Daily Mail claims teachers' strike caused girls' death
Friday, 1 July 2011
Now this really is a piece of work. I spotted this story in my local daily, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, which describes the death of Sophie Howard, killed by a falling tree branch at a park yesterday as a 'freak accident' and a 'tragedy', both of which are fairly accurate assessments.
Head on over to the Daily Mail (istyosty link) and we've got the same story reported not as a 'freak accident', but as a tragedy caused by the fact Sophie's teachers were on strike yesterday, meaning that her school was closed - hence her fatal trip to the park with friends. Yes, it's the teachers and the unions who are to blame for Sophie's death.
Said Charlie Brooker on Twitter: "Most despicable headline since The Sun's notorious Hillsborough insult?"
And for once, the commenters at Mail Online seem to be in agreement with the 'Twitterati', indicating that the Mail has truly gone beyond the bounds of acceptability this time.
"The single most appalling and vindictive piece of journalism I have had the misfortune to stumble across for many years. It shows a total lack of respect for the family and the teaching profession. An unambiguous apology to all sides is needed without any delay,'" writes 'Mike, Lincoln'.
I think we're all in agreement with that.
Edit: As word started to get round that even some DM journalists were disgusted by the story, the headline was swiftly changed to "Girl, 13, crushed to death by a falling branch as she sat on park bench on the day her teachers went out on strike" and the story moved further down the front page of Mail Online.