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Daily Mail G8 Blockade Reporting - Atrocious Newspaper Article Shocker!

m hor | 13.06.2007 11:16 | G8 Germany 2007 | Globalisation | Other Press | World

Last night on newsnight Peter Oborne, a Daily Mail political columist said "It's the job of the press to bring to light falshoods". It's a shame the idea wasn't applied to the article below.

Published in print and on the web, it deals with the blockade protests against the G8 held on Wednesday 6th June. I saw a copy of it last night and was astounded at the shoddy quality of the journalism. I find it hard to believe that someone was actualy paid to produce such a mixed up shambles of misinformation and mistake.

It contains around 13 serious factual errors. This is a shocking number of mistakes for any article.

The Daily Mail does not have a good record when it comes to accuracy and G8 protests. This article confirms that their reporting should not be believed. Over 2.3 Million people read the Daily Mail...

scan of article for analysis
scan of article for analysis

Here's the text reproduced here to allow comment of accuracy
- comments denoted by **:

Police and clowns clash in battles at G8 summit
08:43am on 7th June 2007

Protesters fought running battles with riot police as they tried to break through the perimeter fence protecting G8 summit leaders.

**WRONG: At least 99% of protestors were not trying to breach the fence but block the roads through it. "Running battles" cannot be used to describe what happened around the fences, mostly police either took no action or chased protestors or attacked them.

The activists, who numbered in the thousands, also blocked off access roads, forcing the authorities to transport hotel workers, officials, diplomats and journalists to the site by sea.

Police responded with teargas, water cannon and truncheon charges after being bombarded with rocks and bottles. At least eight officers were seriously injured.

**WRONG: Police attacked peaceful sit down blockades with water cannon, pepper spray and water cannon (see end note).

Fleets of helicopters were used to ferry thousands of police reinforcements to flashpoint areas.

**WRONG: Hundreds of police were ferried using helicopters not thousands.

Many of the protesters were dressed as members of the Rebel Clown Army which was formed in the late Nineties to protest against German nuclear waste shipments.

**WRONG: A small number of the total protestors dressed as clowns.
**WRONG: The 'Clown Army' was officialy promoted in the run up to the UK Gleneagles G8 which took place in 2005 but had been seen previously at the London ESF in 2004 and other protests in the UK..

The clowns claim to be peaceful and say they can bring humour to tense situations. But police say many militants use the costumes to distract officers while others carry out acts of violence.

**Comment: The clowns lighten the mood and make their peaceful protest. Many cops even posed to take pictures on their own cameras with them. Are we really supposed to believe riot police can be distracted by a few clowns while 'militants wreak chaos'?

At least 500 clowns are in the Baltic spa town of Heiligendamm for the summit.

**WRONG: There weren't even 500 clowns in total. They are not in Heiligendam as the G8 venue is sealed off by the fence. There might be around 500 clowns in Heiligendamn, but only if you class the G8 delegates and media as clowns!...

Police say some squirted acid into the faces of police officers at a demonstration in Rostock on Saturday.

**WRONG: Another piece of disinformation which the police retracted after saying that officers succumbed to the effects of a chemical (yes, they did, their own pepper spray!).

The security operation - dubbed Operation Kavala - is the biggest in postwar Germany and involves 16,000 police and 1,000 army personnel.

**WRONG: Kavala is the name of the special police unit with wide ranging powers formed to deal with the G8 protests and not the name of the operation.

Police spokesman Axel Falkenberg said: "It has become clear that these clowns are not as peaceful as they seemed. It is not a game they are playing but a determined provocation of the police."

**WRONG: There was not one incident of violence from the clowns, but many examples of clowns being assaulted by police.

The confrontation turned violent hours after the protesters left their encampments to storm police barricades and march on the fence erected around the summit.

**WRONG: The violence first occured when police attacked peaceful marches and sit down blockades.

Police say their traffic control posts came under a hail of stones and they responded with force.

By nightfall numerous activists had been shipped to a nearby prison for processing. Exact numbers and nationalities were not immediately known.

Authorities said the demonstrators were "highly organised". Raids on Leftist organisations before the summit discovered plans showing that disparate groups were forming disciplined terrorist-like cells.

**WRONG: The raids resulted in no arrests at all but the authorities justified them at the time by saying they feared terrorist-like cells being set up which is why they executed the raids, and not the other way round as the article would have it.

Workers near the camps where thousands of demonstrators have pitched their tents, including many from the UK, reported seeing some practising with catapaults.

**Question - I'd like to see proof of this since it's such a vague allegation 'workers near camps' - well which workers and which camps?

Jutta Sundermann, of the Attac anti-globalisation group, said police had used violence without reason.

At one stage the A19 autobahn used by officials heading to the conference was totally blocked.

**Misleading: In fact all roads leading into the security zone were blockaded at some point during the day and most of them at the same time.

Global leaders were helicoptered into the conference centre from Rostock airport while minor officials and workers coming by road from Berlin and Hamburg were diverted to coastal ports to board an armada of police launches.

Police said members of the "Black Block" - anarchists behind the violence in Rostock which left 427 police officers injured - were trying to breach the security fence at Heiligendamm.

**WRONG: Police admitted that only two officers needed hospital attention after the clashes on Saturday and even then they were realeased after treatment not staying overnight.

The fence has held so far and the demonstrators were forced back 50 yards from it last night. A court has ordered that they are not allowed within five miles of the barrier.

**WRONG: People were not trying to breach the fence, and some blockades that extended to right next to the fence lasted throughout the night, in place next to the fence.


End note:

The print version of the article ran with a picture of clowns as the main half page picture, with an inset of a protestor on the ground holding their head after being pepper sprayed. The online version carries a total of 6 pictures, none of which show any violence on the behalf of the protestors, two of which show police using water canon against protestors; one against people sitting in the road, and the other is captioned "The water cannons fire on hippies in the flowery fields"... hmmm.....

m hor


missed some

13.06.2007 16:38

Police say their traffic control posts came under a hail of stones and they responded with force.

**WRONG: Clearly the ‘journalists’ haven’t even bothered to watch the footage shot by independent media, showing that violence from the police was directed against peaceful protesters, even those sitting with hands in the air being pepper-sprayed.

The fence has held so far and the demonstrators were forced back 50 yards from it last night. A court has ordered that they are not allowed within five miles of the barrier.

**WRONG: The fence was breached, as shown on several videos, and the court order was for a 5km, not mile, exclusion zone.

This is seriously whack. Can anyone from the NUJ get this bloke's card taken off him?!?!?