Just whizzed in three complaints to the pcc in respect of the £60,000 figure quoted by national papers. Sadly neither the STar nor the Express are now subject to the pcc, so little to be done about those apart from contacting them directly and suggesting they correct inaccuracies.
And will be sending in complaints in respect of every story quoting the £60k figure i can find. And no reason for others not to do same.
However, you need to understand very clearly what the pcc can accept. If you are the subject of a story, you have quite extensive rights when it comes to complaining, including objecting to malice and stories that appear to be discriminatory.
Otherwise, however, about your only ground is “inaccuracy”, which appears in clause 1 of the editor’s code of conduct: and you need to be very clear as to how the statement you complain about is inaccurate.
If the paper can show a source for their inaccuracy, and there are ANY grounds for suggesting that source might have standing on the topic, then the paper is off the hook. So… “trannies eat babies” would almost certainly get done for inaccuracy (though given how the press wrigle, i really wonder).
However, “Phillip ExpensesClaim, MP, says: ‘trannies eat babies'” is unassailable – unless you know for a fact he never said it.
The in-between option – “man in pub says, etc.” – is a tricky one.
In this case, papers giving £60,000 as a cost for a procedure that most of us know full well costs a fraction of that seems to be a material inaccuracy and should be changed.
I gave the nationals a day or so to get their arses into gear, though maybe shouldn’t even have done that.
There is a strong case for complaining about each and every story in this figure appears. Why? Well, first off, every single story where this figure appears is an instance of a lazy journalist not checking a fact, but instead just going to the cutting files and taking the highest figure last quoted.
So if the Sun gets it wrong ten times, that is ten mistakes, ten inaccuracies…not one…and i shall strenuously resist any attempts to reduce it to a single count.
Second, a pcc complaint has two outcomes at the paper complained of: first, its a load of bureaucracy for the journalists concerned. Am i upset by that? Nah. Given the upset that some journos cause to the trans community, no qualms whatsoever about making some of them put in a couple of horus extra to answer for their slapdashness.
Also, though, it notches up a count and moves the paper up a league table of “most-complained about”. If it is the case (as i suspect it is) that the Sun has used this figure six to ten times over the last couple of years, then i am very much hoping to see them add a tally of 6 to 10 to their total of upheld complaints.
That does their reputation no good at all…and is at one level quite satisfying for the rest of the community.
P.S. Anyone wishing to make a complaint, just hie themselves over to the pcc site and read the code…basically, par 1