How to lie about immigration with the Mail

In 'They go together like Batman and Robin', I looked at how the Mail lied about the number of people coming to work in the UK from the two new EU countries by counting tourists as migrants in the article 'Migrant numbers triple from new EU countries'. It was quite a shameless attempt to knock out some misleadingly high figures before the official ones get released on 22 May.

In today's edition (10 May) the paper has gone and topped that with some even more shameless lying about the figures. It's pretty staggering, actually.

The article is headlined '50,000 a month arrive from two new EU countries'. Those of you unfortunate enough to have read the Batman and Robin post will remember that the figure the paper claimed in that one was only 20,000 a month. That's less than half this claim. So the Mail is spinning the numbers it had already spun by including tourists as migrants to more than double its already exaggerated figures. Get your head around that one.

Here's how the paper did it last time. The Overseas travel and Tourism First Release lists the number of visitors from all 27 EU countries combined (EU27 countries), and the number from all 25 countries that were members of the EU prior to the accession of Romania and Bulgaria (EU25 countries). Last time, the paper just subtracted the number of EU25 countries from the total EU27 countries to give the total from the two new countries. As misleading as counting these people as migrants might be, it's the only way to find out how many visitors came from the two new countries.

This time, the paper does this:
In March 2007 some 230,000 visitors arrived from the member countries of Eastern Europe, 57,000 more than in the same month last year.
And claim that these are all, or at least mostly, from the two new EU countries. But they're not. And we know they're not because we found that out in this very paper. In fact, the total for all three months since accession is only 3,000 more than the paper is claiming for just one month. The paper gets its 57,000 for March by taking the total number of extra visitors from all 12 Eastern European countries for three months and dividing it by three. It then says these are nearly all from two countries.

The actual number of extra visitors from the two new EU countries so far since accession in January compared to last year is just 29,000. Yes, the Mail's original 'Migrant numbers triple' story claimed a rise from 23,000 in three months of 2006 to 60,000 in 2007, but it was using the figures of December 2006 to February 2007, including one month before accession. The more recent figures show that the number of visitors from January to March 2006 was 31,000, and in the same period of 2007, the figure is 60,000. So, the actual number of extra visitors from the two new EU countries in March 2007 is around 10,000. The Mail implies that the accession of the two new countries is responsible for a rise of 50,000. Does the Mail lie much?

A comment septicisle made on the Batman and Robin post:
Even by their standards this is pretty contemptible.
How do you like these apples?

Not content with pretending that tourists are migrants, the paper has now decided that near enough every single extra visitor from Eastern Europe is from the two new EU countries when it knows full well that's not the case. How contemptible is that?

The rest of the article is just filler really - but let's go through it a bit. Firstly:
The first count taken since the beginning of the year shows there were around 50,000 arrivals each month from the two new members.
Lie. We know it's a lie because the paper reported the real figure of roughly 20,000 two weeks ago. Here's the deal. When you know the truth and you report something else, that's a lie. It's not a mistake. It's not a miscalculation. It's a lie.

The figures are, admittedly, subject to the vagaries of the International Passenger Survey, the heavily- discredited Government survey used to plot levels of immigration and emigration. Officials are desperately searching for a more accurate way to count.
They're also subject to the vagaries of this newspaper, which has nearly tripled the number of visitors the study actually said came from these two countries. Not only has the paper pretended that tourists are migrants. Not only has the paper pretended that the number of tourists is almost three times the number it actually is, the number it reported itself two weeks ago. But it's now trying to imply that its pretended, exaggerated number is actually an underestimate.

Expect more of this sort of bald faced lying between now and 22 May, when the official figures get released. After then, expect lies about how these figures prove how inaccurate the official ones are.

I mentioned the other day that since starting this blog I've come to hate the tabloids more than I thought possible. This is why.

We know why the BNP lies about immigration. Why would a national newspaper want to do that?


septicisle said...

I noticed that the working man's Daily Mail, the Daily Sport, had this exact same story on its front page today which must have completely ripped off the Mail. That journalist must be so proud.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

I would really not be surprised if it happened the other way round, and the Mail were pretty much lifting stuff from other papers. I know for certain that the paper's done this at least once, although lifting stuff from the Sport is a bit low.

Still, these numbers aren't that different from a WWII bomber being found on the moon.