Resolution Statement – 08349-20 Message v Daily Express

    • Date complaint received

      16th September 2020

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement - 08349-20 Message v Daily Express

Summary of Complaint

1. Robin Message complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined “EXTRA PENNY ON TAX TO FIX CARE CRISIS" published on 3 June 2020.

2. The article reported on the results of an exclusive poll. According to the headline, the poll had found there was “OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT TO PUT [an] EXTRA PENNY ON TAX TO FIX [the] CARE CRISIS”. According to the text of the article, the poll had found that “two thirds of those aged 55-plus support the [tax] increase. And 41 per cent across all age groups”.

3. The complainant said that the headline claim -that there was “OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT” for the tax increase- was inaccurate as the article had found that only 41% of the sample representing the public as a whole supported it.

4. The publication did not accept it had breached the Code. It said it was entitled to characterise the fact that “two thirds of those aged 55-plus support the [tax] increase” as “OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT”, especially as this was an age group most affected by the social care crisis. In any event, it said that the text of the article made clear the precise findings of the poll.

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Mediated Outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved during the referral period. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered to publish the following correction to appear in the print corrections column:

“In regards to our article of 3 June, 'Exclusive poll: Overwhelming public support to put: extra penny on tax to FIX care crisis', we have been asked to clarify that the 'overwhelming support' refers only to adults aged 55+; of all adults, 59% are against an increase of 1p in the pound to fund social care.”

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 03/06/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 19/08/2020