Daily Mail

Daily Mail gratuitously highlights “orthodox Jewish” faith of Londoners accused of assault

The discrimination clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice states:

Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

This is the context which prompted UK Media Watch to complain earlier today to Daily Mail editors over the following story:

The Nov. 15th article describes a trial involving four “orthodox Jewish” men who allegedly “attacked a traffic warden…after he ticketed their Lexus” in London earlier in the year. The fact that the men accused of assault are orthodox Jews is noted several times in the article, including in the following photo caption:

Though the question of who initiated the attack is in dispute, there’s no suggestion in the article that there may have been a religious motivation for the violence.  So, while some on social media may have casually referred to the incident as “an orthodox Jewish attack”, editors should have at least put ‘scare quotes’ around the words to indicate that they are not endorsing this characterisation.  Would the Daily Mail ever describe an attack in London by black men on a Jewish man as a ‘black attack’ or highlight the attacker’s skin colour in the headline?  Unless there’s recently been a spate of such acts of violence in London by orthodox Jews, we fail to see why the religion of these alleged attackers is pertinent to the story at all.  

Moreover, beyond the narrow question of whether the reference to the faith of accused men violates the Editors’ Code, their editorial decision represents another example of the media’s tendency to focus on the ‘bad behavior’ of religiously observant Jews – both in Israel and the diaspora.  

Followers of this blog may recall that, in 2011, UKMW prompted a correction to a Guardian article about the London riots which included an extremely gratuitous reference to Jews allegedly involved in the rioting. 

Though we of course can’t know the DM editor’s motivation, the focus on the alleged assailant’s Jewish faith – as well the curious detail in the headline concerning the Jewish man’s expensive luxury vehicle – raises some troubling questions.

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14 replies »

  1. Surely this merits an official complaint “practising Muslims Can you envisage a headline “practising Muslims” or “Christian activists” or “Catholics”

    Joy Make a complaint – Independent Press Standards Organisation https://www.ipso.co.uk/make-a-complaint/


    You can make a complaint about any newspaper or magazine which is regulated by IPSO. You must make a complaint under the Editors’ Code of Practice. ‎Complaints form · ‎Who IPSO regulates · ‎Complaints process Press Complaints Commission >> Home Page >> Welcome http://www.pcc.org.uk/

    1. 2.

    The homepage of the Press Complaints Commission, the independent body which deals with complaints from members of the public about the editorial content …

  2. I think it’s possible that the Mail might point attention to the ethnicity of black people accused of assaults in its headlines, certainly.

    Not that that excuses this for one second – all it proves is that the Mail is a nasty little rag which is really no keener on any one minority group than any other.

  3. Adam – I’ve noticed several flaggings of the Daily Mall [DM] in recent weeks. Unlike the 3 British “nasties” [BBC, Independent and Guardian], DM is not generally regarded as hostile to Jews, Israel and Zionism. If warranted, can you look into any recent staff or editorial change at the publication or its management that might warrant a deeper analysis or exposé on these pages?

    • Yes. A recurring … bias, may indicate the start of employment of someone who feels that it is his/her implicit duty in life to alert readers/the public, to … transgressions over and above the general population.

    • 1, You forgot C4, which is an even nastier sewer than Der BBC. 2. What it’s ‘regarded as’ is irrelevant – it has become Der Guardian Mk. 2 recently.