Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Corrections, clarifications and recriminations

They say the best things in life are free.

They can't have read the Metro.

On 11 June the Metro printed a story wherein they called Mencap a mental health charity.

A mistake. Fine. It happens. So I emailed their corrections and clarifications address pointing out that they are a learning disability charity and that learning disability and mental health are quite different things.

Checked the paper the next day...no correction.

Checked the paper the day after...still no correction. All the time, other corrections are being printed.

So I emailed them again asking for a reply and adding that it was Learning Disability Week (at the time) and ironically enough the theme this year was 'what is a learning disability?' The reason for this theme being a general misunderstanding about the nature of learning disability, so it would be a really apt and helpful correction to print.


I emailed one more time because hope springs eternal right?

Then after a long pause...............................(these dots represent said long pause, to immerse you, dear reader, in the experience.....................and lo, at last, an answer! Oh. A rather snarky answer. Odd.

"Thank you for your notes.
Mencap has been described as a mental health charity in the media for many years.
A quick Google search will find many references in the media and I am old enough to remember the origin of the Mencap name.
Having said that, I take your point and note the current description of the charity as ‘the voice of learning disability’.
In future references to the charity we will endeavour to use ‘learning disability charity’ or similar. But ultimately, the charity and not the media is responsible for getting its message across and for the way it is portrayed. Our aim with descriptors generally is to let readers know who we are talking about and that inevitably may reference the past"

They agreed to use the correct term in future, which is good, but what's with the snark and the smug?

The (strangely overconfident for someone who is wrong) assertion that it started as a mental health charity and that he himself knows this from being aged and wise and knowing the origin of the name.

(Anyone who had an actual grasp of the name would know that it comes from The Royal Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults. Hence Mencap. Not Menhealth)

Then the compounding of that incorrect factoid born of muddled memory or guesswork by only conceding that the correct description - borne out by a visit to their website - is actually merely the 'current description'. So begrudging and sulky.

The batting back of responsibility for their mistake to MENCAP, even though MENCAP get their message across very clearly thanks very much. Something that is undermined by incorrect reporting over which they have very little control.

The inference that previous incorrect references in the media mean that the media can repeat said wrongness ad nauseum, because fact checking is for losers right?

And a worrying reference to perfunctory Google searches, which explains a lot about the quality of their journalism.

They never printed the correction either. A correction that was definitely worth printing. The most they could promise is that they would try to use the 'current' (for current read correct) term from now on, but may inevitably fail.

Nice people. Excellent journalists. Great paper.

Correction: Twats, hacks, rag.