young people with special educational needs in schools, but doesn’t think special educational needs exist outside of the 2% once designated before the Warnock report of 1978.”

Of course the article in the Mail doesn’t explicitly say THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SPECIAL NEEDS because in doing this, not only would they be wrong (this shouldn’t phase them too much), they’d open up the grounds for a whole campaign and would alienate a large amount of people (even if those people are Mail readers).

The question of whether the Mail editorial staff or some of its staff writers deny the need for the category special educational needs or whether they feel too many children belong to this category is still worth asking even if we can’t reach a definitive answer, which is exactly what I did.

In my entry I say:

in an unsourced paragraph, the article suggests:

it has also been claimed that doctors, teachers and parents are too keen to pin medical labels – such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – on what might previously have been branded poor discipline

Before using a quote by Dr Gwynedd Lloyd, an education researcher at the University of Edinburgh, who said:

You can’t do a blood test to check whether you’ve got ADHD – it’s diagnosed through a behavioural checklist.

Getting out of your seat and running about is an example – half the kids in a school could qualify under that criterion.

My charge is obviously against the unsourced article where the Mail, instead of making a claim themselves, have claimed that “doctors, teachers and parents” attest to children being overbranded.

The quote of interest, unknown to me at the time, is the second one by Dr Gwynedd Lloyd.

Last week a comment appeared below my entry by Dr Lloyd herself telling me that:

The daily mail used a quote from me, without my permission, from another article that took a different approach. My argument is not that ADHD doesn’t exist, it is that we are clustering together lots of difficult and challenging behaviour under one rather simple diagnosis and then using stimulant medication. Of course such children need additional support in school and should get it. The daily mail used my quote out of context to support their argument against inclusion. I disagree completely with their conclusions!

Of course! The Mail don’t make claims themselves, they use claims by other people in order to hide what they really think, but even better than that, they use quotes from people who don’t even agree with the charge they are hiding behind.

I contacted Dr Lloyd through her work email to verify whether it was really her who had left the comment. After confirming this she told me that she was “really fed up with the Daily Mail using this bit of a quote. The original was in the Guardian and has since appeared without context (and to support opinions I dislike) twice in the Mail and one in the Telegraph. So not just the tabloids!”

So let it be known, the Mail (and the Telegraph) will use quotes out of turn, without permission, to write ill-thought commentary on subjects they find contentious. Why people continue using this rag for information is well beyond me.

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3 Responses to The Daily Mail: even worse than flat earth journalism

  1. Pingback: #MMR Shit Storm ahoy! « Left Outside

  2. guerrillamum says:

    Interesting article! I recall the Telegraph article you refer to and remember feeling quite horrified by its content …

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